This attractive yellow wildflower can be seen everywhere in Connemara, on roadsides, in the hills, and even on the beach, as in this photo. The yellow flowers have a lovely velvety appearance, and the underside of the leaves have a silvery sheen, which is presumably where its name comes from. It is said that soldiers used to put the leaves inside their boots to sooth their sore feet while marching.
We are having a glorious June heatwave in Connemara at the moment, so I popped down to the beach at Fountainhill, near Claddaghduff, where I photographed this pretty little flower, which is easily recognised as a member of the cabbage family, or Brassicaceae. Its fleshy leaves allow it to survive in salty conditions, and even grow on bare sand.
Sea beet (Beta vulgaris) is the ancestor of cultivated crops such as Beetroot and Swiss Chard. Its fleshy leaves are delicious lightly fried with garlic and butter, and they are bursting with vitamins. I found this plant on the salt-marsh by the sea inlet at Rossadillisk, near Cleggan. There were no other sea beet that I could see nearby, so I thought it best not to take any leaves from this one.
Butterwort is a carniverous plant, which is quite common on the nutrient-poor bogs and mountainsides of Connemara. It is easy to spot the bright yellowish star-shaped leaves all year round. It is rarer to see the short-lived purple flowers. The plant traps insects on its sticky leaves, which curl inwards and digest their unfortunate victims.
I came across this pretty little pale pink flower growing in a narrow, shady crevice in the rocks near the top of Tully Mountain.The delicate pink flowers grow on long, hairy stems. The leaves , which are close to the ground, are slightly succulent with serrated edges. I haven’t found it growing anywhere else in Connemara, but I have identified it as St Patrick’s Cabbage. It is one of a group of rare plants known as the Lusitanian Flora. They are found in the South and West of Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula, but are absent from Britain.