Spanish bluebell (and hybrids)View or download sightings meta-data
Hyacinthoides hispanica, Hyacinthoides x massartiana
The easiest way to tell the difference between native and non-native bluebells is to look at the colour of the pollen.
If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is a native. If it is any other colour, such as pale green or blue, then it is definitely not native.
When the pollen is shed, the empty anther can be a pale cream colour, so make sure you look at the most recently opened flowers at the top of the spike, to find the true colour of the pollen.
There are several other ways of distinguishing between native and non-native bluebells. If you have a native then you should be able to answer yes to these questions:
- Do the flowers have a strong sweet smell?
- Are the flowers narrowly tubular with the petals strongly recurved (rolled back)?
- Is the flower spike nodding at the tip?
For all of these questions it is important to look at plants when they start flowering and at flowers which have just opened. Older flower spikes are less unidirectional and more upright, the pollen may be lost and the flowers could have lost their scent.
Hunt down Spanish bluebell (and hybrids)!
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