Galanthus spp have two distinct whorls of corolla segments (“petals”), arranged so that the three outer segments are large and usually unmarked, while the three inner segments are smaller and form a tube in the centre of the flower. They usually bear green markings at their tips and sometimes at the base as well.
Members of the genus Leucojum, have six corolla segments(petals) of equal length, each tipped with green or yellowish-green. Their leaves are also usually glossy bright green, and the plants look much bigger than a snowdrop. The spring snowflake is, and the summer snowflake, or London lily, is L. aestivum.
Galanthus spp. commonly know as Snow drop comprises since February 2012, from the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families recognises 19 species:A 20th species, Galanthus panjutinii (Panjutin’s snowdrop), was recognised during 2012.
Discovered in five locations in a small area (estimated at 20km2) of the northern Colchis area (western Transcaucasus) of Georgia and Russia, it is classed as Endangered. One of its five known sites, at Sochi, has been destroyed by preparations for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Galanthus nivalis as the most common.
Galanthus nivalis is admired for its delicate beauty; millions of plants are sold each year by the horticultural trade. It is one of the most popular of all cultivated bulbous plants and is widely enjoyed as an outdoor, early spring flower.Best time to plant is when they have finished flowering and are in the Green, also as the bulbs are so tiny it is much easier to choose the sites where you wish to enjoy them the next year.
The common snowdrop also has medicinal uses, for example it contains an alkaloid, galanthamine, which has been approved for use in the management of Alzheimer’s disease in a number of countries. Galanthamine is also used in the treatment of traumatic injuries to the nervous system. Galanthus nivalis is also an emmenagogue ( herbs which stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus) and as such it stimulates or increases menstrual flow and so can induce a natural abortion in the early stages of pregnancy. Snowdrop lectin (GNA; Galanthus nivalis agglutinin) is also being studied with regard to its potential activity against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus).
Snowdrop lectin is also an effective insecticide, and can be used against pests in the orders Coleoptera (beetles), Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and Hemiptera (true bugs including aphids and leafhoppers). Research has suggested that snowdrop lectin could be a candidate for introduction into genetically-engineered crops, such as tobacco and tomatoes, to increase their resistance to insect pests.This is perhaps where Geneticaly modified crops (GM) could be good, but all need to be very well tested before such seeds are released into the open. Also. bio diversity, is critical to our well being, acceptance of imperfection is also worth while.??! Bugs we think are bad are food for something else.