Bluebell Flower Meaning and Symbolism

Bluebells are one of the most well-known, striking blue flowers which creates a carpet of blue in woodland areas. 

This sight has captured imaginations for centuries, and as a result, these petite flowers have a lot of meaning attached to them.

What does ‘Bluebell’ Mean?

There are several types of bluebells, but the name is a literal description of the flower, which is bell-shaped, and more often than not, it’s a shade of vivid blue. 

Bluebells all fall under the Hyacinthoides genus, which is part of the Asparagus family of plants. 

It’s worth noting that in the UK, the Spanish bluebell, which doesn’t bow under the weight of the blooms like the English bluebell, is threatening to take over the native flower’s natural habitat.

The genus name translates from Greek as “unmarked hyacinth”, and while the flowers look vaguely similar to a hyacinth, they are completely separate plants.

What do Bluebell Flowers Mean?

Bluebell flowers carry the meaning of being grateful to someone, either for their actions, or simply for their presence in your life. 

As the English bluebell bows to the floor in an arch due to the weight of the flowers, it’s also representative of humility. 

They also carry the meaning of everlasting love and reliability, as they flower around the same time every year, and as the flowers come back and spread year after year, they are quite reliable. 

Some bluebells can even come in white, which carry connotations of purity, grace, and spirituality.

What is the Cultural Significance Behind the Bluebell?

At first glance, you might not assume there is more to this flower. But this flower is entrenched in superstitions which have survived through the ages.

There is an old name in parts of Scotland for these flowers, where they are known as harebells. 

This comes from the belief that witches would turn themselves into hares, and hide among the bluebells if someone came to the woods.

In the Victorian language of flowers, bluebells usually carried a message of humility, grief, or childhood memories. 

It was thought to be very bad luck to remove bluebells from their habitat – unless you were splitting the plants to plant somewhere their original location. 

In some places in Scotland, they were called Old Man’s Bells, and if you heard them ring, this was a warning that the devil was coming. The sound was also an omen of death. In children’s stories, this has been changed to a sign of the presence of fairies.

Whichever – or none – of these that you may believe, it’s clear that these flowers have inspired imaginations for centuries. The blue is reminiscent of summer skies, the sea, and the peace that nature can inspire within us.  

What does a Bluebell Flower Tattoo Mean?

Bluebell flower tattoos can carry the meaning of enduring love, gratitude, or humility. It can be a way of honoring someone and expressing how you are tied to them, or how much they mean to you.

As these flowers can represent a myriad of things, the bluebell can embody folklore and the mystery and love of superstitions and legend, and the old tales which sometimes have some truth to them.

When Should You Give Someone Bluebell Flowers?

It’s worth mentioning that you should never pick wild bluebells. If you want to give someone bluebells, either source them from your own garden, or a reputable seller. 

Bluebell flowers are at their best from late April to early May, making them a great gift for anyone who has birthdays at this time of year.

They are also a symbol of the abundance of spring, of the wealth and color these flowers can bring during the season, which is a much-needed joy after winter.

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