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07 Jul 2022

Kildare's Wildlife Watch: Lifelong learning about our native plants

With the Bog of Allen Nature Centre

Kildare's Wildlife Watch: Lifelong learning about our native plants

Weld. Picture: Una Vincent

I would like to say a special thanks to one of our community members who shared an image of this week’s species with me.

It is a wildflower that I have never come across before, so its arrival in my inbox reaffirmed my belief that learning about the diversity of plants and animals in our communities is a life-long learning process.

Did you know there are approximately 31,000 different species in Ireland! Using the image provided, I visited the website www.wildflowersofireland.net and identified this week’s species as weld (buí mór as Gaeilge).

This is a native plant and is in bloom between May-August each year. You may find this plant growing along your roadside verges, waste ground, rough grassland and indeed along the banks of the canal.

Weld does like calcareous (chalky soil containing calcium carbonate) ground, so its presence can be an indication of the type of soil in your local area.

This is also a biennial wildflower meaning that this wildflower has a two-year growing cycle. In the first year it will grow vegetatively and in its second year it produces its flowers and, once pollinated, its fruits and seeds.

Weld can be recognised by its height reaching up to 1.5metres tall. The flowers are held in long spikes, yellow to green in colour.

The leaves are narrow and oblong.

The lower leaves on the stem are stalked while the upper leaves are referred to as sessile, meaning they are not stalked, and the leave is directly attached to the stem.

Like many of our wild plants, weld also had a use in our communities many years ago. It is said the roots of the plant were harvested and used to extract a bright yellow dye.

This is why you may know this plant as Dyer’s Rocket or yellow-weed.

As the days are longer and the weather brightens, enjoy a walk in your local area and watch for weld growing.

If you are out and about andobserved an animal or wild plant that you would like help identifying, I am happy to help. Submit your sighting to bogs@ipcc.ie.

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