< Flora
Snowdrop
Galanthus nivalis

The winter begins to decline and the first spring messengers appear – the snowdrops (bg: kokiche, pl.-ta). Their latin name galantos is derived from the Greek word "gala", meaning milk and "antos" flower. This is the earliest season flower and there is not anyone who does not rejoice seeing it.

This is one of people’s favorite flowers since ancient times. According to one legend, when Adam and Eve were cast out of the earth it started snowing. Eva was desperate and nevertheless suffered from harsh cold weather. To give her courage and hope, a few snowflakes turned into beautiful white flowers. This is how the snowdrop appeared first (called also snezhniche is some parts of Bulgaria).

The Common Snowdrop is a perennial bulb plant of the Amaryllidaceae Family. Height is up to 20 cm. Each bulb has two liner flat leaves, long 8-9 cm. The single flower is hanging down, formed by six petals, the outer three of whom are white. It has pleasant, delicate aroma. Flowering period is from January to April, often before the snow melts.

It is widespread in Central Europe, Ukraine, Western Russia and the Balkans. In Bulgaria, the common snowdrop occurs in some places along the Black Sea coast, northeastern Bulgaria, Danube Plain, Balkan Mountain, Tundzha hilly plain and Strandzha. It grows around bushes, forests, river valleys; in open glades to about 1500 m asl.

The number of wild snowdrops falls rapidly. It is one of the most popular picked and sold flowers. Moreover, many of its habitats are disappearing, threatened by newly build construction sites. The common snowdrop is included in the Red Book of Bulgaria and in the Washington Convention - CITES.

Dr. Svetla Dalakchieva
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