English Bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Scientific Name: Hyacinthoides non-scripta. Syn Endymion non-scriptus (Asparagaceae ex-Liliaceae).

English Name: English Bluebell, sometimes Hyacinth (Asparagus family, ex-Lily family).

French Name: Jacinthe du bois (='wood hyacinth').

5 Key Characters:
  • drooping deep blue (sometimes white or pink) flowers, only on one side of stem.
  • two blue bracts at the base of each flower.
  • flowers bell shaped with tips markedly curling back.
  • creamy white anthers (inside flower).
  • scented.

Lookalikes: Hybrid Bluebell Hyacinthoides x massartiana, a garden cultivar which has naturalised in the wild in many places. It has flowers which spiral around the stem and bluish anthers. Spanish Bluebell H. hispanica, which has naturalised from gardens in the Touraine Loire Valley (its natural distribution is further south). It has paler flowers on all sides of the stem, which open widely but do not curl back much. H. hispanica has blue anthers and no scent. These three Hyacinthoides spp are frequently misidentified and mistaken for one another. All occasionally produce white or pink flowers.

Habitat: Woods, hedges, grasslands. Favours slightly acid soil, such as the rare Hornbeam Carpinus betulinus forest in the Sologne.

Flowering Period: April-May.

Status: Widespread but uncommon and protected. Threatened by hybridisation with the garden escapees. Localised in the Touraine Loire Valley because it does not thrive on calcareous sites. Where it does occur it is conspicuous.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

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