Hypericum and so related to the John's Wort can be seen on both the Green and Purple tracks at the Rock.Known as touch and heal in Leitrim; Ull an Mhadra Rua,Fox's Apple elsewhere.
The berries are currently red and will turn to purplish black.
Corrupted from the French,Tout sain,meaning - all wholesome - the leaves were widely used to treat wounds.
Classed as a native,though scattered and mainly in the south-west.
The Irish name above is said to derive from the strong swine-like smell of the bruised plant.Despite this,the smell of the dried leaves was said to expel ghosts,evil spirits and impure carnal desires - this last smells catholic,doesn't it just;won't try it just yet.
In ancient Greece it was associated with chastity,and women who wished to remain chaste put it under their beds! Lads and lassies catered for.
Here and in Britain the pounded leaves were mixed with lard to produce an ointment for dressing cuts and wounds.
Sources as ever McCoitir's Irish Wild Plants,Flora and Fauna Nomenclature,Ainmneacha Plandai agus Ainmhithe;Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe,Sutton D.;Parragon Kingfisher Books;as well as Andy - I was wrong again in the ID of this plant!
Take a close look and see the difference - and I am wearing my reading glasses! - a case of before and after thanks to the work of our painter Janis,a man of many parts who has given two coats of Fence Line,Paddy Millea's best brew,to our fence at the Rock.A third coat will follow in due course after a period of 'curing'.You have to admit we do it right.Our thanks to Janis.
You will also see that stone has been added along the Trailhead courtesy of Tipp. County Council workers who made the drop and to our neighbour,Liam Browne who spread the stone with rake and perspiration.Our thanks Liam.
August we have spent on various jobs including identifying various plants which have been growing under our feet,unrecognized but for the sharp eyes of our latest volunteer Andy;encouraging briars to move off the tracks with use of the 'gawlogue',a forked stick much favoured by a late uncle of mine,Paddy Whelan exposing shrubs,bushes and trees,especially at the area of the old gate on the Green Walk,north-west corner.
Included here are the Whitethorn,Spindle,Ash,a magnificent Cherry and others as yet unidentified.Some pollarded trees are to be seen in the vicinity of the old gate entrance as well.
Here in particular more light and space is in evidence and this should encourage over time the flourishing of the existing flora as well as the emergence of what lies hidden in the ground - my next blog will deal with one such that has appeared in the vicinity lately.
Spreading underground to form vast clumps,this plant bears slender spikes of rose-purple flowers,some still in evidence as I write.In Autumn it has fluffy masses of plumed seeds.The plant is much in evidence throughout the Rock walks and is awaiting your attention!
Walk the walk on the Green track to find this beauty.From the trailhead head west along the loop and in no time you will see on your right clusters of this beautiful plant on the fringes of the track.As far as I can make out the plant is a perennial and a native.
Charlotte de la Bedoyere in her lovely book 'Portrait of a Woodland' has this to say " ...a single plant is unspectacular but viewed en-masse - they usually grow in large ground-covering colonies - they are truly enchanting.If you go into the woods at dusk,or even in the dark with a torch,their white spires light up like a mass of tiny candles.It is a true woodland plant that evokes haunting and magic .If they got up and walked,it would not be difficult to imagine a crowd of sprites on the move."
In the book Field Guide to the Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe mention is made that while the plant can be easily overlooked with it's small two-petalled white flowers it is better known for its bur-like fruits which become entangled in socks or pet's fur.This is the plant's method of dispersal courtesy of passing animals or humans.Flowers June through August.So there is still time to see it.
I can still remember as a boy picking the burrs from my socks before going in the door at home after the day spent in the woods and hills about Clonmel.
A word of welcome to our newbie volunteer,Andy courtesy of our friends at Sth.Tipp Voluntary Service unit.He has already put in two morning sessions,with two to follow, tomorrow and Wed.
He comes to us with a wealth of experience including two years of Horticulture - Failte Ui Cheallaigh romhat.
Andy it was who recognized the plant above,the photos are courtesy of that fantastic site www.irishwild flowers.com - will attach link later.
The following is from Mac Coitir-Irish Wild Plants -still available down Mitchell St. at Andrew's bookshop -
'As the name suggests the woundworts were used in traditional medicine for treating wounds.
In Irish folk medicine woundworts were used for that purpose in Counties Wicklow and Galway,and the leaves were used to dress sores in Westmeath.
Woundworts are members of the dead-nettle family,the Lamiaceae.'
The name in Irish suggests widespread use throughout the island of Ireland - Creachtlus an Fhail.
Flowers July to September,is a perennial and a native.Can still be seen along the Green walk, walking west.
Autumn is upon us,having stealthily felt its way until....and now the first leaves are falling!Look around you there is still much to see and enjoy as the images above attest...Water Crowfoot on the river,a Heron walking on water on the Suir,and a ceramic Bee in Dennis Burke Park!
Speaking of...work has begun preparing the ground by way of walkways and other features as these images show...
If you are in the area of the park have a look from the Raheen Road and you will see the 'new park' emerge from the old.
author artist activist