• Claire Stott

Bluebell invasion

As the daffodils that welcomed in the Spring are now beginning to wither they are replaced by a carpet of vibrant violet-blue as the bluebells begin their annual takeover of our parks & woodlands.

Bluebells just beginning to emerge

Here in Aberystwyth there are several locations you can find these beautiful spring blooms including along the edges of Plasgruc ditch, where I visit regularly.

They blooms here appeat to be a mix of both the native (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and non-native forms (Hyacinthoides hispanica) along with some hybrids of both species.

Native Bluebells have white pollen, and nodding stems with highly curled petals.

Although still beautiful another similar species of flower, the invasive spanish bluebells are a big problem for our native bluebells, outcompeting them for space and interbreeding with them to produce hybrids.

The spanish/hybrids can be identified by straighter stems with little or no curve, and dense clustered of flowers with petals that are only slightly curled backwards. The pollen can be varying shades from cream to pale blue-green.

Spanish bluebells and hybrid flowers are bell-shaped with varying degrees of curvature in the petals.

They tend to have a straighter stem than the native varieties and flowers clustered on all sides. Note the blue pollen on the stamens.

These white flowers are caused by a genetic mutation in the spanish bluebell.

Still struggling to tell the species apart? Here is a handy guide:

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2017 © http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#outdoors #aberystwyth #hybrids #spring #bluebells #flowers


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