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Clare County Library

Species:

Marine Mammals
Bats
Other Mammals
Birds
Waders
Ducks, Geese and Swans
Birds of Prey
Other Birds
Fish
Reptiles
Amphibians
Crustaceans
Insects
Molluscs
Echinoderms
Lichens
Seaweed
Fungi

Vascular Plants

Trees

Trees are the largest plants which occur in Ireland. Ireland was once almost entirely covered in woodlands, but now only small pockets of woodland exist. There are about 30 native tree species in Ireland, most of which occur in Clare.

Oak Tree
Pedunculate oak Quercus robur
The Pendunculate oak is a fairly common species in Clare, however it is not very common in the Burren. Areas of woodland in Clare containing Pendunculate oak include Cahiracon Wood near Killadysert, woodland on the shores of Castle Lake near Sixmilebridge, Lough Graney Woods near Feakle and Cloonamirran Wood near Mountshannon.
Habitat: Woodland and hedgerows.
What could or does threaten the population: Felling during land clearance for agriculture, development or conifer

Alder buckthorn Frangula alnus
This small tree is one of the rarest tree species in Ireland. It is fairly common in the Burren and can be found in many parts of the Burren including the Burren National Park.
Habitat: Rocky areas such as the Burren and bogs.
What could or does threaten the population: Land reclamation, particularly clearance of scrub.

Typical species found in the Burren

The Burren is ecologically a unique landscape particularly because of the plants and geology of the area. There are lots of rare species in the Burren but it is the combination of species which is very unusual. Species normally only found in the Mediterranean such as Dense flowered orchid and Maiden hair fern occur along side species normally only found in arctic conditions such as Shrubby cinquefoil and Mountain avens. The mixture of plants found in the Burren is unique to the area and not found anywhere else. At least 700 different flowering plants and ferns are found in the Burren. Twenty two different types of orchids are found in the Burren. Many orchid species grow for several years before they can flower, some can take up to 15 years of growth before they flower.

Bee orchid Ophrys apifera
The Bee orchid is rare in Ireland. There are several places in Clare where the Bee orchid can be found such as grasslands north of Ennis and many grasslands in the Burren.
Habitat: Sand dunes, dry calcareous grassland, limestone pavement and dry banks.
What could or does threaten the population: Intensification of orchid rich grassland including the use of fertiliser and reclamation. Dune erosion due to recreational activities may have an impact on Bee orchids.
Bee Orchid

Dark red helleborine Epipactis atrorubens
This is a rare orchid in Ireland, not found outside Clare and East Galway. The Dark red helleborine is found in many other European countries, where it is also rare. In Clare the Dark red helleborine is mainly found in the Burren, in areas such as the Burren National Park, Slieve Carran, Black Head and Cappanawalla near Ballyvaughan.
Habitat: Shattered limestone pavement and scree.
What could or does threaten the population: Land reclamation, fertilisation, overgrazing and scrub encroachment.

Shrubby cinquefoil
Shrubby cinquefoil Potentilla fruticosa
Shrubby cinquefoil is a shrub only found in the Burren and parts of Galway and Mayo in Ireland. Usually associated with turloughs in Ireland, the turlough hydrology allows it to be flooded in winter and dry when it flowers in the summer. Shrubby cinquefoil is quite common in parts of northern Europe. This shrub can be found in most turloughs in the Burren, with a dense populations in the Burren National Park and Ballyvaughan Turlough.
Habitat: Wetlands, particularly around lakes and turloughs.
What could or does threaten the population: Habitat disturbance through drainage and intensification of land management.

Spring gentian Gentiana verna
The spring gentian is quite common in the Burren and parts of Galway and Mayo, but is not found elsewhere in Ireland. In the rest of Europe, it is found in alpine conditions. The Spring gentian can be found in many grasslands in the Burren which are managed in a traditional manner. Autumn gentians can also be found in the Burren.
Habitat: Calcareous grassland, limestone pavement and sandy areas.

Gentian
What could or does threaten the population: Habitat destruction through intensive grassland management including fertilisation and reseeding. Also they are picked by some tourists.

Bloody crane's-bill
Bloody crane's-bill Geranium sanguineum
Bloody crane's-bill is quite common in the Burren and parts of Galway. It is very rare in the rest of Ireland. Bloody crane's bill can be found in most parts of the Burren and is one of five Geraniums found in the Burren.
Habitat: Limestone pavement and dry banks.
What could or does threaten the population: Land reclamation including fertilisation, use of herbicides and reseeding.

Hoary rockrose Helianthemum canum
The Burren and parts of Galway are the only locations in Ireland where Hoary rockrose is found. Ireland has the largest population of Hoary rockrose in the EU. There are two sites in the Burren where Hoary rockrose is plentiful, the Burren National Park and Poulsallagh.
Habitat: Limestone pavement and calcareous grassland.
What could or does threaten the population: Overgrazing, land reclamation and intensive management.
Hoary rockrose

Fen violet Viola persicifolia
The Fen violet is rare in Ireland and quite rare in the rest of Europe, it is not found in the UK. However it is fairly common in parts of the west of Ireland including the Burren. The Fen violet can be found in many turloughs in the Burren.
Habitat: Wet grasslands, predominantly turloughs in Clare.
What could or does threaten the population: Disturbance of habitat such as drainage, reclamation and intensification of grassland management.

