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07 Jul 2022

Kildare's Wildlife Watch - Broom is in bloom

With the Irish Peatland Conservation Council

Kildare's Wildlife Watch - Broom is in bloom

Broom. Picture: Nuala Madigan

Broom (Giolcach shléibhe as Gaeilge) is in bloom! This is a native shrub that can grow to up to two metres in height.

At a distance, the wildflower looks very similar to gorse — however, broom does not have the prickly spines that gorse has, making it safe to venture closer for a look.

The bright yellow flowers can be seen each May and June and have a vanilla scent. The leaves are lanceolate (narrow and spear shaped much longer than wide) and trefoil (a leaf with three lobes similar to clover) which are supported on wiry stems.

The leaves are deciduous, meaning broom loses its leaves in autumn leaving behind the wiry stems to overwinter.

Once the flowers have been pollinated, the fruits emerge and are similar in appearance to a pea pod. This will turn black in autumn as it ripens and eventually burst open to spread their seeds.

Broom can be found growing in grassland, coastal and bogland areas. It is said the plant got its common name as, traditionally, the wiry stems were picked to make a sweeping brush. Another example of a plant used in this way is heather.

I am always encouraging you to get out and explore your local area and this weekend I will be giving a talk on biodiversity at a Family Sustainable Living Day that will be hosted by Monasterevin Sustainable Energy Community on Saturday, June 11.

The day will run from 9am-5pm and is supported by Kildare Local Community Development Committee and County Kildare LEADER Partnership.

While I will present on biodiversity, other speakers on the day will explore water, energy, food and waste.

If you cannot make the talks but have a short time to spare, why not drop in to learn more about these environmental themes at the market information stands.

If you plan on attending the talks, you will need to register on Eventbrite as spaces are limited. Search ‘Sustainable Living With Monasterevin SEC’.

Don’t forget if you come across a wildlife species that you would like help identifying I would be happy to help. Contact me at bogs@ipcc.ie.

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