Snowdrops have been known since the earliest times under various names but were named Galanthus in 1753. Most species flower in winter, before the vernal equinox (20 or 21 March in the Northern Hemisphere), but some flower in early spring and late autumn.
Snowdrops have been known since early times, being described by the classical Greek author Theophrastus in the fourth century BC. He gave it, and similar plants, the name white violet.
Snowdrops are hardy herbaceous plants. They are among the earliest spring bulbs to bloom. In colder climates, they will emerge through snow. The leaves die back a few weeks after the flowers have faded.
Some snowdrop species are threatened in their wild habitats, due to habitat destruction, illegal collecting and climate change. In most countries collecting bulbs from the wild is now illegal.
To A Snowdrop
Lone Flower, hemmed in with snows and white as they
But hardier far, once more I see thee bend
Thy forehead, as if fearful to offend,
Like an unbidden guest. Though day by day,
Storms, sallying from the mountain-tops, waylay
The rising sun, and on the plains descend;
Yet art thou welcome, welcome as a friend
Whose zeal outruns his promise! Blue-eyed May
Shall soon behold this border thickly set
With bright jonquils, their odours lavishing
On the soft west-wind and his frolic peers;
Nor will I then thy modest grace forget,
Chaste Snowdrop, venturous harbinger of Spring,
And pensive monitor of fleeting years!William Wordsworth