Brits may think it a little strange for me to be writing about snowdrops in the last week of April but, here in Pennsylvania, we still have flowers on ours. And recently, for my first solo excursion in the car since my hospital stay, I went to take a look at some snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) growing in the woods a few miles away. I suspect that the site is that of an old homestead - itself long gone.
Of course, snowdrops are not native here in North America; in fact, many enthusiasts for native plants describe them as alien invasives and spend a great deal of effort removing what they describe “infestations” or spraying them with weed killer. Japanese knotweed – OK, fair enough; but snowdrops?
So it was interesting to revisit these local snowdrops, which I last looked at five years ago (above left, click to enlarge), and to see how few there now are (below right, cick to enlarge)– there are probably about 10% of the number there were when I first came across them. And this is a factor that’s rarely monitored here in North America where the demand for instant removal of any plant that’s not native rings so loud: while non-native plants may establish themselves in wild communities and start to spread, they may also then decline and fade away.
And anyway: snowdrops are not exactly known for their capacity to smother other plants, in the wild or in the garden. In Britain, where they’re also not native, snowdrops are enjoyed and appreciated in the wild as delightful and harmless early season flowers. In the US, they’re eradicated.