16 March 2009

An old summer snowflake

Yesterday I found a large clump of summer snowflake or Loddon lily (Leucojum aestivum) in what used to be the garden area of Austford, the former property by Streetfield Wood at TQ789204.

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The house was demolished in 1934, so this plant is likely to be at least 85 years old and still going strong.  It is not uncommon in this part of the world on roadside verges and similar sites but never far, in my experience, from human habitation.

There are two subspecies L. aestivum ssp. aestivum and L. aestivum ssp. pulchellum and ours appears to be the former, though the differences are slight.

A curious thing about this plant is that no one seems to know, since it flowers in late winter and early spring, why it is called the summer snowflake.

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