At first sight, Water Figwort seems to very much resemble its cousin, Common Figwort, but a closer inspection shows up some distinct differences between these two perennials. Both are tall, strong plants – growing to about 70cm tall – and their flowers display many similarities. These two-lipped flowers (1cm long) are greenish with a brownish-maroon jutting upper lip in both species, but in the Water Figwort the sepals have a wide white border whereas the border is quite narrow on the sepals of the Common Figwort. The flowers are held in stiff open spikes which emerge from leaf axils and bloom from June to September. The leaves of Water Figwort are oval with blunt tips and rounded teeth, often having two lobes at their bases, and they are held on broad, winged stalks. These wings are far more pronounced than on the square stalks of the Common Figwort. This plant is a native and it belongs to the family Scrophulariaceae.
I was notified of this plant's whereabouts by a visitor to this website, Marty Kerrane of Galway. I met Marty who showed me Water Figwort growing along the river Corrib in Galway in 2009 and I photographed the plants on that occasion. I'm extremely grateful to Marty for his interest and his help, given so generously.
If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please record your sighting for the 2014 wildflower mapping survey at www.biology.ie