|Bluebell Wood in the Holywell Estate in Hampshire|
H. hispanica looks superficially similar to the native bluebell, but the flowers are not all on the same side of the stem, and are not all drooping, the tips are flared outwards but not tightly curled back, and the anthers are blue. The hybrid is sometimes confused with this species, but has features intermediate between the two such as flowers that curl slightly back at the tips.
If you do visit an ancient bluebell wood, however, don't forget to look around for other species - bluebell carpets are an impressive wildlife spectacle, but this type of habitat supports many other species, some of which may be less familiar, such as Moschatel (Adoxa moschatellina), also known as 'Town-hall Clock'.
|The pale green trifoliate leaves of Moschatel|
|The tiny pale greenish flowers of Moschatel|
There are many other ancient woodland indicators that can be found by visiting the right sites in spring - as I write, some are still visible, but soon the summer species will take over for another year...
|A bluebell wood from ground level|