From: Davis (1999). Permission has been granted by the author.
G. cilicicus Baker, in Gard. Chron. ser. 3, 21: 214 (1897). G. nivalis L. subsp. cilicicus (Baker) Gottl.-Tann.
BULB ± spherical to ovoid, 1.4–2.2 x 1.3–1.5 cm. SHEATH 2.5–5 x 0.3–0.5 cm. Vernation applanate. LEAVES ± linear, at flowering (7–)9–15 x 0.5–0.7 cm; after flowering developing to 15–18(–22)x 0.5–0.8 cm, erect to recurving at maturity; midrib conspicuous; margins flat; apex acute to acute-obtuse, flat to very slightly hooded; surfaces smooth; upper and lower surfaces ± the same colour, glaucous (greygreen to grey, or grey-blue), or rarely glaucescent, matt. SCAPE 10–18 cm long, green to glaucous. PEDICEL 15–25 mm long. OUTER PERIANTH segments obovate to broadly obovate, or ± elliptic, 18–22 x 6–10 mm, slightly unguiculate. INNER PERIANTH segments obovate to ± obtriangular, 9–11 x 4 mm, each segment with a sinus and an apical, narrow to broad, ± V- to U-shaped, or ± heart-shaped, green mark; inner face of each segment with a faint green mark covering ± the entire segment. ANTHERS tapering to a long point. CAPSULE ± spherical, 5–11 mm in diameter. SEEDS pale brown, c.4 mm long.
Flowering beetween November and January, rarely March, in nature; November and December in cultivation.
Notes: John G. Baker described G. cilicicus in 1897, naming his new species after the area of Asia Minor known in classical times as Cilicia, situated between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. Baker based his description of G. cilicicus on living plants sent to him by the nurseryman T.S. Ware, and he also received a collection of this species from Berlin which had been made by Walter Siehe, in the mountains of Cilician Taurus in 1896. Siehe collected this plant at an elevation of 560 m, and noted that it flowered from November to March.
Galanthus cilicicus is characterized by its autumn- to winter-flowering habit, applanate vernation, linear glaucous leaves, and a single green mark at the apex of each inner perianth segment. The green mark can be narrow or quite broad and bold, and sometimes more or less heart-shaped. Galanthus cilicicus is closely related to G. peshmenii, which also flowers in autumn, possesses applanate vernation, linear leaves and a single green mark on each inner perianth segment. However, the leaves of G. cilicicus are several centimetres long at flowering (only 1–3 cm long in G. peshmenii), are glaucous (not glaucescent), and 5–7 mm wide (not 3–5 mm wide). After flowering the leaves of G. cilicicus are, surprisingly, shorter than those of G. peshmenii, particularly when one compares plants growing in the wild. During the later stages of flowering the leaves of G. cilicicus are up to 22 cm long, whereas in G. peshmenii they are up to 30 cm long.
Galanthus cilicicus is only known from a few localities in the province of Içel, in the Taurus mountains of southern Turkey. Further fieldwork is required to establish the full extent of this species’ natural distribution. At the present time G. cilicicus is probably one of the rarest Galanthus species, and might be endangered in the wild.
Galanthus cilicicus occurs almost exclusively on, or near, limestone rocks. It can be found on more or less horizontal, pavement-like limestone, or on rocks and small cliffs that are nearly vertical. In the e habitats it exists in small but deep pockets of soil within the limestone. It is also found amongst rocks, in short grass, and with macchie-type vegetation, and at the edges of small woodlands (e.g. with pines, Pinus spp.). It is a low- to medium-altitude species, occurring at elevations from 500 to 600 m.
Galanthus cilicicus is very rare in cultivation and at the present time is grown in only a few collections. It is not a particularly valuable garden plant, as it is less robust than many other snowdrops and does not seem to grow well enough in our climate to produce attractive clumps or drifts. It does, however, have a certain charm and is of great interest to those who like to grow the rare and difficult Galanthus species. Pot or frame cultivation is strongly indicated for this tender rarity, or a very sheltered situation at the foot of a warm wall. An alkaline growing medium would seem to be appropriate.