Wild Flowers - Three-Leaved Snowflake - Acis trichophylla

Three-Leaved Snowflake - Acis trichophylla  © Tony Hall
Three-Leaved Snowflake - Acis trichophylla © Tony Hall

Three-Leaved Snowflake. Acis trichophylla

Formerly Leucojum trichophyllum

This lovely, delicate, small early spring flowering bulb is always a joy to see. It's not as common as its autumn relative, Acis autumnalis (which has a much more varied habitat), but it can often be found growing in quite large colonies.

Acis trichophyllum, 1000
Acis trichophyllum, 1000's of them growing in sandy pine forest, amazing sight. © Tony Hall
Growing to a height of 10-20cm, each plant produces long thin, thread-like leaves, usually 3, referring to its species name trichophylla. These appear before flowering. The flowers are borne on a single, thin round erect stem, with 1-4 beautiful little nodding, individual white flowers, which are often flushed with pink at the base. They are 6 petalled and have 3 inner petals and 3 outer petals, all with a sharply pointed tip. They are at first bell-like, with the petals continuing to spread outwards as they mature.

Acis trichophylla like a sandy soil, particularly in open coastal pine woodlands. They flower from February through to April, but sometimes can be found in bloom as early as the beginning of January.

Tony Hall, Manager of the Arboretum and Gardens at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, specialising in the plants of Andalucía.