Snowdon lily. Photo: Peter Llewellyn

Snowdon lily

Last updated: 07 April 2008

The first record of the Snowdon lily in Great Britain was made by the Welsh botanist, Edward Llwyd, in 1682, who was commemorated in the Latin name for the plant - Lloydia serotina.

Even though he didn't see it in flower for many years, he recognised the grass-type leaves as being something special and different.

In the UK, it only grows in the Snowdonia National Park on a few high cliffs. In other mountain ranges, such as the Alps and the Rockies, it can be found on gently rolling alpine tundra above the treeline, growing in wonderful abundance with many other alpine flowers.

Local Welsh names for the plant, 'brwynddail y mynydd' - the rush leaved mountain plant, and 'y bryfedog' - the spiderwort, superbly describe its delicate-looking nature.

You could be forgiven for failing to recognise this rare plant without the delicate white flowers, which bloom in late May and early June. Its thin leaves are reminiscent of grass and so it is difficult to find in its cliff-bound habitat.

If you are lucky enough to see the Snowdon lily, then by all means take photographs, but don't be tempted to pick any part of the plant as it is protected by law and needs as much help as it can get to ensure its survival in Snowdonia.

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