Walk­ing in a sea of blue

Landscape (UK) - - Our Landscape -

The English blue­bell, Hy­acinthoides non-scripta, is a peren­nial plant with a dan­gling li­lac flower and heady per­fume. The nod­ding heads be­gin to ap­pear in April, and by May cover wide ar­eas of the wood­land floor, car­pet­ing it in shades of pur­ple and blue. The Span­ish blue­bell often ap­pears along­side it and has a sim­i­lar ap­pear­ance, but the na­tive plant can be told apart. It is iden­ti­fied by its straight-sided flower with curled back tips; its ever-present scent and its pollen, which is a creamy-white colour. De­spite the name, blue­bells are some­times white or pink. Where patches of them are found in the open, they often in­di­cate a site of an­cient wood­land.

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