Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
This,--the Agraphis mutans,--of the Lily tribe--is so abundant in
English woods and pastures, whilst so widely known, and popular
with young and old, as to need no description. Hyacinth petals
are marked in general with dark spots, resembling in their
arrangement the Greek word AI, alas! because a youth, beloved by
Apollo, and killed by an ill-wind, was changed into this flower.
But the wild Hyacinth bears no such char
cter on its petals, and is
therefore called non-scriptus. The graceful curl of the petals, not
their dark violet colour, has suggested to the poets hyacinthine
In Walton's Angler the Bluebell is mentioned as Culverkeys, the
same as Calverkeys in Wiltshire. No particular medicinal uses
have attached themselves to the wild Hyacinth flower as a herbal
simple. The root is round, and was formerly prized for its
abundant clammy juice given out when bruised, and employed as
starch. Miss Pratt refers to this as poisonous; and our Poet
In the month when earth and sky are one,
To squeeze the blue bell 'gainst the adder's bite.
When dried and powdered, the root as a styptic is of special virtue
to cure the whites of women: in doses of not more than three
grains at a time. There is  hardly, says Sir John Hill, a more
powerful remedy. Tennyson has termed the woodland abundance
of Hyacinths in full spring time as The heavens upbreaking
through the earth. On the day of St. George, the Patron Saint of
England, these wild hyacinths tinge the meadows and pastures
with their deep blue colour--an emblem of the ocean empire, over
which England assumes the rule.
But the chief charms of the Bluebell are its beauty and early
appearance. Now is the winter past; the rain is over and gone; the
flowers appear on the earth; the time for the singing of birds is
come; and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.
This earth is one great temple, made
For worship everywhere;
The bells are flowers in sun and shade
Which ring the heart to prayer.
The city bell takes seven days
To reach the townsman's ear;
But he who kneels in Nature's ways.
Has Sabbath all the year.
The Hairbell (Campanula rotundifolia) is the Bluebell of
Scotland; and nothing rouses a Scot to anger more surely than to
exhibit the wild Hyacinth as the true Bluebell.