Britain’s most popular native wildflower is under threat as thousands flout a law which makes it illegal to take bulbs from the wild and sell them on for profit. The Wildlife Trusts say that it can take up to 100 years for bluebell woodlands to regenerate.
Another threat to their livelihood is from climate change. As Bluebells flower and grow earlier than most of Britain’s wildflowers they have an advantage over other species. Warmer winters could alter this pattern and any detrimental effect will have a knock-on impact on wildlife as bluebells are an important early food flower for bees, hoverflies and butterflies.
Conservationists are also calling on gardeners not to plant Spanish or hybrid bluebells in the countryside or near native populations.
The Wildlife Trusts are asking people to take part in an online survey to create a map of where bluebells grow in the UK and when they flower. To take part, visit www.nhm.ac.uk/bluebells.