Bluebells - Wild Hyacinths - Western Isles Blue Wildflowers
Bluebells ( Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
The bluebells in the photo opposite were seen near the Stornoway War Memorial Monument - Isle of Lewis
Native Plant to the Western Isles
You can see these lovely wildflowers in The Western Isles growing by lochs, streams, by forests, or grassy banks.
The bluebell is also known as the Wild Hyacinth
The lovely wildflowers are usually strongly scented - with a lovely smell. Occasionally the flowers are white.
Lavender Blue Flowers
The stems are 10-30 cm long and curve round at the top. The lovely bell shaped lavender-blue flowers hang downwards.
The individual flowers are borne on one side of the flowering stem only.
The flowers appear in April and continue to flower into June, sometimes here in The Western isles, these wildflowers can be seen as late as July.
The anthers are yellowish-white or cream and are attached inside the tube more than half-way along the tube.
The flowers are perfectly adapted to cope with the shade
Celtic Times - Bluebells
Celtic legend has it that the bluebell was known as a fairy flower which was dangerous.
There are tales of Celtic heroes, Merlin and King Arthur, who are still sleeping somewhere in a cave - they are supposed to be lying in wait to wake up when Britain needs them.
Bluebell - Latin Name
Agraphis nutans - Non Scripta
The old name was actually Agraphis nutans, the first part "Agraphis" meant "unmarked - or not written on" - which really is the same as the more modern version of the name that was used "Non Scriptus" - really alluding to the clear blue colour - with no markings on - unlike the traditional hyacinth.
The second part of the name "Nutans" - means "nodding,"a reference to the dangling flowers. Sometimes infact the plant is called Nodding Squill
Bluebell - Latin Name Endymion - Greek Myth
In Greek mythology there was a young man called "Endymion" who chose to sleep forever and never aged.
Some versions of the myth say that Endymion was visited by a moon goddess Selene, who fell in love with him and every month she visited the cave where he slept, she shirked here duties as a moon goddess, (guiding the moon through the heavens) this accounts for the phases of the moon. Some writers suggest that bluebells help to promote a dreamless sleep - like that of Endymion's sleep.
Symbol of Botanical Society
These tiny flowers are the symbol of the Botanical Society of the British Isles.
Also known as Bell Bottle, Blue Bonnets and Ring o’Bells.
Nations Favourite Wildflower
The bluebell is arguably the nations most favourite wildflower, especially when the blue flowers form carpets across the ground. Britain including Scotland is home to more than half the worlds bluebells.
The leaves, which are all basal, are narrowly linear lanceolate. Variations in colour occur, most usually pinkish or in a white variety, H. non-scripta alba
Pollination is by insects including bees. The black seeds which have a long life - can even occur after several years absence if suitable conditions recur. The seedlings can flower in 2 years from seed; as a result, bluebells can be quick to spread.
The bluebell plant contains glycosides, which are chemically similar to the cardiac glycoside digitalis. Cattle, a horse, and humans can be poisoned if this plant is ingested.
In Britain it is illegal, under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981, to sell plants of H. non-scripta; and it is illegal to dig up any plant in the wild without the permission of the landowner.
Click pictures below for larger photographs