Abstract Galanthamine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor marketed as a hydrobromide salt for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, is obtained from some Amaryllidaceae plants. A new method was developed and validated for its quantification by GC–MS in different plant sources: bulbs and leaves from Narcissus confusus; bulbs from N. pseudonarcissus cv. Carlton; and leaves and in vitro cultures from L. aestivum. Samples (50mg) were extracted with methanol (1mL) for 2h, then aliquots of the extracts were silylated and analyzed by GC–MS. The calibration line was linear over a range of 15–800μg galanthamine/sample, ensuring an analysis of samples with a content of 0.03–1.54% analyte referred to dry weight. The recovery was generally more than 95%. Good inter- and intra assay precision was observed (RSD<3%). Principal component analysis of GC–MS chromatograms allowed discrimination of the plant raw material with respect to species, organs and geographical regions. The analytical method developed in this study proved to be simple, sensitive and far more informative than the routine analytical methods (GC, HPLC, CE and NMR), so it may be useful for quality control of plant raw materials in the pharmaceutical industry.