Bluebell - Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Family - Asparagaceae
This plant is poisonous
Formerly known as - Endymion non-scriptus or Scilla non-scripta, the Bluebell is a familiar perennial native to north western Europe and the British Isles, which is their main stronghold with up to fifty percent of the world population. It often carpets whole woodland floors if the management regime suits its requirements, an can also be found in hedges and on coastal cliffs, common throughout the UK preferring light acid soils. Growing from a creamy white bulb, the leaves are long and narrow, dark green and glossy forming a basal cluster. Pendant bell shaped violet blue flowers 15-20mm (0.6-0.8in) long in groups of four to sixteen appear April - June as a loose spike on a stem growing to about 50cm (19in) high. Each flowers fruits to a single triangular (three lobed) pod containing small black seeds 3-4mm (0.11-0.15in) in diameter. Propagates by bulb division in the summer or by seed in the autumn.
The Bluebell forms a dense clump of plants that are fully hardy and grow in partial shade on heavy soil requiring plenty of moisture. Some variants produce pink or white flowers both of which can be seen in Brickfields Park. Pink bluebells are variants of the Spanish Bluebell - Hyacinthoides hispanica, as our native Bluebell does not produce the pink form, however whites forms can be of either H. non-scripta or H. hispanica. Bluebells can carpet the ground in suitable woodlands almost to the exclusion of other plants. Early Purple Orchids, which flower at the same time can also be found with Bluebells.
Native bluebells are protected by Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act making it illegal to collect native bluebells in the wild for the purpose of selling them. Indeed it is illegal to uproot any wild plant without permission from the landowner or occupier. In law the term "plant" includes algae, lichens and fungi as well the true plants - mosses, liverworts and vascular plants. Plants are legal property of the landowner and are therefore protected under the Theft Act 1968, where it is an offence to pick plants without the owners permission.
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How to tell Bluebell species apart -
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