Wildflowers on Benevenagh


Cut-leaved Cranesbill

A native annual which is found growing in very inhospitable, stony paths.

Its lovely little flowers like the sun and stay tightly closed in shade, but in full sun resemble its relative Herb Robert.
Cut-leaved Cranesbill
Geranium dissectum
Health Bedstraw
Galium saxitile

Heath Bedstraw

A pretty native perennial which clothes the drystone walls in curtains of blossoms. It also likes to grow along the ditches, which in this year (2006) are much drier than usual.

Before the flowers appear, the mats of leaves look very attractive along the laneway.

Marsh Thistle

This native biennial is striking in more ways than one. It grows almost to the height of a small man and the young stems can be eaten - raw or boiled. So if you like your vegetables local, why not indulge in some thistle soup followed by marsh thistle salad.

And please, don't forget to tell us what it tastes like.
A nice thristle.
Cirsium palustre
Shepherd's Purse
Capsella bursa-pastoris

Shepherd's Purse

A very common annual which produces little purse-shaped fruits. As children we feasted on the purses for their burst of flavour - especially after rain.

The plant was considered useful for treating bleeding.

Presumably it was not so useful as a purse, considering how many of them you find lying around up here.

Meadow Vetchling

A native perennial of the hedgerows. It looks very like Bird's Foot Trefoil and grows in similar habitats.
Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis
Persian speedwell
Veronica persica

Persian Speedwell

Introduced from Asia during Victorian times, this is another of the eye-catching speedwells. It grows to 35cm.

Great Willowherb

A native perennial which likes to grow where drainage water runs off the mountain. It reaches about 1.5 m in height and has a beautiful soft furry texture to its leaves.

It depends on bumble bees for pollination, but its nectar is not as sweet as the imported pestilential Indian Balsam, so in some areas it is losing the battle for the bees. Not on Benevenagh though.
Great Willowherb
Epilobium hirsutum
Potentilla erecta


A very common native perennial which grows in large mats on sunny banks. Its roots contain tannin and in the past was used to treat burns. The plant itself was said to cure numerous digestive afflictions.

Judging by the name, it can't have tasted very nice.

Flowers can have 4 or 5 petals.

Honeysuckle or Woodbine

A native shrub bringing perfume to the hedgerows by growing up hawthorne hedges on the mountain to a height of 7 m.

Older readers will remember a brand of cigarettes named after this plant - they were much less beautiful and very much smellier of course.
Lonicera periclymenum
Little star
Stellaria graminea

Lesser Stitchwort

A beautiful native perennial. This tiny jewelled star gleams in the hedgerows - its thin stems nearly invisible.


A sweetly-scented native perennial common all over the mountain. It has properties similar to aspirin and can be used as an infusion of the dried flower-heads.
Filipendula ulmaria
White Campion
Silene alba

White Campion

A native perennial which can cross with Red Campion to give a delicate pink. So far we have only spotted one example of this plant.

Goosegrass - locally Robin-run-the-Hedge

This sticky customer is a native annual which produces masses of long (2 m) hooked stems. The plant can grow up a hedge or cover ground at astonishing speed.

The small fruits are also hooked and can totally enclose a Border Collie in a tangled green mass. One of our Collies became an expert at fur combing using his teeth to remove the things one by one.
Galium aparine
Spear Thistle
Cirsium vulgare

Spear Thistle

A common native biennial which is elegant and beautiful.
This plant is armed with some /very/ sharp thorns.

Photographers beware: This plant can hurt you if you fall over in the wrong direction.

Kidney Vetch or Lady's Fingers

This pretty native perennial grows profusely on the bare ground amongst the rocks around Benevenagh Lake, but is less obvious on the sunny western slopes of the mountain.

It would appear that it likes the strong salty breezes on the mountain top. The plant was used in the past to treat wounds.
Kidney Vetch
Anthyllis vulneraria
Heath Spotted Orchid
Dactylorhiza maculata

Heath Spotted Orchid

One of several types of native Orchid to be found on the mountain. This variety loves acid soil and thrives on the bogs, in fields and on the roadsides.

It is very similar to the Common Spotted Orchid but has more intricate flowers.

Sea Plantain

This native perennial was found growing 300 metres above the sea near the lake.

It probably feels quite at home when the strong winds lift the Atlantic spray around it.
Sea Plantain
Plantago maritima
Dog Rose
Rosa canina

Dog Rose

A widespread native shrub with a delicate perfume.
It grows wild in the hedgerows across the mountain - and has been planted as a hedging shrub. Its lovely flowers vary from white to pink. The red hips, a source of vitamin C, were used to make syrup and jelly.

As children, we used to collect them for sale at one shilling per bucket.

Tufted Vetch

A common climbing perennial, not usually found on mountains, but which splashes the hedgerows of lower Benevenagh with vivid purple patches.

In certain areas the flowers are a delicate pink.
Tufted vetch
Vicia cracca
The bell of a hare? Campanula rotundifolia

Harebell or Scottish Bluebell

A native perennial with a very subtle colour. Widely spread along fences and banks where the sheep's jaws are not so active. It looks so delicate and fragile but can stand up to the strong winds on Benevenagh quite well.

It has to be said that what with the bluebells ringing in the Spring and the harebells joining in during the Summer: you can hardly hear yourself think up here.

Return to the Wildflower page

Return button with shellduck

An e-mail envelope

Wild comments

Continue with next page

Return button with shellduck