Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scriptus)
My hundred thousand bells of blue, the splendour of the spring, they carpet all the woods anew with royalty of sapphire hue; the primrose is the queen, 'tis true but surely I am King!
Ah yes, the peerless woodland king.
Cicely Mary Barker 1925
Bluebells are often thought of as a symbol of the beginning of summer in England, forming dense carpets of azure blue. A blue haze can be seen throughout the woods, a breathtaking sight revealing the glory of our woods at this time. People flock from other parts of the world to witness this majestic display. The individual flowers hang from the stem as bell-shaped flowers with creamy anthers.
A typical sight in Hampshire and West Sussex is a hazel coppice filled with bluebells. Hazel has strong associations with the animal worlds and greater knowledge. The bluebell appearing at a key Celtic festival invites us into a land of exuberance, the Bright realms. Fox wanders through the woods as an animal that journeys between the realms and if the fox needs help she can ring the bluebell for assistance.
A plant that is in such abundance you would have expected it to have been used. There are very few references to bluebell in the medicinal world; though it has been noted the roots were chopped, fried and applied as a plaster in Inverness.
The bulb is poisonous but can be made into starch and glue.
With extreme caution it can be used as a diuretic and styptic. Even in small doses it may not be safe to use.
Please do not use the bluebell yourself, this information is for your interest only!
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Poetry of flowers
Join me to explore the flora of the British Isles on this blog. My intention is to attempt to capture the unique quality and beauty of each species of flower, tree or shrub. For every species featured I will be growing many more wildflowers to celebrate the joy of their existence, their intrinsic conservation value and bewildering array of uses. For nearly 30 years I have noted, studied and explored wildflowers in the field much to the patience of the walker beside me. To share this passion is a heartfelt plea to respect, preserve and care for all British Wildflowers no matter how common they seem.