Archive for Leucojum vernum var. wagneri

Snowflakes (Leucojum) Continue the Snowdrop Season

Posted in bulbs for shade, my garden, snowdrops, winter, winter interest with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2016 by Carolyn @ Carolyns Shade Gardens

Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllumSummer snowflake with Celandine poppy in the woodland at Carolyn’s Shade Gardens.

The 2019 Snowdrop Catalogue is on the sidebar, and we are taking orders, to access the catalogue please click here.

When snowdrops are finishing, their close relatives, snowflakes (Leucojum),  are ready to take over the display.  They are quite beautiful, but haven’t been subjected to the intense selection process that has resulted in over 1,500 snowdrop cultivars.  They are very easy to grow, and I think they deserve more attention.

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 and miniature hostas.  For catalogues and announcements of events, please send your full name, location, and cell number (for back up use only) to carolyn@carolynsshadegardens.com.  Click here to get to the home page of our website for catalogues and information about our nursery and to subscribe to our blog.

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Leucojum aestivum, Stylophorum diphyllum 4-26-2015 6-43-58 PMLeucojum aestivum in my woodland in April.

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There are two main species of snowflakes: Leucojum aestivum or summer snowflake and Leucojum vernum or spring snowflake.  Summer snowflake blooms in April in our area so the common name is very confusing.  It is a large and vigorous plant reaching 12 to 18 inches with multiple green-tipped, white, lantern-shaped flowers at the end of each flower stem. 

It likes moist soil but grows quite well in my dry woodland as you can see from the photos.  It grows in dappled woodland conditions but also quite sunny spots and seeds aggressively in my garden.  Summer snowflake is native to Central and Eastern Europe.  The cultivar ‘Gravetye Giant’ has bigger flowers, but I have not grown it.

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 Spring snowflake

Spring snowflake, Leucojum vernum, blooms in March in our area so it could easily be called winter snowflake. On its own, it is a diminutive plant reaching 6 to 9 inches with single, green-tipped, white, lantern-shaped flowers at the end of each flower stem.  The leaves are strap-shaped and a very pretty glossy, bright green.  It likes moist soil but grows quite well in average moisture conditions in deciduous shade to part shade locations.  Spring snowflake is native to Central and Southern Europe. 

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-21-07 PM
A very upright and dark green Leucojum vernum—it stood out from the hundreds around it.
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Although unassuming as a single plant, spring snowflake is breath-taking when massed as the following photos show:

Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM

A clump of spring snowflake.

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 3-49-41 PM

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 2-52-31 PM

A hillside of spring snowflake in mid-March at Winterthur.

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Leucojum vernum at Winterthur 2016 3-12-2016 2-52-03 PM 3-12-2016 3-46-20 PM

Spring snowflake combined with Amur adonis and glory-of-the-snow in mid-March at Winterthur.

There are some named forms of Leucojum vernum, which are quite interesting:

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-20-19 PM

Leucojum vernum var. wagneri (or vagneri) produces two flowers on each stem, although none of mine did that this year.  I have read that it is no longer a valid variety.  If you visit naturalized populations of Leucojum vernum, a certain percentage will have twin flowers. This photo shows a wagneri with standard-shaped flowers and green spots.

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Leucojum vernum var. wagneri

This wagneri has the yellower spots typical of var. carpaticum pictured below.

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Leucojum vernum var. carpathicum

Leucojum vernum var. carpaticum has yellow spots on each petal instead of the normal green spots.

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Leucojum vernum 'Null Punkte'

‘Null Punkte’ from Germany is pure white with no spots.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister' Cresson garden

‘Gertrude Wister’ is a semi-double spring snowflake with 12 or more petals instead of the normal 6.  It was discovered by noted bulb expert Gertrude Wister in her garden on the Swarthmore College campus in Pennsylvania, US.

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Leucojum vernum 'Gertrude Wister'

A group of ‘Gertrude Wister’.  Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is honored to be the only source for this cultivar.

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The surface has barely been scratched though—there are many beautiful forms under evaluation:

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Leucojum vernum Cresson garden

A form with 8 petals found in Charles Cresson’s garden.  This is the one I want.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-20-08 PM

This lovely flower appeared in the midst of a group of var. wagneri.  It has the spots, but then the very pointy tips are dipped in green paint.

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A similar paint-dipped flower, but this one is outward facing, even more pointy, and has more color.

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A very large flower with much more prominent spots.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-18-044

A very large-flowered wagneri.

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Leucojum vernum Ithan Park 3-17-2016 5-24-032

A wagneri with more separated petals.

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Leucojum Johan Germany 2

A very large flower with alternating spotted petals and pure white petals.

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Leucojum vernum 2016

Two flowers fused on the same stem: we will have to see if this repeats itself.

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Leucojum vernum double Johan

A true double flower under evaluation by a friend in Belgium.

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Leucojum vernum double Johan

Very beautiful!

Carolyn

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Carolyn’s Shade Gardens is a local retail nursery in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, U.S., zone 6b/7a. The only plants that we mail order are snowdrops and miniature hostas and only within the US.

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