Snowdrops in a copse on a sunny winter day at Chateau de Coutomer.
The snow-drop is called “perce-neige” in French because it can pierce through a light layer of snow. “Perce-neige” is a breakthrough word in other ways, too — it is one of a about 3 or 4 words in the French language that can be either masculine or feminine. As we all know, every French noun is either masculine or feminine — and beware the stranger who innocently confounds “le vase” (for putting flowers in) and “la vase” (that muck at the bottom of a pond). But in the case of the humble snow-drop, you can say “le beau perce-neige” or “la belle perce-neige” without hesitation.
Perce-neige (Galanthus nivales) dans les sous-bois au parc de Château de Courtomer.