Monday, October 17, 2011

Irish Spurge Is English Too

Irish Spurge, Euphorbia hyberna
Ireland scored a little bit of a coup when Irish Spurge was given the scientific name Euphorbia hyberna. A spurge from Ireland, is the (very) rough translation, even though it is also found extensively in the south-western Mediterranean region and northern Portugal (1). Indeed its distribution in Ireland is limited to the south-west of the country, in Co. Kerry and west Co. Cork. It is to be found in damp, shaded areas, particularly wooded slopes where its upright stems bear striking yellow flowers that lack sepals or petals (2) and that were unfortunately gone from the plant pictured here. Due to its distribution in Iberia and the west of Ireland, it is frequently quoted as one of the 'Lusitana Flora' common to both areas, but lacking in the flora of Ireland's nearest neighbour, Britain. However this assertion is not true: E. hybernia is present in the flora of West Cornwall, North Devon and South Somerset, being extremely local in all three areas (3).
Irish Spurge, Euphorbia hyberna
  1. Appendino et al., 2002. Fitoterapia 73 pp. 576-582
  2. Sterry, 2004. Collins Guide to Irish Wildlife p. 218
  3. Stace, 1997. New flora of the British Isles p. 459

No comments:

Post a Comment