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Glory of the Snow

Scilla forbesii

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asparagaceae (Asparagus)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Gardens, mountains, parks, rocky places, woodland.

Blue, 6 petals
The blue flowers are bowl-shaped and have white centres. They are about 3cm in diameter. Up to 12 flowers per stem.
The fruit is a capsule.
A bulbous perennial plant with narrow, strap-shaped basal leaves, each up to 15cm (6 inches) long. Leafless stems.
Other Names:
Forbes' Glory-of-the-snow, Forbes' Squill, Siehe's Glory-of-the-snow.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Scilla forbesii, also known as Forbes' Squill, is a species of bulbous perennial plant in the Asparagaceae family, and a member of the Scilla genus. It is native to rocky and calcareous soils of the mountains in the Mediterranean region. This plant is small and has narrow leaves and produces spikes of pale-blue flowers in early spring, before the leaves are fully developed. Flowers are highly desired for gardens and often planted for ornamental and bulb shows. They need well-drained soil and a position in full sun to partial shade.


Glory of the Snow, scientifically known as Scilla forbesii, is a stunning early spring-blooming bulbous perennial plant that is native to the Caucasus Mountains of Turkey. This charming plant belongs to the Asparagaceae family and is widely popular for its delicate beauty and vibrant colors.

The Glory of the Snow is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of about 10-15cm and spreads about 10-15cm wide. Its narrow green leaves are just a few centimeters long and grow in a rosette at the base of the stem. The flowers, which appear in early spring, are star-shaped and range in color from pale blue to violet-blue, pink, or white. Each stem produces two to four flowers, which last for about two to three weeks.

Glory of the Snow is a cold-hardy plant that can grow well in various climates and soil types. It prefers well-drained soil, full sun to partial shade, and moderate watering. The plant can grow in rock gardens, border fronts, or naturalized in woodland areas, and it can also be grown in containers.

One of the most striking features of Glory of the Snow is its ability to thrive in the colder months when most plants are dormant. As soon as the snow begins to melt, the Glory of the Snow's delicate blooms appear, adding a touch of color and beauty to an otherwise gray landscape.

Glory of the Snow has many uses beyond being a beautiful ornamental plant. Its bulbs have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat respiratory problems, including coughs, asthma, and bronchitis. The plant is also known to have astringent properties and can be used to treat wounds and other skin conditions.

Glory of the Snow is a popular plant for attracting pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, to the garden. Its early blooming time provides a vital source of nectar and pollen for these insects, which can be scarce in the early spring.

The plant is also easy to grow and care for, making it an ideal choice for beginner gardeners. The bulbs should be planted in the fall, about 3-4 inches deep and spaced about 3-4 inches apart. Once planted, the bulbs require little maintenance beyond occasional watering and fertilization.

Glory of the Snow is also a great choice for naturalizing, which means planting it in large groups in a natural, informal setting. When planted this way, the plant can create a stunning carpet of color that is truly breathtaking. This is especially true when paired with other early-blooming bulbs, such as crocuses and daffodils.

Additionally, it's worth noting that there are several other species of Scilla that are also commonly referred to as "Glory of the Snow". These include Scilla siberica, Scilla bifolia, and Scilla mischtschenkoana. While these plants share many similarities with Scilla forbesii, they each have their own unique features and characteristics.

One interesting fact about Glory of the Snow is that it gets its name from the Greek word "skilla", which refers to a sea creature with blue flowers. This is because some species of Scilla are known to grow near the sea, and their blue flowers resemble the color of the ocean.

Another interesting feature of Glory of the Snow is that it can self-sow and spread throughout the garden over time. This means that if you plant a few bulbs in the fall, you may find that your garden is filled with beautiful blooms in the years to come.

Glory of the Snow is also a great choice for forcing indoors. By planting the bulbs in pots in the fall and keeping them in a cool, dark place for several weeks, you can enjoy the plant's beautiful blooms indoors in the early spring.

It's worth noting that while Glory of the Snow is generally a low-maintenance plant, it can be susceptible to pests and diseases such as bulb rot and spider mites. To prevent these issues, it's important to plant the bulbs in well-draining soil and to keep the plants well-watered and fertilized.

One interesting aspect of the Glory of the Snow plant is that it is not just prized for its beauty but also for its symbolism. In many cultures, the blue color of the Scilla flower represents calmness, peace, and trust. This makes the plant a popular choice for weddings, as it is often used in bridal bouquets and decorations.

Another notable characteristic of the Glory of the Snow plant is its ability to naturalize and spread easily. As the bulbs multiply, they can create large carpets of blooms that are a sight to behold. This also means that the plant can be left to grow undisturbed for years, making it an ideal choice for gardeners who prefer low-maintenance plants.

Interestingly, while the plant is often associated with the color blue, there are also some varieties of Scilla that produce pink, white, or purple flowers. This means that gardeners have many options to choose from when selecting a variety to grow in their gardens.

It's worth noting that the Glory of the Snow plant has been used in folk medicine for centuries. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and diuretic properties and has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including coughs, colds, and urinary tract infections. While it's always important to consult with a healthcare professional before using any plant for medicinal purposes, the long history of traditional use of the Glory of the Snow plant suggests that it may have some health benefits.

In addition to its beauty and symbolic significance, the Glory of the Snow plant is also an important source of food for wildlife. Bees and other pollinators are attracted to the plant's early spring blooms, while small rodents and other animals are known to eat the bulbs themselves.

Interestingly, the Glory of the Snow plant also has a long history of cultivation. The plant is believed to have been first cultivated in the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, where it was highly prized for its beauty and medicinal properties.

Today, the Glory of the Snow is cultivated all over the world and is a popular choice for gardeners and landscapers. Its low-maintenance requirements and ability to naturalize make it an ideal choice for a wide range of settings, from formal gardens to naturalized meadows.

Finally, the Glory of the Snow plant is also an excellent choice for cut flower arrangements. Its delicate blooms add a touch of elegance and charm to any floral arrangement, and can be combined with other early-blooming flowers like daffodils and hyacinths for a stunning display.

In conclusion, the Glory of the Snow plant is a truly remarkable species that has much to offer gardeners and nature enthusiasts alike. From its stunning beauty and symbolic significance to its role in supporting pollinators and wildlife, this plant is a true treasure that deserves a place in every garden.


Glory of the Snow filmed in Duxbury Woods, Lancashire on the 24th March 2023.


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