Other Plants

Babington's leek Allium ampeloprasum ssp babingtonii
Babingtons leek is rare in Ireland, however it is fairly common in the Burren and the Aran Islands. In the past it was commonly eaten as a leek or onion.
Habitat: Rocky areas, sandy ground and on roadsides.
What could or does threaten the population: Land reclamation

Blue eyed grass Sisyrhinchium bermudiana
Blue eyed grass is a rare species in Clare and Ireland. It can be found on the shores of Lough Graney.
Habitat: Wet grassland and lake shores.
What could or does threaten the population: Loss of habitat through drainage.

Bluebells
Bluebells Hyacinthoides non-scriptus
The bluebell is a common spring flower in native deciduous woodlands. It occurs in most native woodlands in Clare.
Habitat: Woodland, scrub, heaths and hedgerows.
What could or does threaten the population: Loss of habitat i.e. the loss of native woodlands. Bluebells do not grow in Beech or conifer woodlands.

Cowslip Primula veris
Cowslips are quite common in Clare and the rest of Ireland, however it is showing some decline. Cowslips can be found in many grasslands and banks in the Burren and the rest of Clare. Cowslips were used in the past to cure epilepsy, palsy and headaches. Also the flowers were used to make a tea for those with problems sleeping.
Habitat: Grassland and banks.
What could or does threaten the population: Loss of habitat through intensive grassland management and people picking flowers.
 Cowslips
Dropwort Filipendula vulgaris
Dropwort is a very rare species in Ireland and Britain. In the past it was used to cure drop disease in horses. Only known in two locations in Clare, on the Clare Galway border near Gort and near Lough Bunny.
Habitat: Limestone and wet grassland
What could or does threaten the population: Drainage and relamation of wetlands.
Dropwort

Pyramidal Orchid

Pyramidal orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis
The Pyramidal orchid is common in the centre of Ireland and Clare but is rare in the rest of the country. It can be found in many calcareous grasslands and sand dunes in County Clare.
Habitat: Calcareous grassland and sand dunes.
What could or does threaten the population: Overgrazing and intensive management of grassland. In some areas the picking of orchids threatens the population.

Willow leaved inula Inula salicina
Willow leaved Inula is a very rare plant. In Ireland it is only found in a few location on the shores of Lough Derg.
Habitat: Wetlands and lake shores.
What could or does threaten the population: Destruction of habitat through drainage, development and intensive agricultural usage.

Rushes and Grasses

Quaking grass Briza media
Quaking grass is common in Clare and the rest of Ireland. Quaking grass is found in most calcareous grasslands in Clare, which are not intensively managed.
Habitat: Dry grassland, sand dunes and grassy verges.
What could or does threaten the population: Intensive management of grassland.
Quaking grass

Triangular clubrush Schoenoplectus triqueter
This is a very rare rush which is only found on the banks of the Shannon in Ireland.
Habitat: River banks.
What could or does threaten the population: Arterial drainage leading to a loss of habitat.

Ferns

Rusty-back Fern
Rusty-back fern Asplenium ceterach
This is a common fern in Ireland and Clare. It is called Rusty-back because the underside is usually covered in scales which are rust coloured. In the past it was used as a remedy for liver and spleen disorders.
Habitat: Stone walls and crevices in limestone rocks.
What could or does threaten the population: Loss of habitat through removal of stone walls or reclamation of rocky land.
Other ferns which are common in Clare include Hart's tongue which is found in woods and damp places, Wall rue and Maidenhair spleenwort which are both found on walls and in rock crevices.

Invasive Species

Many non-native species exist in gardens and parks and do not cause a problem. However some non-native species can become invasive. Some non-native species thrive in a new country due to lack of predators and their ability to reproduce rapidly. Also many invasive species take over areas and push other out species.

Invasive plant species include Japenese knotweed, Giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam, Sycamore, Beech, Dogwood, Cherry laurel, Catoniaster and Rhododendron. Animal species can also be invasive such as the Zebra mussel, Bank vole, Sitka deer, Fallow deer and the American mink.

Native species tend to be more valuable for biodiversity, as they have been part of an ecosystem for thousands of years. Therefore they are part of the food chain that has evolved together, which provides food and or habitat to many other native species in that system.

Japanese knotweed Reynoutria japonica
Japanese knotweed is not a native plant. It was introduced in gardens and has now spread in many parts of the country. In parts of Clare such as Lissycassey, Kilmihil and parts of the Burren it has become a problem.
Habitat: Roadsides and waste places.
What could or does threaten the population: Japanese knotweed is a threat to native plants as it is very vigorous and does not allow many other plants to grow along with it. It is very difficult to get rid of once it has become established.
Japanese knotweed 

Agricultural Varieties

Monocultures (areas of the same variety) can be wiped out more easily from disease or severe weather. Areas of mixed crops are less likely to all be vulnerable to the same disease or severe weather. The Irish Seed Savers based in Scarriff collect, store and grow agricultural vareites in order to preserve the agricultural biodiversity of Ireland.

Ballyvaughan seedling apple
Ballyvaughan seedling apple Malus domestica
The Ballyvaughan seedling apple is very rare. It was once common throughout Clare, but now it only occurs in one area in Ballyvaughan and at the Irish Seed Savers site in East Clare.

Galway landrace wheat Triticum aestivum
The Galway landrace wheat is very rare. It was extinct in Ireland until 1997 when Irish seed was located in the USA. It now exists at the Irish Seed Savers site in Clare and Kilkenny.

Land leaguer potato
Leaguer festivals were held in East Clare in the past with competitions for the largest Leaguer potato. The Land leaguer potato is now a rare variety, it can be found at the Irish Seed Savers site.