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Greater Snowdrop

Galanthus elwesii

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Gardens, parks, roadsides, rocky places, woodland.

White, 6 petals
Solitary, nodding white flowers, 2 or 3cm long. The flowers are noticeably larger than those of Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). The 3 inner petals have 2 green markings at their bases. The markings are sometimes fused together.
The fruit is a 3-parted capsule.
Bluish-green, linear, untoothed leaves which unlike other Snowdrops, fold inside one another.
Other Names:
Elwes's Snowdrop, Giant Snowdrop.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Galanthus elwesii, commonly known as the giant snowdrop, is a species of perennial flowering plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. It is native to the Caucasus, Turkey and Northern Iran. It typically grows to a height of 8-12 inches (20-30 cm) with a spread of 3-5 inches (8-13 cm). The plant has narrow, linear leaves and large, white, bell-shaped flowers that bloom in late winter to early spring. The flowers are larger and more substantial than those of G.nivalis, they have a green “V” shaped mark on the outer three tepals, and a longer stem. This species is hardy in USDA zones 4-8 and it prefers well-drained soils, it's also tolerant to cold and shade, it's often used as a ground cover, in mixed borders, naturalized areas and rock gardens. This species is considered as one of the most beautiful snowdrop due to its large flowers, and it's much sought after by collectors.


The Greater Snowdrop, also known as Galanthus elwesii, is a beautiful and unique flower that is a favorite among gardeners and nature lovers alike. This flower is known for its large, white flowers that bloom in early spring, and its distinctive, elongated leaves.

One of the most striking features of the Greater Snowdrop is its large, white flowers. These flowers are typically about 2 inches in diameter, which is larger than the more common snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis. They have six petals that are arranged in a star-like shape, and the flowers are also fragrant, making them a favorite among those who enjoy the scent of fresh flowers.

The leaves of the Greater Snowdrop are also unique and distinctive. They are elongated and narrow, and are typically about 8 inches long. They are typically green in color, and they have a slight curve at the tip which gives them a unique shape.

The Greater Snowdrop is a hardy plant that can be grown in a variety of soils and climates. They are typically planted in the fall, and will bloom in early spring. They are also easy to care for and require little maintenance. They are perfect for naturalizing, and will spread and multiply over time.

In addition to its beauty and ease of care, the Greater Snowdrop also has a special significance in many cultures. It is often associated with new beginnings and hope, and is often given as a gift to symbolize renewal and optimism.

One thing to note is that Greater Snowdrop is less common than the common snowdrop, and can be difficult to find in nurseries or garden centers, but they can be found in some specialty bulb catalogs.

Overall, the Greater Snowdrop is a beautiful and unique flower that is a great addition to any garden. Its large, white flowers and distinctive elongated leaves make it stand out from other spring-blooming bulbs and add a touch of elegance and charm to your landscape.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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