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Irish Fleabane

Inula salicina

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Asteraceae (Daisy)
Also in this family:
Alpine Blue Sow-thistle, Alpine Cotula, Alpine Fleabane, Alpine Saw-wort, Annual Ragweed, Annual Sunflower, Argentine Fleabane, Autumn Hawkbit, Autumn Oxeye, Beaked Hawksbeard, Beggarticks, Bilbao Fleabane, Black Knapweed, Black-eyed Susan, Blanketflower, Blue Fleabane, Blue Globe-thistle, Bristly Oxtongue, Broad-leaved Cudweed, Broad-leaved Ragwort, Brown Knapweed, Butterbur, Buttonweed, Cabbage Thistle, Canadian Fleabane, Canadian Goldenrod, Carline Thistle, Chalk Knapweed, Chamois Ragwort, Changing Michaelmas Daisy, Chicory, Chinese Mugwort, Chinese Ragwort, Coltsfoot, Common Blue Sow-thistle, Common Cat's-ear, Common Cudweed, Common Daisy, Common Dandelion, Common Fleabane, Common Goldenrod, Common Groundsel, Common Michaelmas Daisy, Common Mugwort, Common Ragwort, Common Wormwood, Coneflower, Confused Michaelmas Daisy, Corn Chamomile, Corn Marigold, Cornflower, Cotton Thistle, Cottonweed, Creeping Thistle, Daisy Bush, Dwarf Cudweed, Dwarf Thistle, Early Goldenrod, Eastern Groundsel, Eastern Leopardsbane, Elecampane, English Hawkweed, Fen Ragwort, Feverfew, Field Fleawort, Field Wormwood, Fox and Cubs, French Tarragon, Gallant Soldier, Garden Lettuce, Giant Butterbur, Glabrous-headed Hawkweed, Glandular Globe-thistle, Glaucous Michaelmas Daisy, Globe Artichoke, Globe-thistle, Goat's Beard, Golden Ragwort, Golden Samphire, Goldilocks Aster, Grass-leaved Goldenrod, Great Lettuce, Greater Burdock, Greater Knapweed, Grey-headed Hawkweed, Guernsey Fleabane, Hairless Blue Sow-thistle, Hairless Leptinella, Hairy Michaelmas Daisy, Harpur Crewe's Leopardsbane, Hawkweed Oxtongue, Heath Cudweed, Heath Groundsel, Hemp Agrimony, Highland Cudweed, Hoary Mugwort, Hoary Ragwort, Hybrid Knapweed, Intermediate Burdock, Jersey Cudweed, Jerusalem Artichoke, Lance-leaved Hawkweed, Lavender-cotton, Leafless Hawksbeard, Least Lettuce, Leopardplant, Leopardsbane, Leptinella, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Hawkbit, Lesser Sunflower, London Bur-marigold, Magellan Ragwort, Marsh Cudweed, Marsh Hawksbeard, Marsh Ragwort, Marsh Sow-thistle, Marsh Thistle, Meadow Thistle, Melancholy Thistle, Mexican Fleabane, Milk Thistle, Mountain Everlasting, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Musk Thistle, Narrow-leaved Cudweed, Narrow-leaved Hawkweed, Narrow-leaved Michaelmas Daisy, Narrow-leaved Ragwort, New England Hawkweed, New Zealand Holly, Nipplewort, Nodding Bur-marigold, Northern Hawksbeard, Norwegian Mugwort, Oxeye Daisy, Oxford Ragwort, Pearly Everlasting, Perennial Cornflower, Perennial Ragweed, Perennial Sow-thistle, Perennial Sunflower, Pineapple Mayweed, Plantain-leaved Leopardsbane, Ploughman's Spikenard, Plymouth Thistle, Pontic Blue Sow-thistle, Pot Marigold, Prickly Lettuce, Prickly Sow-thistle, Purple Coltsfoot, Rayed Tansy, Red Star Thistle, Red-seeded Dandelion, Red-tipped Cudweed, Robin's Plantain, Roman Chamomile, Rough Cocklebur, Rough Hawkbit, Rough Hawksbeard, Russian Lettuce, Safflower, Salsify, Saw-wort, Scented Mayweed, Scentless Mayweed, Sea Aster, Sea Mayweed, Sea Wormwood, Seaside Daisy, Shaggy Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shaggy Soldier, Shasta Daisy, Shetland Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Shrub Ragwort, Sicilian Chamomile, Silver Ragwort, Slender Mugwort, Slender Thistle, Small Cudweed, Small Fleabane, Smooth Cat's-ear, Smooth Hawksbeard, Smooth Sow-thistle, Sneezeweed, Sneezewort, Spear Thistle, Spotted Cat's-ear, Spotted Hawkweed, Sticky Groundsel, Stinking Chamomile, Stinking Hawksbeard, Tall Fleabane, Tall Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Tansy, Thin-leaved Sunflower, Trifid Bur-marigold, Tuberous Thistle, Tyneside Leopardplant, Viper's Grass, Wall Lettuce, Welsh Groundsel, Welted Thistle, White Butterbur, White Buttons, Willdenow's Leopardsbane, Winter Heliotrope, Wood Burdock, Wood Ragwort, Woody Fleabane, Woolly Thistle, Yarrow, Yellow Chamomile, Yellow Fox and Cubs, Yellow Oxeye, Yellow Star Thistle, Yellow Thistle, York Groundsel
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, meadows, scrub, waterside.

