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Leucojum vernum - L.

Spring Snowflake

AuthorL. Botanical references17, 200
FamilyAmaryllidaceae GenusLeucojum
Known HazardsNone known
RangeC. Europe. Possibly native to Britain where it appears to be wild in 2 sites[17].
HabitatDamp woods, thickets, hedgebanks and meadows, usually in hilly areas and in calcareous soils[13].
Edibility Rating 0 (1-5) Medicinal Rating 0 (1-5)

Physical Characteristics

icon of man icon of bulb Bulb growing to 0.15m by 0.1m.
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from March to April, and the seeds ripen in July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees. It is noted for attracting wildlife.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soil. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It requires moist soil.


Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Deep Shade; Meadow; Hedgerow;

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known

Other Uses

None known

Scented Plants

Flowers: Fresh
The flowers have a powerful scent that is likened by some to hawthorns and by others to violets.

Cultivation details

Easily grown in ordinary garden soil[1, 90]. Prefers an open rich moist limy soil[1, 42]. Succeeds in shade or semi-shade[90]. If naturalizing in short grass, a light, well-drained soil is essential[245]. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least -5c[214]. A very ornamental plant[1]. The flowers have a powerful scent that is likened by some to hawthorns and by others to violets[245]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. A good bee plant[108]. Plants can be naturalized in damp rough grass[200].


The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a well-drained soil in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 2 - 3 months cold stratification, it should then germinate in 2 - 4 weeks at 10c[134]. Sow the seed thinly so that the seedlings can be allowed to grow on undisturbed in the pots for their first year of growth. Give them an occasional weak liquid feed to ensure that they do not become nutrient deficient. Pot up the small bulbs when dormant, planting 2 - 3 bulbs in each pot. Grow them on for another 2 - 3 years before planting them out. Division of offsets in September/October. It is best done as soon as the foliage ripens[1]. Scooping the bulbs.



[1] F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press 1951
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).

[13] Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn 1975 ISBN 0-600-33545-3
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.

[17] Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press 1962
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.

[42] Grey. C. H. Hardy Bulbs. Williams & Norgate. 1938
Rather dated now, but an immense work on bulbs for temperate zones and how to grow them. Three large volumes.

[90] Phillips. R. and Rix. M. Bulbs Pan Books 1989 ISBN 0-330-30253-1
Superbly illustrated, it gives brief details on cultivation and native habitat.

[108] International Bee Research Association. Garden Plants Valuable to Bees. International Bee Research Association. 1981
The title says it all.

[134] Rice. G. (Editor) Growing from Seed. Volume 2. Thompson and Morgan. 1988
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation. An interesting article on Ensete ventricosum.

[200] Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press 1992 ISBN 0-333-47494-5
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.

[214] Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society 1994 ISBN 1352-4186
A quarterly magazine, it has articles on Himalayacalamus hookerianus, hardy Euphorbias and an excellent article on Hippophae spp.

[233] Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. 1990 ISBN 0 460 86048 8
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.

[245] Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. 1994 ISBN 0-7090-5440-8
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.



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