Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) – Coinnle corra Asparagaceae
One of our best known and most loved spring flowers is bluebell. This beautiful wildflower really does carpet woodland floors throughout April and May.
Bluebells can be found in woodlands and sometimes even dotted along road vergers and are best seen in April and May, where they create beautiful violet/blue carpets on the woodland floor.
The plant is relatively easy to identify, its striking violet/blue colour, coupled with its drooping, dainty bell-shaped one sided flower arrangement mean that there are few other native species which you could confuse it with. The flowers also smell very sweet and when walking through a woodland crowded with bluebells you should have no problem smelling their beautiful scent.
The leaves are long, slender and dark glossy green forming tufts around the flowering stem.
Confusion can sometimes arise as Spanish Bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) are frequently planted throughout Ireland and while they look quite different from our native bluebells, hybridisation does occur. Hybrids can have the characteristics of both parent species and Spanish Bluebells are generally much lighter in colour (pale blue) and can also be pink/white. They are generally not scented and the anthers are usually blue. The most noticeable difference is that instead of a one-sided flower arrangement, the flowers of Spanish Bluebell are positioned all around the stem in a spiral formation.
This is currently in flower, so why not get out there and have a look for this beautiful plant and if you happen to find it, why not put the record into the Spring Flower Project a joint project between the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI).
Remember if you have any ideas for future posts or if you want help with identification you can ask me on Twitter @OshDuffy.