1. Family: Amaryllidaceae J.St.-Hil.
    1. Genus: Galanthus L.
      1. Galanthus woronowii Losinsk.

        A snowdrop native to Turkey, Russia and Georgia, Galanthus woronowii was named in honour of the Russian botanist and plant collector Georg Woronow (1874–1931). It is popular in cultivation in Europe, and valued for its wide, green, shiny leaves, which provide good ground-cover and contrast with the leaves of the commonly grown snowdrop G. nivalis. Snowdrops ( Galanthus spp.) contain an alkaloid, galanthamine, that has been approved for use in the management of Alzheimer’s disease in a number of countries.

    [KSP]

    Kew Species Profiles

    General Description
    A snowdrop with wide, green, shiny leaves, Galanthus woronowii has been the subject of research into sustainable harvesting of bulbous plants.

    A snowdrop native to Turkey, Russia and Georgia, Galanthus woronowii was named in honour of the Russian botanist and plant collector Georg Woronow (1874–1931). It is popular in cultivation in Europe, and valued for its wide, green, shiny leaves, which provide good ground-cover and contrast with the leaves of the commonly grown snowdrop G. nivalis. Snowdrops ( Galanthus spp.) contain an alkaloid, galanthamine, that has been approved for use in the management of Alzheimer’s disease in a number of countries.

    Species Profile

    Geography and distribution

    Galanthus woronowiioccurs from northeastern Turkey to the western and central Caucasus (Georgia and Russia). It is primarily found around the eastern Black Sea coast in the ancient provinces of Colchis and Lazistan (the Euxine Province).

    It occurs at 70–1,400 metres above sea level, in stony and rocky spots (on calcareous rocks, in gorges, on stony slopes and on scree), on river banks, in scrub and at forest margins, and sometimes as an epiphyte or on fallen tree trunks, rooting in moss.

    Description

    Overview:A bulbous herbaceous plant with broad, green (usually light green), shiny leaves and supervolute vernation (one emerging leaf is tightly clasped around the other). The bulb is spherical to egg-shaped and 2–2.5 cm × 1.5–1.7 cm.

    Leaves: The leaves are 8–20 cm × 1.1–2 cm at the time of flowering, but can grow to 13–25 cm × 1.3 cm × 1.5–2.1 cm after flowering. The upper leaf surface is often marked with two to four fine, longitudinal furrows.

    Flowers: Flowering takes place during the spring (January to April). The delicate white flowers hang down from the top of a green scape (stalk) 4–19 cm in length. The flowers are of a typical snowdrop shape, but with green marks covering the lower third or less of the inner petals.

    Fruits: The fruit is a spherical capsule, 1–1.5 cm in diameter, and the brown seeds are about 0.5 cm long.

    Threats and conservation

    All snowdrops ( Galanthus spp.) are included in the CITES Appendix II, which lists plants that are not currently under threat of extinction, but which should have their trade monitored and regulated to ensure wild populations are not endangered. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna) is an international agreement between governments across the world, and aims to ensure that the international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival. Under this convention, export quotas are set to limit the numbers of plants and bulbs leaving a country and help prevent over-harvesting.

    Kew worked with collaborators in Georgia and the UK to survey populations of snowdrops. The aims of the project were to survey cultivated and wild populations of snowdrops (in particular G. woronowii), model potentially sustainable levels of harvest, recommend annual quota levels, and develop management and monitoring systems to allow long-term sustainable trade.

    Joint research in 2009 studied cultivation sites and the methods employed in growing G. woronowii. Over 55 sites were visited and extensive wild populations and cultivation sites been sampled and mapped. A draft report was submitted to CITES in January 2010.

    Uses

    Every year Georgia harvests 15 million G. woronowii bulbs, which are mostly exported to western Europe for the horticultural trade. Galanthus woronowii is an attractive early-flowering ornamental, which can provide good ground-cover. The fresh green leaves provide a pleasing background for the pure white flowers. This species is attractive when grown alongside the more commonly cultivated narrow-leaved snowdrop.

    Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

    Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life world wide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

    Description of seeds:Average 1,000 seed weight = 8.66 gNumber of seed collections stored in the Millennium Seed Bank:One

    Cultivation

    Thought to have been cultivated in gardens for more than a century, G. woronowii has been frequently misnamed as G. latifolius, G. ikariae subsp. latifolius or G. ikariae. When provided with the correct conditions it can be an attractive and useful garden plant. It requires moist, but not waterlogged, humus-rich soil, and some shade during the summer.

    Snowdrops at Kew

    Galanthus woronowii can be seen growing in the Rock Garden, where it flowers from late January to the end of February. It is also grown in the behind the scenes Alpine Yard at Kew, and at Wakehurst.

    Both dried and spirit-preserved specimens of G. woronowiiare held in the Herbarium, one of the behind-the-scenes areas of Kew. Details, including images, of some of these specimens can be seen in the online Herbarium Catalogue, and the specimens themselves are made available to researchers by appointment.

    Distribution
    Turkey
    Ecology
    Deciduous, mixed deciduous, coniferous and mixed deciduous-coniferous forest; in leaf litter humus-rich soils, or in stony and rocky places.
    Conservation
    Not evaluated by IUCN.
    Hazards

    Cases of poisoning have occurred when snowdrop bulbs have been mistaken for onions and eaten.

    [KSP]
    Use
    Ornamental. Medicinal (galanthamine).

    Images

    Distribution

    Found In:

    North Caucasus, Transcaucasus, Turkey

    Common Names

    English
    Woronow's snowdrop

    Galanthus woronowii Losinsk. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Identified Reference Herbarium Specimen Type Status
    Nov 1, 2008 s.coll. [EH65] K000464070
    Jan 1, 1994 Checyteukoba, A. [s.n.] K000464065
    73720.000
    73721.000

    First published in Fl. URSS 4: 749 (1935)

    Accepted in:

    • [1] Diev, M.M. (2014) Galyantusy . K.M.K., Moskva.
    • [3] Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2006) Conspectus Florae Caucasi 2: 1-466. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
    • [5] Govaerts, R. (2003) World Checklist of Seed Plants Database in ACCESS G: 1-40325

    Literature

    • [2] Bishop, M., Davis, A.P & Grimshaw, J. (2006). Snowdrops: A Monograph of Cultivated Galanthus. Griffin Press, Cheltenham.
    • [4] Heinrich, M. & Teoh, H. L. (2004). Galanthamine from snowdrop – the development of a modern drug against Alzheimer’s disease from local Caucasian knowledge. J. Ethnopharmacol. 92: 147-162.
    • [6] Davis, A.P. (1999). The Genus Galanthus. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in association with Timber Press, Oregon.

    Sources

    International Plant Names Index
    The International Plant Names Index (2016). Published on the Internet http://www.ipni.org
    [A] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

    Kew Species Profiles
    Kew Species Profiles
    [B] http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [C]

    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
    World Checklist of Selected Plant Families(2016). Published on the Internet http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
    [D] See http://kew.org/about-kew/website-information/legal-notices/index.htm You may use data on these Terms and Conditions and on further condition that: The data is not used for commercial purposes; You may copy and retain data solely for scholarly, educational or research purposes; You may not publish our data, except for small extracts provided for illustrative purposes and duly acknowledged; You acknowledge the source of the data by the words "With the permission of the Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew" in a position which is reasonably prominent in view of your use of the data; Any other use of data or any other content from this website may only be made with our prior written agreement. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0
    [E] © Copyright 2016 International Plant Names Index and World Checkist of Selected Plant Families. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0