Members Reports and Photos


SATURDAY 26th APRIL 2015                           HOWTH HEAD

Leader:  David Nash

On a cold and wet day we assembled near Bottle Quay at the beginning of the cliff path. Weather conditions made in difficult to consult our floras for the common names of some of the species.  A substantial colony of Cowslip was seen on a patch of scraped ground near the entrance and a single plant of the hybrid with Primrose was observed on a roadside lawn on the return journey. Alexanders lined the initial part of the path/roadway and White Bryony was clambering over the shaven hedgerow. One of the most obvious plant in bloom was the white-flowered Three-cornered Garlic. This invasive alien seemed to be everywhere. A native of North Africa and other Mediterranean countries, it was first introduced to Britain in the 19th Century. Its distribution vector is said to be ants; so the latter must be doing well on the peninsula! Spanish Bluebell, or its hybrid with Bluebell, was also quite plentiful but we did also see some native Bluebell. We saw Spring Squill in quite a few locations at its seasonal best, the first encounter being west of Red Rock.

The rain eventually abated after a wet lunch and allowed for the photographing of species which included Sea Wormwood at its only Howth Station. We continued on the pathway to Drumleck and the Needles and noted that the Hottentot-fig had survived, in considerable quantity, the efforts made to exterminate it. Patches where it had been treated successuflly with herbicide were black but were being recolonised by Honeysuckle and the Fig itself (which will win this time?) and other plants adapted to the cliffside habitat. We took our exit via Ceanchor and back along Carrickbrack Road to our starting point at Sheilmartin Road. Amongst the plants noted in the latter part of the outing was a wall covered with the fern Black Spleenwort.

Some of he plants encountered are listed below.

                                                                                                                     LIST OF PLANTS NOTED

Scientific Name

Common Name

Aira praecox

Early Hair-grass

Alliaria petiolata

Garlic Mustard

Allium triquetrum

Three-cornered Garlic

Alopecurus pratensis

Meadow Foxtail

Anthoxanthum odoratum

Sweet Vernal-grass

Anthyllis vulneraria

Kidney Vetch

Aphanes sp.


Arabidopsis thaliana

Thale Cress

Armeria martitima


Artemisia maritima

Sea Wormwood

Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

Black Spleenwort

Bryony dioica

White Bryony

Calluna vulgaris


Capsella bursa-pastoris


Cardamine flexuosa

Wavy Bitter-cress

Carex panicea

Carnation Sedge

Carpobrotus edulis


Cerastium glomeratum

Sticky Mouse-ear

Cratageus monogyna


Dactylis glomerata


Festuca rubra

Red Fescue

Ficaria verna

Lesser Celandine

Gaultheria shallon


Hedera helix


Hyacinthoides non-scripta


H. non-scripta x H. hispanica

a hybrid Bluebell

Hypochaeris radicata


Inula crithmoides


Juncus articulatus

Jointed Rush

Juncus gerardii

Saltmarsh Rush

Juncus maritimus

Sea Rush

Libertia formosa


Limonium binervosum

Rock Sea-lavender

Lonicera periculenum


Lotus corniculatus


Luzula campestris

Field Wood-rush

Medicago lupulina

Black Medick

Plantago coronopus

Buck's-horn Plantain

Plantago lanceolata

Ribwort Plantain

Plantago major

Greater Plantain

Plantago maritima

Sea Plantain

Primula veris


Primula vulgaris


P. vulgaris x P. veris

P. x polyantha

Prunus spinosa


Pteridium aquilinum


Rhinanthus minor


Rubus fruticosus


Rumex acetosa

Common Sorrel

Rumex acetosella

Sheep's Sorrel

Rumex crispus

Curled Dock

Rumex obtusifolius

Broad-leaved Dock

Sambucus nigra


Scilla verna

Spring Squill

Silene uniflora

Sea Campion

Smyrnium olusatrum


Stellaria holostea

Greater Stichwort

Stellaria media

Common Chickweed

Thymus polytrichus

Wild Thyme

Trifolium pratense

Red Clover

Trifolium repens

White Clover

Ulex europaeus


Valerianella carinata

Keel-fruited Cornsalad

Veronica hederifolia

Ivy-leaved Speedwell

Viola riviniana

Common Dog-violet



                             Gaultheria shallon                                              Martello Tower                                Sea Cliff (Armeria in foreground) 


               Hyacinthoides non-scriptus x H. hispanica         H. non-scriptus                 Scilla verna                                            


Armeria maritima                  Plantago coronopus                          Cochlearia officinalis 


Silene uniflora


Alliaria petiolata                    Artemisia maritima (with C. officinalis)                 Beta maritima                         


Lotus corniculatus                                     Anthyllis vulneraria                                        Artemisia maritima   


Carex flacca                                      Luzula campestris                                                Vicia sepium            


                         Bryony dioica                                     Allium triquetrum                              Smyrnium olusatrum               


                 Sinapis arvensis                             Asplenium adiantum-nigrum

Photographs © P. Lenihan

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