The bluebells are always spectacular at Thornthwaite Farm, and this year is no exception. The Lake District is renowed for its bluebell woods, these photos were taken at the farm, much of which is classified as ancient and semi ancient woodland. Up to 50% of the world’s population of bluebells are found in the UK, they are now a protected species.
Here are some interesting bluebell facts:
- In folklore, bluebells are also known as ‘fairy flowers’. It was believed that fairies used bluebells to trap passers by.
- Other folklore tales would have us believe that by wearing a wreath made of bluebell flowers, the wearer would be compelled to speak only the truth. Or that if you could turn one of the flowers inside out without tearing it, you would eventually win the one you love.
- Bluebell plants are poisonous. The chemical that makes them poisonous was used in alchemy and is being researched by modern day scientists for medical use.
- Bluebells can also be white. These rare plants lack the pigment that gives bluebells their distinctive colour.
- 71% of native bluebells are found in broadleaved woodland or scrub.
- The biggest threats to bluebells are habitat loss and uprooting of the bulbs for gardens.
- The bulbs produce an extremely sticky substance which was once used to stick the pages in books and the feathers on arrows.
- The bluebell’s scientific name (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) comes from a Greek myth. When the Prince Hyacinthus died, the God Apollo’s tears spelled the word ‘alas’ on the petals of the hyacinth flower that sprang up from his blood. Non-scripta means unlettered and tells readers that the bluebell is a different species to the similar looking hyacinth.
- It takes at least five years for a seed to grow into a bulb, and the bulbs can remain dormant for upto 100 years.
- Bluebells are an important early food flower for bees, hoverflies and butterflies which feed on nectar.