Bluebells are small tubular flowers that typically come in different shades of blue and purple. These bell-shaped flowers are grouped under the genus Hyacinthoides, which includes 11 species. Many species of other genera like Campanula (bellflower), Polemonium (Jacob’s ladder), and Clematis are also commonly referred to as bluebells.
A bluebell species called Hyacinthoides non-scripta derives its name from Greek, meaning “unmarked” or “unlettered” hyacinths. The flower was named so to distinguish it from the flower hyacinth of classical mythology. Also called English bluebells, these deep blue fragrant flowers are shaped like tiny bells and have six petals each, upturned at the tips. They bloom on only one side of the drooping stem.
The identifiable feature of the Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica) is its upright stem. Unlike English bluebells, they flower on both sides of the stem and are not scented. Spanish bluebells also come in a variety of colors including pale blue, pink, and white.
Campanula rotundifolia is the native wildflower of Scotland that grows in the foothills. Also called harebells, these bluebells are shaped like a star. This species of flowers bloom throughout summer and are winter-hardy.
In 1997, D. Geerinck, a Belgian botanist, gave the name hybrid bluebells to a species produced by crosses between the English bluebell and Spanish bluebell. Hybrid bluebells have broad leaves with pointy tips. The petals are small and have a faint smell.
Bluebells can grow in most types of soils. They thrive in moist and well-drained soil, rich in humus. They usually grow in partial shade underneath deciduous shrubs and trees. Bluebells are in full bloom during April and May. Woodlands in some parts of Europe transform into a bluebell wood during spring, a delight for nature lovers.
Native to Europe and Asia, bluebells grow in clusters under the trees and spread across the forest floors in enchanting blue during spring. These wildflowers also adorn meadows, mountain slopes, and coastal cliffs. Today, the captivating beauty of these woodland flowers has landed them a spot in home gardens.
Like other popular flowers, bluebells have a special place in art and literature. “The Bluebell” is a poem written by Emily Bronte, in which she describes the beauty of British woodlands filled with bluebells.
Jack Wiggins, an artist known for his paintings depicting changing seasons, captures the blue spring blossoms in his work, “A Bluebell Wood”.
What does the Bluebell flower symbolize?
Flowers are important to humans for a number of reasons. Their mesmerizing beauty provide us comfort and boosts our mood. They also evoke powerful emotions. People have been using flowers to convey messages and feelings for centuries.
As a common and popular flower, bluebell flowers carry special symbolic meanings. Here are some popular bluebells flower meanings and symbolism:
Flowers are an integral part of romance. It is a common tradition to gift or exchange flowers among lovers. They are always a part of proposals, weddings, special days, and anniversaries in the form of bouquets, floral arrangements, or decorations. The common bluebells flower meaning is eternal love. It is a deep love for your significant other that transcends time. Express your eternal love to your partner through bluebells.
These nodding wild blossoms capture the attention of onlookers with their delicate beauty making them a symbol of humility. Bluebells are charming flowers that appear to be bowing modestly despite their ethereal beauty and importance in wildlife.
Another common bluebells flower meaning is gratitude. They make a suitable gift as a sign of appreciation for someone who has shown you kindness and generosity.
As a perennial plant, bluebells flower year after year in the springtime. They stay in bloom for about two months and then disappear with a promise to return the next year.
It sends a message of loyalty, persistence, and permanence. It teaches one to always be present for their loved ones.
Bluebells are connected to spirituality. These mesmerizing flowers that spring up in forests and meadows fill our hearts with wonder, thrill, and tranquility. It’s no surprise they are associated with spirituality and the spiritual realm.
What do the various colors of the Bluebell flower mean?
Bluebells also come in different colors other than blue (despite its name). Each color carries a special meaning. The different bluebells flower meanings are enlisted below:
Though blue pigment does not frequently appear in flowers, it is the most common color of bluebells across different species. It is also the color of the endless sky and oceans. Blue is the color of compassion, and blue bluebells stand for kindness and gratitude.
Gorgeous bluebells grow in the wild, usually under the shade of the trees, adding to the scenic beauty of a woodland. While, purple is a color related to wealth, royalty, and luxury, bluebells in purple stand for humility. Despite the exquisite beauty, bluebells are nodding flowers that remain close to the ground. Purple bluebells flower meaning also includes mystery.
