To find this little wildflower, you really have to take yourself to the Burren or the Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland. These flowers are just one of the many attractions this region has to offer and they are well worth the search. They are low-growing plants – only reaching about 20 cm high – as the prevailing, salt-laden winds coming in from the west keep them from growing any taller. In July and August the cushion-forming plants catch the eye of anyone stepping carefully across the top of the limestone cliffs which border the Atlantic. There are clusters of lavender-coloured, five-petalled flowers (5 – 6 mm) which grow on the tough, branched stalks and the basal rosettes are crowded with pale, fleshy, glaucous, spatulate leaves. This is a perennial, a native species and it belongs to the Plumbagianaceae family.
I first came across and photographed this plant at Ballyryan, County Clare in 2010. I am grateful to Dr Sharon Parr, BSBI Joint Vice-County Recorder for that County, for her confirmation of my identification.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre