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The Kerry Lily

The Kerry Lily does grow in France, but for the British Isles, Kerry is just about the only place you will find it. It was once naturalised near the sea in Dorset and Hampshire but apparently is no more.

So we decided to take a detour to find it on the way to the Burren at about the right time. I found plants on Lamb's Head but it took a while to find an open flower - we were a bit early there. However, lower down and in a more sheltered area at Derrynane nearby we found more - although actually the plants were much less abundant there. (At least where we looked.)

Then on the Irish news a week later we heard that roadworks on the Ring of Kerry were halted further East from the known habitat because the flower had been found in a nearby field. It also seems that it has been found on the Iveragh peninsula further south (where I know similar habitats to Lamb's head are to be found). I think the Kerry Lily's future in Ireland is assured.

François Bahuaud tells me he has seen this near Bordeaux and it is called "Phalangère à feuilles planes", "Siméthis à feuilles aplaties" or "Siméthis de Mattiazzi" in France. Visit his site at www.oudon.net.

S W Ireland, Simethis planifolia
The Lily grows with grasses on south facing slopes above boggier troughs where  Heath-spotted Orchid and Lousewort was abundant at the same time.

In the wetter parts on Lamb's Head, bog cotton grows.

Looking down from where the Lily grows on Lamb's Head.

Around Derryname we walked through dense herbage (including the weed Rhododendron ponticum above) on the low hillside. The Lily was occupying the grassy bits in between.
Kerry Lily Kerry Lily Kerry Lily Kerry Lily Kerry Lily

A French example from near Bordeax - Picture by François Bahuaud

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© J R Crellin 2005