Do All Snowdrops Look Alike?

Galanthus 'Wasp'‘Wasp’ certainly has all the elements of a typical snowdrop, but its long petals and unusual markings make it look just like the flying insect when the wind blows.

Our current snowdrop catalogue is on line here.

People often try to tell me that all snowdrops look alike: white with three longer outer petals and three shorter inner petals with a green mark.  They should know better.  I would never admit that as I am a galanthophile who revels in observing the smallest differences.  I can go on at length about bloom time, leaf color and shape, and the intricacies of the inner mark, but I won’t.  Here I want to show you snowdrops that even the skeptical will recognize as different.

Nursery News:  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a retail nursery located in Bryn Mawr, PA, specializing in showy, colorful, and unusual plants for shade.  The only plants that we ship are snowdrops to the US only.  For catalogues and announcements of local events, please send your full name, mailing address, and cell number to and indicate whether you are mail order only.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.


Galanthus 'Ballerina'The elegant and graceful double snowdrop ‘Ballerina’ certainly stands out from the pack.

Most gardeners are all about the flowers, and it is the blooms that I will focus on here.  The flower variations just within the three inner segments (petals)-three outer segments-single green inner mark theme are amazing, and I will show you a few of those like ‘Wasp’ above.  But then there are yellow snowdrops, regular doubles like ‘Ballerina’ above, virescent (green) snowdrops, crazy doubles, flowers with extra petals, all white snowdrops, the variety is endless.  There is even ‘The Alburgh Claw’.  Let’s start the show.

Galanthus 'Melanie Broughton'Although still single-flowered and green and white, ‘Melanie Broughton’ has a very large solid green inner mark and bright white, puffy and quilted outer segments.


Galanthus elwesii 'Daphne's Scissors'‘Daphne’s Scissors’ has a very unusual inner mark shaped like scissors.  Thanks to Mark Smyth at the Galanthus Gallery for supplying this excellent photo.


Galanthus 'Viridapice'‘Viridapice’ has green markings on the outside of the flower.


Galanthus 'Diggory' ‘Diggory’ is the only snowdrop flower with pear-shaped, squared off outer segments.


Galanthus 'Rosemary Burnham'‘Rosemary Burnham’ is a virescent snowdrop with a solid green inner mark and elegant green stripes completely covering the outer segments.


Galanthus 'Spindlestone Surprise'‘Spindlestone Surprise’ is one of a growing number of snowdrops that have a yellow mark and a yellow ovary (the cap on top of the flower).  Others include ‘Wendy’s Gold’ and ‘Primrose Warburg’.


Galanthus nivalis 'Blonde Inge'‘Blonde Inge’ is one of the few galanthus that combine a yellow mark with a green ovary.


Galanthus nivalis 'Lady Elphinstone' Cadwalader‘Lady Elphinstone’ is the only double yellow.


Galanthus elewesii 'Godfrey Owen'‘Godfrey Owen’ doubles the number of inner and outer petals to six each and holds its flowers open in a beautiful whorl.


Galanthus 'Hill Poe'‘Hill Poe’ is a late blooming double with lots of white inside.


Galanthus nivalis 'Blewbury Tart'‘Blewbury Tart’ is a vigorous double snowdrop with outward-facing, mostly green flowers.


Galanthus nivalis 'Anglesey Abbey'‘Anglesey Abbey’ can be solid white and poculiform, meaning that its inner segments are replaced by outer segments.


Galanthus 'Walrus' Cadwalader‘Walrus’ has mostly green inner segments and long green outer “tusks”.


And you were wondering about ‘The Alburgh Claw’, well click here for a photo of one of the weirdest snowdrop forms, the spikey double.


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20 Responses to “Do All Snowdrops Look Alike?”

  1. I never realized there was that much variation in snowdrops. I knew there were those that looked different, but the variety really is evident. If I were a collector, I would see subtle differences I guess.

  2. Carolyn, these are so intriguing. You have a wonderful collection.

  3. Clara Berger Says:

    Great posting, Carolyn. Can’t wait to order.
    Clara Berger

    • Thanks, Clara. I picked the snowdrops to feature by going through my own photos and looking for plants that are really different. I do the same thing when I pick snowdrops to offer in my catalogue—I want flowers that stand out from each other. It also helps to offer plants for which I have a good photo! Carolyn

  4. They do all look different, and thanks to you we have some help IDing them. My favorites among the ones you show here are ‘Viridapice’ and ‘Ballerina.’ 🙂

    • Beth, ‘Viridapice’ is commonly available, but I happen to have an exceptionally good form that I got years ago from the old Heronswood Nursery in WA. ‘Ballerina’ is a newer snwodrop and when I saw it I had to have it. I just got it this year. Carolyn

  5. Barabara Berlin Says:

    Is it too late to plan the snnowdrops? Do u have any to sell?   And when if available to sell? Sincerely, Barbara  Berlinlovelionsbsb@yahoo.com610-527-6971

  6. I was one of those that just never ‘got’ the snowdrop thing until I visitied a private garden here in Scotland that had a huge collection and the difference in many of them were clear to the naked eye.
    In fact I purchased some from the good lady and G. Spindlestone Surprise. I have G. Mrs MacNamara just coming into bloom now – which is a nice surprise.
    It’s such a pity your nursery is a plane journey or two away!

  7. Isn’t it a great time of year, when the snowdrops start popping up? Fabulous selection, and hope that you have a great season from a fellow galanthophile,
    Best wishes

  8. So much choice! I really like ‘Melanie Broughton’. My snowdrops are already emerging. But I only have the common snowdrop. Do you think the yellow ones will ever be affordable enough. I dare not buy the really expensive ones. The bulbs are so tiny.

    • Denise, Melanie Broughton is beautiful. I am partial to full green marks and quilted petals. I don’t think all the yellows are that expensive where you live, the Netherlands I think. They are not that delicate either and multiply fairly rapidly. Just go for it. Carolyn

  9. Beautiful photos.

  10. Oh my goodness how could these ever been seen as alike…so many great shapes and interesting yellows….

    • Donna, This is a wider selection than people usually see in the US, but I am attempting to make many more kinds available. Snowdrops are also small and require a certain amount of attention to detail that many gardeners do not want to devote to their plants. That’s part of their charm for me!!! Carolyn

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