Talk:Hyacinthoides non-scripta

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Good article Hyacinthoides non-scripta has been listed as one of the Natural sciences good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
April 9, 2012 Good article nominee Listed
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Wait a minute! There should be a disambiguation page at Bluebell instead of a redirect! There is the English Bluebell, the American Bluebell (a flower, the Virginia cowslip, which is part of the "borage" family and is identified by the term bluebell) and the name of a character in Richard Adams' book Watership Down. Ilyanep 18:25, 25 Jan 2004 (UTC)

That's done. Ilyanep 23:29, 27 Jan 2004 (UTC)


Perhaps something about the presence of ultraviolet in bluebells would add to this article. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 06:16, 5 May 2007 (UTC).

What eats them?[edit]

I planted bluebells in my garden, and at first they seemed to survive, despite an abundance of rabbits, but now they are being eaten. I see deer in my garden frequently - do they eat bluebells? In general it would be useful to have a section on edibility and toxicity for all plants. --Memestream (talk) 14:18, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

National Flower of Scotland[edit]

"The bluebell that is the national flower of Scotland" - Isn't the national flower of Scotland the Scottish thistle? I've never heard of it being a bluebell. Where did this come from? Calmac1991 (talk) 20:58, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

Not this bluebell, but Campanula rotundifolia. I posted the same question on it's Talkpage yesterday, but a quick google turns up a number of links. I'd still like to see a reference that a Scot would be happy with though.... --Bardcom (talk) 21:14, 13 May 2008 (UTC)
I'm a Scot, and I've never heard of this before reading this article. Perhaps it should be removed until we've got a good enough reference? Calmac1991 (talk) 17:44, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

White bluebell picture[edit]

The white variant of bluebell ought to have a flower-form precisely the same as that of the normal blue variant, with only a difference in color. Yet the photo of the common blue variant shows twirled petal-ends, whereas the photo of the white shows slightly curved petal-ends. So it cannot be the same species.

Instead this must the white variant of the Spanish bluebell. The Wikipedia photo shows a flower-form precisely the same as that of the presumed common bluebell. Erutuon (talk) 18:13, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

This review is transcluded from Talk:Hyacinthoides non-scripta/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the review.

Reviewer: WhatamIdoing (talk · contribs) 01:29, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

This looks pretty good; I'm not sure that there will be any need for changes. (I'm off to double-check references.) WhatamIdoing (talk) 01:29, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

1. Well written?: Pass Pass

  • It's possible that there are too many commas in a common sentence structure. The seeds are black, and germinate on the soil surface. is an example: it seems to me that the comma is incorrect. However, it's the sort of "incorrect" that I and other writers use all the time. Perhaps I should ask one of our grammar mavens about it.
  • I do tend to use a lot of commas. This one, I think, is actually useful. It would be easy for a reader to mistake germinate for an adjective (like geminate), and think that the seeds are "black and germinate"; the comma makes the structure of the sentence clearer. That said, there may well be others that are not needed – I've done a lot of re-structuring. I'll give the whole article a thorough copy-edit once everything else is finished. --Stemonitis (talk) 05:43, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I have re-read the article, and I can't see any superfluous punctuation. --Stemonitis (talk) 07:50, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  • I'd like to see a longer lead section (perhaps two paragraphs). This could probably be achieved largely through re-arranging what's already there.
  • I've expanded the lead a little, and it now takes up two paragraphs. I think it already says everything it should, but I'm open to suggestions. --Stemonitis (talk) 07:50, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
  • It looks good to me, and I wanted to note that I particularly thought the addition of the harebell information a good idea. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:08, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

2. Factually accurate?: Pass Pass

  • I'm currently reviewing citations.
  • Kew doesn't technically specify that the removal of wild bulbs is a "criminal offence", only that it is prohibited. I suppose it could be a civil offence. Are you certain of the facts here?
  • I'm quite sure that it's a criminal offence, but you're right that the sources don't explicitly say that. I'll see what I can dig up (no pun intended). --Stemonitis (talk) 05:43, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
  • I've managed to find a local government source for the specific claim that it's a criminal rather than a civil offence. I think it's generally taken as read that the offences under the Act are criminal, so very few people say so explicitly. --Stemonitis (talk) 08:12, 1 April 2012 (UTC)
  • Good enough for me; thanks for addressing that. WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:27, 2 April 2012 (UTC)
  • The BBC source isn't exactly a high-quality medical publication of the WP:MEDRS-approved sort, but I think it's probably adequate for the small claim being made here.

