Bluebells - WWC Archives

The Common Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is a spring-flowering bulbous perennial plant.

The English bluebell should not be confused with the Scottish bluebell or harebell, Campanula rotundifolia. Hyacinthoides means "like a hyacinth"; Endymion is another character from Greek myth; Scilla was the original Greek name for sea squill, Urginea maritima

Other common names for common bluebell include: auld man's bell, bluebell, calverkeys, culverkeys, English bluebell, jacinth, ring-o'-bells, wilde hyacint, and wood bells.


The common bluebell flowers in April and May. The stems are 10-30 cm long and bend over at the top. The lavender-blue flowers are pendulous, tubular with the petals recurved only at the end. The individual flowers are borne on one side of the flowering stem only. The anthers are yellowish-white or cream and are attached inside the tube more than half-way along the tube. The flowers are pleasantly and usually strongly scented. The leaves, which are all basal, are narrowly linear lanceolate. Variations in colour occur, most usually pinkish or in a white variant, H. non-scripta 'Alba'. Pollination is by insects, including bees. The black seeds may have a long period of survivability and can emerge after several years' absence if suitable conditions recur. The seedlings can flower in two years from seed; as a result, bluebells can quickly spread in suitable conditions.


In the United Kingdom the common bluebell is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Landowners are prohibited from removing common bluebells on their land for sale and it is a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells. This legislation was strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of the Act making any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence


Hyacinthoides non-scripta is endemic to Belgium, Great Britain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, and also occurs as a naturalized species in Germany, Italy, and Romania.

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