Yellow, many petals
The flowers are yellow and daisy-like. They appear either solitary or in small clusters. There are up to 70 ray florets and 250 disc florets. Flowers measure about 3cm in diameter. Flowers each have 5 stamens. The leafy outer bracts are green and lance-shaped.
A yellowish-brown achene (seed) tipped by a pappus of unbranched hairs.
The shiny leaves are narrow and lance-shaped, alternating along the upright stems. The leaves are stalkless and often arch backwards. The leaves are smooth on the undersides and rough-haired along the veins. Finely serrated leaf margins. Perennial. Very rare. Can be found on the shores of Lough Derg in County Donegal, Ireland.
Other Names:
Willow Leaved Inula, Willowleaf Yellowhead, Willow-leaved Fleabane, Willow-leaved Yellow-head.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Inula salicina, also known as willow-leaved inula or willow fleabane, is a species of perennial herb in the family Asteraceae. It is native to Central Asia, in particular the Himalayan region.

Inula salicina is a perennial herb that can grow up to 2 meters tall, with a woody base and hairy stems. The leaves are alternate and lance-shaped, and are slightly hairy, resembling those of willow tree. The plant produces large, yellow composite flowerheads that bloom from late summer to fall. The flowers are typically 2-3 inches in diameter.

This plant prefers to grow in well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade, but it can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. It is drought-tolerant once established and is also frost hardy, able to survive temperatures down to -15°C.

Inula salicina is propagated by seed, division or by cuttings. It is hardy to USDA zones 6-9, and it is considered as an ornamental plant that can be grown in gardens and wildflower meadows. The plant is not known to have any specific medicinal properties, and it is considered safe to grow and handle.


Irish Fleabane, scientifically known as Inula salicina, is a herbaceous perennial plant that is native to Ireland and the British Isles. It is also commonly known as Willow-leaved Inula due to its leaves' resemblance to those of a willow tree. The plant is a member of the Asteraceae family, which also includes daisies, sunflowers, and asters.

Appearance and Habitat

Irish Fleabane typically grows up to a height of 50-70 cm and has a basal rosette of long, narrow, and willow-like leaves that are 10-20 cm long. The plant has slender stems with branching flowers that bloom from July to September. The flowers are bright yellow and are approximately 2.5 cm in diameter.

