Uses and folklore
Ornamental: bluebells are widely planted as garden plants for their spring flowering.
Indicator plant: bluebell, in combination with other species, is an ancient woodland indicator in the UK.
Material: gummy bluebell sap was used to bind pages into the spines of books. Bronze Age people used bluebell to set feathers upon arrows, known as fletching. Bluebell bulbs were crushed to provide starch for the ruffs of Elizabethan collars and sleeves.
Medicinal: though little used in modern medicine, the bulb has diuretic and styptic properties.
Folklore: according to folklore, one who hears a bluebell ring will soon die! Legend also says that a field of bluebells is intricately woven with fairy enchantments.
Where and when to find bluebells
Bluebells are native to western Europe with the UK being a species stronghold. They're associated with ancient woodland are often used in combination with other species as a clue that a wood is ancient. They reach their greatest densities in the UK’s woods where many thousands of bulbs can exist in one woodland creating the incredible blue carpets we fondly associate with spring.
When: bluebells flower between mid-April and late May.
This early flowering makes the most of the sunlight that reaches the woodland floor before the full woodland canopy casts its shade. Millions of bulbs may grow closely together in one wood, creating one of nature’s most stunning displays.
Where: a significant proportion of the world's bluebells grow here in the UK. You'll find them in broadleaved woodland, along hedgerows and in fields.
Find your nearest bluebell wood with the Woodland Trust explore woods map and filter to only include bluebells.
All Photographs Copyright 2018 - Scott Masterton. All Rights reserved.