3. Broad in coverage?: Pass Pass

  • Not a critical point, but is there any reason that you didn't mention its polyploidy, which seems to be unusual for the genus?
  • As far as I can see, normal H. non-scripta is indeed diploid. Stace gives 2n=16, as for other species in the genus, with occasional triploids, 2n=24, almost certainly related to hybridisation. The only fully polyploid species, according to Grundmann et al. (2010) is the Moroccan H. cedretorum. I haven't actually got the supplementary material that goes with the Grundmann paper, but I can get hold of it to check. --Stemonitis (talk) 05:43, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
  • The Grundmann abstract ("Polyploidy is confined to the H. non-scripta-hispanica clade with diploid and triploid taxa as well as a newly recognized tetraploid taxon.") is what made me wonder about it. WhatamIdoing (talk) 18:24, 31 March 2012 (UTC)
  • Frankly, no. The white-flowering and pink-flowering plants are evidently garden escapes, and it seems that the alternative colours are of minor interest even to horticulturists. The floral diagram merely repeats what the text already says (monocot flower with stamens partly fused to the tepals), and I doubt that floral diagrams are widely understood. The fruits could be more interesting, if we thought we had space in the article, but the picture shows the fruit of the hybrid H. × massartiana. I'll get on with re-factoring the lead and copy-editing shortly. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:25, 6 April 2012 (UTC)

4. Neutral point of view?: Pass Pass

5. Article stability?: Pass Pass

6. Images?: Pass Pass


I've listed the article. Congratulations, and thank you for improving Wikipedia's contents so significantly.

Thank you also for letting this review be a conversation, with my suggestions taken as suggestions worth evaluating and then either accepting or rejecting on their merits, rather than "orders from on high". I enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with you. WhatamIdoing (talk) 17:06, 9 April 2012 (UTC)

Colour of bluebells[edit]

Well, I wouldn't call bluebell flowers "violet-blue" as per the latest change to the article. Judging colours on screen is very difficult, because in my experience most monitors are poorly adjusted. (I regularly calibrate mine with a Spyder device.) However, if you look closely at the photo in the taxobox, the tepals show two distinct colours. There are more saturated stripes which in the photo are pretty close to pure blue (hue = 240°) when measured in Photoshop (and look pure blue on my machine). Then there is a less saturated background colour which has a little bit of red in it (hue up to about 246°). How accurately the photo's RGB values reproduce the actual colour is another matter, but a Canon EOS series model should be quite good. "Blue with some violet shades" is as accurate as I think you can get in a verbal description. Peter coxhead (talk) 11:28, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

