Irish Wildflowers growing on Limestone

Much of Ireland is comprised of Carboniferous limestone but in many areas it is covered with layers of gravel, clay and peat. Calcareous grassland is found on the sides of esker ridges in the midlands and in areas with free draining limestone-based soils. On calcareous heaths there can be a combination of acid-loving and calcicole plants growing together as the surface layer of the soil is leached away by rainfall. Neutral and calcareous soils are rich in nutrients and minerals and support a much wider flora than acidic soils.

One of the few areas where the bare rock is exposed is the Burren in Co.Clare, Irelands most famous limestone plant habitat, with a wide and varied flora growing in the cracks on its limestone pavements. County Fermanagh also has an small area of limestone pavement. Below are some Irish wildflowers that are found on calcareous and base-rich soils. Lichens found in the Burren can be seen here (link opens in new window).

avens,mountain (leaithín) bedstraw,ladys (boladh cnis) bedstraw,limestone (rú beag) bedstraw,northern (rú crua) betony (lus beatha) bramble,stone (sú na mban mín) broomrape,thyme (múchóg dhearg) bugle,pyramidal (glasair bheannach) burnet,salad (lus an uille) burnet-saxifrage (ainís fhiáin) burnet-saxifrage,greater(coll an dromáin) buttercup,bulbous (tuile thalún) Buttercup, goldilocks (Gruaig Mhuire) Buttercup, goldilocks (Gruaig Mhuire) cabbage,wild (cabáiste fiáin) centuary (dréimire mhuire) chamomile,common chicory (siocaire) Cinquefoil, shrubby (Tor cúigmhéarach) cranesbill,bloody (crobh dearg) cranesbill,doves-foot (crobh bog) cranesbill,long-stalked (crobh coilm) cranesbill,meadow (crobh gorm) cowslip (bainne bó bleachtáin) Dandelion, turlough Dandelion, turlough dewberry (eithreog) dodder,common (clamhán) Dropwort (Lus braonach) everlasting,mountain (catluibh) eyebright (glanrosc) eyebright,irish (glanrosc gaelach) gentian,spring (Ceadharlach Bealtaine) gentian,autumn (muilcheann) goldenrod (slat óir) harebell (méaracán gorm) hawkweed (lus na seabhac) Helleborine, broad-leaved (Ealabairín) helleborine,dark-red (cuaichín dearg) herb robert ssp (ruithéal rí) hounds-tongue (teanga chan) knapweed,greater (mínscoth mhor) meadow-rue,lesser (rú léana beag) medick,black (dúmheidic) milkwort,common (lus an bhainne) orchid,bee (magairlín na mbeach) orchid,dense flowered (magairlín glas) orchid,fly (magairlín na gcuileanna) orchid,fragrant,heath (lus taghla) orchid,fragrant,marsh (lus taghla) orchid,western marsh (magairlín gaelach) orchid,pyramidal (magairlín na stuaice) orchid,common spotted (naucht bhallach) orchid, spotted, O'Kellys parsley piert (mionán muire) ramsons (creamh) restharrow (fréamhacha tairne) rock-rose,hoary (grianrós liath) rose,burnet (briulán) sandwort,spring (gaineamhlus earraigh) saxifrage,irish (mórán gaelach) saxifrage,mossy (mórán caonaigh) squinancywort (lus an haincise) stonewort (Luibheolaíocht) thistle,carline (feochadán mín) thistle,meadow (Feochadán móna) thistle,musk (feochadán crom) vetch,kidney (méara muire) Water-plantain, lesser (Corrchopóg bheag) wild carrot (mealbhacán) woodruff,sweet (lus moiles) yellow-wort (gréimire buí)

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