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English Bluebells

Updated on October 14, 2010

In spring, woodland, heath and hedgerow take on a deep blue hue, as English bluebells begin to flower. Sadly this native flower is under threat from a European migrant, the Spanish bluebell, a much more vigorous plant, that invades the English bluebell's natural habitat. Originally brought in to decorate gardens, the Spanish bluebell is taking over.

 

English Bluebells, Butterdon, Moretonhampstead

 Species diversity is important, so if you have Spanish bluebells in your garden now is the time to dig them up, destroy them and replant the native English variety.  However, this may take quite a bit of effort, as the bulbs seem almost indestructible!  Even a tiny bit of bulb left in the soil seems to thrive, so you may need more than one attempt.

How do you know that the plant in your garden is a Spanish Bluebell rather than English?  This little guide might give you some pointers:

English Bluebell - Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Colour: A deep lilac/blue

Scent: Glorious scent

Anthers: Cream

Perianth (flower): Cylindrical, with gracefully curved tips

Habit: Flower spike bends over so that the four to sixteen flowers hang in a graceful curve.

Flowering:  April to June

Mardon Down Bluebells

Spanish Bluebell - hyacinthoides hispanica

Colour:  Paler blue

Scent:  None

Atnhers: Blue

perianth:  cylindrical with straight tips

Habit: upright flower spike with flowers distributed around it

Flowering:  May 

Buying Bluebells

 There are unscrupulous dealers who dig up native English bluebells to sell, thus further depleting this delicate species, so it's important to buy bulbs from a reputable dealer, or why not try growing them from seed.

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    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

      Good advice about a wonderful flower.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Hello my friend, it seems like a long time since I have read your hub, this is an awesome one and enjoyed it so. We, here in Colorado, up high in the mountains, our Bluebells grow wild and I love this flower. Thank you for sharing this delightful hub. thumbs up

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks hello, hello and Darlene. I took a couple of weeks vacation, and then have been busy writing other things, so the hubs have slowed down a little, but i'm back now.

    • Springboard profile image

      Springboard 6 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very pretty flowers. All of a sudden I'm wondering if I've seen these before. Probably...but I'll definitely look for some on my next visit for flowers. Got a few more to plant.

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks springboard. they are quite distinctive from the Spanish ones. Prettier, i think, but I admit to a hefty amount of bias.

    • HealthyHanna profile image

      HealthyHanna 6 years ago from Utah

      Beautiful. It added 'peace' to my day. Thanks

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

      Hi HealthyHanna - we can all do with a little peace. I had the satisfaction of pulling out a load of Spanish Bluebells yesterday - that added a deep sense of satisfaction to my day!

    • De Greek profile image

      De Greek 6 years ago from UK

      Georgina, thank you for this. However, I am a terrible gardener and your discription of advantages of the Spanish Bluebells being practically indistructible, holds a certain attraction :-)

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

      i know what you mean. Plant these and they'll be with you for life!

    • Lora Palmer profile image

      Lora Palmer 6 years ago from Warrington, Pennsylvania

      Beautiful flowers! If only I had more room for landscaping...

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 6 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Beautiful picture of a beautiful flower. Great information. Terrific hub. Thanks

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 6 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks Lora and KoffeeKlatch Gals. They smell divine too.

    • profile image

      Jas 6 years ago

      Well done for championing one of our most beautiful natives. Your guide to tell the English and Spanish apart is great and should easily point people in the right direction, it's funny that people have difficulty in telling them apart as when you get down and have a good look at them they really are quite different!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      I love bluebell woods, and your photographs took me right back to my childhood.In those days we were allowed to wander where we liked, and I walked through many a bluebell filled wood. Wonderful.

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 4 years ago from Dartmoor

      Well, it's that time of year again, May, when the Moors and woods are carpeted with fragrant blue. I'm glad it brought back memories for you bac2basics.

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 4 years ago from Spain

      I´m just having a chuckle because I actually live in Spain and haven´t seen 1 bluebell, except for a weedy looking one Imust have planted in a window box years ago. They must all be in the UK. I´ll just have to settle for admiring the wild Muscari that grow all around where I live.

    • Georgina_writes profile image
      Author

      Georgina_writes 4 years ago from Dartmoor

      Muscari's a bit of a thug too! Maybe the Spanish Bluebells missed the rain.

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