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Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Hyacinthoides non-scripta (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Liliopsida
Subclassis: Liliidae
Ordo: Asparagales
Familia: Hyacinthaceae
Genus: Hyacinthoides
Species: Hyacinthoides non-scripta


Hyacinthoides non-scripta (L.) Chouard ex Rothm.


* Feddes Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis. Berlin 53:14. 1944
* USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

Vernacular names
Deutsch: Hasenglöckchen
English: Common Bluebell

The common bluebell, Hyacinthoides non-scripta (syn. Endymion non-scriptum, Scilla non-scripta, Agraphis nutans) is a spring-flowering bulbous perennial plant.


The non-scripta or non-scriptum part of the botanical names means "unlettered" or "unmarked" and was intended to distinguish this plant from the classical hyacinth of Greek mythology. This mythical flower (which may have been a wild species of Hyacinthus, Iris or other flower) sprang up from the blood of the dying prince Hyacinthus. His lover, the god Apollo, shed tears that marked the new flower's petals with the letters "AIAI" ("alas") as a sign of his grief.[1]

The English bluebell should not be confused with the Scottish bluebell or harebell, Campanula rotundifolia. Hyacinthoides means "like a hyacinth"; Endymion is another character from Greek myth; Scilla was the original Greek name for sea squill, Urginea maritima.[2]

Other common names for common bluebell include auld man's bell, bluebell, calverkeys, culverkeys, English bluebell, jacinth, ring-o'-bells, wilde hyacint, and wood bells.[3]

The common bluebell flowers in April and May. The flowers are lavender-blue, pendulous, tubular with the petals recurved only at the end, and borne on one side of the flowering stem only. The flower stem is 10–30 cm long and bends over at the top. The anthers are yellowish-white or cream and are attached more than halfway up on the inside the tube. The flowers are pleasantly and usually strongly scented.

The leaves are basal and linear.

Flowers are pollinated by insects, including bees.

The black seeds may have a long period of survivability and can emerge after several years' absence if suitable conditions recur. The seedlings can flower in two years from seed; as a result, bluebells can quickly spread in suitable conditions.
A bluebell wood

Hyacinthoides non-scripta is endemic to Belgium, Great Britain, France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal, and also occurs as a naturalized species in Germany, Italy, and Romania.[4]

In spring, bluebells cover the forest floor of many northeastern European woods; these are known as "bluebell woods". Bluebells are often used as an indicator species to identify ancient woodland, particularly in the East of England and Lincolnshire.[5] It is estimated that 70% of all common bluebells are found in Great Britain.

In the United Kingdom the common bluebell is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Landowners are prohibited from removing common bluebells on their land for sale and it is a criminal offence to remove the bulbs of wild common bluebells. This legislation was strengthened in 1998 under Schedule 8 of the Act making any trade in wild common bluebell bulbs or seeds an offence.

There are varieties with colors other than lavender-blue. The white-flowered variety is called Hyacinthoides non-scripta 'Alba'.[6]

In Britain there is extensive hybridisation with the introduced Hyacinthoides hispanica producing fertile seeds. This has produced hybrid swarms around sites of introductions and, since the hybrids are able to thrive in a wider range of environmental conditions, the hybrids are frequently out-competing the native Bluebells. Hybrids show a great range of characteristics and any one of the following features indicates some hybridisation:

* Stems upright and not nodding
* Flowers borne on more than one side of the flowing stem
* The flower is more open and bell-shaped and does not have a long and more-or-less parallel sided tube
* The anthers, at least when young, are blue or cyan and not white or cream
* The leaves are broader
* The scent is less strong and less sweet.


1. ^ Mabey, Richard, Flora Britannica, Sinclair-Stevenson, London, 1996, pp412–416. ISBN 1-85619-377-2
2. ^ Coombes, Allen J, The Collingridge Dictionary of Plant Names, Collingridge, 1985, ISBN 0-600-35770-8
3. ^ Plants For A Future Database
4. ^ Flora Europaea on Bluebell
5. ^ Woodland Trust
6. ^ "White English Squill". http://www.paghat.com/scilla_alba.html. Retrieved 2008-04-25.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License