This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
The Bluebell is apparently quite a recent plant found to-day in the N. Temperate Zone in West Europe, south of Belgium to Italy. It is common to every part of Great Britain from Caithness southwards to the south coast, growing at 1500 ft. in the Lake District, Ireland, and the Channel Islands.
Spring is especially associated with bluebells in the woods. It is a typical woodland species, carpeting the whole of the ground beneath the trees. It persists in the hedgerows, and sometimes the open fields or glades between two woods in wooded districts.
The Bluebell has no true stem, but the leaves are radical leaves twice as long as the leaf-stalk, broad, keeled, hollow above, smooth and shining, sheathing at the base, and ascending, but at length falling backwards with their own weight.
The flowers are deep-blue, borne on solitary flowering stems. The bracts or leaflike organs are lance-shaped, nearly erect, two below each flower. The corolla is nearly cylindrical. The raceme of flowers is drooping. The corolla is campanulate or bell-shaped. The stamens are united to the perianth halfway up. The scape exceeds the leaves. The sepals are turned back.
The Bluebell is 1 ft. high. The flowers are in bloom between March and June. It is perennial, and propagated by offsets. It is common in gardens and shrubberies.
The flowers are sweet-smelling, conspicuous, drooping, bell-shaped, in a raceme, with flowers turned to one side. There is no nectary, but the honey is free or half- concealed by the glands in the partitions of the ovary. The lip of the bell is curved backwards. There are 6 stamens, the three longer as long as the corolla, and affixed to the corolla below, free above, and awl-shaped, the anther-stalks being flattened. The anthers are erect, yellow. The style is threadlike and the stigma is small, the style blue at the end, and the stigma finely hairy. There are some marks on the petals like Ai, Ai, which may serve as pathfinders. Insects visiting the flower, which is abundantly fertile, touch the stigma first.
The fruit is a capsule, splitting open, and releasing the seeds when ripe for dispersal around the parent plant, the stems being jerked by passers-by or vibrating in the wind, jerking out the seeds.
The Bluebell is a humus-loving plant, growing in a humus soil, usually sand soil, or clay soil with humus mixed.
It is attacked by a Fungus, Uromyces scillarum.
Scilla, Dioscorides, is Greek and Latin for sea onion or squill, or from scyllo, I injure, because the tuber is a violent poison; and the second name (Latin) means, not written, because of some supposed characters like Ai on the petals.
It is called Bell-bottle, Hare Bell, Wood Bells, Bloody Man's
Fingers, Blue Bell, Blue Bottle, Blue Gramfer Greygles, Blue Rocket, Crake-feet, Craw-feet, Craw-flower, Crawtaes, Craw-tees, Cross-flower, Crow-bells, Crow-flower, Crowfoot, Crow-leek, Crow-toes, Cuckoo, Cuckoo-flower, Cuckoo's Stockings, Culverkeys, Culvers, Gowk's-hose, Gramfer-Greygles, Snap Grass, Greygle, Guckoos, Hyacinth, Crow Leek, Ring o' Bells.
Ring o' Bells is an expressive name, referring to the resemblance of the spike to a symphonia or ring of bells, which is a number of tuned bells hung on a stick and struck with a hammer.
It is an ornamental plant grown in gardens and shrubberies, and often white or pink.
Essential Specific Characters: 302. Scilla non-scripta, Hoffm. and Link. - Scape tall, leaves shorter, linear, furrowed, flowers blue, in drooping raceme, campanu-late, capsule triquetrous.