East Penn Press

Wednesday, September 18, 2019
PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSHThis photo of a Lock Ridge Park bluebell taken May 2 gives an up-close view of the popular Alburtis attraction. PRESS PHOTOS BY JIM MARSHThis photo of a Lock Ridge Park bluebell taken May 2 gives an up-close view of the popular Alburtis attraction.
A really close view of a Lock Ridge Park bluebell shows its remarkable resemblance to Internet photos of small grape hyacinths. A really close view of a Lock Ridge Park bluebell shows its remarkable resemblance to Internet photos of small grape hyacinths.

Bluebells? Or not bluebells?

Thursday, May 9, 2019 by JIM MARSH Special to The Press in Local News

Are the bluebells that appear each spring in meadows adjacent to the Lock Ridge Park and Furnace Museum really bluebells? Or are they some other example of popular wild floral species?

A letter to the East Penn Press editor raised that question a few seasons back after a photo of the flowers appeared in an edition of the newspaper. The writer said the flowers appeared to her to be “blue hyacinths.”

An Internet Google search was initiated by this writer to compare close-up photos of this year’s Lock Ridge Park bluebells to photos on established flower identification and commercial flower sales sites.

The search resulted in comparisons to flowers with the botanical name of muscari armenaicum, or the common name of small grape hyacinth. The Internet photos remarkably resembled the Lock Ridge bluebells as the accompanying pictures illustrate.

Finally, a visit to the Lehigh County Lock Ridge Park website contained this information. “Lock Ridge is uniquely beautiful when the bluebells are in bloom. “Bluebells” are actually muscari, or grape hyacinth, a plant that produces spikes of blue flowers that resemble bunches of grapes in the spring.”

It seems that both the Lock Ridge bluebell fans and the letter to the editor are right. It seems to be just a matter of semantics. A bluebell by any other name is still a bluebell.