Prelude to the afternoon of the snowdrops

Jim McKenney
Tue, 24 Feb 2004 11:41:24 PST
The following was written in jest. For those of you who do not speak
gardener's Greek fluently, a glossary is provided at the conclusion. 

It helps to know what words mean. Here's a little story, a sort of
snowdrops for dummies story, with yours-truly as the butt of the joke. 

From some recent postings I've realized that I obviously don't know what
Galanthus caucasicus is, that I've probably been using the term incorrectly.

Our local chapter of the ARGS runs a yearly piece on plants blooming on New
Year's Day. Several members reported something called Galanthus elwesii
monostictus. I had never heard of Galanthus elwesii monostictus. The editor
kindly included in parentheses the synonym Galanthus caucasicus. Then it
hit me: monostictus means one-spotted. If you've been growing snowdrops as
long as I have, you'll remember the days when one of the first things you
learned was that Galanthus elwesii is distinguished by the two spots or the
fused spots on the inner perianth segments. Obviously the concept of
Galanthus elwesii has been revamped (and evidently by a horticulturist or a
botanist with strong horticultural ties): in addition to the traditional
two spotted forms, there are now monostictus or one-spotted forms. And some
of these monostictus forms are aparently my old pal Galanthus caucasicus.
Live and learn - and get used to the red facial flush! 

With this in mind, I ran out into the garden to check the spotting on my
Galanthus elwesii. Many have yet to bloom, so I thought I had best be
prepared. I have labels ready for the following should they appear:
monostictus, distictus, tristictus, tetrastictus, pentastictus,
hexastictus, hebdostictus, myriostictus, polystictus, hemistictus,
astictus,  leucostictus (often confused with astictus but they really are
quite distinct), chrysostictus, chlorostictus, macrostictus, microstictus,
eustictus, pseudostictus, and my favorite, the rare  Out!damnedstictus!. 

The glossary:

monostictus: one-spotted
distictus: two-spotted
tristictus: three-spotted
tetrastictus: four-spotted
pentastictus: five-spotted
hexastictus: six-spotted
hebdostictus: seven-spotted
polystictus: many-spotted
myriostictus: thousand-spotted
hemistictus: partly spotted
astictus: lacking spots
leucostictus: white-spotted
chrysostictus: golden-spotted
chlorostictus: green-spotted
macrostictus: large-spotted
microstictus: small-spotted
eustictus: well-spotted
pseudostictus: not really spotted
Out!damnedstictus! : Lady Macbeth's red-spotted snowdrop

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland zone 7, where we're having a spot of what the
local weatherpeople call wintery mix. 

More information about the pbs mailing list