This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Leucojum vernum. Spring Snow-Flake.
Corolla campaniformis, 6-partita, apicibus incrassata, Stigma simplex.
LEUCOJUM vernum spatha uniflora, stylo clavato. Lin. Syst. Vegetab. p. 316.
LEUCOJUM bulbosum vulgare. Bauh. Pin. 55.
The great early bulbous Violet. Park. Parad.
The blossoms of the Leucojum and Galanthus, or Snow-Drop, are very similar at first sight, but differ very essentially when examined; the Snow-Drop having, according to the Linnaean description, a three-leaved nectary, which is wanting in the Leucojum; the two genera then being very distinct, it becomes necessary to give them different names; we have accordingly bestowed on the Leucojum the name of Snow-Flake, which, while it denotes its affinity to the Snow-Drop, is not inapplicable to the meaning of Leucojum.
As the spring Snow-Flake does not increase so fast by its roots, as the Snow-Drop, or even the summer Snow-Flake, so it is become much scarcer in our gardens; it may, indeed, be almost considered as one of our plantae rariores, though at the same time a very desirable one.
It does not flower so soon by almost a month, as the Snow-Drop; but its blossoms, which are usually one on each foot-stalk, sometimes two, are much larger, and delightfully fragrant.
It is found wild in shady places and moist woods in many parts of Germany and Italy. The most proper situation for it is a north or east border, soil a mixture of loam and bog earth; but by having it in different aspects, this, as well as other plants, may have its flowering forwarded or protracted, and, consequently, the pleasure of seeing them in blossom, considerably lengthened.
In a favourable soil and situation, it propagates tolerably fast by offsets.