Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
The spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum) is an enchanting flowering bulb. Its nodding, paper-lantern-like blooms appear in early spring. Pure white, the blooms have a small dab of yellow or green near the tip of each tepal (petal).
It can be confused with its relative, the more common snowdrop (Galanthus sp.), shown here.
Both have white flowers and a limited stature—they grow to barely 12 inches high—but the snowflake has wider, angular flowers compared to the more oval blooms of the snowdrop, shown below.
Native to Central Europe, it thrives in shady spots in the Wild Garden, where it can be seen in flower for the next week or so. They are nodding away in the right foreground of this last shot.