Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bluebell wood

Common Bluebells also known as Wild Hyacinths or English Bluebells [Hyacinthoides nonscripta ] are a protected species in Britain and wild bulbs cannot be dug up or sold -it seems that for a while the wild plants were being dug up and sold [for use in gardens] and this meant that the spring time sight of the bluebell wood was becoming rare.

The comoon bluebell is a native plant in Scotland but its quite different from the plant known as the Scottish Bluebell -which is actually a harebell [Campanula rotundifolia] Somewhat confusing - but they don't flower at the same time of year and they grow in different places and they look quite distinct.

Harebells grow in grassy heathland areas and flower in the height of summer, and have the sort of flowers that loook like something a Victorian fairy would wear as a hat.

I remember as a child, putting the harebell flowers on my fingers and making mini puppets- however they were very thin and papery so they required careful handling or they would tear.

Common bluebells/wild hyacinths grow from bulbs underground and flower again and again each year. They are sometimes called crawflowers [crow flowers] or craw-taes [crows toes] in Scots

The very narrow flower bells seem to grow about 10 to a stalk which droops considerably. They have quite strong scent, similar to a cultivated hyacinth but a bit more subtle.

We used to go for walks in April and May to various the bluebell woods to pick some of the flowers and there used to be thousand upon thousand of violet-blue flowers nodding in the breeze. From a distance the flowers looked like thick blue carpet under the trees.

The bluebells in the wood at Chatelherault Country Park weren't growing as densely as I've seen them in some places but it was still nice to walk in the rain and look at the bluebells under the trees.
The treecover here changes from broadleaved trees to conifers and although bluebells can grow under most conditions, they don't grow in the acidic soils and really low light conditions found under conifers- its quite a marked change from green and blue to a barren looking brown earth in the background.

No bluebells here but I liked how the tree was shadowed by a similar shaped cloud. This was taken on a brief pause between showers. It looks like a brilliant summer day -but the camera lies sometimes- or at least is economical with the truth.
I also took quite a few photos of a variety of creepy crawlies and plants that I'll post another time.

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