Exploring British wildlife: bluebells

An online survey of bluebells in the UK

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The bluebell captures the very spirit of springtime with its intensely coloured carpets appearing in many woods at this time of year. But is it flowering earlier than it used to? 

Watch the video above to discover how you can help scientists find out and for tips on identifying bluebells.

Bluebell flowering times can be used as powerful evidence of climate change. That is why the aim of this survey is to build up a nationwide picture of when bluebells, both native and non-native species, start flowering each year.

Threats to native bluebells

There has been growing concern that our native species, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, is under threat by breeding with non-native bluebells. Your survey results from the past nine years have shown that most bluebells in urban areas are now hybrids but that there are still large areas of the countryside supporting populations of native bluebells.

Get involved

Find out more about the different species of bluebell and how you can help scientists monitor changes by taking part in this survey.

  • Bluebells growing in the Museum's wildlife garden
    About the bluebell survey

    Help scientists find out whether flowering seasons are getting earlier as a result of climate change or whether Britain's bluebells themselves are changing.

  • People recording bluebells
    How to take part

    Anyone can take part in the bluebell survey, wherever they live in the UK. You don't need a special knowledge of UK flowers to get involved.

  • Hybrid (non-native) bluebells with creamy-blue pollen but no trace of a blue colour in the anthers
    Identify your bluebells

    Find out whether your bluebells are native bluebells, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, or non-native species, by looking at the colour of the pollen and the shape of the flower.

  • Section of a map showing where bluebells were located.

    Find out the latest results of the bluebell survey and compare the distributions of native and non-native bluebells.

  • Hybrid bluebells, Hyacinthoides x massartiana, which are becoming an increasingly common sight
    Findings so far

    Find out what the bluebell survey has taught scientists so far.

  • Glossary

    There are links to this glossary throughout the bluebell information to help you with the identification process.