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Ireland: Flora and its protection


An introduction to the Irish Flora

Ireland has a small flora being a European country and this is partly due as it is not a large county. Also the geological picture is not varied. However, the major factor is mostly ice sheets covered much parts of the land in Ireland until 13,000 years ago. A majority of the flora and fauna in Ireland has returned as ice sheets that have been retreated. This climate warmed up 10,000 years ago, and there is a land bridge which may have connected Wales and the East Coast side of Ireland. The sea levels were 250 foot lower than they are today as the water was frozen during that period into vast ice caps. This caps covered the rest of North America and Northern Asia.

Some endangered plants in Ireland

There are relatively small numbers of native species of flowers and fauna, having over 850 species of them. Studies show that a lot of species have declined in numbers and has even disappeared in some parts of the country.  This is because of various reasons like change in the agricultural practices, drainage schemes, mowing of roadside verges, housing developments, expansion of golf courses and overgrazing.

Traditionally, such wild flowers were hand picked as a pastime. But at present people are aware of the rise it can pose. There are various flowers and fauna that are scientifically named and have their own features and capabilities. These flowers have their unique specialty and some of them are illegal to be picked up by the common public as per authorized by the government rule.

Killarney Fern or Trichomanes speciosum suffered from collections during the Victorian era. Such flowers are also threatened by over picking. Picking such rare flowers should not be encouraged and instead people should leave them for others to enjoy the view of the nature’s creation.

Such flowers are planted in various natural reserves and parks and are specially protected not to be picked by the visitors. Such rarest species are protected under the Flora Protection Order, 1999, which includes a number of liverworts, lichens, algae and mosses too.

Types of flowers in Ireland

Most people are fascinated by the charming and by the beauty of the flowers for centuries. Flowers are bred and cultivated for their beauty and for their ability to heal diseases. Such nature’s gift to mankind is subject to various poems and myths and there are also religious symbols associated with them.

Asters: Such beautiful flowers are over 600 species of them and are quite popular in Monte Casino. The ancient societies believed that when such leaves are burnt, their smell or odor drives away the serpents. However, this cannot be applicable today, but its implication is appropriate. Aster means charming and patience as per the myth.

Bells of Ireland: such flowers come from Ireland and originate in the Western parts of Asia. The Bluebells has a spicy or a peppery scent and is a part of the mint family. They stand for good luck.

Carnations: In the past, people used to leave their house with a red or a white carnation on their button hole of their suit. However, with the end of such tradition, the carnations are easily cultivated and grown, but the flower has lost its popularity. The carnations are beautiful as well as have long lasting flowers. Such flowers are used for fascination by people around the world.

So how one can conserve such rare flora and fauna in Ireland

The conservation of such plants and flowers can be achieved by protecting the habitants since they do not occur in isolation, but as a part of the living biological community. It is necessary to conserve such habitants for which there is some particular management strategies applied, and it involves the traditional farming practices maintenance. Also, it is important to maintain specific landscape features as refuges for the wild plants like roadside verges, hedgerows and ponds.

Saving such flowers

Some of the National Botanic gardens, reserves and parks in Ireland are taking measures and such positive steps to counter the loss of the plants in Ireland. The present scenario of the fauna shows around 120 species of flowers which are threatened in Ireland itself and six of the species are actually on the verge of extinction without their support.

The Botanic Gardens have established a programme for such species named as the Irish Threatened plant species conservation programme. The research will be on the cultivation of the many of such threatened species to build both knowledge and expertise of growing such species. They aim to focus on some of the most threatened native Irish flowers and fauna for the next six years.

The strategic plan is to conserve the plants and the flowers. Around 16 sets of target have been drawn and which will be achieved by 2010. These actions include the restoration of the population and the management of the same.