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Overview

Brief Summary

Snowdrops found growing in nature areas are wild forms of the cultivated plant. They are not native to the Netherlands. Cultivating new plants takes a couple of years, which is why it is done in the forest and not in nurseries. Such white snowdrop-covered woods can be seen in the Dennen on Texel. These bulbs are allowed to grow here, but they are no longer cultivated. In fact, it is not allowed to cultivate flowers in nature areas in this country. With the import of snowdrops from central France, the unusual species of land snails, Clausilias, was introduced to Texel. Other bulbous plants were also among the snowdrops, such as grape hyacinths.
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Biology

This perennial plant flowers in February and March (5) and is pollinated by bees (2). It spreads mainly by division of the bulbs; seed production is extremely poor, either because cross-pollination is rare as there are so few insects around in February, or because cultivated populations are usually sterile (4). The pure white flowers have been accepted by the Christian church as symbols of Candlemas, the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary (2 February), and snowdrops are often typical sights in monastic grounds (4).
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Description

The snowdrop is an early flowering bulbous plant; the pure white blooms are a cheering sight in late winter (4). The narrow leaves are bluish-green in colour, and the leaf-tips are hardened in order to break through frozen ground (4). The solitary white flowers are pendulous, and are enclosed by a papery sheath in the early stages (5). The segments of the perianth are petal-like; the outer three are 14-17 mm in length, the inner three are typically half as long, and have a green patch at the tips (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Galanthus nivalis is found throughout Europe: eastwards from the Pyrenees and northern Spain to the Ukraine, and southwards from Germany and Poland to southern Italy, Albania and northern Greece. Galanthus nivalis does not occur in Turkey or in the Caucasus mountains. It is doubtfully native in many locations in northwestern Europe above 50ºN latitude and is introduced and naturalised in the UK, Netherlands and other countries of northern Europe. Although found over a wide altitude range, most populations are found below 900 m asl.
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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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introduced; N.B., Nfld. and Labr. (Nfld.), Ont.; Md., Mass., Mich., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., Utah, Va.; Europe (Spain to w Russia); expected elsewhere.
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Range

Although often thought to be a native species in some areas, the snowdrop is now believed to have been introduced to Britain, and has since become naturalised. It was growing in cultivation in 1597, but it was not until 1778 that it was recorded in the wild (3). Many colonies originated as garden escapes (4). Outside of Britain, the snowdrop is known from France and Belarus (White Russia) south to the Pyrenees, Sicily and southern Greece. It is also known from Asia Minor, Syria, south east Russia and the Caucasus region of south-west. Introduced populations have also naturalised further north than these areas (2).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants to 7–20(–40) cm; bulbs 1.5–2.5 × 1–1.5(–2) cm. Leaves: vernation flat and parallel, remaining so within basal sheath; blade linear to ligulate, 5–15 × 0.3–0.7 cm. Spathe 2–3.5 cm. Flowers: outer tepals white, oblong to broadly obovate, 1.5–2(–2.5) × 0.6–1.1 cm; inner tepals white with green blotch at apex only, narrowly obovate or oblong, 7–12 × 4–6 mm; anthers 3–5 mm; ovary 5–6 × 3–4 mm; style 6–8 mm; pedicel 1.2–3(–4) cm.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Most frequently occurring in moist conditions in deciduous woodland (Fagus silvatica, Quercus spp., Carpinus spp. etc.), and occasionally in coniferous woodland (Abies spp.). Also occurring in meadows, pasture, amongst scrub, near rivers and on stony slopes, particularly on calcareous soils.

Galanthus nivalis is a cross pollinating plant, but sometimes self-pollination takes place. It is pollinated by bees. Seeds have elaiosomes which are eaten by ants and they carry seeds through underground tunnels, helping to distribute them.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Roadsides, open forests, abandoned gardens; 0--500m.
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Thrives in moist woodlands and other shaded areas; typically found in gardens, churchyards, parks, damp grassland, road verges and by watercourses (3).
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Associations

Foodplant / pathogen
effuse colony of Botrytis dematiaceous anamorph of Botrytis galanthina infects and damages live leaf (young) of Galanthus nivalis
Other: major host/prey

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Foodplant / spot causer
colony of Ramularia hyphomycetous anamorph of Ramularia septata causes spots on live leaf of Galanthus nivalis

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering late winter--early spring.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Galanthus nivalis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Galanthus nivalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
NT
Near Threatened

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Crook, V. & Davis, A.

Reviewer/s
Bilz, M. & Lutz, M.L.

Contributor/s
Melnyk, V.

