- Name also: Willow Leaved Inula, Willowleaf Yellowhead, Willow-leaved Yellow-head (USA)
- Latin synonym: Pentanema salicinum
- Family: Daisy Family – Compositae, subfamily Asteroideae
(formerly Aster Family – Asteraceae)
- Growing form: Perennial herb.
- Height: 20–80 cm (8–32 in.). Stem quite delicate, lower part sparsely rough-haired, upper part glabrous, light reddish brown.
- Flower: Single flower-like 2.5–4 cm (1–1.6 in.) capitula surrounded by involucral bracts. Capitula flowers yellow, ray-florets tongue-like; disc florets tubular, small. Stamens 5. Pistil of 2 fused carpels. Involucral bracts in many rows, edges brown-haired, outer bracts leafy, lanceolate, descending, inner bracts membranous, linear. Capitula usually solitary, sometimes several borne in a corymbose cluster.
- Leaves: Alternate, stalkless, upper amplexicaul. Blade narrowly lanceolate, broad-based, often arching, rigid, glabrous–underside rough-haired along veins, shiny, margin slightly revolute, entire–toothed.
- Fruit: Yellowish brown bristly achene, tip with unbranched hairs.
- Habitat: Sea-shore meadows, rocky places and hedgerows, dry meadows, meadows, coppices, broad-leaved forests, fens. Calciphilous.
- Flowering time: July–August.
Genus Inula is comprised of over 100 species, but Irish fleabane is the only representative that has ventured into the wilds of Finland. It mainly grows in the south-west of the country around the archipelago, the coast of the Gulf of Finland and inland in Häme. In the archipelago Irish fleabane grows in calciferous places on coastal river banks and around hedgerows, while inland it mainly thrives on dryish, rocky, sloping broad-leaved forests and hills. In the remotest corner of eastern Kuusamo by the eastern border there are several separate stands on the fens. Irish fleabane has exploited the way that people cleared the forest, established forest grazing and created meadows. Even in the Golden Age of grazing, however, it wasn’t common. Irish fleabane that grows ferally is usually terminated by a single capitulum, or sometimes a few in a corymb, but cultivated ornamental forms have been bred to branch from the top with abundant blooms. Irish fleabane’s flowerless shoots can look like willow branches, with their dark green, arching leaves, and this has given rise to the plant’s scientific name salicina. This willow thicket-like appearance is only enhanced by its habit of growing in wide stands.
British Yellowhead (Meadow Fleabane)
Pentanema britannicum (Inula britannica)
Like Irish fleabane, fragile but hairier-looking British yellowhead can be found growing here and there across Finland. It is mainly a casual guest, but it has gained a permanent foothold in Hanko at least. Third Inula species in Finland, elecampane (Inula helenium) can grow up to 2 metres (6.5 feet) tall and is easy to tell by its size.