Wildflowers on Benevenagh


Wood Sorrel

A native perennial which likes the shady banks and gullies on the mountain. In sheltered spots its leaves open wide, but elsewhere form a pagoda-like backdrop for its delicate flowers. The leaves can be eaten in salads, which seems to be a shame.
Wood Sorrel
Oxalis acetosella
A bluebell Endymion non-scriptus

Bluebell or Wild Hyacinth

This is a native bulb flower. Carpets of dusty bluebells in the spring woods produce a wonderful scent.

On Benevenagh they grow on banks and hedgerows. Bluebells can also have white or pink flowers and may grow to a height of 50cm.

Bitter Vetch

A native perennial which clambers about in the hedgerows. Its black seedpods produce an interesting, if short-lived, addition to flower arrangements.

At one point in history someone must actually have eaten this plant! We would very much like to hear from any survivors.
Bitter Vetch Lathyrus linifolius
Veronica chamaedrys

Germander Speedwell

This is a native perennial. It is a very little beauty and is wonderful combined with the undergrowth and other flowering plants growing on banks.

As children we called it cat's eyes or kid's eyes.


A native shrub growing to 7 m in height. Locally referred to as bowtree or bourtree and traditionally a source of awe. It was considered bad luck to burn elder.
Its flowers and fruit are made into delicious wine -

if the fermentation locks worked, the year was a good one, the bottles were clean and any number of other hurdles were overcome.
Elderflower Sambucus nigra
Bellis perennis


A native perennial which is not as common on the mountain as in the valley, probably because it likes to grow on mountain tracks where it gets trampled on and driven over.

The name comes from 'day's eye' as it opens wide on sunny, bright days.

Thyme-leaved Speedwell

This native perennial is a further example of the lovely speedwell family, growing on waste or disturbed ground.
The flowers are small and less eye-catching than some of its relatives, but its clusters of leafy spikes are very attractive.
Thyme-leaved Speedwell
Veronica serpyllifolia
Cerastium glomeratum

Sticky Mouse-ear Chickweed

This stuff is everywhere in one form or another, but this particular native annual has lovely soft furry leaves.

The tiny flowers rarely open fully, forming a cluster of buds and half-opened blossoms.

Red Campion

A native perennial which grows on shady hedgerows but interestingly is rare in Southern Ireland. It has large, soft leaves and can hybridise with white campion to produce a pink variety.
Red Campion
Silene dioica
Bush Vetch
Vicia sepium

Bush Vetch

The earliest of the vetches which struggles against the grass in hedgerows - and wins - forming large bushes of leaves, tendrils and flowers.

Its delicate flowers can be purple or blue and its seed pods are black. A native perennial, it is a welcome sight.

Wild Strawberry

A native perennial which grows in abundance on the sunny banks of the mountain. Its delicious fruit is so far removed from the commercially-produced nonenity as to seem like a different species. Superb.

It shares its habitat with the Barren Strawberry, but lacks the large gaps between petals, which identify the barren variety.
Wild Strawberry
Fragaria vesca
Cuckoo Flower
Cardamine pratensis

Cuckoo Flower

Lady's Smock or Mayflower

A pretty perennial which likes damp ground and arrives on Benevenagh at the same time of year as the noisy 5 am cuckoo.

This plant is also known as Mayflower and the Pilgrim Fathers' ship may have been named after it. The leaves resemble Watercress and apparently can be eaten like cress.

Greater Spearwort

This is a rare native perennial which normally grows on marshy ground and has appeared in the outflow from our storm drains. As marshlands are drained, its habitat has disappeared.

Its flowers are much larger than the common Lesser variety and are a glorious yellow.
Greater Spearwort
Ranunculus lingua
Wooden Enemy
Anenome nemorosa

Wood Anenome

A native perennial which grows in abundance in large patches, sometimes in fairly windy locations. This ability to grow on top of the mountain and nod in the wind may account for its alternative name - Windflower.

Its delicate-looking petals are usually white with lilac streaks, but it can appear pink also.


This native perennial normally likes grassy woods, but this specimen was part of a little group growing on a stony path, sending out its rooting stems in all directions.

Unfortunately, the next herd of passing cows will probably stop its progress.
Ajuga repans
Pimpernel Lysimachia nemorum

Yellow Pimpernel

A creeping native perennial which grows on shady banks and is fairly widespread.  It is one of many glowing yellow flowers blooming at this time of year and is instantly recognisable by its beautiful heart-shaped leaves.

Unlike its cousin, Creeping Jenny, this little beauty opens its flowers fully.

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