Six things you may not know about bluebells
Bluebells are one of the most precious sights in spring and as an organisation we are at the forefront of bluebell conservation. A quarter of our woodland is ancient or semi-natural: the ideal habitat for bluebells. Here are some facts you may not know about them and some tips on how you can play your part to keep them flowering for future generations.
- Bluebell colonies take a long time to establish. They don't like disturbance and a woodland filled with bluebells is often a sign of an ancient woodland
- Almost half of the world's bluebells are found in the UK. They are relatively rare in other countries
- The English bluebell has many names, including wild hyacinth, wood bell, bell bottle, cuckoo's boots, lady's nightcap, witches' thimbles. Its formal name is Hyacinthoides non-scripta
- English bluebells are under trheat from the more vigorous Spanish bluebell which was introduced as a garden plant by the Victorians and has escaped over the garden wall into the countryside
- You can tell an English bluebell by the way the flowers droop to one side, the delicate sweet perfume, creamy white pollen and how the petal tips curl upwards. Spanish bluebells are more upright, have no perfume and the petal tips turn outwards but not upwards
- Bluebells are fragile plants. If their leaves are crushed, their ability to use sunshine to generate food (photosynthesis) is damaged and the plant dies from starvation.
How you can help to protect English bluebells
- Please don't pick them and in fact picking bluebells is illegal
- Mind where you tread, so you don't crush the plants. We want you to enjoy the glorious sight of our bluebells, but please keep to the paths. Resist the tempatation to step into the bluebells for the photoshoot or selfie, and choose a spot where you're standing on a path. Also control any dogs with you and ensure they also can enjoy the sights and smells responsibly.