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The Spanish bluebell is a bulbous perennial species native to the Iberian Peninsula that is introduced (gardens) and naturalized in British Columbia. It is similar in appearance to the English or common bluebell, but is much less strongly scented and larger flowered, with blue anthers (white in English bluebell).
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General: Perennial herb from a scaly, egg-shaped, 2- to 3-cm long bulb; flowering stems erect, 20-50 cm tall, smooth.
Leaves: Basal leaves several, strap-shaped, grass-like, 20-45 cm long, 1-3 cm wide, smooth, sheathing at the base, the margins entire; stem leaves lacking.
Flowers: Inflorescence an elongate, erect, terminal cluster of 10 to 16, stalked flowers, the stalks 0.5-3 cm long, ascending, subtended by a pair of bluish bracts; flowers blue to pink-purple, sometimes whitish, broadly bell-shaped, ascending to nodding, of 6 similar tepals fused at the base, the tepals narrowly egg-shaped, spreading or flaring, 1.5-2 cm long; stamens 6, attached at the middle of the perianth; pistil 1, 3-chambered.
Fruits: Capsules, 3-lobed; seeds few to several, egg-shaped, black.
Mesic to moist edges of forests, roadsides and waste places in the lowland zone; locally frequent garden escape on S Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and the adjacent mainland, rare on the Queen Charlotte Islands; introduced from Europe.
This species may be confused with English bluebells, (Hyacinthoides non-scripta). However, flowers of Spanish bluebells are larger, paler-coloured, and less scented than the English bluebell, which is very fragrant. Additionally, anthers in the Spanish bluebell are blue, while in the English bluebell they are white or cream-coloured. Flora North America (2013) provides the following key to separate the two species:
Raceme 1-sided; flowers all becoming pendent, fragrant; tepals strongly recurved at apex; stamens unequal, outer inserted just above middle of tepals, inner near base; anthers cream. ............ 1 Hyacinthoides non-scripta
Raceme not 1-sided; at least distal flowers remaining erect, not fragrant; tepals spreading but not recurved; stamens equal, inserted below middle of tepals; anthers blue............1. Hyacinthoides hispanica
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2023-12-07 1:07:48 PM
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