Nature trail #22
Ramsons and Bluebells
Ramsons (Allium ursinum) smells strongly of garlic & can be used in cooking. It is generally the leaves which are used, though the garlic flavour is stronger in flowers and seeds. Be aware that the leaves are easily confused with lily of the valley & those are poisonous!
Ramsons thrive in damp shady places and are a sign of ancient woodland. Little scraps of woodland, like this spinney, may be last refuges for species that were common when the Midlands were covered in forest.
Bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are not rare but they are increasingly under threat from hybridisation with the Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica). The bluebells in the spinney are pretty close to the wild type but around the garden in Broadacre there has been a lot of hybridisation. Bluebell woods, where you get large areas carpeted with blue are a feature of the U.K. Half of the World's bluebells grow in the U.K.