Mar 272017
 

Cardamine flexuosaWavy Bitter-cress flowerComing towards the end of March, there are still very few wild-flowers about, so I have been extra vigilant when out walking and spotted this tiny, inconspicuous white flower growing by the side of the road. It has proven rather difficult to identify as there are two, almost identical, varieties of bitter-cress. Following some research I finally figured out that the so-called “Hairy” bitter-cress is not actually hairy, while the “Wavy” bitter-cress is! So, as this tiny plant has noticeably hairy stems, I have deduced that it is the Wavy Bitter-cress, but if anyone has a better way of distinguishing between these plants, please let me know.

 

Mar 262017
 

Ramsons Allium ursinum irish connemara wildflower

This is the true, native Irish Wild Garlic. It has clusters of small white star-shaped flowers and wide, straight leaves. It is sometimes confused with the Three-cornered Leek/Garlic which is also very common in Connemara, although it is not native to Ireland. I photographed this plant, in the delightful woodland walk in the Connemara National Park in Letterfrack. It is a sheltered spot and one of the first places where spring flowers can be seen blooming. Later in the spring these woods are literally carpeted with these plants, and the smell of garlic can be overwhelming. The leaves are edible, and make a delicious pesto.

Ramsons wild garlic Allium ursinum irish connemara wildflower

Mar 212017
 

Taraxacum vulgariadandelion flower

The dandelion flowers all year round and has pretty yellow flowers and edible leaves. The young leaves are nice in a salad, but they have diuretic properties, which explains why the flower is called “pis-en-lit” in French. However it is not popular with gardeners as it produces prolific seeds and its deep tap roots are virtually impossible to dig up. When I was a child, my parents paid a bounty for every every dandelion-head we picked from our lawn. I can’t remember how much we were paid for each one, it may have been 6 old pence. While it supplemented our pocket-money nicely, it had little or no impact on the long-term dandelion population.

Mar 182017
 

Cochlearia anglica Wild Irish scurvy grass

This tiny flower grows on salty seashores. Its succulent leaves are rich in vitamin C and it was supposedly eaten by sailors to help ward off scurvy, hence its name. I had a taste but it was not particularly appetising, and I’d imagine that you’d have to harvest quite a lot of these little plants to get your RDA!

Mar 142017
 

Ficaria vernaWild Irish lesser celandine

The Lesser Celandine is one of the first flowers to bloom in early spring, and as easily confused with the Marsh Marigold, which has similar leaves and flowers but only 5 petals. The Lesser Celandine flowers form delightfully colourful clsuters in the hedge along our lane. The flowers gradually turn white before they lose their petals, as you can see in the picture below.

Lesser Celandine Flowers