Galanthus peshmenii is a recently described species (Davis and Brickell 1994), named in honour of the late Dr. H. Peşmen. It has a very restricted distribution in the wild and is known from only a small area in Antalya province of southern Turkey and on the nearby Greek island of Kastellorhizo (Megisti). According to data from herbarium specimens, this species was first collected in 1973, on Kastellorhizo, by the Greek botanist Stamatiadou. This was followed by a collection made on the Turkish mainland in 1978, by Peşmen, Yildiz and Günes. Originally, collections from Kastellorhizo were believed to represent G. cilicicus and collections made on the Turkish mainland have also been placed under G. reginae-olgae. In flowering time and growth habit G. peshmenii closely matches G. reginae-olgae, a species from Greece, Sicily and the southern part of the former Yugoslavia. These two species are, however, easily distinguished from one another by the colour and dimensions of the leaves, and the shape of the inner perianth mark. Galanthus reginae-olgae has a glaucous median stripe on the adaxial surface of the leaves on a background of green; G. peshmenii possesses leaves that are glaucescent (green with glaucous undertones) to glaucous, with or without a slight underlying median stripe. The leaves of G. peshmenii are usually narrower and longer than those of G. reginae-olgae, and have a distinctly flaccid appearance when fully developed. The inner perianth mark of G. reginae-olgae is very similar to that of G. nivalis and is usually represented by a bold U- to V-shaped mark; and on the inside of the inner perianth segment the green mark runs from the apex to the base of the segment. The markings on the inner segments of G. peshmenii are quite different. The outer mark is narrow and shaped like a U, and on the inside of the segment the mark is small and covers only approximately half the length of the segment. In terms of flower markings, leaf characteristics (including vernation) and flowering time, G. peshmenii is very much like G. cilicicus, but differs from this species in its leafless, or near-leafless, flowering habit and long, narrow leaves.
Molecular data from analyses of chloroplast and ribosomal DNA (Larsen et al. 2010) shows that G. peshmenii is closely related to G. elwesii. This result is logical in a geographical context, as both G. peshmenii and G. elwesii occur in the Mediterranean coastal area of southern Turkey.
Galanthus peshmenii is an autumn flowering plant which produces its flowering scapes before the leaves emerge from the surface of the soil. Occasionally, the leaves are present at flowering time but even in these instances they are very short and not fully developed.
The leaf anatomy of G. peshmenii is quite unique for Galanthus because it possesses a well-defined palisade layer, a feature which is clearly seen when the leaf is observed in transverse section. This feature, usually an adaptation to high light levels, is also present in many other members of the Amaryllidaceae, including those genera mentioned above. Galanthus reginae-olgae also has a palisade layer, but it is not as well developed as that of G. peshmenii (Davis and Brickell 1994, Davis 1999, Larsen et al. 2010).