Nature’s “death tokens”

Snowdrops are one of the first signs of spring and these delicate white flowers are beginning to appear across the reserve. There is a particularly good display on the other side of the river between the mansion and Corra Linn which is visible from the path.

Snowdrops_(c)_Amy_Lewis
Snowdrops_(c)_Amy_Lewis

Here are some interesting facts about snowdrops:

  • The snowdrop is also known as Candlemas bells (Candlemas is 2nd February), February fairmaids, Dingle-dangle, Mary’s taper and snow piercer.
  • The Latin for snowdrop is Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus means milk-white flowers. The plant itself could be said to look like three drops of milk hanging from a stem.
  • The name snowdrop does not mean drop of snow, it is referring to eardrop which is an old word for earring. So the name is suggesting the flower looks like an ice white earring.
  • There are 75 different species and varieties of snowdrop and collectors of snowdrops are called Galanthophiles.
  • The flowers symbolises hope and purity.
  • It is said to be unlucky to bring them into the house.
  • Some people view them as ‘death tokens’ and the flowers have been described as a ‘corpse in its shroud’.
  • The snowdrop was not recorded as growing wild in the UK until the 1770’s. Most plants are more than likely garden escapees. Some are thought to be native, particularly in south-west England.
  • Colonies can reproduce by seed but they need mild weather to encourage insect pollination. Therefore, most plants reproduce by division.

The Scottish Snowdrop Festival runs from the 1st February to 16th March. You can find out more information if you do a web search for ‘Scottish Snowdrop Festival 2014’. You will then be given recommendations on the best places in Scotland to see snowdrops.

Laura – Scottish Wildlife Trust, Falls of Clyde Ranger

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Preface

Snowdrops are one of the first signs of spring and these delicate white flowers are beginning to appear across the reserve. There is a particularly good display on the other …

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