The spring snowflake is a popularly cultivated bulbous plant with delicate white flowers, and belongs to the same family as the snowdrops.
The spring snowflake was described as Leucojum vernum by the renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in 1753. The scientific name means ‘spring white violet’ (Leucojum means ‘white violet’ and vernum means ‘spring’). L. vernum is a widely cultivated, hardy, frost-tolerant plant, notable as a good early nectar and pollen source for bees.
Although both snowflakes ( Leucojum species) and snowdrops ( Galanthus species) belong to the family Amaryllidaceae, they have clear differentiating characters. While snowflakes have six equal tepals (petals and sepals that are similar to each other), in snowdrops the three inner tepals are shorter and broader than the three outer tepals.
The spring snowflake is native to Central Europe (extending to Belgium, the Pyrenees, northern Italy, and Bosnia and Herzegovina) and has become naturalised in other regions, such as the British Isles and North America.