A national species? It’s got to be the bluebell!

800px-Bluebells-2005-05-02-1

BBC Wildlife is running a poll for Britain’s national species.

The species that makes most sense to me is the bluebell (championed by Plantlife).

The bluebell is found just about everywhere in the UK and we hold a larger share of the world’s bluebells than any other country (it’s also found in Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal).  And what could be more British than a carpet of bluebells?

By Paul Albertella (flickr.com) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
By Paul Albertella (flickr.com) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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14 Replies to “A national species? It’s got to be the bluebell!”

  1. Wild Boar will make a meal of the 'National plant'! Then the government and the public will want to destroy the boar but it is the people that are the 'boar' as they know no history of British wildlife!

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  2. We're spoilt for choice. Thistle, daffodil, shamrock, rose. Can we have a solution to the West Lothian Question first?

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  3. Of the choices offered, Bluebell certainly seems to be the most distinctively British. Given that the organisers of the poll are looking for a species that "best sums up the UK’s national character, and our history and aspirations" I think a more suitable bird candidate would have been the House Sparrow - a bit scruffy, cheeky, noisy and has colonised the world!

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  4. The Pheasant, surely ? These days there are many more Pheasants than Bluebells in the woodlands that I frequent. Not only are they magnificent creatures, but think about the contribution they make to the rural economy. In fact if it were not for the Pheasant then these woodlands would probably not be there!

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  5. The Robin, everyone knows a Robin, can't say the same for the Bluebell you show an image of Bluebells to some kids and some will just shrug and say "don't know", and even the Bluebell is under threat from an introducded variety......

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  6. As ash isn't on there, I'd have to vote oak. Only 'cos I'm biased. And I wonder how many oaks planted in recent years were actually sourced from the UK.

    All are great candidates and I'd happily add starling and house sparrow to any shortlist. I wonder what makes a species found globally 'British' (love that the BTO chose the swallow...)

    There's also a part of me secretly hoping the badger might win...

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  7. It would have to be something endemic for me, with Scottish Wildcat, Red Grouse and Vendace topping my list.

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    1. It would be v useful to have an inventory of species present before the sea level rise which led to our status as an island. Does such a thing exist?

      Otherwise, horseradish would be my choice as it is useful, ubiquitous, accessible to everyone without having to travel hundreds of miles to see, free (subject to not being seen), resistant to pollution, food for cabbage whites, 101 questionable medicinal uses, and the best accompaniment steak tartare.

      I like bluebells too, although it is not a good idea to eat them, and it is quite time-consuming to check the ones in my "garden" for spaniards.

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  8. I found that surprisingly difficult, but in the end I voted for swallow. Even though they're not here for a large part of the year I find in them something quintessentially British. I couldn't imagine a summer without them.

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  9. I'm with J. Wallace re the House Sparrow.
    Scruffy, noisy, greedy and very argumentative, you can't get much more British than that, innit.

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