The Endangered English Bluebell by

Issue 12 · Color Coded · March 22, 2012

The Endangered English Bluebell

Issue 12 · Color Coded · March 22, 2012

The English bluebell is vanishing from its native landscape at such an alarming rate that to save it, the UK's National Trust has resorted to desperate measures: a Twitter campaign.

If you see a Hyacinthoides non-scripta in the wild as this year's bloom season gets underway, the place to report the sighting is #bluebellwatch. Tweet the postcode—and a photo—so the location may be added to a National Trust map. Updated each year, the map's photos also teach observers to spot the subtle differences between native bluebells and invasive types.

Above: The English bluebell is strongly perfumed, prefers partial shade, and has flowers that droop and cluster distinctly on one side of the stem. Image via Accent Garden Designs.

English Bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Above: It is illegal to dig up bulbs for purposes of selling them. In the United Kingdom, Thompson & Morgan sells English Bluebells that have passed a DNA test, proving they weren't harvested from the wild; 50 bulbs for £17.99. In the United States, Hyacinthoides non-scripta is available from Brent and Becky's Bulbs; 50 bulbs for $33. Image via Flickr.

Above: From a distance, a bluebell grove in East Sussex resembles a murky, purplish mist. Photo via Henry Hemming on Flickr.

Hyacinthoides hispanica Hyacinthoides hispanica

Above: Spanish bluebells, an invasive cousin that easily hybridizes with the unsuspecting English bluebell, grows upright, has flowers on all sides of the stem and comes in a range of colors. Although scorned for its aggressive tendencies in the wild, in your flower garden, Hyacinthoides hispanica is a sturdy and reliable spring companion; $15.95 for 25 bulbs at from White Flower Farm. Photo via Paulo Dykes (L) and Kate E.H. (R) on Flickr.



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