Alpine Garden Society

Ulster Group

Plant of the Month, April 2016
   Galanthus nivalis virescens  - by George Gordon

I first became aware of this delightful snowdrop in 2015 when Harold McBride exhibited it at our Members Show (although I have to admit I had been given a bulb many years previously and lost it). So shortly afterwards when visiting Bob Gordon (who has one the best snowdrop gardens I know) and being asked if there were any I wanted I could not resist asking for it, and Bob being more than generous got a spade and gave me a clump. It is probably dangerous to ask in such a garden, and with so generous a man, if there is anything you would like.


Galanthus nivalis virescens has solid green inner perianth segments. The outer segments have substantial green marks (uniquely for similar nivalis cultivars) not at the tip but towards the base. Also the latter are flared outwards, giving the whole flower an elegant look. It was once unique as a nivalis cultivar, but there are newer introductions with more solidly green inner perianth segments. It is late flowering; at it's best towards the end of March and sometimes into April. If it has a fault it is that it is notoriously slow to increase, and for this reason remains expensive. But it is worth the effort.


It also has a long history. Professor Eduard Frenzl of Vienna Botanich Gardens grew this clone and gave bulbs to Max Leichtlin of Baden Baden, In 1879 Leichtlin gave bulbs to Reverend H. Harpur-Crewe and James Allen (of snowdrop fame). It was awarded a Preliminary Commendation when it was put before the Joint Rock Garden Committee by Alan Edwards in 1990.


Bishop, Matt; Davis, Aaron; Grimshaw, John 2001: Snowdrops a Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus pp105-6.

Plant Awards 1989-1990: Bulletin Alpine Garden Society 58: 360-361.