As you know: I like to write in my bullet/nature journal about the things I see. So that’s what I did this afternoon. To refresh my memory, I usely look at the pictures I made during my walks.
That’s why I had another look at the photo I made of the snowdrops last week. (I’m sorry: I have to use this picture from my last post again, as it’s the only nice picture I have of them…. )
I started wondering, why the snowdrops appeared from the snow as they do. Do they just grow and grow and that’s the reason why they are visible? Or do they produce some kind of heat, that makes the snow melt?
I had a little look around the internet and found this post. It says – amongst other things – that there are no scientific studies to prove that snowdrops are thermogenic.
Then I had a little discussion with my husband – who knows a lot about biology and chemistry etc.
So now I think, there might be several reasons. I have read, that snowdrops produce a kind of anti-freeze, so their cells won’t get damaged from the ice crystals during the frost. When it’s cold they start to produce glycerol, which protects their cells from freezing. I think this means that their sap can flow at temperatures below freezing. And that’s why they can appear through the snow.
And as their green leaves appear above the snow, they might absorb more of the warmth of the sun, than the white snow that surrounds it. So there develops a tiny microclimate, where it is a little bit warmer than its surroundings.
I am wondering now, if the water that is circulating inside the snowdrops – thanks to the anti-freeze – could also heat up the micro-climate. We had a discussion about that as well. On the one hand you could say that the anti-freeze doesn’t make the water any warmer, it just doesn’t freeze. On the other hand you might think that the water in the ground – which is then circulated through the snowdrop – might be a bit warmer than the snow itself. And maybe the tiny microclimate which is a little warmer can even reinforce this process………
Well, I don’t know if this makes sense……. Do you have an opinion or even real knowledge about this? But it was fun reading, discussing, and thinking about this 🙂