A bluebell by any other name

15 May
Bluebells in Wordsworth House garden

Bluebells in Wordsworth House garden

In many parts of the UK, this year’s bluebells have already come and gone, but in our little corner of Cumbria they’re still in full bloom. What many people don’t realise is that there is more than one kind of bluebell. The Spanish variety, although beautiful, is the grey squirrel of bluebells. If allowed, it will try to displace its English cousin – the red of the bluebell world.

This is one reason why gardener Amanda, and other horticulturalists, like to use Latin plant names – they allow clear differentiation between types. She tells me that the English species is Hyacinthoides non-scripta and the Spanish is Hyacinthoides hispanica. Meanwhile in Scotland, they call their bluebell – also known as a harebell – Campanula rotundifolia.

Just to add to the confusion, in America, the Virginia bluebell is Mertenisia virginica, while the Australians call two flowers bluebells – Wahlenbergia stricta and varieties of Sollya. And thus ends today’s Latin lesson.

My brain would hurt if it wasn’t full of straw!

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2 Responses to “A bluebell by any other name”

  1. Fleta Klass May 29, 2012 at 10:47 pm #

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