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Early in the spring, the Irish countryside slowly comes to life. All the little wildflowers begin to stretch up out of the ground, and their cheery colours really are a pleasant sight after the long winter months.

So what is a wildflower? A wildflower literally means a flower that grows naturally in the wild and has not been planted intentionally.

When you're out rambling in the countryside, or the park in your town, you will be amazed at the variety of colourful wildflowers you can find if you take the time to look!

While they can grow almost anywhere, in woodlands, ditches, roadsides and gardens, one of the most famous places in Ireland for wildflowers is at The Burren in Co. Clare. Here you can see examples of 70% of Irish wildflowers growing amoung the limestone pavements e.g. daisies, wild strawberries, wild garlic etc.

If you would like to learn more about the huge variety of wildflowers growing in Ireland, there is lots more information and pictures on irishwildflowers.ie and wildflowersofireland.net.

Do you know what the different parts of the flower are? Here is a short guide to help you out!

Stamen         These are the male organs. They are found in the centre of the flower and consist of long stalks with pollen sacs on top.
Stigma This is part of the female organs. It is very sticky and is found in the centre of the flower where the pollen is put at the beginning of pollination.
Leaf Leaves are usually green. The food is made in the leaves using sunlight and carbon dioxide in a process called photosynthesis.
Petal Petals are the bright, colourful part of the flower head that protects the stigma and the stamen.
Sepals Seapals are small, leaf-like parts of the plant the protect the flower as it develops. They are usually green and are found immediately below the petals.
Stem The stem is the stalk the grows from the ground and supports the leaves and flowers. It is through the stem that the plant gets water and nutrients from the soil.