Common Bluebell


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The Common Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta, sometimes Endymion non-scriptus or Scilla non-scripta) is a spring-flowering bulbous perennial. It is native to the British Isles and western France, being replaced in Iberia by the similar Spanish bluebell (H. hispanica, the only other species in the genus Hyacinthoides).

The traditional name of "non-script" was intended to distinguish this plant from the classical hyacinth. The classical hyacinth was a flower described in Greek mythology that sprang from the blood of the dying prince Hyacinthus. As a mark of his grief on the death of the prince, Apollo inscribed the letters "AIAI".

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, bell-shaped and slightly fragrant. The anthers are yellowish-white.

In spring, many British woods are covered by dense carpets of this flower; these are commonly referred to as "bluebell woods".

It is common to find hybrids with the closely related Spanish bluebell Hyacinthoides hispanica (a popular cultivated garden plant in Britain). There is concern that the native populations of H. non-scripta are endangered by this hybridisation. The hybrids may be distinguished by their broader, less pendulous flowers, often with darker anthers (pale purple in pure H. hispanica) and broader leaves.

 

 

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