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Queen Olga's Snowdrop

Galanthus olgae-reginae

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Plant Profile

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

White, 6 petals
Nodding, solitary flowers. Flowers before the leaves appear. The slender petals have a large, green, heart-shaped marking at their bases.
The fruit is a 3-parted capsule.
The dark green leaves have a central silver stripe along the midrib (but is sometimes absent). Up to 15cm long and 8mm wide. Bulbous perennial. Garden escape species.
Often honey-scented.
Other Names:
Autumn Snowdrop.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Similar Species

Other Information


Galanthus olgae-reginae is a cultivar of the species Galanthus nivalis. It is a perennial flowering plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. It is similar in appearance to G. nivalis, but it typically has larger flowers, with a broad green stripe on each inner tepal. It 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 cultivar was developed by the British gardener and author Reginald Kaye and named after his wife, Olga. It's considered one of the most beautiful snowdrop cultivars and it's much sought after by collectors.


Queen Olga's Snowdrop, or Galanthus olgae-reginae, is a beautiful and delicate spring-blooming flower. Its small, white, bell-shaped flowers are accented by a green "V" shape on the inner petals, giving it a unique and striking appearance.

This snowdrop variety is native to the Caucasus region of Europe and was first discovered by botanist Reginald Farrer in 1909. It was named in honor of Queen Olga of Greece, who was a patron of botanical research and horticulture.

Queen Olga's Snowdrop is a hardy and easy-to-grow plant, making it a great choice for gardeners of all skill levels. It prefers well-drained, humus-rich soil and partial shade, but can also tolerate full sun. It is also drought tolerant and is a good choice for rock gardens or naturalized areas.

One of the best things about Queen Olga's Snowdrop is that it is one of the earliest spring blooming bulbs, often emerging from the soil before the snow has even melted. This makes it a great addition to any garden as it adds a touch of color and life to the landscape during a time when most other plants are still dormant.

The plant will multiply over time, and it's a good idea to separate the clumps every few years to encourage healthy growth and to prevent overcrowding.

In addition to its beauty and ease of care, Queen Olga's Snowdrop is also a symbol of hope and renewal. It's a reminder that even in the darkest and coldest of times, new life and beauty can still be found.

In addition to its role in ornamental gardens, Queen Olga's Snowdrop also has a long history of medicinal use. It has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including headaches, colds, and even cancer. The bulbs contain a compound called galantamine, which is now commonly used to treat Alzheimer's disease.

One unique aspect of Queen Olga's Snowdrop is that it's a hybrid plant, which means it's a cross between two different species of snowdrop. It's a cross between Galanthus nivalis and Galanthus plicatus. This combination of traits from both parent species gives Queen Olga's Snowdrop its unique appearance and hardiness.

In terms of propagation, Queen Olga's Snowdrop can be propagated by dividing the bulbs or by planting the seeds. Bulbs should be planted in the fall, about 3-4 inches deep and 4-6 inches apart. The seeds can be planted in the fall or spring, and it will take a few years for them to produce blooms.

Queen Olga's Snowdrop is also a favorite among botanists, horticulturists, and plant collectors. It's a rare and unique variety, which makes it highly sought after. If you're lucky enough to find it, it's a great addition to any collection.

In conclusion, Queen Olga's Snowdrop is a beautiful and versatile plant that is perfect for any garden. Its unique appearance and hardiness make it a great choice for both novice and experienced gardeners, while its medicinal properties and historical significance make it a valuable addition to any collection. It's a great reminder that even in the darkest and coldest of times, new life and beauty can still be found.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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