Galanthus gracilis is related to Galanthus elwesii, but smaller and more graceful (Latin: ‘gracilis’) (1, 2). The plant is found from Bulgaria to western Turkey. It generally creates flower scapes 6-10cm in height, shorter than the closely related G. elwesii. Leaves are also smaller at 5,5-16 x 0,3-1,3cm. A large part of its habitat overlaps with that of G. elwesii too. Unlike this species however, it displays applanate verniation, with distinctively twisted leaves. The plant flowers between February and May in the wild. It occurs at a height of 100-2000m, depending on the latitude.
A particularly interesting cultivar is Galanthus gracilis ‘Corkscrew’, with leaves that are even more twisted than is typical for the species. The species likely escaped similar overcollection and export due to its generally smaller bulbs, which fetch less interest for the bulb trade (2). Its variety in cultivation does not reach that in the wild, likely allowing further discoveries to take place in the future.
- Galanthus gracilis. Galanthus wild species. CITES Bulbs.
- Freda Cox. Gardener’s guide to snowdrops. Crowood 2013.