Snowdrops are a symbol of hope and purity, consolation, spiritual confidence, life direction, insight and imagination and symbolizes friendship in adversity. Snowdrops bring cheer to our hearts as they can survive the cold and brings the first signs of the promise of Spring, representing the 'passing of sorrow'.
Snowdrops look like three drops of milk hanging from a stem, which accounts for it's Latin name Galanthus, milk-white flowers. Known as the purification flower, fair maid of February (February fair maid), Christ's flower, white purification, Candlemas bell, Mary's taper, flower of hope, snow peircer, Eve's tears, death tokens, dew drops, dingle dell and dingle dongles!
Snowdrops are not native to the UK, but it is unclear as to where and when they were introduced. They were not recorded in the wild until the 18th Century.
Nope! Snowdrops and their bulbs are poisonous to humans and can cause nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting if eaten.
Medicinal and Other Uses
- Traditionally snowdrops were used to treat headaches and as a painkiller but in modern medicine a compound in the bulb of the snowdrop has been used to treat alzheimers, neuralgia and a dementia treatment. Alkaloid Galantamine was first derived from snowdrops.
- It is classified as anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-viral, antioxidant, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory.
- A lectin compound contained in snowdrop is known as an effective insecticide.
Magic and folklore
- Wearing one of the blossoms you become endowed with pure and lofty thoughts.
- Snowdrops resemble an angel on a snowflake.
- A symbol of hope and represent the first signs of springtime.
- Biblical mythology - as Eve stood mournfully surveying the barren earth around her, flowerless and white with snow, an angel appeared and on catching a snowflake, breathed upon it and handing it to Eve said, "This is an earnest, Eve to thee, that sun and summer soon shall be". A ring of snowdrops then grew from the place that the angel vanished from.
- It was believed that all white flowers were inhabited by 'moon spirits' who made their appearance at the full moon.
- In ancient Greece, it was believed the plant had conciousness shifting abilities and offered protection as a poison antedote.
Flower of doom;
- Do not bring the first snowdrop of the year into the home. Snowdrops derive it's sinister reputation from the shroud or old-fashioned burial robe that it wears and is an emblem of death. Said to be especially unlucky to bring inside on Imbolc/February 2nd, or Valentine's day as this invites death. The 'death tokens' resemble a corpse in it's shroud.
- Snowdrops are often found in graveyards and damp woodland, although these are great places for nature!
These superstitions can be turned to a positive though as it helps to preserve this delicate, non-native perennial!