Pink bluebells are associated with love. This romantic color delivers the message of pure love that brings happiness. Gentle and pleasant, pink bluebells also represent innocence.
White is another popular flower color that represents innocence. Bluebell blossoms in white look serene and peaceful. Some regard white bluebells as spiritual flowers for their glorious beauty.
Interesting facts and characteristics of the Bluebell flower
British spring blossoms
The UK woodlands are the home to almost 50% of all the bluebells in the world. The deep blue and violet flowers are synonymous with British springtime. The lovely bluebell woods have appeared in literature and art for centuries and continue to charm artists and nature enthusiasts.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) protects the native wild bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) from threats of hybridization, illegal trade, and habitat destruction. It prevents intentional picking, uprooting, and destruction of the common bluebells.
Indicator of ancient woodland
If you stumble upon a bluebell wood while exploring, chances are, you are in a special habitat known as ancient woodland. These wooded areas have remained undisturbed by human settlements and technology for centuries which has resulted in the development of rare plants and microorganisms.
These sweet-smelling flowers produce nectar to feed the bees, butterflies, and different woodland insects. They are also the favorite flower of hummingbirds. The tubular shape formed by the petals makes a cup for the tiny bird to drink sweet nectar from.
Bluebells are widely grown in gardens for their adaptability. These small plants can be potted or grown over an area partially shaded by trees in your yard to enhance the beauty of your garden. They grow from bulbs and do better when planted with other woodland plants. When in full bloom, they will attract bees, birds and butterflies.
Another benefit of growing bluebell is they prevent nematode attacks.
Given its widespread distribution and ability to spread rapidly, some regard bluebells as a weed. The hybrid bluebells, especially, pose a threat to the native species by occupying its natural habitat. Experts stress the importance of preserving the native bluebells in woodlands to protect the wildlife.
The sap of bluebell plants was once used for binding books and making arrows. The flowers were crushed to make starch for collars and sleeves.
Bluebells are toxic but they have styptic and diuretic properties. Modern research also reveals that these flowers produce bioactive agents that can potentially fight cancer and HIV.
Lastly, bluebells are used to make a beautiful blue carpet in the gardens and uncultivated lands during spring.
Woodlands have always fascinated people into weaving tales and myths that they passed down from one generation to the next. These woodland flowers are no exception when it comes to mythology. Here are some popular myths surrounding bluebells:
- Bluebells can summon fairies.
- Fairies use bluebells to trap humans.
- Bluebell woods are home to fairies.
- Picking a bluebell means inviting misfortune.
- Those who pick a bluebell flower cannot return home.
- It is a bad omen to hear a bluebell ring.
- Wearing a wreath of bluebells can compel a person to tell the truth.
- If you can turn a bluebell flower inside out without spoiling it, you will win the love of someone you desire.
An inked bluebell flower with a name signifies affection and deep love for that person, as the bluebell flower symbolizes everlasting love.
- Bluebells are dedicated to St. George, England’s Patron Saint.
- In medieval England, people avoided bluebell woods for fear of being enchanted.
- Some names of bluebells: fairy flowers, wild hyacinth, wood hyacinth, cuckoo’s boots, bell bottle, wood bell, crow’s toes, harebell, lady’s nightcap, witch’s thimbles, and granfer griggles.
- Bluebells have been around since the end of the last ice age. The first bluebells appeared in Britain.
- Bluebells are slow-growers. The development of a bluebell bulb takes more than five years.
Best time to gift someone Bluebell flowers
Flowers bring joy and hope. Gifting flowers is a lovely way to show your affection to dear ones. Bluebell flowers make a great choice for any colorful occasion as they convey positive emotions.
Bluebells in any color can be gifted to express eternal love. Ideally, pink is the color of romance but you can also present a bouquet of exquisite blue or purple bluebells to make your romantic partner feel special.
As a flower that symbolizes gratitude, bluebells can also be gifted to say you’re thankful to someone. It could be your family, friends, or anyone who has been a source of strength and support to you.
Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day, birthdays, or any special day, you can express your appreciation and love through bluebells.