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Wildflowers of Ireland

Watch out for these colourful Irish wildflowers and plants while touring Ireland

By Derry


The Irish wildflower, Gorse

Scientific Plant Name: Ulex europaeus

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Aiteann

Irish Name Translated: Direct translation

Gorse/Furze/Whin has three names. What it's called depends on where you are in Ireland.

You'd be hard pressed NOT to notice this ubiquitous yellow Irish wildflower on your travels around Ireland. The blazing blossoms set hillsides ablaze all through winter and summer.

Get close for a sniff of the amazing coconut aroma. But not too close... Mind the thorns!

πŸ’ Fun Fact: Gorse flowers all year round. The Irish saying goes, "when gorse is out of flower, kissing is out of fashion".


The Irish wildflower, the Broom Cytisus Scoparius Danny

Scientific Plant Name: Cytisus scoparius

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Giolcach shlΓ©ibhe

Irish Name Translated: Mountain Reed

Broom is often be mistaken with Gorse/Furze/Whin (above). 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'.

πŸ’ Fun Fact: Irish folklore tells us the scent of a broom plant can tame wild dogs and horses

Dog Rose

The Irish wildflower, the Dog Rose

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 hold a stunning rose aroma. They've featured in many a traditional Irish song or poem.

πŸ’ Fun Fact: The dog rose is very high in vitamin C. Its rosehips 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.


The Irish wildflower, Elder flower

Scientific Plant Name: Sambucus nigra

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Trom

Irish Name Translated: Deep, or heavy

This deciduous shrub is very common in hedgerows all over Ireland. The elder plant grows quickly in the wild, often dominating its stretch of hedgerow.

The creamy-coloured elder blossom is particularly noticeable in early summer. Elderflowers are heavily scented and make delicious drinks. The flavour is unique and difficult to describe for anyone who hasn't experienced it before.

Later in the year, elder trees hang heavy with clusters of dark berries. These berries are rich in vitamin C. They are harvested to make cordials, syrups, jams and even wine.

πŸ’ Fun Fact: Elderberries are a favourite with wild birds. Harvesting elderberries? Don't forget to leave some for the birdies!


The Irish wildflower, the Ragged Robin

Scientific Plant Name: Silene flos-cuculi

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Lus SΓ­oda

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.

πŸ’ Fun Fact: Ragged-Robin is a favourite with butterflies. They feed on the nectar of the plant.


The Irish wildflower, the pink Foxglove

Scientific Plant Name: Digitalis purpurea

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: Lus MΓ³r

rish 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, sea cliffs and gardens.

It thrives on acid soil and quickly colonises recently cleared ground. Foxgloves are sometimes called 'Fairy Thimbles'.

In counties Fermanagh and Cavan, tradition deemed that you should never bring Foxgloves into a house, as they were deemed to bring bad luck.

πŸ’ 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.

Sea Campion

The Irish wildflower, Sea Campion

Scientific Plant Name: Silene uniflora

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: CoireΓ‘n 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.

πŸ’ 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!


The Irish wildflower, Fuchsia

Scientific Plant Name: Fuchsia magellanica

Irish/Gaelic Plant Name: FiΓΊise or deora dΓ©

Irish Name Translated: Tears of God

Another Irish wildflower that it's difficult to ignore while touring Ireland in the summertime.

You'll notice the Fuchsia wildflower [pronounced few-sha] along roadways everywhere in Ireland. But it's a typical sight in the southwestern region of Ireland.

The distinctive red and purple coloured blossoms hang in hedgerows and gardens from July to October. Fuchsia are deciduous shrubs that favour coastal locations and rocky ground.

πŸ’ Fun Fact: Fuchsia plants can survive for hundreds of years. The oldest known fuchsia was planted in 1899.

More About Irish Wildflowers...

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