The Quest For Comfortably Naturalized Leprechauns

Have you got your green on? Today I am on a quest for the non-native, though comfortably naturalized, leprechaun of the Northwest. Surprisingly benign, leprechauns outside their native Ireland are not nearly as mischievous as Irish plants that have also snuck in (I could burden you with a list, but I won’t). These harmless leprechauns wander the woods and sneak onto the beaches of Puget Sound, seeking familiar habitats. And indeed, they find familiar plants to tip they’re tiny pointed toes through.  Deep in the shade, they find a lush carpet of our native shamrock-like Redwood Sorrel (Oxalis oregana) and whisper excitedly in their tiny voices, thinking it to be the almost identical native Irish plant Seamsóg. They tuck a few of the lovely pinky-white blooms into their hatbands for good luck. They giggle with delight to find the tasty berries on the Woodland Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) growing at the edge of the forest. It is just the same species as the Irish Sú talún fhiáin!  The leprechauns brave the sunshine (rain-shine? cloud-shine?) to spy out the grass-like clumps and cheery pink blooms of our own native Sea Thrift (Armeria maritima), native in Ireland as well—Rabhán!

Come to Tadpole Haven to tip-toe through the Seamsóg and look at the new sprouts on the Rabhán.  Make yourself at home!  It’s a wee bit early to sample the Sú talún fhiáin, though.

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