It’s that time of year when the woodlands become a carpet of blue flowers, the Bluebell is probably Britain’s best known wild flower. They thrive in ancient woodlands which offer shade in the summer, and shelter in the winter.
Bluebells are a protected species and many conservation groups work to conserve their habitats, Unfortunately though they are under threat from an impostor, the Spanish bluebell – The plants are very similar, although the Spanish version is usually paler than our native species and has upright flowers all around the stem. These flowers give it a more upright appearance than the English bluebells, which have flowers arranged on one side of the stem, giving them the characteristic droop.
Did you Know…….
• Bluebells can also be white. These rare flowers lack the pigment that gives the bluebells their distinctive colour.
• 71% of native bluebells are found in broad-leaved woodland or scrub.
• The biggest threats to bluebells are habitat loss and uprooting of the bulbs for gardens.
• The bulbs produce an extremely sticky substance which was once used to stick the pages in books and the feathers on arrows.
• Bluebells are an important early food flower for bees, hoverflies and butterflies which feed on nectar.
• It takes at least five years for a seed to grow into a bulb.