dimanche 24 janvier 2016

Snowdrops for seniors

Even if we had no snow in the valley up to now this winter, the snowdrop or common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) are back. Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white.
Galanthus comes from the Greek gala (milk) and anthos (flower). The epithet nivalis means "of the snow", referring either to the snow-like flower or the plant's early flowering.
Other British traditional common names include "February fairmaids", "dingle-dangle", "Candlemas bells", "Mary's tapers" and, in parts of Yorkshire, "snow piercers" (like the French name perce-neige).
Like already seen in Hellebore (see post dated 3/12/2015, under Fauna & flora) each whitish seed has a small, fleshy tail (the elaiosome) containing substances attractive to ants which distribute the seeds.
Snowdrops contain an active substance called galantamine (or galanthamine) which can be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, though it is not a cure.

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