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It grows to around 7–15 cm tall, flowering between January and April in the northern temperate zone. They are perennial, herbaceous plants which grow from bulbs.
Galanthus nivalis is widely grown in gardens, particularly in northern Europe, and is widely naturalised in woodlands in the regions where it is grown. It is, however, native to a large area of Europe. Snowdrops are among the first bulbs to bloom in spring and can form impressive carpets of white in areas where they are native or have been naturalised.