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Kildare's Wildlife Watch: The scrambling purple-leaved yellow-sorrel

With the Irish Peatlands Conservation Council

Kildare's Wildlife Watch: The scrambling purple-leaved yellow-sorrel

Purple-leaved yellow-sorrel

At the Bog of Allen Nature Centre we do not use any chemicals. This is a choice made to support our local wildlife and we are always amazed at the variety of wild flowers that emerge annually.

In the gravel yard at the entrance of the centre, one plant in particular has just started to bloom and I was interested to learn more about it. Using both an app on my phone called PlantNet and an Irish website I now believe the plant to be purple-leaved yellow-sorrel.

Ireland does have a native species of wood sorrel which has white bell shaped flowers and green leaves that are trifoliate (that is, each leaf has three lobes similar to clover). Yet the purpleleaved yellow-sorrel is not native andis believed to have escaped from a garden.

Just to note — as a non-native plant there is, at this time, no Irish translation to provide for this species.

The purple-leaved yellow-sorrel is growing abundantly in the gravel car park at the entrance to the centre.

Similar to wood sorrel, its leaves are also trifoliate with a very significant difference in colour.

As its name suggests, purple-leaved yellow-sorrel has wine/bronze coloured leaves.

The flower is also a different colour, consisting of five yellow petals. Purple-leaved yellow-sorrel is also described as procumbent which, according to the website Wildflowers of Ireland, this means it is a plant that is low-growing and scrambles across the ground.

Reading further, it is said that this plant thrives in greenhouses — however it definitely can withstand the temperate Irish climate as it has no problem scrambling along the gravel yard at the Bog of Allen Nature Centre!

It reproduces using both seeds and vegetatively, to successfully establish itself in gardens once introduced, and if allowed can become a threat to other plants growing.

Will you find purple-leaved yellow-sorrell in your garden or community this week?

If you would like help identifying local wildlife or indeed to share your images of local wildlife encountered to be used in a future wildlife watch contact me on 045 860133 or

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