Chionodoxa

White
Glory-of-the-Snow


"My life's blossom might have bloomed on all sides
Save for a bitter wind which stunted my petals
On the side of me which you in the village could see."

-Edgar Lee Masters
(18681950)

   

Still generally sold in the trade under the name Chionodoxa luciliae 'Alba' the most current taxonomical designation should be C. forbesii var alba, though both synonyms are at present given equal standing by the Royal Horticultural Society. White Glory-of-the-Snow is also still sometimes offered for sale under the outdated name C. gigantea 'Alba.'

I have seen catalogs list them twice or even three times under each synonym as though they were not the same bulb; but they are in fact the same bulb. Catalogs may intentionally mislead in order to increase sales to people thinking they're getting two or three different varieties, or such vendors may not know any better, neither of which possibility inspires faith in such a company.

Common names occasionally refer to all the synonymous species names, so that it is Lucille's Chionodoxa, after Lucille Bossier the wife of a Swiss botanist; Forbes's Chionodoxa, after horticulturist James Forbes (1773-1861); or White Giant, though "giant" in particular is kind of whimsical for such a tiny flower, though it is quite large compared to the flowers of the diminuative C. nana (syn. C. cretica).

Its small bulb is planted any time in autumn or early winter, & appears in late winter or early spring as a four-inch tall six-point star-flower, very white with creamy yellow stamins.

The white strain of this ordinarily blue flower has been gardened since at least 1885, while the common blue form has been gardened since about 1878. They like to be placed within the drip-line of deciduous trees where they get considerable dappled sunlight before the tree releafs in spring, then is in bright shade when leaves begin to come in shortlly after the glory-of-the-snow is in flower.

We planted our main drift of White Chionodoxa underneath the 'Oshio Beni' Japanese Maple, about thirty corms set out in autumn 2004, though a few whites were already mixed in with an older drift of Blue glory-of-the-snow inside the dripline of the chokecherry.

This little flower naturalizes with fair ease & increases the density of its white flowers spring after spring. It can also be planted at the edge of lawns; in our Zone 8 it will be just about finished flowering before the lawn needs its first mowing.

   



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