Our True Bluebells campaign was part of our Nature Counts project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and focussed on our beloved British bluebells, which are at risk from hybridisation with Spanish bluebells.
A carpet of bluebells within a spring woodland is one of the most beautiful and memorable sights to be seen. The UK’s woodlands are home to over 50% of native British bluebells – Hyacinthoides non-scripta – meaning that local populations here in South Yorkshire – where we also have the most publicly-accessible urban woodland in the UK – are of global importance.
However, along with their ancient woodland homes, our beloved native bluebells are threatened by human development and activities. One major concern is the rise of the Spanish bluebell – Hyacinthoides hispanica – which hybridises (cross-breeds) easily with our native variety.
Spanish bluebells are a popular garden plant and are either mistakenly planted in place of native bluebells or are favoured for their larger, more substantial build. Unfortunately, packages can be mislabled, and many people are unaware of the problem at hand. As a special license is required to breed protected native bluebells, many garden centre stocks are imported from Europe.
Use the links below to find out more about why hybridisation is a problem and what you can do to help.