Spanish bluebells?

Out for a lovely country walk in deepest Devon yesterday and the hedgerows of the quiet lane were bursting with beautiful spring flowers.There were those I recognized immediately,  primroses, violets, periwinkle, vetch, bluebells… and white bells? I thought white bells were a cultivated garden variety, but here was a single plant shining out of the spring greenery.

There is a field as you come into our village which is called either the Donkey Field, or the Bluebell Field. Donkeys used to winter there in past times, bluebells cover the meadow every year… but I haven’t once noticed a white bluebell. Hyacinthoides non-scripta is the botanical name for bluebells, and they are native to Britain and western Europe; the white bluebells are actually Spanish plants… says one site I consulted. I can understand that may be so in areas near gardens where white bulbs may have been planted. However this whitebell was literally in the middle of nowhere, so unless a passing bird dropped one, then I must go with what I found out on another site, that whitebells are a mutation of the original blue.

Whatever it’s origin, it looked very pretty. Next time I see one I’ll smell it and look more carefully at the flower which might help properly answer the question, Spanish or mutant?

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