A member of the bellflower family (Campanulaceae), it also goes by the names of:
Blue Bonnets, Blue Buttons, Blue Daisy, Iron Flower & Sheep’s Scabious.
If anyone happens to know why it has any reference to sheep – please, do tell!
I’m quite pleased with myself. I actually managed to find out what this plant was with relative ease! I will admit to originally thinking it was some sort of “cornflower”. It’s a colour thing, for lack of any other reason.
I quickly realised my mistake. I began to think that it looked like it could be a clover, not the four-leaf kind, but the white and red kind. That, in turn, led me to making the correct identification on the website Wildflowers of Ireland. It’s got a handy “Plants by Colour” page. I like simple forms of identification like that. Terms like “anthers”, “bracts” and “stigmas” can induce a flat panic on a bad day. Clearly I am not a plant taxonomist…
“It is a rock plant growing on heaths and moors at a high elevation in rocky districts, coastal cliffs, quarries and natural escarpments where the soil is thin. It prefers acid soils and is absent from limestone regions. It is often found on coastal cliffs in association with thrift and kidney vetch and blooms from May to September.”
Which would be about right.
I found this little pocket of Sheep’s bit on a cliff top, which offers “The Best View of the Skelligs” whilst driving around the Ring of Kerry last year.
Ireland – August, 2010