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Hyacinthoides non scriptaBluebell (Hyacinthoides non scripta)
This perennial woodland flower is a native of Britain, where it is a protected plant and where mass growth can indicate ancient woodland. It has been cultivated since 1500 in Europe and has escaped into the wild in the northeast of the US.  This is a classic Fae plant. Some string bluebell flowers on Beltane to attract the Fae. Others believe that if you hear a bluebell ring, you or someone close to you will die. In the UK bluebells are sometimes found growing in a huge mass in the woods. It was thought unlucky to cross through such a mass because it was full of Fae spells. Children were especially considered to be vulnerable to being trapped in a bluebell glade by Fairy magick. Top

Endymion visited by SeleneAt the same time, this is a Saturn plant often associated with death and planted on graves as a comfort to those left behind. Another Latin name for this plant is Endymion, for a shepherd boy with whom the Moon goddess Selene (later identified with Diana) fell in love. She asked that he be granted eternal life, and he was made to sleep forever. Selene visited his grave each night to kiss him. He helped her bear 50 daughters. In this myth we can see the idea of death's link to life and fertility. Perhaps because of Endymion's eternal sleep, bluebells are said to help prevent nightmares if kept near the sleeper or sewn into a dream pillow. Top

Bluebell paintingIn the language of flowers, bluebell represents humility, delicacy, and constancy. In contrast, its flower essence is associated with Pan and helps one feel joyful and spontaneous. Ruffs were stiffened with the starch of its bulbs, and its sap was used to bind books, glue paper, and stick feathers onto arrows. Although it is a folk cure for snakebite, the plant is poisonous. Its dangerous chemicals are being researched as treatments for cancers and infections from HIV. Bluebells are also known as Auld Man's Bells, Calverkeys, Culverkeys, English Bluebell, Jacinth, Ring-o'-Bells, Wilde Hyacint, Wood Bells, crowtoes, crawtees, deadmen's bells, and cuckoo bells. Top

Hyacinthoides non scriptaHow to grow bluebells: This seed requires cold-moist stratification. Fold into a paper towel that has been wet and wrung out. Put in a baggie in the fridge for 4-6 weeks, then take out and sow. Or sow on Winter Solstice (see the Solstice Sowing page). Some grow the seedlings in a pot the first year, fertilizing regularly, and then plant in the ground their 2nd year when the leaves are dormant. Bluebells like to grow in sunny woodlands/dappled shade and in acidic soil, but they do fine in clay and dry shade. They are good for naturalizing under trees but can't grow in heavy shade or where they will be walked on. Like marigolds, bluebells help combat nematodes in the soil, and they also encourage a lot of helpful fungi. The blue bell-like flowers have a light balsamic scent when they appear in April-May. Once the plants develop bulbs, you can divide them each summer when the leaves die back. Bluebells get 12-14"/25cm tall & bloom in spring. They are a good perennial to zone 5 (temperate)  = -20F/-28C. They are good cut flowers and their seedpods are decorative.  General growing info. Top

 

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Celebrating Beltane
Fairy Magic
Protection Spells
Saturn Herb

2004, 2014 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission