I was walking the dogs on our farm in East Yorkshire and I came across an abundance of white flowers in a very shaded part of a woody hedgerow, resembling a white bluebell. I took a couple of photos, and then researched what I had found online. Some websites informed me that due to its sweet smell and colour of the pollen (creamy yellow) it matched the identification for a native British bluebell. They were also found very close to some blue bluebells which have the same sweet smell and same pollen colour. Could someone confirm exactly what they are for me please?
Yes Mimi, they are proper English bluebells, apart from being white.
The shape of the flower (a more-closed bell) distinguishes them from the Spanish bluebell (a more-open bell).
In this report, there is a nice diagram showing the two species and the hybrid
I think the white form can be referred to as f. alba, but I can't actually find an original diagnosis to support that.
(In horticultural circles, the white form is probably sold as 'Alba'; botanical and horticutural nomenclature differs.)
- http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/species-of-the-day/biodiversity/endangered-species/hyacinthoides-non-scripta/lookalikes/index.html (incl. some other differentiating characters)
In the United Kingdom, the bluebell (H. non-scripta) is a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. In Scotland it is protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1986, and the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. The white ones, being a form of the same species, have at least the same protection status; as it happens they are not covered by any more-specific protective legislation, as far as I know. They may, however, received indirect protection by growing in locations that are protected in one way or another.
Quite a few other British wild plants have white forms (and other non-typical colour forms, such as pink). Foxgloves, and several species of violets come to mind. Locally, white forms can be common.