Hyacinthoides non-scripta4The harebell of Shakespeare has been identified as the wild hyacinth, Hyacinthoides non-scripta (syn. Scilla nutans), called English bluebell in modern times.   It is a perennial spring blooming bulb native to woodlands along the Atlantic from southwestern Spain to Britain. The linear, dark green leaves are produced in a clump of 3-6 and are up to eighteen inches long.     Five to twelve nodding flowers are carried in one sided racemes on arching stems. Each violet-blue flower is bell-shaped, ½- ¾ inch long, and   has a sweet fragrance.   Plants prefer dappled shade, and humusy, moist, well-drained soil. They grow in USDA zones 5-7.


In Cymbeline (act iv, sc 2, 220) Arviragus, the youngest son of King Cymbeline morns the death of his new friend ( actually his sister in disguise) who is not dead but drugged.


I’ll sweeten thy sad grave: thou shalt not lack

The flower that’s like thy face, pale primrose, nor

The azured harebell,like thy veins, no nor

The leaf of eglantine

By Karen