Ten things you didn't know about bluebells
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Bluebells are one of the most heartening sights of Spring. Lindsey shared these utterly gorgeous pictures of her bluebell wood at home. What a treat.
Read on for the bluebell facts...
1. Half of the world’s bluebells are found in the UK.
2. Bluebells thrive in shady areas. The cooler growing conditions intensify their blue colour.
3. If you plant bluebells in your garden, make sure you plant English bluebells, not the Spanish version. The Spanish bluebell is a bit like a grey squirrel, it is a more vigorous plant and could out-compete our delicate native flower. The easiest way to tell the difference is Spanish bluebells grow upright, with the flowers all around the stem, not drooping to one side like the British bluebell. Also, Spanish bluebells have no scent, unlike the delicious and distinctive fragrance of British bluebells.
4. Bluebell colonies take up to 7 years to establish from seed to flower.
5. Bluebells are very sensitive to footfall. They die back if their soft leaves are damaged as they are unable to absorb the sun and photosynthesise. Treat them with respect and try not to trample on them!
6. It is against the law to pick or unroot wild bluebells under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981).
7. Bluebells sticky sap was once used to bind the pages of books and glue the feathers onto arrows.
8. In Elizabethan times, the juice from squeezed bluebell bulbs was used as starch to stiffen ruffs and collars.
9. According to flower folklore, if you turn a bluebell flower inside-out without tearing it, you will win the one you love… but don’t do that to a wild bluebell as you would be breaking the law (see point 6).
10. Despite their gorgeous appearance, it was believed many years ago that anyone who heard the ringing of bluebells in the wind would be visited by a malicious fairy and die soon after.
If you don’t have quite the same display at home, here is a helpful guide for the best places to see bluebell woods in the UK. Something to look forward to once lockdown is over.
If you are keen to cultivate your own mini bluebell wood, check out this useful Sarah Raven article: How to plant and grow bluebells.