Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)

Hawthorn, also known as the whitethorn and the May tree, is one of our most common native trees, and one that is steeped in legend and folklore. It grows quickly for the first fifteen years or so of its life, and it’s thorny, gnarled branches make an ideal barrier to livestock – a characteristic that […]

Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)

The bee orchid has to be one of our most exquisite wildflowers. At first glance its exotic looks may make it seem like an interloper from far flung shores — but this is a native Irish plant through and through. In Ireland bee orchids tend to flower during June and July. They occur mainly on […]

Common Daisy (Bellis perennis)

From early spring to late autumn the common daisy, with its pretty white-petalled flower heads and golden-eye waves cheerily at us from garden lawns, parks, meadows and pastures. Although classed as a weed, this ubiquitous little wild flower holds very broad appeal – a legacy perhaps of its associations with many childhood games, like the […]

Ivy (Hedera helix)

Ivy is common climbing shrub found throughout Ireland, its attractive green foliage carpeting the façade of old buildings, stone walls and trees. Many climbing plants support themselves by entwining themselves around the supporting structure, but Ivy is different. It attaches itself to the substrate directly using short, sucker-like aerial “roots” that adhere firmly to any […]

Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

The birds-foot-trefoil is a common flowering plant that has, over the years, amassed a host of common names; names like “lady’s shoes and stockings”, “crow-toes”, “lady’s slipper”, “bacon and eggs”, and “God-Almighty’s thumb and finger”. In all it has been attributed more than 70 different names, most of them related to either the shape or […]

Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

The bright red berries and waxy green leaves of the holly tree are a familiar sight in our winter hedgerows. An attractive combination, the contrast between the deep lustrous green of the foliage and the bright scarlet berries has led to holly being used as a Christmas decoration for many generations, and the association between […]

Bladder Wrack (Fucus vesiculosus)

Bladder wrack, also known as Black Tang, Rockweed, Bladder Fucus, Seawrack, Sea Oak, Black Tany, Cut Weed, and Rockwrack, is a common seaweed species found on the middle-shore of rocky coastal areas. It can occur in high densities where conditions are suitable, forming a dense, multi-layered carpet of fronds over the rock surface. Bladder wrack […]

Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)

Most of us are familiar with the long, branching fronds of bracken. This common deciduous fern is found all over Ireland and grows in all sorts of habitats. It is a large fern: fronds often grow to 2 metres (6½ feet) or more and have been known to reach 3 metres (10 feet) in favourable […]

Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)

Herb Robert is pretty little pink-flowering herb that frequents ditches, walls, hedgerows and woodland all over Ireland. According to the “doctrine of signatures” widely adopted in the middle ages a plant with curative properties would reveal its divine purpose through its appearance. Because the foliage of Herb Robert turns a fiery red colour in the […]

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

The foxglove, with its elegant tall stems, luxuriant foliage and proliferation of purple-pink flowers is one of our most beautiful indigenous plants. A prominent flower of Irish hedgerows, ditches and woodland, it is found throughout the country, and in the summer, when in full flower, it’s almost impossible to miss. While the plant’s common name […]

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