Leucojum aestivum L. - Snowflake

Leucojum aestivum plant

Family - Liliaceae

Stems - Aerial stems to +40cm tall, erect, herbaceous, glabrous, fistulose, from a bulb, green.

Leaves - Basal, linear, flat, to +40cm long, equaling or exceeding the aerial stems, glabrous, dark green.

Inflorescence - Terminal clusters of 2-7 flowers. Clusters subtended by and partially surrounded by a green bract. The bract to 5cm long, glabrous. Pedicels to +6cm long. Flowers pendant.

Flowers - Tepals 6, white with a green spot at the apex, glabrous, to 2cm long, -1cm broad, oblong-elliptic. Stamens 6. Style 1, exceeding the stamens. Ovary inferior, 3-locular, with many ovules.

Leucojum aestivum flowers

Leucojum aestivum stamens

Flowering - April - May.

Habitat - Commonly cultivated. Escaped around old homesites and in disturbed sites.

Origin - Native to Europe.

Other info. - This distinctive species has only been found growing wild in two Missouri counties (Boone and St. Charles) but is cultivated throughout the state. In warmer states to the east the plant is much more common as an escape. The plant is easy to ID in the field becasue of its flat leaves and green-spotted flowers.
Like many of the lilies, this species is toxic if ingested.

Photographs taken near Tom's Creek, NC., 4-20-03, and off Lee Rd 10, Lee County, AL., 3-1-06.


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