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Leucojum aestivum, snowflake


A pretty little flower following the snowdrop into the garden and said to share many of its properties.

Leucojum aestivum, snowflake

Leucojum aestivum, snowflake


Amaryllidaceae. Previously included with the Liliaceae

Meaning of the Name

From the Greek, ‘leukos’, generally rendered as ‘white’ but, more fully, meaning the brilliant whiteness resulting from bright light shining on white, for example the whiteness of angels’ garments. Modern usage is, mostly, associated with white blood cells.
From the Latin for ‘summer’ or ‘appearing in summer’.


Common Names and Synonyms

snowflake, summer snowflake, Loddon lily

How Poisonous, How Harmful?

Lycorine and galanthamine are present as found in Galanthus nivalis, snowdrop.

Lycorine, the active ingredient, has been shown to be present in a similar concentration to that present in Narcissus spp. Lycorine is synonymous with narcissine. Theoretically, it could lead to poisoning by confusion with onions but this does not appear to happen.



No reported incidents

Folklore and Facts

Discovered in 1788 by William Curtis who called it ‘snowflake’. There is still debate about whether it is wild or an escapee. It is found on the banks of the Loddon which is used to say it is wild but Grigson thinks it may have been deliberately planted there to honour Alexander Pope’s poem about the Loddon, ‘Windsor Forest’.