Native bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). A bulbous perennial, our indigenous species is native to north-western Europe, where it seems to prefer slightly acidic soils and partial shade. Early in the growing season, they can be a dominant species in coppiced woods on light soils, but they are also found on hedge-banks, and sea-cliffs. The native bluebell’s deep violet-blue flowers have a strong sweet scent, and the flower stems droop or nod distinctively to one side.
Unusual bluebell facts
- In the Bronze Age, people used bluebell glue to attach feathers to their arrows.
- The Victorians used starch from crushed bluebells to stiffen the ruffs of their collars and sleeves.
- Bluebell sap was used to bind pages to the spines of books.
- According to folklore, hearing a bluebell ring is a sign of impending death!
- Legend also says that a field of bluebells is intricately woven with fairy enchantments.
- Bees can ‘steal’ nectar from bluebells by biting a hole in the bottom of the bell. This allows them to reach the nectar without pollinating the flower.
Bluebells are a protected species. It’s against the law to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy bluebells.