Justification
Galanthus nivalis has an extensive distribution across Europe. There is some uncertainty, however, concerning the extent of native subpopulations due to widespread naturalisation. Many native subpopulations of G. nivalis occur in small relictual forest/woodlands and further loss of suitable habitats would lead to a definite decline in the species. Climate change is also likely to threaten G. nivalis due to the loss of suitable micro- and macro-habitats, where it is currently found. The species is listed as Near Threatened, Vulnerable or even Critically Endangered in several European countries and is included on nearly every country's Red List, suggesting the subpopulations in each of the countries are under threat. Harvesting and trade of the species is still occurring on a local scale, even though international trade is restricted by CITES. A rating of Near Threatened at the global level is suggested here due to all the above factors threatening the population as a whole, and the possibility of G. nivalis qualifying for a threat category in the near future (VU A3cd).
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Status

Widespread (3).
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Population

Population
Native populations are believed to be relictual. Galanthus nivalis has been described as a relict species in the community of Valencia, Spain, where only three wild populations are known (Estrelles et al. 2001). Specific population data is available for several subpopulations, such as that in the East Carpathians (Budnikov and Kricsfalusy 1994):

Seed productivity studies of various populations of G. nivalis in the East Carpathians showed that population age structure remains stable due to regeneration through seed. Lowland-foothill populations appear to have the highest generative reproduction capacity. Lowland populations are also predominated by juvenile plants (about 40%), with mature plants in lower numbers. This is thought to be caused by a large amount of harvesting in these lowland areas. The upper mountain belt has a much higher percentage of mature (58%) than juvenile (11%) plants. These populations are considerably less “affected” by human pressures and likely to represent a “normal” age structure.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
The survival of many Galanthus species is threatened in nature due to habitat destruction and collecting for the horticultural trade. Galanthus is the most heavily traded wild-collected bulb genus in the world. However, all species have been listed in CITES Appendix II since 1990 and trade in wild specimens is now heavily restricted. In addition, most nurseries are selling stock which has been raised from selected reliable clones, therefore avoiding the use of wild populations (Davis 1999). Reported trade in wild specimens of G. nivalis virtually ceased in 1995, with the cessation of reported exports from Hungary.

CITES-reported exports of live/bulbs of Galanthus nivalis:

Hungary: 200,000 (1992), 120,000 (1993), 150,000 (1994)
Romania: 41 kg (2000)
Turkey: 28,670 (1994) [not G. nvalis]
Netherlands: 300 (1995), 1,325 (1998), 219 (1999)

Some populations are more threatened than others, an example from Ukraine is outlined below:

Galanthus nivalis was formerly widely distributed in the East Carpathians but during the last decade its area has been considerably reduced as a result of destruction of its primary habitats (particularly the lowland-foothill zone where populations are close to populated areas or recreational areas) and direct destruction by picking its flowers and digging out bulbs. Threatened by extinction in certain areas, it has been included in the "List of Rare and Disappearing Species of the Ukrainian Flora" and listed as a species in decline in the “Red Data Book of the Ukraine” (1996). Galanthus nivalis is protected, and has been included in the national Red Data Books or lists of all the neighbouring countries of the Carpathians region – Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Illegal exports of Galanthus plicatus and G. nivalis were reported from the Ukraine in 1997, however.

.
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This species is not threatened.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Galanthus nivalis is listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), under Annex B of the EU Wildlife Trade Regulation 318-2008 and on Annex V of the EC Habitats Directive 92/43.

Galanthus nivalis is included in the Red Data Books of the following countries: Austria (Niklfeld 1999), Italy (Conti et al. 1997), Italy / Sicily (Conti et al. 1997), Italy / Sardinia (Conti et al. 1997), Netherlands (van der Meijden 2000), Romania (1994), It has been assigned different threat ratings in several countries:
  • Endangered in Bulgaria (Petrova and Vladimirov 2009)
  • Vulnerable in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Šilić 1996), Czech Republic (Procházka 2001), and Germany (Ludwig and Schnittler 1996)
  • Near Threatened in Switzerland (Moser et al. 2002) and Slovakia (Feraková et al. 2001)
  • Rare in Greece (Phitos et al. 1995), Moldova (Postolache 1995) and Ukraine (Schelag-Soconko 1996)
  • Least Concern in Croatia (Nikolić and Topić 2005)

Galanthus nivalis populations are found in several protected areas throughout Europe including:
  • Volcan Montsacopa, Partial Nature Reserve, Spain
  • Massis del Montseny Nature Park, Spain
  • Micro-reserve network in Valencia, Spain
  • Ecrins National Park Buffer Zone, France
  • Poondri Protected Landscape Area, Czech Republic
  • Litovelske Pomoravi Ramsar Site, Czech Republic
  • Labske Piskovce Protected Landscape Area, Czech Republic
  • Central Balkan National Park, Bulgaria
  • Rila National Park, Bulgaria
  • Several Ramsar Sites in Germany and Austria, including Wattenmeer and Unterer Niederrhein, Wadden Sea (European PSSA)
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Conservation

Not relevant.
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