Name: Bluebell

Scientific name: Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Category: Flowers

Nature Stars: 70

What are nature stars?

About: The bluebell spends most of the year as a bulb underground in ancient woodlands, only emerging to flower and leaf from April onwards. This allows them to make the most of the sunlight still able to make it to their forest floor habitat and attract the attentions of hungry pollinating insects. Millions of bulbs may exist in one bluebell wood, and new plants are sometimes able to split off from these bulbs and grow as identical twins.

How to identify: Look for long, drooping leaf fronds and bending flower stems. Beware the floppy leaves after flowering has finished - trampling makes them very slippery!

Where: Very common across all of the UK and Ireland.

Fantastic fact: The bluebell's scientific name comes from a Greek myth. When the Prince Hyacinthus died, the God Apollo's tears spelled the word 'alas' on the petals of the hyacinth flower that sprang up from his blood. Non-scripta means unlettered and tells readers that the bluebell is a different species to the similar looking hyacinth.

Photograph credit: Philip Precey

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