Month: March 2021

Goat Willow

Ovals of Gold

Ovals of Gold Male catkins (Credit E. Ó Murchú) (1) The Goat willow (Salix caprea) or Saileach dubh in Irish is inconspicuous for most of the year.  However, in March it displays its male catkins which are covered in golden pollen.  These make it stand out in the hedgerows before it fades back into obscurity…

Shamrock

A Confusing Quintet

Shamrock Yellow clover (1a) Scrambling yellow clover on wall (1b) St. Patrick arrived to spread Christianity throughout the island in 432 A.D. and it is said that he used the shamrock as a metaphor for the holy Trinity. But which one?  There are five contenders for the title.The word “Shamrock” itself is derived from two…

Primrose

Harbinger of Spring

Primroses Primroses (1) Primrose (Primula vulgaris) or Sabhaircín in Irish is a true harbinger of spring. Its English name derives from the Latin words prima rosa which means “first flower”.  It has pale yellow petals and wrinkled dark green leaves (1). There are lines of darker yellow towards the centre of the flower.  These are…