The Deceiving Spaniard!

A spot of light blue in the short grass caught my eye. It was a small flower and short with a cluster of light blue flowers atop a dark stem. It didn’t fit with the picture of any previously seen plant and this made it all the more interesting. A closer look and several photographs, later examined with great care, made me think I might well have come on the Spring Squill, Scilla verna. A Spring Squill in Tramore, Co. Waterford, would be a cause of excitement as it is a plant not previously found in Co. Waterford but is common on the coast of Northern Ireland – Co. Antrim has a good population – and along the east coast down to Co. Wexford.

I alerted a number of friends to my find and posted photographs to a wildflower group on Facebook where it generated some excitement. I also alerted a botanist, an expert who keeps plant records for the county and the photographs were enough to prompt him to make the journey to see this plant for himself the following morning and my disappointment quickly followed for his trained eye went past the deceptive flowerhead to an examination of the foliage and any thoughts that it was Spring Squill were quickly dispelled. The foliage of Spring Squill is linear – the same width all along its length – while this plant had foliage which was wider at the base and becoming thinner along its length – Spanish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides hispanica!

I had been tricked by a deceiving Spaniard!

The photograph which identifies this little plant as Spanish Bluebell, Hyacinthoides hispanica – see the foliage, wider near the base and becoming thinner along its length. The small size of the plant and the flowers lead me to think it might have been Spring Squill, Scilla verna.

These are the moments of excitement and fun with wildflowers, the possibility that something new had been encountered. Of course, disappointment comes more often than success but there is the constant of being among beautiful plants and there will be other days and other such excitements.

8 thoughts on “The Deceiving Spaniard!

  1. Ah, who hasn’t been tricked by a plant’s similarities to something else! It has happened to me many times, and doubtless will again. That flower, however, has done well by me, and reliably fills a floral gap in the season, so enthusiastically that I have no regrets tossing the surplus. Hard to ask for more

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    1. Yes, the Spanish bluebell can be a garden nuisance! This deceiving plant was so very small that a Spanish Bluebell never occurred to me. We live and we learn!

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    1. It’s a learning experience. I am not sure how to differentiate between both! As an aside, I posted this to Facebook and added a comment in Spanish, (F..k..g Spaniards!) – to tease a Spanish friend – and had a warning from Facebook that I had contravened their standards and would receive a punishment – a temporary ban – if I offended again!

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  2. Thank you for that clarification Paddy. At the beginning of my gardening in Gortnalee I unwisely introduced these perfidious Spaniards only to find that I had a prolific population of the Irish ones in the hedgerow and I have been trying to eliminate the foreigner ever since! That information about the leaves will make my task much easier. Do you have a suggestion on how to dispose of the foreigner?

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