Easily overlooked in damp places, wet mud, shallow lake margins and shaded places, Water-pepper is an erect, hairless annual which reaches to about 70cm tall. Its stems are graceful, arched, slender spikes of inconspicuous little pale pink flowers (3-4mm) which bloom from July to September. These little flowers can occasionally be greenish-white. The leaves are alternate, lanceolate and untoothed, and at their base is an ochrea or papery sheath which is brown. This is a native plant, found in most parts of the country with the exception of the Centre. It belongs to the Polygonaceae family.
I first saw this plant in 2009 at Corr na Móna, Co Galway where Sorcha Peirce kindly pointed out to me. Together with her husband, Roy Peirce, Sorcha runs Grasshopper Cottage, a fishing-lodge (also catering for botanists) on the shores of Lough Corrib (see www.troutfishingireland.com )
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre