Scientific Plant Name: Ulex europaeus
Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Aiteann
Irish Name Translated: Direct translation
You'd be hard pressed NOT to notice this yellow Irish wildflower on your travels around Ireland. These blazing blossoms set hillsides ablaze in both winter and summer. Get close for a sniff of the amazing coconut aroma. But not too close... Mind the thorns! What Gorse/Furze/Whin is called depends on where you are in Ireland.
💁 Fun Fact: Gorse flowers all year round. The Irish saying goes, "when gorse is out of flower, kissing is out of fashion".
Scientific Plant Name: Cytisus scoparius
Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Giolcach shléibhe
Irish Name Translated: Mountain Reed
Broom is often be mistaken with Gorse/Furze/Whin. Both are coloured a vivid yellow and similarly shaped. But Broom is softer to the touch. In addition, Broom only flowers in summer whereas Gorse/Furze blooms all year round. Broom is often found in sandy mountainous soils, hence its Irish name; 'mountain reed'. 💁 Fun Fact: Irish folklore tells us the scent of a broom plant can tame wild dogs and horses
Scientific Plant Name: Rosa canina Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Feirdhris Irish Name Translated: No translation Ranging from white to dark pink in colour, these beautiful Irish wildflowers are often found growing along roadsides. The flowers have featured in many a traditional Irish song or poem. 💁 Fun Fact: The dog rose is very high in vitamin C and can be used to make tea and syrup. During the Second World War, dog rose syrup was uses as a substitute for citrus fruits, like oranges and lemons, which were unavailable in Ireland.
Scientific Plant Name: Sambucus nigra Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Trom Irish Name Translated: Deep, or heavy This deciduous shrub is a very common. You'll see elder in hedgerows all over Ireland. White-cream elder blossom is particularly noticeable in early summer. The flowers are heavily scented. Later, elder trees hang heavy with clusters of dark berries. These berries are often harvested to make cordials, syrups, jams and even wine! The elder plant grows quickly in the wild, often dominating its stretch of hedgerow. 💁 Fun Fact: Elderberries are a favourite with wild birds. Harvesting elderberries? Don't forget to leave some for the birdies!
Scientific Plant Name: Silene flos-cuculi Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Lus Síoda Irish Name Translated: Silk plant This wildflower is often spotted in marshy areas. The Ragged-Robin favours boggy soil. Its five petals are fringed or ragged, hence the name. These ragged ends make it perfectly suited to windy Irish weather. Sadly, Ragged-Robin is no longer as common as it once was due to draining of bogs and other wetlands in Ireland. 💁 Fun Fact: Ragged-Robin is a favourite with butterflies. They feed on the nectar of the plant.
Scientific Plant Name: Digitalis purpurea Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Lus Mór Irish Name Translated: Big herb Tall. Graceful. Downy. The Foxglove is a beautiful Irish wildflower found in many habitats. You'll see foxgloves in woodlands, moors, mountains and sea cliffs. It thrives on acid soil and quickly colonises recently cleared ground. Foxgloves are often called 'Fairy Thimbles'. In counties Fermanagh and Cavan, you were not meant to bring Foxgloves into the house, as they were deemed to bring bad luck. 💁 Fun Fact: Although the Foxglove plant is poisonous, it can be harvested for medicinal use. Foxglove contains both digitoxin and digoxin, which are used to treat heart conditions.
Scientific Plant Name: Silene uniflora Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Coireán mara Irish Name Translated: Sea Campion Surprise, surprise: Sea Campion is mainly found near the sea. You'll notice this delicate white wildflower around shingle and near cliffs. It blooms from June to August. 💁 Fun Fact: Folklore from the area around the Cliffs of Moher holds that you should never pick Sea Campion for fear of tempting death. Given that it's mainly found near the edge of cliff-tops, this is sage advice!
Scientific Plant Name: Fuchsia magellanica Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Fiúise or deora dé Irish Name Translated: Tears of God You'll notice the Fuchsia wildflower [pronounced few-sha] along roadways. It's typical of the southwest part of Ireland. But you'll see the distinctive red and purple hanging blossoms in all corners of Ireland from July to October. Fuchsia are deciduous shrubs that favour coastal locations and rocky ground. 💁 Fun Fact: Fuchsia plants can survive for hundreds of years. The oldest known fuchsia was planted in 1899.