Posted by: braddenvillage | May 11, 2013

Bluebells – All you need to know – The Woodland Trust

Bluebells – all you need to know

Photo: Phil Lockwood © Woodland Trust

Bluebells are a timeless example of the antiquity of our ancient woods.

But how much do you know about this iconic wildflower? This page has the answers…

 The best time to see them…

The best time to see them is in late April and May though some will flower earlier or later depending on their location and local climate.

Where to find them…

Enjoy the bluebells this springBluebells are predominantly found in woodland and their displays can be found all over the UK.

They prefer moist, shady and stable conditions, so woodlands are ideal. But, in more northern and westerly parts of Britain, bluebells can also be found in all sorts of habitats, such as hedgerows or even by the sea in Cornwall.

We’ve compiled a list of ourfavourite bluebell woods and, by entering your postcode, you can see if there’s one near you.

 Can you pick them?

Since 1998, native bluebells have been protected by Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act (WCA). It is illegal for anyone to collect native bluebells in the wild for the purpose of selling them. This is to prevent people from activities such as digging up the bulbs of native bluebells in order to supply garden centres for profit.

In fact, under the WCA, it is illegal to uproot any wild plant without permission from the landowner or occupier. Uproot is defined as to ‘dig up or otherwise remove the plant from the land on which it is growing’, whether or not it actually has roots. In the law the term ‘plant’ includes algae, lichens and fungi as well the true plants – mosses, liverworts and vascular plants.

Plants are usually the legal property of the landowner and are therefore protected under the Theft Act, 1968, where it is an offence to pick plants without the owners permission.

On protected sites, such as National Nature Reserves, it is illegal to destroy or remove plant material without first consulting the relevant statutory conservation agencies (i.e. Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage or the Environment and Heritage Service, Northern Ireland).

In any case, wildflowers are important elements of natural habitats, offering food and shelter for animals. Far better to appreciate them in nature in their full beauty, where they will live longer and give more benefits than in a vase at home.

 Bluebell facts…

  • Some estimates suggest the UK has up to half of the world’s total bluebell population
  • Despite their name, bluebells can be white. If you see pink ones they are probably Spanish bluebells
  • 71% of native bluebells are found in broadleaved woodland or scrub
  • Tennyson speaks of bluebell juice being used to cure snake-bite. The romantic poets of the 19th century, such as Keats and Tennyson, believed that the bluebell symbolised solitude and regret

Click here to go to the Woodland Trust website

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