Irish Fleabane prefers damp and boggy habitats, and it is commonly found in damp meadows, marshes, and along riverbanks. It is a hardy plant and can tolerate harsh weather conditions, making it ideal for growing in the British Isles.

Traditional Uses

Irish Fleabane has a long history of traditional medicinal use in Ireland and other parts of Europe. The plant was traditionally used to treat respiratory problems, including bronchitis, coughs, and asthma. The leaves and flowers of the plant were also used to make tea, which was believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.

The plant has also been used to treat skin conditions, including wounds and sores. It was believed that the plant's essential oils had antimicrobial properties that could help to prevent infections and promote healing.

Modern Uses

Today, Irish Fleabane is still used in herbal medicine to treat respiratory conditions. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a useful herb for treating asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. The plant is also believed to have a mild sedative effect, making it useful for treating anxiety and stress-related conditions.

Irish Fleabane is also used in aromatherapy and is believed to have a relaxing and calming effect on the mind and body. The plant's essential oils are used in massage oils and other aromatherapy products.

Gardening Tips

Irish Fleabane is a hardy plant that is easy to grow in a garden setting. The plant prefers damp soil, and it is an ideal addition to a water garden or bog garden. It also grows well in moist, shaded areas, making it a good choice for a woodland garden.

Irish Fleabane is best grown from seed, and the seeds can be sown in spring or autumn. The plant is relatively low maintenance and requires minimal care. It is important to keep the soil moist, especially during the plant's growing season.

In conclusion, Irish Fleabane is a beautiful and versatile plant that has a long history of traditional medicinal use. Its modern-day uses in herbal medicine and aromatherapy are a testament to its many health benefits. If you are interested in growing this plant, it is relatively easy to cultivate, and it can make an excellent addition to any garden.

Benefits of Irish Fleabane

In addition to its traditional and modern uses, Irish Fleabane has been found to have several health benefits. Research has shown that the plant has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which make it useful for treating conditions such as arthritis, joint pain, and headaches. The plant has also been found to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties, which may help to prevent and treat infections.

Irish Fleabane is rich in flavonoids, which are plant compounds that have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are important for protecting the body against oxidative stress, which can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. The plant's essential oils also contain terpenes, which have been found to have a variety of health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving mood, and promoting relaxation.


While Irish Fleabane is generally considered safe, it is important to use caution when using any herbal remedy. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using Irish Fleabane, as there is not enough information available about its safety during these times. People with allergies to plants in the Asteraceae family should also avoid using the plant, as it may cause an allergic reaction.

It is always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using any herbal remedy, especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking any medications.

Conservation Status

Irish Fleabane is not currently listed as a threatened or endangered species, but it is considered a rare plant in some parts of its range. The plant's preferred habitat, which includes damp meadows and marshes, is becoming increasingly scarce due to land development and habitat destruction. Conservation efforts are underway to protect the plant and its habitat, and it is important to ensure that its populations remain stable in the wild.

Cultural Significance

Irish Fleabane has a special place in Irish folklore, where it is believed to have magical and healing properties. The plant was traditionally used to ward off evil spirits and protect against the evil eye. It was also believed that the plant could protect against sickness and bring good luck to those who carried it with them.

In modern times, Irish Fleabane is celebrated as a symbol of Ireland's natural heritage and is used as a decorative element in many Irish gardens. The plant's beautiful yellow flowers and willow-like leaves are a popular choice for adding color and texture to garden designs.

In addition to its cultural significance, Irish Fleabane is an important part of the ecological web, providing habitat and food for many different species of insects and other wildlife.

In conclusion, Irish Fleabane is a fascinating plant with a long history of traditional use and modern-day health benefits. Whether you are interested in its medicinal properties, its ecological significance, or its cultural significance, Irish Fleabane is a plant that is sure to impress. With its beautiful flowers and willow-like leaves, it is a popular choice for gardens and is a symbol of Ireland's natural heritage.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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