Yellow Rattle is a well-known wildflower commonly found in meadows, grassy places, heaths and machair. It produces loose, leafy spikes of flowers, usually yellow but occasionally brownish, from May to September. The flowers (13-15mm long) are 2-lipped corollas which have blue or violet teeth and are open-mouthed. The leaves are oblong with rounded teeth, are unstalked and opposite. The seeds are formed inside inflated, dry capsules which, when ripe, rattle and eventually release the seeds to the wind. This is a native plant belonging to the family Scrophulariaceae.
I first recorded this plant in 1976 at Rossadillisk, Co Galway. The plants were growing in a beautiful old meadow by the sea, among a great number of wildflowers, all crowded together and swaying their heads in the breeze. The hidden Corncrakes were calling 'Crex Crex' and it seemed as if time had passed it by altogether. It was both a sight and a feeling I shall never forget. I photographed it in Ballytore, Co Kildare in 2004.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please record your sighting for the 2014 wildflower mapping survey at www.biology.ie