Petasites fragrans | Winter Heliotrope | Plúr na gréine
First reported in the wild
Non-native species - Low risk of Impact
Introduction pathways - 1
Escape from Confinement
Introduction pathways subclass - 1
NAPRA Ireland risk assessed
Short hairy herbaceous perennial, up to 30cm, heart shaped leaves 20-50cm wide persisting in winter (Booy et al., 2015). White to lilac flowers, smelling strongly of almonds or vanilla (Booy et al., 2015). May be confused with P. albus (unscented flowers, leaves absent in winter), P. hybridus (native, much larger leaves up to 120cm) and P. japonicus (leaves up to 90cm).
Adult habitat & habits
Forms dense stands excluding native vegetation (Booy et al., 2015).
Inland unvegetated or sparsely vegetated habitats; Constructed, industrial or other artificial habitats; Woodland, forest and other wooded land
Reproduces vegetatively as only male plants found in Britain and Ireland (Preston et al., 2004).
Irish reference specimens
Pathway and vector description
Originally planted for use as ground cover or a winter food plant for bees (Reynolds, 2002). Thought to still be spreading in Britain and Ireland (Preston et al., 2004).
Mechanism of impact
Found in hedgerows, roadsides, stream banks, waste ground and edges of woodland (Booy et al., 2015; Reynolds, 2002).
Established - Widespread & Common. Common along roadsides where it can form dense stands, likely under recorded.
Distribution frequency in Ireland
Native to Italy, Sardinia and North Africa (Preston et al., 2004).
Date of first record category
Fifty year date category
Records submitted to Data Centre in 2020
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How can you help
Report any sightings to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.
This species is included in our spring flowering plants project. If you see the species please submit your sighting. All information is very valuable.
Full list of species included in the spring flowering plants project:
- Common Dog-violet
- Early Dog-violet
- Early-purple Orchid
- Lady’s smock (Cuckooflower)
- Lesser Celandine
- Lords-and Ladies
- Wild Garlic
- Winter Heliotrope
- Wood Anemone
- Wood Sorrel
This species is included in the spring flowering plants project which is a collaboration between the National Biodiversity Data Centre and the BSBI. It is hoped we can collect valuable data to improve our knowledge of the current distribution of some common plants. All data will be fully validated by both partners before loading to Biodiversity Maps and being made available to the BSBI.
Booy, O., Wade, M. & Roy, H. (2015) A Field Guide to Invasive Plants & Animals in Britain. Bloomsbury.
Preston, C.D., Pearman, D. A. & Dines, T. D. (2002). New atlas of the British and Irish flora. An atlas of the vascular plants of Britain, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, Oxford University Press.
Reynolds, S.C.P. (2002) A catalogue of alien plants in Ireland. National Botanic Gardens. Glasnevin, Dublin.
Stace, C. (1997). New Flora of the British Isles 2nd Edition. Cambrige University Press, Cambridge.
Control of Winter helitrope is currently being researched by Eithne Davis under a new EPA funded project led by CERIS, Institute of Technology, Sligo that targets the Prevention, Control and Eradication of Invasive Alien Species (IAS) on the Island of Ireland.
For winter heliotrope control, they will determine the most effective herbicide/adjuvant combination and time of year for application and produce best practice guidelines for the long-term control. For more information see: www.itsligo.ie/old-reesearch-welcome/research-centres-and-groups/ceris/ceris-projects/alien-species/