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The world's most expensive snowdrop

Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ - the world's most expensive snowdropRising from my sickbed after a week out of action, I find the world has gone mad - or has it? Thompson & Morgan have just spent £725 - that's $1146 - on one snowdrop. I'm pasting in their press release below so you can see what they say about it. Sounds astonishing - or "completely mad" as one garden writer as already said - but T&M's Paul Hansord is a smart guy. I've known him for decades, he knows what he's doing. And it does look gorgeous (left, click to enlarge). Here's todays's press release in full.

"On Thursday 16 February at 14:40 after a bidding frenzy of over 30 bidders Thompson & Morgan, the Ipswich based mail order plant and seed company, acquired the world’s most expensive snowdrop Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ for £725.  This is a unique striking variety with a golden yellow ovary and yellow petal markings.

"The price is almost double the previous world record price for a single rare bulb of Galanthus ‘Green Tear’ sold for £360 last year. 

"Over the last few years the amount paid for unique Galanthus bulbs has been steadily rising as they have created more interest and in 2008 a single rare bulb fetched £226. 

"Thompson & Morgan hopes to be able to produce this variety and bring pleasure to as many gardeners as possible.  These unique Galanthus are notorious for their slow rates of multiplication but we hope to be able to look into commercial production via tissue culture, which will be the most time consuming and expensive part of the venture – buying the bulb was the easy part!

"When Thompson & Morgan purchased the world’s first Black Hyacinth ‘Midnight Mystique’ in 1998 for £50,000 a bulb, it took 15 years before it was available to the general public and demand has always outstripped stock. 

"We anticipate this beautiful snowdrop will create interest amongst enthusiasts and home gardeners alike, thanks to the ‘snowdrop mania’ that has descended on the UK in recent years.  What a welcome sight snowdrops can be at the start of spring.

"Last year we sold over 1 million snowdrops and have tried for many years to source the right golden variety in order to bring a wider range of unique snowdrops to the home gardener.

"The stunning snowdrop Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ was named after the owner of the garden where it first appeared as a seedling in a Scotland a few years ago and it has not been identified growing anywhere else.

"To celebrate this ‘snowdrop mania’ Thompson & Morgan are offering customers the chance to buy 75 single snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) bulbs at less than half price for £7.99 code YP05902 available on our website (UK customers only)."

I wonder how long it will be before we see Galanthus woronowii ‘Elizabeth Harrison’ in the Thompson & Morgan catalog...


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Just saw the press release. I think my response was something along the lines of ******* ***

Petra Hoyer Millar

Crickey in the context of the Black Hyacinth, this one's a bargain. It is terribly beautiful. I hope T&M are successful in bringing this now infamous snowdrop to market.

Graham Rice

Here's the thing. At the moment, as far as I know, no one has cracked the technique for propagating snowdrops by tissue culture. I'm not sure anyone has even tried. T&M need to do that. How long will it take?

And John Grimshaw says on his blog ( "I hope, however, that the purchaser understands that G. woronowii does not respond well to chipping, so that natural division provides the only safe method of increasing the stock."


I never thought they can bid on a flower that high. I could tell they are rare but never thought that a single flower bud would be sold so high. I'm trying to grow my own garden and found this great site and got really great ideas and tips for my garden. I'm looking forward to T&M propagating the Elizabeth Harrison and get me one as well!

Kathryn Marsh

Ihope it turns out to be more stable than Midnight Mystique. I've bought quite a few bulbs of this for myself and as presents and found it to be very variable - indeed one turned out not an awful lot darker than Blue Delft with fully green foliage while another in the same batch, grown beside it throughout, had almost black foliage and flower. And all shades in between.

Graham Rice

Yes, Kathryn, of course this is a gamble. And they'll need it to increase to at least two bulbs before they can take one and get it into tissue culture - and keep one growing naturally, just in case. But also, remember they have a red hot plant breeder at T&M so I wonder if he has any bright ideas?


Gosh! Gosh! its modern day tulip mania!
I do understand though, as I have just read Erins blog and now have an uncontrollable urge to grow a dicentra has golden leaves and red heart-shaped flowers!

Thanks, Graham, for this news item..fascinating....

Gordon Rigg

I read about the £725 but thought it had been bought by a private collector as they has (supposedly) wanted to remain anonymous

Headlamp Bulbs

The picture like bulb. Gosh! That's an expensive snowdrop 725. Whaat daah!

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