Scientists at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh have discovered that the native British bluebell has a genetic advantage over the introduced Spanish variety. Prior to this discovery there were concerns that the invasive variety could either wipe out the native variety or interbreed, creating hybrids.
The native variety has the upper hand because they have greater fertility than the invasive bluebells. They are also resilient to being wiped out because of the vast number of native bluebells growing across Britain, in fact half of the world’s population is found in the UK.
The researchers further investigated the potential genetic threats posed by the Spanish bluebells, by growing the two varieties side by side. They discovered the English variety set more seeds than the Spanish bluebell, which also showed lower pollen fertility than the English bluebells.
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