Coronavirus Blog: Woodland blues
If you are lucky enough to live within walking distance of a woodland, the next few weeks are a magical time to wander between the trees as the woodland bursts into flower.
In a public vote that was organised by the charity Plantlife, it was the bluebell that was voted as England’s favourite species of wildflower. During late April and early May, bluebells transform the woodland floor into a shimmering blue carpet. Many species of woodland plant flower in spring before the canopy of trees closes over.
The UK is an important stronghold for the native bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). Unfortunately, it is threatened by the presence of the Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica). This species has wider leaves and the flower heads open more widely than the English bluebell. Spanish bluebells are commonly planted in gardens. When the species escapes into deciduous woodlands, they hybridise with English bluebells. Over time this slowly erodes the genetic purity of our native bluebell.
Written by Edward Andrews from Shropshire Council’s outdoor partnerships team. The team manages and preserves country parks and countryside sites across Shropshire for people to enjoy and wildlife to flourish.
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