The island of Ireland has often been refered to as The Emerald Isle because of all year-round greenness that comes from our mild winters and damp summers.
Plants are easily spotted in the open spaces of the country, despite small areas of woodland. Habitats play a major role in Irish Flora and the main three groups are grassland, heath and bog.
Grassland and Forests: After an area develops into scrub, forests begin to grow over time, with the types of trees present depending on the biodiversity of the area. On limestone rock or soils, hazel scrub will grow but they will - eventually - be replaced by ash forest. Oak, on the other hand, will set roots in acidic soil, with English oak liking deeper soil. Also in forests you can find some of the 3,500 different species of fungi and 1,000 different types of lichens.
Our three native conifers all have interesting roles in the biodiversity of the country. The Yew is traditionally found around graveyards as its poisonous qualities keep the cattle away from trampling on graves. The Juniper is mostly a low growing bushy shrub. The Scots Pine has a characteristic flat top and reddish upper branches. The timber it produces is known as red deal.
Heaths: Shallow, peaty soil means an array of different species make up different patches of a heath. Some of Ireland's 2,000 vascular plant species can be found here such as ferns, bell heather, rushes and grasses.
Bogs: Heathers, moss (sphagnum and bog) and grasses dominate a bog's vegetation. Small flowering plants, heathers, sedges and grasses also grow through towards the sun. Bog flora are different in fens, raised and blanket bogs.
Lakes, rivers and coast: Around Irish lakes, rivers and coasts you will see a selection of the 1,600 types of algae found in the country. Seaweed and green algae are most common.
Native conifer - Scots Pine
This image of a large scots pine tree was taken in the Raven Natural Reserve in Wexford.Copyright John Kennedy
Native conifer - Scots Pine - Copyright John Kennedy
Fungi- Commonpuff ball
This fungi takes the shape of a mushroom. It gets its name because a cloud of spores leave the plant whenever the fruit plant matures.Copyright John Kennedy
Fungi- Commonpuff ball - Copyright John Kennedy
A typical gorse bush can be made of up to 20 species of everygreen shrub. The Common Grouse is native to Western Europe, growing in clay and sandy soil.Copyright Environmental Protection Agency.
Gorse bush - Copyright Environmental Protection Agency.
Lichen - Sea Ivory
Costal rocks are the best place to find this type of lichen. Other types can be found growing on rocks in different areas.Copyright John Kennedy
Lichen - Sea Ivory - Copyright John Kennedy
Mainly found on heaths they form an important part of a natural habitat.Copyright Environmental Protection Agency
Heather - Copyright Environmental Protection Agency
Upload to this page
Add your photos, text, videos, etc. to this page.
- Ireland's Environment Overview
- Environmental Governance
- Air Quality
- Spotlight on biodiversity in Ireland
- Life and biodiversity
- Biodiversity loss
- Protecting biodiversity
- Overview of Ireland's Wildlife
- Domestic animals in Ireland
- What can be done
- Celebrate the Green Wave!
- Public Consultations
- The Built Environment
- Waste Management
- Aarhus Convention
- Climate Change
- Health and Wellbeing
- Featured Articles
- ENFOpoints 2010-2011
- County Focus
- Environmental Awareness Initiatives
- Education, Training & Exhibitions
- Environmental Impact Statements
- Who Does What?
- Energy Resources: Renewable and Non-Renewable
- Environmental Assessment
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)
- Local Authority Environmental Enforcement
- Mineral Extraction