The problem as I see it is that describing a flower as "blue" without further qualification suggests something very different; it is neither royal blue nor sky blue. Also, bear in mind that the colour of a single flower may not be representative of the effect of a carpet of the flower (when the colour of the stems, and possibly the foliage, too, probably has an influence). The colour of H. non-scriptus is notoriously difficult to capture on film (or on CCD), which I suspect is due to the near-UV frequencies. There is now a reference for "violet–blue", and I think that's a much better description than just "blue". Do you have a source for "blue with some violet shades"? --Stemonitis (talk) 11:48, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Nor duck-egg blue fro that matter. Granted, blue covers a wide range from tinged with green to tinged with red, but I don't think it is necessary to go into that much detail. My point is that it is not purple, as previously described. Stace simply says blue, sometimes pink or white. That is a citation that should be good enough without being quantitative about it. Plantsurfer (talk) 12:32, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Well, the pink or white ones derive from horticultural lines, something which the article doesn't currently go into (mostly because I don't consider it important; the article's fundamentally about the wild species). With that removed, Stace is giving less detail than CTW, so I think the latter is the better reference. I think that the extra detail is useful if it avoids misleading the readers. --Stemonitis (talk) 12:49, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Actually, I used to think that all the non-blue ones were of horticultural origin, but apparently there are spontaneous white forms which are strictly H. non-scriptus. Can't find a reference at the moment.
I think something like "blue to violet-blue" might be best; each colour term can be sourced. Peter coxhead (talk) 22:08, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Doesn't that suggest a range of colours? The wild ones are pretty uniform (albinistic sports aside); I think the various authors are all trying to describe a single colour, but using different words for it. --Stemonitis (talk) 07:45, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes, you're right. Who would have thought it was so difficult to describe their colour? Looking at the floras/field guides I have on my shelves I find:
  • Fitter & Fitter (1978), Wildflowers of Britain and Northern Europe, says "azure blue".
  • Flora Europaea and Clapham, Tutin & Moore (1987) both say "violet-blue" (but they aren't independent sources as Tutin was heavily involved in both and entries for British plants are usually very similar).
  • Polunin (1969), Flowers of Europe: a field guide, says "bright blue".
  • Butcher (1961), A New Illustrated British Flora, says "blue".
Butcher is the only source I've seen which just says "blue"; Stace (2010) does not actually describe the colour of the tepals of H. non-scriptus; he only uses colour terms in his preceding description of the genus.
So you could accurately say in the Description section: "The tepals are variously described as bright bluePolinin ref, azure blueFitter ref or violet–blue.CTM or CTW ref" Whether this is worthwhile is another matter. If you think it is, I'll do it and fill in the references.
Do we know when the hybrid H. × massartiana began seriously spreading in England? In the course of looking up colour descriptions, I noticed that Bagnall (1891), The Flora of Warwickshire, says that the first record of the white form in Warks was in 1829. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:56, 20 April 2012 (UTC)
I think referring to how the sources describe the colour is the preferred option, for the following reasons:
  • Different editors will disagree about how a colour should be described
  • Readers can look at the images and form their own view, and if the text asserts something different they might feel obliged to change the text, whereas if the text simply says "Source A calls it this", the reader will respect that difference of opinion
Unfortunately in this instance I think the sources quoted above are rather imprecise; flowers often are not a uniform colour, and closer scrutiny of the images of H. non-scripta reveal, as Peter has described, more than one hue (it also appears as if the inside of the tepals might be a slightly different hue again). But unless editors want to start referring to colour charts and getting into the realms of garden catalogue descriptions, the sources will have to suffice. (As an aside, and as an over-the-top example of where this could all lead, I quote from a wholesale bulb catalogue describing the colour of a particular tulip cultivar: "Luscious raspberry pink blending to champagne-tangerine at its glistening petal edge"...!) PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 19:50, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


The Taxonomy section of this article is currently confusing, and I'm not sure if that's entirely due to the species' convoluted taxonomic/nomenclatural history. In particular the words Hyacinthus and Hyacinthoides seem to be used interchangeably in places, as are the terms non-scriptus and non-scripta. For example, the first sentence begins, "Hyacinthoides non-scriptus was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his seminal 1753 work Species Plantarum, as a species in the genus Hyacinthus." What is the first name in this sentence referring to - the original Linnaean circumscription or the modern one? Either way, surely the name is incorrect? Similarly, the last paragraph in the section begins "Common names for Hyacinthus non-scripta include..." - surely this should read "Common names for Hyacinthoides non-scripta include..."? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:03, 21 April 2012 (UTC)

