The Irish coastline offers a wide range of habitats for wildflowers, bare and windswept cliffs, sand dunes and shingle beaches, sheltered estuaries and mud-flats. The one factor common to these widely differing enviroments is the presence of salt, and to survive plants must be able to retain moisture, giving them many similarities to plants found growing in deserts and other very dry places.
Salt-tolerant plants close to the tidal line have very fleshy leaves to cope with frequent immersion in salt water. Wildflowers on cliffs, dunes and coastal grassland must have leaves able to survive the drying effect of salt-laden winds. Below are some wildflowers often found in coastal areas of Ireland. Please hover over images for the Common and Irish name and click image for more photographs, plant details and distribution maps. Coastal lichens can be seen here.