From: Davis (1999). Permission has been granted by the author.
G. alpinus Sosn. var. bortkewitschianus (Koss) A.P. Davis, in Kew Bull. 51(4): 750, fig. 1 (1996). G. bortkewitschianus Koss.
BULB scales yellowish. LEAVES at flowering 2.5–11(–16) x 1.5–2.4 cm, after flowering developing to 13–23(–25) x 1.8–2.5 cm. OUTER PERIANTH segments obovate, 15–17 x 10–12 mm. CAPSULE not developing to maturity. SEEDS not produced.
Flowers between March and April in nature; January and March in cultivation.
Notes: Galanthus alpinus var. bortkewitschianus was originally described as a species by the Russian botanist J.I. Koss, in 1951, from material collected in the northern Caucasus. Koss named his species after the Russian dendrologist V.M. Bortkewitsch. Galanthus alpinus var. bortkewitschianus is known from only one restricted locality in Karbardino-Balcaria (southern Russia), near the river Kamenka, where it is said to form a single, vegetatively propagating population covering five to six hectares (Artjushenko 1966b). Artjushenko reports that it is sterile, a fact that is supported by a triploid chromosome count of 3n=36 (Sveshnikova 1965, 1971, 1975). In its only locality G. alpinus var. bortkewitschianus is reported to grow in the mid-montane zone, at an altitude between 1,200 and 1,500 m, in beech forest (Fagus orientalis).
Galanthus alpinus var. bortkewitschianus has survived quite well in cultivation since its introduction, which was probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s. When given suitable growing conditions it will produce small clumps in three to four years, although it can be shy-flowering. It is an interesting snowdrop, and when grown well can be quite charming.