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Posts tagged “irish wild plants

Herb-Robert (Geranium robertianum) in the Sun and the Rain

Irish wide flowers
Herb Robert
Nigel Borrington

Familiar little pink flower from April to November, Herb-Robert is a hairy, unpleasant-smelling plant which grows on banks, bases of walls, shingle and shady places throughout the country. Its pink flowers (8-15mm across) have five un-notched petals and in the centre of the flower are orange anthers. Each petal is marked by small lighter-pink lines running into the centre of the flower. The hairy, stalked leaves are often tinged red and have three to five deeply cut lobes. The fruit is hairy and beak-like. This is a native plant belonging to the family Geraniaceae.

Irish wide flowers
Herb Robert
Nigel Borrington

This plant has been introduced into North and South America from Europe and Asia. In traditional medicine in the Americas it has been used to stop nosebleeds. Its leaves are also made into a herbal tea which is recommended as a gargle and an eyewash.

One wonders who is the ‘Robert’ of this plant. Maybe the name comes from the Latin word ‘ruber’ meaning red which may have referred to the colouring of the leaves and stems.

Irish wild plants , Wild Orange Crocosmia

Wild Orange Crocosmia Nigel Borrington 2016

This showy plant graces many country lanes from July to September with a wonderful display of spikes of bright reddish-orange flowers. A familiar sight in the west of Ireland particularly, it is taken by many to be one of our native plants, along with Fuchsia. However, like Fuchsia, this is an introduction to our shores and is a hybrid between two South African species.

Common Name: 	Montbretia Scientific Name: 	Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora Irish Name: Fealeastram dearg

Common Name: Montbretia
Scientific Name: Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora
Irish Name: Fealeastram dearg

Nevertheless it is a very attractive sight and seems to blend in to our landscape, particularly in places where it grows alongside our native Purple Loosetrife. The flowers (25-55mm) are in a one-sided loose panicle and have a corolla which is tubed with six lobes. The three stamens protrude. The grass-like leaves are long and narrow. This plant belongs to the family Iridaceae.

This plant was named after Coquebert de Montbret (1780-1801) who was a French botanist who accompanied Napoleon when he invaded Egypt in 1798 and who died there at the age of 20. However, horticulturists also refer to this plant as ‘Crocosmia’ which comes from the Greek ‘krokos’ – saffron – and ‘osme’ – smell. I am told that they smell of saffron when placed in water but honestly I cannot confirm that this is so.

Wild Sorrel

Wild Sorrel

Wild Sorrel in the irish woodland

Irish wood lands

From the Middle of April until the Summer many of Irelands wood-land floors come to life with lots of different plants, Wild Sorrel is one if these that can be fully enjoyed. It can be picked and eaten on your walk or collected and taken home for you fridge.

The leafs of this plant can add to any meal that you are preparing. I love the moment when I first see wild sorrel coming out, its the start of the woodlands bursting into life after a long cold winter.

This web page has a great discription…

“Carpeting old, undisturbed woodlands in spring, this pretty downy perennial also grows on moss-covered trees and shady walls and is widespread throughout the country. Each pretty white five-petalled bell-shaped flower (10 – 15 mm) is held solitarily on a stem which comes directly from the roots. The petals are lined with a tracery of pink veins through to the golden centre of the flower. The leaves are trifoliate, each leaflet heart-shaped and these fold up towards late afternoon or in rain as do the fragile flowers. They have a sharp taste of oxalic acid. This flower blooms from April to June, is a native plant and belongs to the family Oxalidaceae.

Also known as Wood Shamrock and Wood Sour, the leaves of this plant were used to make an ointment by early herbalists. Some people eat these leaves in salads or soups but beware, as large doses may cause oxalate poisoning. “