Gardening Magazine

Plant of the Week: Chionodoxa Forbesii

By Davis Landscape Architecture @DavisLandArch


Chionodoxa forbesii Flower (11/03/2012, Kew, London)

Chionodoxa forbesii Flower (11/03/2012, Kew, London)

Position: Full sun to partial sun

Flowering period: Late winter to spring

Soil: Moist, well drained 

Eventual Height: 15cm

Eventual Spread: 5cm

Hardiness: 4a – 9b


Subfamily: Scilloideae

Chionodoxa forbesii is a low growing, spreading, bulbous (corm) perennial. Its small leaves are simple, strap shaped, upright with entire margins, appearing at the base of the plant. The 6 petaled flowers are star shaped, blue in color with a white eye, arranged in racemes with clustered stamens in the middle of the flower. The fruits is a loculicidal capsule and these contain seed which germinate readily. After flowering this plant dies back and emerges early the following spring

Chionodoxa forbesii, commonly known as Glory of the Snow, is native to south-west Turkey. It was described in 1871 by John Gilbert Baker. Some botanists regard Chionodoxa forbesii to be the same species as Chionodoxa siehei.

The etymological root of the binomial name Chionodoxa is derived from the Greek xiwn ’snow’ and doca ’expectation’, in reference to its early flowering. Forbesii is named after one of four botanists, Edward Forbes (1815–54), or James Forbes (1773–1861), or John Forbes (1799–1823), or Henry Ogg Forbes (1851-1932). Reader clarification would be greatly received.

Chionodoxa forbesii (11/03/2012, Kew, London)

Chionodoxa forbesii (11/03/2012, Kew, London)

The landscape architect may find Chionodoxa forbesii useful a low growing bulbous perennial. It is particularly useful for naturalising under deciduous trees. The may also be naturalised with areas of grass.

Ecologically, C. forbesii provides pollen and nectar for pollinating insects.

C. forbesii prefers moist, fertile, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

C. forbesii requires little maintenance.

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