Following our Spring flowers … blooming brilliant! post, spring has definitely sprung. A lot has happened in a couple of weeks and wild flowers are now out in abundance.
A firm favourite is the bluebell, sometimes also known as the wild hyacinth. In Scotland there are two flowers known as bluebells – one reason for the second name! Of course having two bluebells can cause confusion because it is not clear which flower is being referred to. The one also known as the wild hyacinth, carpets many of our woods in late spring. The second, also known as the harebell, grows later in the summer and is often found growing on roadside verges or unimproved grassland.
It surprises many to learn that the wild hyacinth blue bell species is protected from being collected in the wild. It isn’t so much that the flowers are rare but because Britain has about 30% of the total world population and Scotland is fortunate to have a number of classic bluebell woods. Clyde Valley National Nature Reserve is one good spot to find enticing swathes of blue this spring (along with an altogether more pungent, yet beautiful wild garlic).
Another concern is that if people collect seed or bulbs they might accidentally be spreading a hybrid between the non-native Spanish bluebell and our own bluebell.
A white flower often growing with bluebells is the greater stitchwort. Although an expanse of blue is fantastic, the natural blue and white mosaic of bluebell and stichwort is also a spectacle to behold.