Bell wringer

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For two reasons, I don’t believe you deserve a black mark for printing my wife’s letter (19 November) as suggested by Ken Gow (Letters, 20 November).

First, I must take some of the blame for encouraging her to write to you and, knowing that you rarely get things wrong, she did reflect later that perhaps you meant to refer to Scottish bluebell when you said “the bluebell is the nation’s most popular flower” (your report, 18 November).

Indeed, had the picture caption in your report said: “Scottish bluebell” instead of just “bluebell”, she would not have written to you.

Secondly, thanks to your publishing Mrs Ewen’s letter and to the six readers who wrote to you on this subject. Many of us, whether or not we are particularly interested, have learned a lot more about species of bluebells in our United Kingdom.

Malcolm W Ewen

Ferryhills Road

North Queensferry

A fierce argument arose between my wife and me regarding the nature of the bluebell and the harebell.

Quoting Heather McHaffie of the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh (Letters, 20 November) I contended that what I had always known as a harebell was in fact a bluebell.

Out came our copy of Scottish Wild Plants, published in 1996 by self-same RBGS, which lists Hyacinthoides nonscripta as the bluebell and Campanula rotundifolia as the harebell. Hmm.

R Mathieson

Crail

Fife

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