Information on Cottonweed

Common Name: Cottonweed
Scientific Name: Achillea maritima
Irish Name: Cluasach mhara
Family Group: Asteraceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period

Click for list of all flowering by month
Cottonweed is not easily confused with other wild plants on this web site.

This distinctive little perennial is a delight to find for several reasons.  Firstly, it is a most attractive little wildflower having its stems and oblong leaves covered with downy, woolly white hairs.  Secondly, the yellow flower-heads (8mm across) which are rayless and like little fluffy buttons at the top of the stems; these small flower-heads are composed of tubular florets backed by broad overlapping bracts. And thirdly, if you find it you are lucky because it's considered to be extremely rarely found in Ireland. It flowers in August and September, barely reaching more than 30cm high, Cottonweed grows on sand and shingle beaches on the south-east coast.  This is a native plant belonging to the family Asteraceae 

I found it in 2008 in S.E. Wexford and photographed it at that time.  

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

This is a protected species under the Flora (Protection) Order 2015 and is classed as 'CRITICALLY ENDANGERED' in the Red List of Irish Vascular Plants 2016. In the case of this species, the classification has been based on the fact that there are less than 50 individual plants now growing in Ireland.