Well spotted! I've read over this article several times and simply not noticed the two slips. I have now corrected both.
This leaves the opening of the section reading Hyacinthoides non-scripta was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his seminal 1753 work Species Plantarum, as a species in the genus Hyacinthus. The specific epithet non-scriptus means "unlettered" or "unmarked" ... Now to someone used to scientific names this is clear, but I wonder if the switch from "non-scripta" to "non-scriptus" is confusing to a non-biologist? Perhaps it would be better to start something like The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his seminal 1753 work Species Plantarum, as Hyacinthus non-scriptus. The specific epithet non-scriptus means "unlettered" or "unmarked" ... Peter coxhead (talk) 21:35, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
I think the reason I spotted the errors was simply due to my ignorance of the subject matter, meaning I had to read it carefully to try and understand what it was saying. It's obviously a very easy name to slip up on - in the previous section about flower colour, both yourself and Stemonitis used non-scriptus instead of non-scripta, and I was going to do likewise until, not wanting to appear as the botanical ignoramus, I thought I'd better check the name, to be doubly sure.... As regards the first sentence, I prefer your proposed alternative as it does make it clearer, but I wonder if in addition it would be possible to make a brief explanation somewhere as to why non-scriptus should change to non-scripta when applied to a different genus name - or would that be getting too bogged-down in nomenclatural particularities? (I'm assuming the change is something to do with the laws of Latin with respect to gender, although I can't see why different genera should have different genders...?) PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:27, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Yes it's due to gender changes in Latin; epithets which are adjectives must agree in gender with the genus name, which is always a noun. Hyacinthus and Endymion are masculine; Hyacinthoides and Scilla are feminine. The endings -us, -oides and -a are clear indicators of gender. Endymion is the tricky one because it comes from Greek, and you need to know which "o" it was in Greek; -ον (which may become -um in Latin) is neuter, whereas -ων is masculine, but both become -on when written in the Latin script. I think it would be too complex and out of place to explain this in the text, but I suppose there could be a footnote linking to, say, Binomial nomenclature#Derivation of binomial names. Peter coxhead (talk) 23:05, 21 April 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, both of you. I make that mistake for this species all the time. I know full well what it should be, but I keep on making the mistake all the same. I tried to be especially careful when fixing up this article, but still the errors creep through! --Stemonitis (talk) 06:42, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I appreciate Peter's point that explaining why non-scriptus changed to non-scripta would be too complex and out of place - it's a general nomenclatural matter which isn't specific to this article. However seeing as the taxonomy of this species has involved a change of genus necessitating a Latin gender change, I think some kind of linking footnote could be pertinent, as well as helpful - my guess is that most readers will be like myself in being ignorant of such matters, and this is a good opportunity to lead them down another avenue of knowledge, such as I have just followed (I've said on other pages that editing Wikipedia is a great way of learning!) Incidentally, I hope that my comment above (about checking the name carefully due to not wanting to be seen as ignorant) wasn't interpreted as asserting that making a mistake is an indication of ignorance - I hope that was clear? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 07:38, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I didn't interpret it that way, and I wasn't aware that it could be so interpreted! No offence was taken. I'll see if I can come up with a suitable footnote. --Stemonitis (talk) 07:49, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
