Sunday, 29 April 2012

I love Bluebells ! Greek Myths and Fairies

The first opening of bluebells in The Forest of Dean.The end of April.
The Bluebell fairy by Cicely Mary Barker
Walk carefully through bluebells because if you walk over them the bells will ring, knocking the fairy spells onto the ground. If you actually hear the bell ring  then you won't live for long...that's cheery isn't it, but the sensible thing is to not crush the bluebells because they will suffer. They are also known as 'witches thimbles' and is said that the bells ring at midnight calling the fairies.

All parts of the bluebell are poisonous but they have been used to treat leprosy and are now being tested to help sufferers of HIV and Cancer.
The following link is great for finding out if you have seen native species or the Spanish hybrid.
The native species have narrow tubular flowers with very curled back petals. It is also has a more delicate arching stem .

Some interesting facts about Bluebells
  • Bluebell sap used to be used to glue pages into a book (the toxins discourage silverfish ) and the glue was also used to stick feathers to arrows by Bronze Age people,according to archaeological evidence.
  • If you wear a wreath of Bluebell flowers you will only be able to tell the truth.
  • If you can turn a bluebell flower inside out without tearing it you will keep and win  the one you love.
  • Their bulbs were crushed in Elizabethan times to starch their collars, cuffs and sleeves.
  • All parts of the bluebell are poisonous but they have been used to treat leprosy and are now being tested to help sufferers of HIV and Cancer.

Hyacinthoides Non-scripta is the bluebells scientific name. It comes from the Greek Myth where the God Apollo cried at the death of Prince Hyakinthos. They had been playing discus when it had struck Hyakinthos on the side of his head killing him. Apollo's tears fell onto the the hyacinth flower that had sprung up from Prince Hyakinthos's blood, spelling the word 'alas' on the petals.
Stanley Spencer
Another Latin name for the Bluebell 'Endymion non-scriptus' also comes from a Greek myth. This time Selene, the goddess of the moon, fell in love Endymion, a very handsome man. Selene didn't want him to get old and particularly loved him when he slept, so she asked Zeus to make him young and sleep forever. When you can't see the moon it is because she is visiting Endymion. The bluebell is said to give a dreamless sleep which is probably death because it is so poisonous!  

There are white bluebells but the pink ones are almost certainly Spanish or a hybrid of the native and Spanish. I have a lot of bluebells, blue, white and pink in my garden. They are hybrids but I still love them. I'm hoping that in the next couple of weeks I will be able to sit in some bluebell woods and enjoy the smell and colour of is a sight that should never be missed.
 The Bluebells of Scotland Video and Music.


  1. The bluebells are out in Beckford Woods!

  2. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.



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