Monday, January 25, 2010

Good news at last, The Snowdrops are up!

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So good news, the first snowdrops are up! And you know what that means, it is officially the end of winter……Well according to Irish folklore anyway.

In Irish folklore it is said that when the snowdrop is seen it is the end of winter and the start of spring.
It is amazing to think that anything can grow in the garden after the hard freeze we just experienced, but isn't it great to see something so beautiful and delicate pierce its way through the ground and lift our spirits.

The Snowdrop is now a familiar wildflower in Ireland, however it actually originated from central and eastern Europe. The Latin name for Snowdrop Galanthus literally means "milk-white flowers" arising from the fact that the snowdrop plant looks like three drops of milk hanging from a stem.

The flower grows to an average height of 15cm with three inner and 3 outer petals. It closes its petals at night and opens them in the morning to attract insects. Insects help to pollinate the flower allowing it to reproduce. Snowdrops like to grow in a moist soil with plenty of humus. They do not like hot, dry positions preferring part shade. Snowdrops can be seen in early spring and can be found at the moment beginning to peek up from its wintry sleep. Snowdrops grow from a hardy bulb just like daffodils and the crocus. There are almost 20 different types of snowdrop, all are white, however they differ in size and shading.

An interesting fact is that the little snowdrop has been linked to important medicine that could help in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Galantamine, a medicine used today to treat Alzheimer's disease, occurs naturally in several members of the amaryllis family (snowdrop; narcissus; daffodil). This important medicine was first discovered in the innocent Snowdrop.

1 comment:

  1. They look like milk drops, indeed! Interesting! Lovely flowers. Spring is coming!