An Excursion to the Bluebell Woodlands, Britain and Ireland

An Excursion to the Bluebell Woodlands, Britain and Ireland

A bluebell wood is a land of wood which has a beautiful carpet of flowering bluebells (Hyacinth ides non-scripta) in the spring season. It actually forms under the shelter of newly forming leaves. The more ground is covered up as the thicker summer canopy is formed and that actually promotes a dense carpet of bluebells and the bluebell leaves mature and die down by near the beginning summer.


The blue bell woods are actually the indicator species for ancient woodlands as the woods actually had a great history behind from at least 1600. They will be easily founded in whole Europe and especially in all the parts of Great Britain and Ireland.

Literature belongings to the beautiful Bluebells


Gerard Manley Hopkins, who was one of the most romantic poets of all the times, was great fond of all the plants around. And he had beautifully described his love for the bluebells in his poem “May Magnificat”.

And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes

In his few lines of poem he has beautifully express the view of the bluebells woods. He described them as the stunning spots on the snake. He also expressed his feelings in the poem when he ran his hand over them. He says that when you touch them they baffle you with their stiff wet heads and with the crush on them they make a noise of a hurdle and leaves behind the beautiful fainting smell of honey in your hands and when you bite them they give you taste of the sweet gum.


Hyacinthoides non scripta- a beautiful bluebell



The stunning bluebells is the inhabitants of the Europe among which the Hyacinthoides non scripta a beautiful member of the bluebell family has a corm and drowsy heads of blue flowers which is indigenous to the Western Europe. It is mainly found in deciduous woodlands, and when the whole woodland is covered with the little bluebells flowers in the late April or beginning of May gives mesmerizing view of the sight and it actually forms a trendy seasonal tourist attraction. In earlier literature the Hyacinthoides non scripta were known as Scilla nutans and then later came to known by Endymion non scriptus. The Bluebells flowers contain the poisonous glycosides and spreads intoxication in the human body if they have been eaten as the spring onions mistakenly. Due to glycosides many cattle, horses and dogs have suffered digestive problems upon eating bluebells leaves. Bluebells best grow at the places where the soil remains undisturbed and the plants can have bounty of sunlight in the early spring season. The nectar of these plants is a source of food for butterflies and other tiny insects.


How bluebells look??


A rhizome with the flower trail upto 50cm tall and its 3-6 linear leaves stalk upto 25 mm wide and 50cm in length. The stem of the plant is bowed downwards towards the tip and have 4-16 flowers along its one side. The beautiful flowers grow in the various stunning colors like violet-blue, pink or white.  The flowers are so called as bluebells because of its tubular-bell shaped petals and sepals which is about 14-20mm long with the free lobes coiling at the tip of the flower. The three outer stamens are compounded with the perianth about 3/4th of its length. The anthers of the flowers are beautiful cream colored.

Threats and Conservation:

In Europe, the bluebells native family members that is Hyacinthoides non scripta is protected by the Wildlife and the Countryside Act (1981) that restricts the landowners to cut down the bluebells for the sale and it also forbids other people from digging the corm from the countryside. Under the Schedule 8 Act in 1988, the trade of wild bluebells corm or seeds is illegal and consider as an offence unless the special licenses are granted from the UK government for the traders. Presently the threats to bluebells embrace the threat to the loss of the ancient woodland habitat along with this it is also has a threat of illicit collection of corm and cross breeding seeds with non native bluebells.


Exploitation of Bluebells

The Bluebell flowers can make attractive ornaments for the ladies along with making the woodland gardens mesmerizing. In spite of being a environmental indicators of ancient woodlands that have been in subsistence since at least 1600 AD they are great contributors for the formation of glue. As the glue obtain from the flowers was used for sticking the flights to arrow shafts  and in book binding and this tradition of using glue for such things was a tradition for the Europeans. Because of its corm’s diuretic and styptic properties, the bluebells is also used for medicinal purposes. They are used to make medicines that help in treatment of leucorrhoea (discharge of mucus from vagina). And also its starch secretion is used for laundering purpose.

In fact in the early 20th century the government of UK had started a special train called “Bluebell Trains” that took tourists on the visit through the bluebell woodlands of the Chiltern Hills in southeast England.  Though that special train services no longer run, but yet the bluebells woodlands display are designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AOBN). But yet there is another thing that has linked the flowers, tourism and railways together and that is flowers has lend their name to the “Bluebell Railway” in East Sussex and these railways are considered to be world’s first protected standard gauge passenger line that runs through mesmerizing wooded scenery where in the spring season, you can see stunning bluebells.


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