Friday 20 May 2016

The Bluebells of the Old Oak Wood

When I was walking through the old oak wood yesterday, mooching around the bark path, eyes to the floor, ears primed to the birdsong in the trees, I had a look at the bluebells - both spanish and native varieties are now present - and decided to take some pictures to illustrate the differences between them.

This is a little patch of bluebells I found in the woodland up the slope from the River Devon. Both varieties of bluebell can be found within it.

The spanish variety stands straighter, and has flowers growing out from all directions on the stem. It typically carries more flowers per stem, and seems to appear earlier. You can see that this specimen is passed its best.

By comparison, about a metre away, stood a couple of native bluebells. They are in peak condition, having emerged later, and are bowed over because the flowers only grow from one side of the stem.

I'm not a botanist, I keep saying it! But I do wonder if this explains why foreign species is becoming more and more dominant, while native flowers end up getting hybridised or outcompeted as the earlier growing spanish variety gets first dibbs at the resources, and, having a heavier load of flowers to support, sucks them out of the ground before the native gets its fair share.

Maybe the fact the natives stand not so tall means they get blocked out from the sun? Sharper minds than mine know the answer.

I, after all, am the man who makes making a sandwich into a Krypton Factor challenge of bafflement.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.05.16


  1. Good photos Simon. I have mistaken the two of them, the Spannish and the British one, I wish there was only one.

  2. I certainly hope we don't eventually lose the native variety to the interloper, Si.

  3. Bluebells are still lovely to see when you are out and about ...

    All the best Jan

  4. Thanks for dropping by, I was half expecting loads of people telling me I'd got it all wrong!

  5. It would be nice if we could eradicate the incomers and just stick to our native species but I suspect it is too late (rather like the grey squirrel). Have just got a short burst of broadband so trying to get round everyone.

  6. Thanks for dropping by even on such little time Pat!

  7. Great post Simon - I've always ended up spotting both of these while out and have always been excited to see the native species. I have noticed the Spanish varieties popping up more often - much like the grey squirrel and the American crayfish - it seem that once these are in the area the native species can suffer but nice to see lots of these bluebells too! - Tasha