Latin name: Hyacinthoides non-scripta
A carpet of woodland bluebells is one of the most iconic images of British woodlands. In fact, the British Isles is said to be the best place in the world to see bluebells and three different species grow here. One of these is the native species Hyacinthoides non-scripta whilst the other two species; the Italian bluebell and the Spanish bluebell have been introduced. When the native species and the Spanish bluebell grow in close proximity, they can form a hybrid plant.
The native bluebell is easy to identify, having the longest stem (up to 50cm), with strongly scented flowers that hang to one side.
In the Yorkshire Dales National Park the native bluebell is widespread in low-level woodland. Good places to see bluebells are at Freeholders’ Wood Local Nature Reserve in Lower Wensleydale and Grass Wood in Wharfedale. The bluebells are generally at their best during April and May.
Bluebells are not just limited to woodlands however. They can also be seen on bracken-covered damp pastures, cliffs and hedge banks, where the conditions are right. They are also sometimes found in the sheltered grikes of the limestone pavement in the limestone country.