See what you think about the footnote I wrote. I put in a "see botanical nomenclature", thinking that gender agreement would be explained in detail there, and found that it wasn't even mentioned. That's definitely something that should be added, I think, as it's something that will confuse a lot of lay readers. --Stemonitis (talk) 08:43, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I changed the link to binomial names, which is where this issue is explained; rightly, I think, since it applies to binomial names in all codes, not just botanical names. Peter coxhead (talk) 09:53, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I think the footnote works well, and even incorporates an extra link to declension, which is a bonus, though would it be more precise to state "Adjectival epithets of scientific names..." rather than just "Scientific names..."? On the matter of the sentences in which the footnote sits, I still think Peter's proposed alternative sentence (The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his seminal 1753 work Species Plantarum, as Hyacinthus non-scriptus. The specific epithet non-scriptus means "unlettered" or "unmarked" ...) is clearer in that it explicitly introduces the term non-scriptus before introducing its definition, although it perhaps isn't ideal to start a section using The species.. rather than the taxon name, plus it doesn't make it clear to non-biologists that Linnaeus placed it in a different genus. So I've tried to think of an alternative, namely: Hyacinthoides non-scripta was first described as Hyacinthus non-scriptus by Carl Linnaeus, in his seminal 1753 work Species Plantarum. Linnaeus thus classified it as belonging to a different genus. The specific epithet non-scriptus means "unlettered" or "unmarked" ... What do people think - is this labouring the point a bit? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:18, 22 April 2012 (UTC)
I think it does, unfortunately. The title of the article (and the most widely accepted name of the species) is Hyacinthoides non-scripta, and that taxon is exactly what Linnaeus described (since description is more than just naming). I placed the footnote at the point where the epithets with the different endings first collide, so that if any reader finds it jarring, they will be able to examine the footnote for an explanation. With your proposal, the added emphasis suggests that Linnaeus' placement of the species in a different genus is somehow noteworthy, which it isn't; an awful lot of Linnaeus' species have moved genus as we've discovered more and more of the world's biota. I take your point that nouns in apposition don't decline to agree with the genus, but I think that for the purposes of a footnote, what we've written is acceptable. --Stemonitis (talk) 05:57, 23 April 2012 (UTC)
That's OK with me. I spent about half an hour last night trying to write the sentence so that what it was saying was clear to someone like myself (who hasn't studied these things to any great extent), but I ended up thinking that my attempts weren't really an improvement (hence my question at the end of my last posting). However if it isn't important to stress Linnaeus' placing it in a different genus (which I was only trying to incorporate because that fact is currently stated in the article), is it slightly more elegant to just write Hyacinthoides non-scripta was first described as Hyacinthus non-scriptus by Carl Linnaeus, in his seminal 1753 work Species Plantarum. The specific epithet non-scriptus means "unlettered" or "unmarked" ...? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 06:43, 23 April 2012 (UTC)

