Tuesday, 26 April 2011 15:10
The beautiful native bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) is a superb reason to take a walk in your local woods.
At the moment, the woods near where I live are carpeted with native bluebells, which I am excited to see, especially since there has been concern that the Spanish bluebell (Hycacinthoides hispanica) is invading. It does not look as though the invading species has reached these woods yet and so we have neither the Spanish bluebell nor the hybrid here.
To identify the native bluebell, I like to look for a flower resembling a lady dipping her head in a shy way because the dark blue flowers are bunched on one side, towards the top of the stem, making the stem droop. Each flower has a white anther and a stunning scent.
Although I did not see any, the Spanish bluebell resembles a brash flamenco dancer, with almost-white flowers situated all the way around the upright stem, with blue anthers and no scent.
And neither were there any hybrid bluebells, a cross between these two, which have both blue and white on each petal and yellow-grey anthers.
Before you go on your walk, take a look at the Natural History Museum website, where there is a great video and the bluebell survey.
If you do not know where your nearest bluebell woods are, try the Woodland Trust.
I hope you enjoy your walk.
"This is the best day out I've ever had!"
Year One Pupil at NHEHS