Species of the Month - February 2017

Each month we feature a picture of a species to be found on The Commons. Wherever possible, all species featured have been photographed here. This month, we are featuring the Snowdrop, Galanthus nivalis.

 The strap-shaped bluish-green leaves grow at the base of each stem, which bears a single drooping bloom. It is often found in church grounds as it has long been accepted by the Church as a symbol of purity and linked with the feast of Candlemas (Feb 2nd) hence the name February Fairmaids. In Victorian times an envelope containing a few snowdrops was often used to warn off a more ardent suitor. Another name is the Snow Piercer with its leaf tips specially hardened for breaking through frozen ground .The Galanthus name is not Latin but from Greek meaning Milk Flower. In Hampshire it is seen as bad luck to bring the flower indoors as it is viewed as a ‘death token’. The Snowdrop provides an early source of food for intrepid insects wanting the nectar secreted in the green spotted inner petals. Can there be a better harbinger of spring than to see swathes of Snowdrops carpeting the woods? Ours are not spectacular but their small clumps still put a smile on any face. 

More pictures and information can be found on the Wildlife Trusts website.

Click here to see other Species of the Month, or here for last year's Plants of the Month.