Monday, 2 May 2011

A Tudor use for Bluebells...

Here is this year's showing of bluebells behind Queen Charlotte's Cottage in Kew Gardens, where the wood is a haze of blue.     The bluebells have come out a little early this year, and by the time I write this, they may almost be over.   It has been a dry spring.   Looking up bluebells in my flower book, I found that bluebells are only native to the lands fringing the Atlantic, so they were unknown to early botanists in the Greek and Mediterranean world.    The bluebell is native to Britain, but it's not mentioned much in early herbals because of the early herbalists modelling their work on classical writings.

Historically, the bluebell is more than merely ornamental.  The bulb was used to make glue, and since the bulbs contain starch, they were used to help stiffen the ruffs of Elizabethans. 
Tomorrow, technology permitting, I am blogging at the Harlequin Historical Author Blog speculating on what (other than bread) might have been cooked in a Tudor bread oven.


Sarah Mallory said...

Interesting about using the starch from the bluebell bulbs, Carol. The bluebells are still flowering here in the Pennines, and we also have harebells, delicate litte single flowers that are also called bluebells in this area

Carol Townend said...

Harebells are gorgeous! Both they and bluebells are among my favourite flowers. And cornflowers. Perhaps it's a blue thing!