Hyacinthoides non-scripta (L.) Chouard ex Rothm., 1944
Common names: Bluebell, English bluebell, British bluebell [En], Jacinthe des bois, Jancinthe sauvage, Muguet bleu [Fr], Wilde hyacint [Nl], Atlantisches Hasenglöckchen [De], Jacinto de los bosques [Es]
Braine-le-Comte, HAINAUT ● Belgium
Description: Bluebells are perennial bulbous herbs with flowering stems to about 50cm tall. They spend most of the year as bulbs underground and emerge to flower from April onwards.
The leaves are around 7mm to 25mm wide and 45cm long. They are strap-shaped with a pointed tip. They are smooth and hairless with a succulent appearance.
The flowers are up to 20 sweetly-scented flowers are borne on a flower stalk which droops or nods to one side. Flowers are bell-shaped and blue (rarely white or pink, which are often hybrids). Each flower has 6 petals with recurved (up-turned) tips. Anthers have white-cream coloured pollen.
Biology: Bees, hoverflies, butterflies and other insects feed on the nectar of bluebell. Their flowers provide an important early source of nectar.
Habitat: Woodland (mostly beech and oak forests), hedgerows, shady banks, under bracken on coastal cliffs and uplands.
Distribution: It is found in Atlantic areas from north-western Spain to the British Isles. It grows wild in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Portugal and Spain, and has become naturalised elsewhere in Europe.
Threats : Bluebells are commonly found in British and North European woodlands which have been in existence since at least 1600 AD, and are therefore considered to be environmental indicators of ancient woodland.
In some areas of Britain, the non-native Spanish bluebell has been planted. The two species interbreed freely, creating a hybrid form that may flower at a different time to our native species.
In UK, the Bluebell Survey launched in 2006. The records have revealed that although large populations of native bluebells exist in the countryside, the bluebells found in urban areas are mostly hybrids, and that these hybrids are spreading further into the countryside. If the hybrids are better able to cope with climate change, they may completely outcompete our native bluebells.
In the United Kingdom, H. non-scripta is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
In France, H. non-scripta is protected in many of the départements towards the edge of its range (Corrèze, Loiret, Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Cher, Eure-et-Loir, Indre-et-Loire and Loir-et-Cher). In Wallonia, H. non-scripta is protected under Annexe VII of the Loi sur la conservation de la nature.
Kew Royal Botanic Garden