The Bluebell, Hyacinthoides sp.


The Bluebell is predominantly a spring flowering bulbous perennial plant in the Hyacinth family. A beautiful and much-loved woodland and garden plant, bluebells produce stunning bell-shaped, bright blue flowers that hang or droop in groups of between 6-12 during the spring months. All Bluebell species contain alkaloids that are generally considered to be toxic, and can cause a range of gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In very large quantities, they can also result in death. The toxin is mostly found in the bulb, but like the daffodil, it is also found in the leaves.

Possible Confusion & How to Stay Safe

When in bloom, you are very unlikely to confuse bluebells with anything else, but when young and before flowering, the long, thin leaves look remarkably similar to those of the edible Wild Leeks - Three-Cornered and Few-Flowered Leek. The easiest way to avoid confusion is smell - Wild Leeks have a very strong aroma of onions when crushed and this is wholly absent from the Bluebell. Another easy way to prevent misidentification is to only harvest wild leeks when they are in flower, as the small white, bell-like flowers are very different in both form and colour to the familair Bluebell.

The leaves of the Wild Leeks are very similar in form and colour to those of Bluebells, but have a strong onion aroma when crushed.

Wild Leek flowers are also very different from those of Bluebells.