Iain Brodie of Falsyde auchgourishbotgard@falsyde.sol.co.uk
Mon, 12 May 2008 13:58:53 PDT
Further to earlier postings on the site regarding the two species 
[a] the English Bluebell - Hyacinthoides nonscripta, and 
[b] the Spanish Bluebell - Hyacinthoides hispanica.

These two species in diploid form do very much hybridise and it is a matter of serious regret, as well as irresponsibility,
that gardeners in Europe seem either ignorant of the environmental damage they do to the conservation of wild populations 
of [a] above or that there are increasing numbers who frankly don't care.

In the case of [b] this is a very, relatively, aggressive species which rapidly cross pollinates those of [a] when imported to 
the British Isles from continental Europe. Because it is a criminal offence to dig up bulbs of [a] from nature, bulb dealers 
and importers are plundering populations of [b] in Spain to satisfy demand from gardeners. The situation in England in some    areas especially has become a real threat to the wild populations of [a]. In Scotland however where wild populations are rather
less common and largely restricted to the Lowlands where broadleaf forest dominates, rather than elsewhere, e.g. the Highlands where coniferous boreal type forest exists there is either there more appreciation of the issues and or a different gardening      ethos and a conservation awareness or bias with the result that there is now active discrimination against those who behave       like this. Ironically we have with the full sanction of the government here the ecological disaster associated with two tree species both from the Pacific northwest, Picea sitchensis and Pinus contorta var. latifolia, both of which grow faster here in Scotland than they do on their home turf but produce useless timber fit only for low value pulp and chipboard when we need timber that will stress grade for structural purposes, but both are now seeding themselves around at a frightening pace aggressively intruding themselves into out native forests, and seriously screwing our local native ecology, a situation keenly felt here at Auchgourish Botanic Garden right now.

We are all coming soon to the pass where gardeners either behave responsibly in the future with their selection of plants which might escape into nature and cause unforeseen repercussions for the local ecology, or governments will increasingly be enticed, 
or driven, to legislate to protect wild ecology from such escapes. Under legislation in Scotland the list of plant species which 
it is forbidden to buy, sell or grow is increasing year on year. Those of us who play the game as it were always seem to fall 
foul of legislation brought down on our heads by those who don't.

This is a thorny issue no doubt and I am sure it has analogues in North America too. Clearly where conditions are optimum
either [a] or [b] above will get along just fine but when they do, what of the native flora gets displaced? Please be very careful     how enthusiastic you get with either or both, you might find you have invited in a most unfortunate floral 'guest'.


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