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What? The flower that grows through the snow and ice is not actually the Gagea lutea?

With the advent of March in the lunar calendar,

flowers that grow through the snow and ice on the Ili grassland bloom as scheduled.

It signifies the arrival of spring in the northern region of Xinjiang.

(Video source: Gongliu County Convergence Media Center)

These white flowers, known as flowers that grow through the snow and ice,

are also referred to as the "wild lilies of spring" in Xinjiang.

The romantic and poetic name holds people's beautiful feelings for spring,

but its scientific name sounds a bit common,

that is, white saffron.


Whether the flower grown through the snow and ice, wild lily and white saffron are one kind of flower?

And what do the real Gagea lutea and wild lily look like?

Today, let's go together to learn more about them.

After reading this article, maybe you won't be confused anymore.

The first bright yellow color of spring - Gagea lutea

(Photo from Baidu Baike)

What, this flower is called Gagea lutea? How come it's different from the one I've seen in the Ili grassland? You may be a little surprised to see the picture above.

Exactly, this small yellow flower is the real Gagea lutea. And its flowering period is not now, but from April to May.

If the white saffron is the "first white color" of spring, then the Gagea lutea is the "first yellow color" of spring. This plant is very common in Xinjiang and is usually found on the slopes of many places in northern Xinjiang in spring.

Gagea lutea has a wide variety of species, all of which are perennial herbs of the lily family and the Gagea Salisb. In Xinjiang, we see the small, yellow Gagea lutea very often.

It is about 15-20 cm tall. The bright yellow flowers are usually in clusters of 2-5 and arranged in an umbrella shape. When the blooming season comes in late April, the flowers on the sunny slopes bloom, and the beauty is stunning.

As a reminder, this small flower looks beautiful, but it has some toxicity. Don't pick it as a wild vegetable when you're viewing it!

The first flower growing through the snow and ice - white saffron

(Photo from Baidu Baike)

White saffron is the real "first blooming flower" of spring in northern Xinjiang. At the beginning of March this year, this small white flower has already bloomed on the grasslands where the ice and snow have not yet melted, demonstrating the tenacity of life. Therefore, in the hearts of Xinjiang people, it is often a symbol of strength and optimism.

So, why does this small flower bloom so early? Because it belongs to the early spring flowers. In general, before the snow melts in the spring and the drought comes in the summer, it has to complete the whole growth cycle of flowering and fruiting, and that's why it is so "desperate".

White saffron is a native flower in China, mostly growing on slopes and riverside meadows in the Tianshan hinterland at an altitude of 1200-3000 meters.

It is a perennial herb of the Crocus genus in the Iridaceae family. The flowers have a maximum extension diameter of about 2.5 cm and a single flowering period of 4-6 days. The flowering period lasts from early March to May. In mid-April every year, when the flowers are in full bloom, the most eye-catching scenery on the Ili grassland is the white color of the mountains.

The "Mysterious Guest" in the Deep Tianshan Mountains - Tianshan Lily

(Photo from Baidu Baike)

In Xinjiang, both the small yellow Gagea lutea and the flawless white saffron are referred to as Xinjiang wild lilies because they resemble lilies.

So what do the real Xinjiang wild lilies look like? As shown in the picture, have you ever seen one? They have brightly colored flowers, the height of stems is about 25 cm, and their flowering period is in August. They are mainly distributed in the mountainous areas of the Tianshan Mountains, and their distribution is very narrow and sporadic, so it is generally difficult to see them.

The scientific name of the Xinjiang wild lily is Tianshan lily, which is lilium in the liliaceae family. It was listed in the “National Key Protected Wild Plants List” in 2021 and included in the second grade of protection. If you are lucky enough to see this beautiful flower in the mountains, don't pick it!

It's the beginning of spring, and it's time for spring flowers to bloom again. The delicate flowers are about to bloom all over Xinjiang, so it is time to go out in nature and take pictures with them! Please remember to take a picture of you and spring, and remember not to pick the flowers and plants!

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