Newton Wood Bluebells

Bluebells are supposedly an early flowerer drawing on the energy stored in their bulbs. Three weeks ago they had yet to reach their peak, now they are rapidly losing their brilliance. This year, they seemed a little late.

British bluebells, Hyacinthoides nonscripta, are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which means it is a criminal offence to remove the bulbs. They are droopier than the Spanish variety with darker, narrower flowers falling on one side of the stem, but hybridisations of the two occur1North York Moors National Park. “A to Z: A Bounty of Bs.” The Official Blog for the North York Moors National Park, The official blog for the North York Moors National Park, 17 Aug. 2015, Accessed 31 May 2021..

Reminiscent of Winston Smith’s job in the novel 1984, in 2007 the Oxford Junior Dictionary was purged of “redundant” or out-dated words. ‘Bluebells‘ was one, along with ‘acorn‘, ‘adder‘, ‘ash‘, ‘beech‘, ‘bluebell‘, ‘buttercup‘, ‘catkin‘, ‘conker‘, ‘cowslip‘, ‘cygnet‘, ‘dandelion‘, and ‘fern2“Listen & Learn.” Listen & Learn, 27 Aug. 2018, Accessed 31 May 2021..

Perhaps this is a little unfair. Big Brother’s objective was to remove words that relate to dissent. The Oxford Junior Dictionary’s is to keep the number of words to a maximum of 10,000. So ‘bluebells’ out, ‘broadband’ in3Flood, Alison. “Oxford Junior Dictionary’s Replacement of ‘Natural’ Words with 21st-Century Terms Sparks Outcry.” The Guardian, The Guardian, 13 Jan. 2015, Accessed 31 May 2021..


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