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Galanthus nivalis – the Snowdrop

16 February 2012

It used to be thought that the snowdrop was introduced to Britain by the Romans.  They got a lot of introductions attributed to them, mostly correctly, but through many ages plants and animals have been introduced to Britain by many people. The Brown Hare, Lepus timidus for example, was  introduced either by Celts or Romans. But this is not about hares – just an excuse to post a picture of snowdrops by the foot of a hybrid London Plane in central London (Bloomsbury) taken on 10th of February. It is apparently now thought that they were introduced in the 16th century (see Wikipedia entry).  One thing that you may not know about them, is that snowdrops produce Galantamine which has been used to treat dementia patients. In addition, snowdrop lectin dna (Galanthus nivalis (gna) lectin gene) has been used in transgenic research to provide a pesticide effect.

Y. Bharathi et al. Pyramided rice lines harbouring Allium sativum (asal) and Galanthus nivalis (gna) lectin genes impart enhanced resistance against major sap-sucking pests – Journal of Biotechnology 152 (3) , pp. 63-71

Brown Hare Article in Mammals UK magazine Spring 2010 issue

Kew Gardens on snowdrops

From → Ecology, In Londinium

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