Wildflowers on Benevenagh

Late Summer

Water Mint Mentha aquatica

Water Mint

A wonderfully-scented native perennial which grows in damp places. As the leaves are crushed or broken by the walker's feet, the perfume released is quite delicious, especially on a warm, windstill day - not too many of those on Benevenagh, though!

This all depends on the cleanliness of the walker's feet of course.

Giant Hogweed

This introduced perennial was probably popular in Victorian times for its magnificent size (3.5 m) and its usefulness in dried flower arrangements.

Now that it has escaped into the wild it is trying to dominate. Its hollow stems make tempting pea shooters for kids, but contain a sap which blisters the skin when it is exposed to the sun. That'll teach 'em!
Giant Hogweed Heracleum mantegazzianum
Heath Speedwell
Veronica officinalis

Heath Speedwell

A native perennial which is common amongst grass on the mountain. Tremendous healing properties were credited to this rather ordinary-looking plant. Infusions were drunk to cure bronchitis, gout, whooping cough, stones in the bladder, rheumatism, liver complaints - you name it. Whether one had to have all the diseases for it to work is another matter.


A native biennial which is a pest to long-haired animals as the hooked bristly heads entangle ferociously in fur and fleece. In fact it was when dogs' fur and plants like the burdock were studied more closely that Velcro was invented. A lovely-looking plant which is a prolific seed-sower.
A burdock
Arctium minus
Cat's Ear
Hyptochoeris radicata

Cat's Ear

This native perennial flowers everywhere for most of the summer. It is another source of alternative salad leaves, practically all the year round.
If I had a cat whose ear looks like that, I would be seriously worried!
Another healer
Prunella vulgaris


A native perennial which is widespread on banks and paths.
As the name implies it was thought to have had important medicinal qualities, healing everything - allegedly - from strokes to croup!

Could this be the answer to long waiting lists in the health service?


An introduced perennial which grows in abundance at our spring, creating a beautiful carpet 20 cm deep.
Mimulus gullatus
Myosotis laxa

Tufted Forget-me-not

A native annual of the damper places on the mountain, this beautiful flower has long been associated with the constancy of lovers. It was embroidered on bridal dresses and often given as a love token.


A native biennial/perennial which is extremely poisonous with beautiful heads of purple or cream flowers.

This is obviously a well loved plant, but the bit about the foxes and the gloves is just wishful thinking. If not, then there is something seriously wrong with the foxes on Benevenagh who seem to lack all dress-sense.
Birdsfoot trefoil
Digitalis purpurea
Heracleum sphondylium

Hogweed or Cow Parsnip

A very widespread native perennial which is everywhere on the mountain. It used to be gathered for pigfeed, hence its name and rumour has it that the young shoots taste like asparagus.

Ribwort Plantain

A native perennial which grows absolutely everywhere. As children we called it Lamb's Tails and played a game similar to conkers to try to knock the opponent's head off (the plant, of course, though creative mistakes were entirely possible).
Plantago lanceolata
Lady's Bedstraw
Galium verum

Lady's Bedstraw

A sweetly-scented native perennial which is common on banks and ditches on Benevenagh. The name derives from the legend that Mary gave birth to Jesus on a bed made from this plant.

Prickly Sowthistle

A very common native annual which sows copious amounts of seeds all over the place.
Sonchus asper
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