Online Encyclopedia

SNOWDROP

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 296 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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SNOWDROP, Galanthus nivalis, the best known representative of a small genus of the order Amaryllidaceae, all the species of which have bulbs, linear leaves and erect flower-stalks, destitute of leaves but bearing at the top a solitary pendulous bell-shaped flower. The white perianth is six-parted, the outer three segments being larger and more convex than the inner series. The six anthers open by pores or short slits. The ovary is three-celled, ripening into a three-celled capsule. The snowdrop is a doubtful native of Great Britain, but is largely cultivated for market in Lincolnshire. There are numerous varieties, differing in the size of the flower and the period of flowering. Other distinct species of snowdrop are the Crimean snowdrop, G. any soil or position, and when once planted should be left to themselves. SNOW-LEOPARD, or OUNCE (Felis uncia,) a large member of the cat family, from the high mountain regions of Central Asia. It resembles the leopard in general conformation, but has longer fur, grey in colour, marked with large dark rosettes. The dimensions of the head and body are about 4 ft. 4 in., tail 3 ft., and the height 2 ft. This animal lives among rocks, and preys upon wild sheep and goats, and probably large rodents or birds. It carries off sheep, goats and dogs from villages, and even kills ponies, but, it is said, has never been known to attack man (Blanford). Examples Shown in the Zoological Gardens of London have been fairly tame and playful. SNOW-LINE. In the higher latitudes, and in the most elevated parts of the surface of the earth, the atmosphere may be normally so cold that precipitation is chiefly in the form of snow, which lies in great part unmelted. The snow-line is the imaginary line, whether in latitude or in altitude, above which these conditions exist. In the extreme polar regions they exist at sea-level, but below lat. 78° the snow-line begins to rise, since at the lower elevations the snow melts in summer. In N. Scandinavia the line is found at about 3000 ft. above the sea, in the Alps at about 8500 ft., and on high mountains in the tropics at about 18,000 to 19,000 ft. These figures, however, can only be approximate, as many considerations render it impossible to employ the term " snow-line " as more than a convenient generalization. SNOW-SHOES, a form of footgear devised for travelling over snow. Nearly every American Indian tribe has its own particular shape of shoe, the simplest and most primitive being those of the far north. The Eskimos possess two styles, one being triangular in shape and about 18 in. in length, and the other almost circular. Southward the shoe becomes gradually narrower and longer, the largest being the hunting snow-shoe of the Crees, which is nearly 6 ft. long and turned up at the toe. Of snow-shoes worn by people of European race that used by lumbermen is about .31 ft. long and broad in proportion, while the tracker's shoe is over 5 ft. long and very narrow. This form has been copied by the Canadian snow-shoe clubs, who wear a shoe about 31 ft. long and 15 to 18 in. broad, slightly turned up at the toe and terminating in a kind of tail behind. This is made very Iight for racing purposes, but much stouter for touring or hunting. Snow-shoes are made of a single strip of some tough wood, usually hickory, curved round and fastened together at the ends and supported in the middle by a light cross-bar, the space within the frame thus made being filled with a close webbing of dressed caribou or neat's-hide strips, leaving a small opening just behind the cross-bar for the toe of the moccasined foot. They are fastened to the moccasin by leather thongs, sometimes by buckles. The method of walking is to lift the shoes slightly and slide the overlapping inner edges over each other, thus avoiding the unnatural and fatiguing " straddle-gait " that would other-wise be necessary. Immoderate snow-shoeing leads to serious lameness of the feet and ankles which the Canadian voyageurs call mal de raquette. Snow-shoe racing is very common in the Canadian snow-shoe dubs, and one of the events is a hurdle-race over hurdles 3 ft. 6 in. high. Owing to the thick forests of America the snow-shoe has been found to be more suitable for use than the Norwegian ski, which is, however, much used in the less-wooded districts.
End of Article: SNOWDROP
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