Further to the letter from a reader (19 November) about the Scottish bluebell picture used in the paper (18 November), I write to confirm that The Scotsman did actually use the correct photograph. The confusion was caused by the caption which simply stated “bluebell”. It should have read “Scottish bluebell”.
The Scottish bluebell Campanula rotundifolia is also known as the harebell.
This species was nominated because of its Scottish association reflected in its name. The bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta, which grows from a bulb, has often been called wild hyacinth to distinguish it from the Scottish Bluebell. In Monday’s Scotsman, the “Scottish primrose” should also have been captioned as such rather than just “primrose”, which again is a different flower.
Science Conservation Officer
Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Congratulations on correctly picturing the Scottish bluebell in your piece, “Scots pine is nation’s favourite tree”.
Our local newspaper got it wrong, printing an image of the wild hyacinth (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), but corrected this error in Tuesday’s issue.
Black mark though, for printing Ms Ewen’s letter on Tuesday, which advised that you got it wrong; it is she who is under a misapprehension. The wild hyacinth is a bluebell in England, but in Scotland, a bluebell refers to the harebell, Campanula rotundifolia, as correctly identified in your original story.
Bridge of Canny
I would have to disagree with your correspondent Catherine J Ewen. What the English call a harebell is correctly known in Scotland as the Scots bluebell.
What the English call a bluebell is correctly known in Scotland as a wild hyacinth, or so I have been brought up to understand. On this basis The Scotsman report is accurate.
Catherine Ewen errs in her letter about bluebells. The Campanula rotundifolia, which she refers to as a harebell, is known as a bluebell in Scotland. What is known as a bluebell in England, the Hyacinthoides nonscriptus, is called a wild hyacinth here in Scotland. This is why scientists prefer to stick to the latinised botanical names, thus avoiding confusion.
Newbattle Abbey Crescent
The Scotsman was right the first time with its photo: the Scots bluebell is in fact the harebell; the other is an English bluebell, something quite different.
Chambers’ Dictionary gives a very clear definition: bluebell – in southern England the wood hyacinth; in Scotland and northern England the harebell. So please go back to your original photo!
With regard to the identity of the bluebell, Chambers’ Dictionary states: “in south England the wood hyacinth; in Scotland and north England the harebell”. Scottish Bluebell Matches featured the Scottish bluebell on the box.