We all know our gorse bush from our holly bush but would you be able to spot any other of our many native Irish plants? If you want to impress any guests from abroad on a nature walk then you’d better brush up on your flora. We want to put you to the test with this list of 8 native Irish plants that we think you really should know by now. Answers are at the bottom, no peeking!
1) Often mistaken with Gorse but this pretty plant is softer to the touch and can be found on sandy soils. Only flowering in summer this plant will thrive in sunny conditions which is why it’s known as an invasive species in North America. Folklore says it’s smell is able to tame wild dogs and horses…
2) Mostly found in the North West of the country this plant sports creamy white flowers in spring and small dark cherries appearing briefly in late summer which the birds devour. Many years ago tying its strong-smelling bark to your door was said to ward off the plague.
3) This native tree is famous for it’s whispering leaves that tremble and rustle in the wind. Legend has it that they tremble in shame as their wood was used to make the cross that Christ was crucified on. These trees thrive in wet areas such as beside lakes.
4) These beautiful flowers range from white to dark pink in colour and are typically found amongst roadside bushes. The subject of many a song or poem these flowers also produce rose hips in Autumn which traditionally were harvested to make syrup and wine.
5) This deciduous shrub is a very common plant found all over the country. It blooms white-cream flowers followed by clusters of dark berries. Though sometimes regarded as a pest both the flowers and berries can be used to make cordials, syrups, jams and wine.
6) So colourful is this tree you’d be forgiven for thinking it belonged on a tropical island but actually its native to Ireland and not found in the UK. Mainly appearing in the southern counties the bright red fruit it bears are edible, but let’s just say they look a whole lot nicer than they taste.
7) This tree is just too pretty to not include in this list. It’s often found lining quiet residential streets, it’s delicate pale pink petals scattering in the wind and densely covering the ground.
8) This common flower can be spotted across our many marshes as it favours the boggy soil. It’s five petals are fringed or ragged at the ends and thus suited to windy weather.
1- Broom – Cytisus scoparius
2- Bird Cherry – Prunus padas
3 – Aspen – Populus tremula
4- Dog Rose – Rosa Canina
5 – Elder – Sambucus nigra
6- Killarney Strawberry Tree – Arbutus unedo
7- Wild Cherry – Prunus Avium
8 – Ragged Robin – Silene flos-cuculi