From: Davis (1999). Permission has been granted by the author.
G. elwesii Hook. f. var. monostictus P.D. Sell, in P.D. Sell & G. Murrell, Fl. Gr. Brit. & Irel. 5: 363 (1996). G. caucasicus (Baker) Grossh. var. hiemalis Stern. G. caucasicus of gardens and in the sense of authors, not G. caucasicus (Baker) Grossh.
INNER PERIANTH segments each with one apical green mark, which rarely covers more than half of the segment.
Flowers between February and May in nature; October and March in cultivation.
Notes:Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus was named by P.D. Sell in 1996, based on material cultivated at the University Botanic Garden, Cambridge. The epithet monostictus is derived from the Greek and means ‘single spot’, aptly describing this variety, which is characterized by the solitary apical mark present on each inner perianth segment. Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus has been in cultivation for over a century, but was mistakenly called G. caucasicus for many years. Oliver Wyatt (1967) was probably the first to cast doubt on the identity of cultivated G. caucasicus, and suggested that specimens grown under this name represented G. elwesii. Wyatt states that: ‘In a letter written in 1942 to me, Mr E.A. Bowles said that the name “caucasicus” had been given to plants imported forty years previously, and sold under the name of “cilicicus” or “elwesii”. ... If this is correct, the plants which we know as “caucasicus” must have come from the Taurus Mountains; and if Baker [probably referring to Baker 1887] is right that caucasicus comes only from the Caucasus, our plants have no right to be called “caucasicus”.’ A comment by Gerard Parker (1963) is also worth quoting here: ‘Up to about thirty years ago importations of G. elwesii sometimes contained a number of plants in which there was a variation in flower detail, the main distinction being the absence of basal green markings on the inner segment. These plants have since appeared from other sources and some are said to have some differences in foliage, though this does not appear to be a constant feature. G. elwesii varies considerably in its period of flowering, covering the same period as the plant (G. caucasicus) described by Stern.’ Further study supports the views of Wyatt and Parker, and shows that ‘G. caucasicus’ of gardens is in fact G. elwesii (Davis 1999).
Oliver Wyatt states that ‘G. caucasicus’ (i.e. G. elwesii var. monostictus) must have come from the Taurus. This statement was probably made because most of the plants imported at that time were collected from the Taurus Mountains, in southern Turkey. Indeed, most imports of G. elwesii still come from this region, and G. elwesii var. monostictus has turned up in consignments of imported bulbs from Turkey on several occasions in the last 20 years or so. It is also sometimes seen in the propagation fields of Turkish bulb producers, who source their propagation material from the Taurus Mountains and areas nearby. Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus may well occur in the Taurus, but botanists have yet to collect it in that region. It has, however, been seen to the east of the Taurus, in the province of Kayseri, and to the west in the province of Antalya. It is possible that G. elwesii var. monostictus has been selected from amongst imports of G. elwesii and selectively propagated over a long period, which would a count for the relatively large numbers of this very variable plant in cultivation.
Galanthus elwesii var. monostictus looks superficially similar to G. alpinus, and they share most of the same characteristic features, specifically the supervolute vernation, glaucous leaves and one green mark at the apex of each inner perianth segment. Galanthus alpinus differs from G. elwesii var. monostictus by its smaller size, and smaller inner perianth mark. Furthermore, the leaves of G. elwesii can sometimes be slightly twisted in the vertical axis (corkscrew-like), a feature not found in G. alpinus. The distributions of G. alpinus and G. elwesii do not overlap.