The windswept slopes of an island off the south-west coast of Ireland are home to this beautiful little perennial wildflower which is well named as the Kerry Lily. A bulbous plant, it stays fairly close to the ground only reaching about 25cm, its leaves are basal, narrow and grass-like, often curled and up to 30cm long. However it is the flower (20mm across) which is quite amazing. Each has 6 white petals, purple-grey beneath, and hairy filaments. The flower appears to sparkle with little grains of light scattered over the surface of the petals and the fuzzily hairy stamens are crowned by golden anthers. It blooms in May and June, is a native plant, only growing in Co Kerry (with a small foothold in west Cork) and it belongs to the family Liliaceae.
This is one of the first rare wildflowers in my records. It was in 1978, in Kerry of course, that I came across it on a holiday with my husband Pete, and our children. At that time I was without a camera. However I promised I would get back, some day, to find it again and photograph it and, sure enough, that day came in June 2008 when our daughter, Petra, and her husband, Mike, found it in almost the same spot as in 1978 and took me to it. That was when the photographs were taken.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please record your sighting for the 2013 wildflower mapping survey at www.biology.ie