"Species of woodland"[edit]

I've been watching with interest the recent edits concerning the phrase "Bluebells are a species of deciduous woodland"; I can understand the rationale behind all the edits, as each version has a potential ambiguity of interpreted meaning. It may well be that no sentence construction can avoid this and still remain elegant, although I suggest perhaps "Bluebells are a species associated with deciduous woodland" (or better still, "H. non-scripta is a species associated with deciduous woodland") as a possibility? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 10:45, 6 November 2012 (UTC)

I agree that there may well be a better wording, and I hope that no-one will see my reversions as control-freakery (contra WP:OWN); that is certainly not my intention. I think the trouble with your suggestion, PCW, is that "associated with" seems a weak description of the situation, which is that over most of its range, the species is found almost exclusively in that one habitat. (I am perfectly happy with changing it from "Bluebells are ..." to "H. non-scripta is ...", by the way – that may be a hang-over from a previous version.) The original edit was by an IP and gave no rationale, so it is difficult for me to know what that person's problem with the current wording might be. Without knowing the problem, it is going to be hard to find a solution. The only thing I can think is that they interpreted it as claiming to be a type ("species") of woodland, even though woodlands do not come in species. This seems like an unlikely interpretation to me, and I think the current wording is accordingly the best of the ones suggested so far. --Stemonitis (talk) 10:58, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Like yourself, I cannot claim to know the rationale of the first IP edit (although I did effectively state so above, haha..), however the wording "Bluebells are a species of deciduous woodland" could be misread in the way you suggest, particularly by readers unfamiliar with such a means of expression; the average reader is unlikely to be familiar with phrases used on a day to day basis by ecologists. One would hope that any such misreading would be deconstructed as the reader views the whole sentence, though such faith might be misplaced... You are perhaps right that the current wording is the best, and either way it is perhaps not all that important, though I am not sure if "associated with" is too weak; even in one of your reversions, your edit summary asserted that an advantage of "is a species of..." is that it indicates ecological association (I hope you don't mind my impertinence in reflecting your own words back towards you). One other suggestion is to incorporate your own description above into my previous suggestion, resulting in "H. non-scripta is a species associated almost exclusively with deciduous woodland...", but as I've already indicated, it is perhaps not all that important. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 11:58, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
Personally, I'm quite happy with phrases of the form "species of HABITAT" but I think this is a somewhat specialized use which may confuse the general reader, so I see why the IP editor tried to change it. In some cases the variant "HABITAT species" may be preferable, but this has problems too. I tried "deciduous woodland species" instead of "species of deciduous woodland" but now agree with Stemonitis that this can be mis-parsed. So I think the original is the least worst. Peter coxhead (talk) 21:21, 6 November 2012 (UTC)
How about "H. non-scripta is a species almost exclusively found in deciduous woodland", to take a bit from Stemonitis' description above? WhatamIdoing (talk) 19:27, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
That's similar to my last suggestion, which I think is a viable solution, but it didn't garner any support. I think this discussion would be easier if the original IP editor made a contribution, then people wouldn't be having to imagine themselves into the minds of others. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 22:17, 12 November 2012 (UTC)
My only slight concern – and maybe I'm being too pernickety about this – is that our sources don't explicitly state that. If everyone else is happy that it's supported by the sources, then I would have no problem with it. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:51, 13 November 2012 (UTC)
It's good to be pernickety, as the English language is actually very precise, and slight changes in words or word order can alter meaning. I think if people agree that the "species of habitat" construction can potentially be misread by non-specialist readers, then in order to rewrite the phrase, it is first necessary to deconstruct exactly what it means, and that should then lead to an acceptable equivalent. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 11:54, 13 November 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── The question is what botanists mean when they say something is a "habitat species" or a "species of habitat". I don't think it does always mean "almost exclusively found in". I happen to have to hand some analysis which was done on the data used in the 1971 Computer-mapped Flora of Warwickshire. Vicia sepium (Bush Vetch) was classified as a "ruderal species" on the basis that 46% of the records were from this habitat, the other records being divided fairly evenly among a number of other habitats (marginal, grassland, cultivated land). So some ecologists use a "predominant" habitat to label a species. Interestingly, the figures for Hyacinthoides non-scripta were 46% marginal (woodland edges, hedgerows, scrub woodland) and 37% woodland. Peter coxhead (talk) 14:45, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

That's very interesting. As is often the case, reality is not neatly compartmentalised in the way which human minds seem to prefer. On the basis of those figures and accompanying classification, it seems the "species of habitat" description not only has the potential to present detailed truth in a deceptively simple and rather incomplete way (a situation that I imagine occurs not just in Warwickshire and not just with the species mentioned), but also its meaning is dependent on who is using it. So, depending on how the habitat figures break down over the whole of the range of Hyacinthoides non-scripta, it's possible that the wording used by the IP editor could be just as valid as the one currently in the article (and might actually be preferable, as it arguably asserts less). PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 00:19, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Hyacinthoides non-scripta - runners[edit]

i was not aware that this was so - i was under the impression they produced bulblets. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:41, 5 May 2013 (UTC)

