National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future



Scilla non-scripta, family Hyacinthaceae/Liliaceae
April to May

Native to Britain the bluebell features heavily in the music and culture of Scotland. Many poets, authors and musicians including Robert Burns, James Hogg and Lady Carolina Nairne have celebrated it's qualities and contribution to our landscape.

The most recent of these is the Scottish classical composer Ian Ellis Hamilton (1922-2000). His work, 'Wild Garden', consists of five pieces for the clarinet and the piano. You cannot help but wonder if this, one of his last works was inspired by the bluebell woods of the West of Scotland. Sadly it is unlikely if we will ever know, but what a fantastic celebration this piece of music is about our living heritage.

Like the thistle and rowan, bluebells are so evocative of our landscape they can rightly be seen as a plant of homecoming. Bluebells are also the plant badge of the Clan Grierson.

Bluebell. Image credit: Shelley & Dave, Flickr. CC license
Bluebells in woodland, Image credit: Eljay Flickr. CC license