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What is Chionodoxa?

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  • Written By: Vasanth S.
  • Edited By: Kathryn Hulick
  • Last Modified Date: 31 October 2016
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Chionodoxa is a plant genus that is part of the Hyacinthaceae family. It consists of about eight species of perennial plants that are native to the eastern Mediterranean region. Most of the species have star shaped flowers and strap-like leaves. They are commonly used as border plants, ground cover, and rock garden plants. This genus of plants is relatively easy to maintain and is usually propagated by seeds or division.

The genus name is derived from the Greek words chion and doxa, which mean "snow" and "glory," respectively. The common name for this genus is glory of the snow. Some of the species have variations of the common name. For example, Chionodoxa sardensis is called lesser glory of the snow.

Most of the species are found in the coastal regions of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. About three species are located on the Greek island of Crete, and four species are found in western Turkey. One species, Chionodoxa lochiae, is native to the island of Cyprus.

The flowers of this genus attract a lot of attention since they have a unique star-like appearance. Most of the flowers range from light blue to purple and feature a white center. Most of the species bloom early in the season. For example, Chionodoxa forbesii typically flowers in late February or early March.

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Most species in this genus reach a height of 6 inches (15 cm) and spread about 4 inches (10 cm). They typically grow in clumps and feature narrow, lengthy green leaves. This genus is deciduous, so the leaves will fall off in the autumn.

For this genus to grow well, it requires a supportive growing medium and tolerable weather. Generally, a well-draining soil will provide adequate support for Chionodoxa plants. Most species can tolerate different soil types, such as clay, loamy, or sandy soil. Also, the pH of the soil can vary, since this genus can tolerate both alkaline and acidic conditions. Adding a layer of mulch during the fall will support the plant.

The location in which this genus is planted should be exposed to direct sunlight for several hours each day. Also, it is recommended to place the plants in a somewhat sheltered location, to protect them from the wind. Additionally, the location should be free of plant debris to avoid plant diseases.

Generally, this genus is planted with other early flowering perennials, such as Primula, Pulmonaria, and Pulsatilla. Together, they can be planted as ground cover under trees or large shrubs. When combined with small deciduous shrubs, Chionodoxa is suitable as a border plant, usually along driveways or walkways.

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