Plant of the Week: Common Snowdrop

highlighted mobile

Author: 
Anne Hunter
Photo by Friends of the High LineThe delicate blooms of the common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis, are a sure sign that spring is near! Photo by Friends of the High Line
 

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew up between rail tracks after the trains stopped running in the 1980s. Today, the High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees – each chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share one of our gardeners’ current favorites with you.

What a joy to see delicate snowdrops, Galanthus nivalis, emerge – a sure sign that spring is just around the corner! These members of the Amaryllidaceae family were described by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753 and given the genus name Galanthus, meaning milky-white flower, and specific epithet nivalis, meaning snow.

Native to Europe, the snowdrop is a popular, cultivated bulbous perennial and is a common plant in many parks and gardens throughout the temperate zone. Snowdrops will naturalize into drifts under dappled shade in well-draining, medium-moist soils. These diminutive bulbs are not just another pretty face – they also contain an alkaloid, galantamine, used to treat mild to moderate symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

WHERE TO SEE THIS PLANT
Come celebrate the end of winter and see the snowdrops blooming in the Philip A. and Lisa Maria Falcone Flyover, the elevated walkway on the High Line between West 25th and West 27th Streets.

Download our March Bloom Guide.