Bláthanna fiaíne ar an mbealach/Wildflowers to look out (and down) for as we climb.
Wall Pennywort/Navelwort/Carnán Caisil.
Flowers June-August. Grows @ up to 300m. Common on old stone walls, cliffs & rocky places. Greenish white and narrow. Circular leaves with navel -like depression. A medicinal plant. Its leaves are used in salads. The juice was prescribed for the treatment of inflammation, piles, chilblains, liver complaints & kidney stones. ”An t-arán glas” gnáthainm na nduilleog.
Bird’s foot Trefoil/Crobh Éin.
Flowers June-September Grows @ up to 400m. Yellow/orange-ish flower looks like a bird’s foot on slender stems. Is orthu a bheireann an Gormán Coiteann a chuid uibheacha. The Common Blue Butterfly lays its eggs here.
Flowers April-October. Grows @ up to 725m. Greenish brown flower in oblong spike. As its name as Gaeilge indicates this very common plant is a plant that cures . Luibh mór leighis é: níos fearr ná cupóg chun tú a leigheas ó dhó neantóig, ach an duilleog a chogaint ar dtúis. As well as easing the burn of a nettle or other sting better than a dock leaf the juice of this plant is a cure all. Dr. Dilis Clare Apothecary says
This plant, that is so common we could trip over it, could be called our ‘National treasure’.
See, pick & chew as you pass by. Imrítear an cluiche ‘saighdúirí’ leo. Children play a very ancient game of ‘soldiers’ with it.
Milkwort/Lus an Bhainne.
Flowers May-August. Grows @ up to 750m. This blue, pink, white or lavender weak-stemmed perennial is common in short grassland, especially in heathery places. The herbalists used an infusion of this plant to increase the milk supply of nursing mothers, as its name suggests.
Flowers March-October. Grows @ up to 800m. This very abundant well known yellow flower with milky sap has over 70 different species in Ireland & is much loved by bees. Easily recognised because of its ‘lions teeth‘: “Dents de Lion” from the French. As Gaeilge: Caisearbhán ‘gas searbhán’ bitter stem, it is best known for its diuretic properties, reflected in its common name in several languages. Popular in 1923: “Is minic a bhíodh duilleoga an chaisearbháin á ithe as a bpócaí ag na seandaoine mar a íosfá duileasc”. The seed heads are used in children games too ‘ag séideadh na cloigíní’.
Flowers May-September. Grows @ up to 1040 m. If there’s one flower you will come across on the Irish hills it’s Tormentil. Its bright yellow four petalled flowers dot the slopes from May to September. Its small flowers are typically only 4-11 mm in diameter and grow abundantly in grassy places, on heaths & bogs. Again this herb has healing properties. It is credited with astringent, haemostatic, vulnerary & anti-inflammatory properties for both human & animal ills. Bhaintí ruaim dhearg as an bpréamh lena ndathaítí leathar. The roots even provided tannin for which to dye leather.
So as we head into the hills we don’t always need to have our heads in the clouds. There is abundant beauty above & below us.
Nóirín Ní Chrualaoich.
- Flóra Chorca Dhuibhne. Máirín Uí Chonchúir, Aodhán Ó Conchúir.
- The Wildflowers of Ireland. Zoe Dillon.
- Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. Nicholas Culpeper
Buíochas do Nóirín Ní Chrualaoich as ucht a chuid eolais a roinnt agus a chuid ama a thabhairt gan aon streo. Is cinnte go mbainfidh ár mbaill taithneamh as an alt agus eolas. Many thanks to Nóirín Ní Chrualaoich one of our members who compiled this article for us to enjoy. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and for generously giving your time to enrich our experiences on the hills.