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Springtime traditionally sees Scotland’s countryside come to life after a harsh winter, but it’s not until bluebell season that our woodlands reveal their true colours.
There are many varieties of bluebell – including a Scottish species unique to our borders – but all share a common trait: their remarkable purple shine.
Like most flower species this burst of colour only happens once a year and Scots can enjoy the traditional bluebell from May onwards, although northern areas may have to wait until June.
Jillian Donnachie from the Woodland Trust spoke to The Hour about why the flower brings so much joy and why the Scottish species could face an uncertain future.
“The Bluebell season happens for three weeks in May” Jillian explains. “It starts in the South-east, before gradually moving its way Northwards to Scotland.
“Right now is a great time to see bluebells in Scotland. I love the way they grow really close together. I love smell of them too; it’s really nice sweet smell. It’s just great to walk into a forest to that.”
The most prevelant species of bluebell in the UK is the common bluebell, although there are also Spanish and Scottish sub-species. They can be found in shaded woodland or hedgerows and favour damp areas.
De-forestation and pollution have had an effect on bluebells numbers and habitat, although it is a problem from their own kind which poses the biggest threat to the flowers precarious future.
Jillian admitted that the plant needs protection and now is a great time to go outside and enjoy this magnificent flower:
“The flower is threatened by the Spanish bluebell so it’s important to look after the British species.”
“I like people to come out and enjoy the season, although I would like them not to pick bluebells. It’s actually illegal in the UK and can carry a fine.
“The woods are a great place to spend time with the family, and bluebell season in particular is a good time to go out and enjoy it.”
For more information on the bluebell bloom and the best locations to witness it, visit the Woodland Trust website.