Information on Bog Asphodel

Common Name: Bog Asphodel
Scientific Name: Narthecium ossifragum
Irish Name: Sciollam na móna
Family Group: Nartheciaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Bog Asphodel is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.


 With a spike of starry, golden 12-15mm flowers which turn later to dark bronzey orange, the Bog Asphodel is a joy to behold when you find it growing in the bogs of Ireland.  Between six and twenty flowers are borne on a 15-30cm high stalk which has a very few small scale-like leaves.  They bloom in July and August. This is a rhizomatous perennial which has rigid, sword-shaped leaves, all coming from the roots. The whole plant turns dark orange-brown colour and persists into late autumn.  This is a native plant and belongs to the family Nartheciaceae

 I first identified this little plant in Glenmalure, Co Wicklow in 1976 and photographed it in the same spot in flower and in seed in 1990. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Asphodel, Bog
Asphodel, Bog

 This plant was given the species name of 'ossifragum' as it was blamed for causing broken bones in sheep which grazed through the bogs. Recent research agrees with early thinking as it seems Bog Asphodel contains chemicals which have an adverse effect on bone.  In former times, in some areas, this plant was known as 'Maiden Hair' because the yellow flowers were used as hair dye.