Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. R (pointing to a harebell): Is this what you called bluebells in [Montrose] Scotland?
A: Yes, I was surprised when people down here called a much coarser plant bluebell.
R: So what did you call what we call bluebells?
A: We didn’t have them [Riddlesdown, Surrey, October 2011].

2. I was born and brought up in Liverpool, but spent lots of my childhood in rural Wales. We always called the little blue flowers harebells, and were told that they came after the normal bluebells in summer. They grow in open, unmowed grassland. I never discovered whether they came at a time when young hares would be seen in the fields. I believe that these are known as bluebells in some parts of the U.K., especially Scotland [Childwall, Liverpool, August 2011].

3. In Oban, Argyll … harebells are Scotch bluebells [Glencruitten, Argyllshire, October 1990].

Images: main, Wildlife Garden, The Natural History Museum, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, London, May 2014; inset, St Peter’s churchyard, Westleton, Suffolk, July 2022.