Leucojum aestivum L.
CC = *
CW = 5
MOC = 3
Family - Liliaceae
Habit - Perennial forb from a bulb, lacking the odor of onion or garlic.
Stems - Aerial stems ascending to erect, to 40 cm, unbranched below the inflorescence, erect, hollow, somewhat flattened, glabrous.
Leaves - Basal, linear, flat, to 40 cm, the bases sheathing the aerial stems, equaling or exceeding the aerial stems, glabrous, dark green.
Inflorescence - Terminal umbels of 2-7 flowers, subtended by a green, herbaceous, spathelike bract 3-5 cm long. Flowers pendent on stalks 15-65 mm long, not replaced by bulblets.
Flowers - Perianth 10-20 mm long, bell-shaped, the 3 sepals and 3 petals attached to the top of the ovary, elliptic to obovate, white with a green spot at the thickened tip, glabrous. Stamens 6, attached to the top of the ovary, free from the perianth. Style 1, longer than the stamens, abruptly narrowed below the minute stigma. Ovary inferior, with 3 locules, each with numerous ovules.
Fruits - Obovoid capsules 12-20 mm long.
Flowering - April - May.
Habitat - Persisting, or uncommonly escaped, around old homesites, cemeteries, and disturbed sites.
Origin - Native to Europe.
Lookalikes - Broadly, Galanthus nivalis.
Other info. - This distinctive species is widely cultivated in Missouri and elsewhere in the U.S. Once established it can persist for decades without further care. There are reports that the plant will (uncommonly) escape cultivation in parts of the eastern U.S., but there is scant evidence that this ever occurs in Missouri. Missouri plants rarely produce mature fruits. The plant is easily identified by its unique flowers, and these are sometimes the most visible evidence of a former homestead.
Photographs taken near Tom's Creek, NC., 4-20-03, and off Lee Rd 10, Lee County, AL., 3-1-06 (DETenaglia); also at Weldon Spring Conservation Area, St. Charles County, MO, 5-2-2018 (SRTurner).