In my experience of dealing with bluebells in a horticultural context, I can't recall ever having encountered bluebells which have horizontal 'runners' in a similar way to, say, ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) or couch grass (Elymus repens), although they do have elongated fleshy growths (rather like extended bulbs) which extend vertically down, often to depths greater than the 12cm mentioned in the article. Whether these are the 'contractile roots' which the article refers to, or the 'runners', isn't possible for me to say. I admit I have previously thought this statement needed clarifying, though it depends on what the sources say. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 12:14, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
Hyacinthoides do not produce runners. Possibly the entry about runners is a reference to Campanula rotundifolia which the Scots call Bluebell. entry should be removed. Plantsurfer (talk) 13:11, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
The cited source of this statement about runners is Royal Horticultural Society, which is usually regarded as authoritative, so I may be forced to eat my words! However, I have a garden infested with H. non-scripta, H. hispanica and their hybrids, and have never encountered runners. The reproduce in my garden chiefly from seed. Plantsurfer (talk) 13:28, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
[EC]That claim is very straightforwardly referenced to the Royal Horticultural Society. It should not be removed unless you can provide compelling evidence (from other reputable sources) that there are no runners. I don't think anyone claims that stolons are the main form of reproduction, or even the main form of vegetative reproduction, but they may well be something to take into account if you're trying, say, to rid your garden of one or other species. In my garden, bluebells (probably hybrids, but the flowers aren't open yet) have appeared at sites a few feet from existing (evidently planted) clumps; spread via stolons seems quite a good explanation. --Stemonitis (talk) 13:32, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
I agree with Plantsurfer; having dug up probably several thousand bluebells in my time (in gardens - not in the wild!), I cannot recall ever having found any evidence of stolons spreading horizontally in any noticeable way, certainly not anything spreading a distance of several feet. Bluebells are always solidly clump-forming in my experience. It's possible the RHS are being a bit slapdash in using the word "runners", if that's the word they use (I haven't checked the source). PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 23:01, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
It is the word they use, and several times at that. --Stemonitis (talk) 06:18, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
The RHS source is clear, but does seem a bit out of line with other sources in its characterization of the speed of spread. Thus the NHM page says they spread "locally". Several scientific studies of wild populations say that most reproduction is sexual, e.g. [1], and that spread is slow, e.g. a maximum of 6 cm/year [2]. All sources with the information agree that a key difference between Hyacinthoides and Scilla is that in the former bulbs are annual rather than perennial, so some movement of bulbs is inevitable. The question is how far and how fast? I think it should perhaps be made clearer that the RHS information relates to bluebells in cultivated soil, not in native habitats.
Anecdotally, I am certain that they spread vegetatively in my garden; I obsessively remove inflorescences as soon as the flowers fade and yet they multiply. However, I would not describe this as "rapid" compared to the movement of, say, Japanese anemones or stoloniferous grasses. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:57, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Well again at the risk of being slammed for OR, I profoundly disagree - Liliaceae are always perennials. Stace will do as a preliminary source. Hyacinthoides produces perennial bulbs that increase in size over several years. Plantsurfer (talk) 09:28, 6 May 2013 (UTC)
Here are sources for Hyacinthoides bulbs being replaced annually: Brian Mathew, The Smaller Bulbs, p. 151; Clapham, Tutin & Moore, Flora of the British Isles, 3rd ed., p. 538; Flora Europaea, Vol. 5, p. 43. What exactly is your Stace source? Clive Stace, New Flora of the British Isles, 3rd ed., pp. 920–1, covers Hyacinthoides but doesn't mention the persistence of the bulbs.
Of course, multiple references doesn't mean multiple original sources, since they all copy from one another! The truth seems to be that the underground structures of Hyacinthoides are not well-covered in the literature, and where there are mentions, they are not all together consistent. Peter coxhead (talk) 07:57, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
An OR thought: if the bulbs are annual, that would suggest that all bulbs reach flowering size every year, although in my experience they don't - in fact except in established clumps, many plants which I find dotted around are usually small 'runts' which don't flower. If these plants are seedlings, I wonder if they have to build up to flowering size first, but do they then replace themselves annually thereafter? Maybe someone should do a study...... PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 08:27, 7 May 2013 (UTC)
The corms of most (?all) irid species are annual: in Crocus and Gladiolus, for example, a new corm forms above the old one every year. But this doesn't mean that they all reach flowering size every year – far from it. The size of the new corm, and hence its flowering capacity, is partly determined by the size of the old corm and how many buds it produces. (To keep large corms from year to year in potted cormous irids, rub off all but one bud when re-potting since new corms form at the stem/corm junction.) So it's not impossible that Hyacinthoides bulbs are re-formed each year, but I suspect that what is written in the references I gave above is not quite accurate and that sources have been copying from each other without checking. More plausible is, for example, that the bulb plate is perennial, but that new bulb scales form each year. Peter coxhead (talk) 08:46, 7 May 2013 (UTC)