Nature walks in Wicklow etc

I had to smile when last Thursday opposite the entrance to the Tallaght N.C.T. test centre there stood a small Walnut ( Juglnas regia). I had been looking for an example recently and eventually got to examine one at the Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin. Its funny because even in an industrial area like this there is plenty of interest,loads to learn about what is growing where and with what else it is growing.

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On a waste patch of ground nearby some Meadow Vetchling ( Lathyrus pratensis) growing with some Winter Heliotrope ( petasites fragrans) and Cleavers ( Galium aparine). The Winter heliotrope has kidney shaped leaves and can be confused with Butterbur or perhaps colts foot. We have this in work.This was in flower over the winter up to about March and it is growing all along the river dodder beneath trees and shrubs.

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Other plants included Creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), willow herbs, and ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) seen in foreground 

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Over the weekend we visited the Glenmalure valley and walked from the Hostel up table track and Lug returning by the zig-zags.

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Along the road in the valley some Rhododendron Ponticum an invasive alien that destroys habitat and reduces biodiversity.

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The flower of R. ponticum may appear beautiful. It has destoyed parts of Killarney national park and West Cork among other places. It’s a hardwood that burns well green so can be utilised as a source of fuel as a control method.

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Native bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) under hazel. The flowers tend to hang to one side.

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This is a Bilberry ( Vaccinium myrtillus) also know locally as Frochan. The fruits provide a tasty snack and can be picked in July and August. The Fraughan rock glen used to access lug gets its name from these.

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The plant  behind the gorse bush is Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) with uppermost leaves under flowers not fused around stem.

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Some Greater Stitchwort (Stellaria holostea) growing on the roadside

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Broom (Cytisus scoparius) once used to make brooms. The flower buds can be eaten in salads.

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Sheeps sorrel ( Rumex acetosella) with stalked upper leaves and narrow basal lobes. This can be used like wood sorrel with fish and has a zesty taste.

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This is Burdock (Arctium spp) and inspired the inventing of Velcro by George de mistral. This plant was seen on a nature walk at  Carrig Dulra Glenealy led by Wendy and Richard Nairn.

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Other plants seen on the walk whose common names included, speedwell (Veronica spp) , woodrush (Luzula spp) Hazel, Rowan, Japanese Larch, Broom the larch bolete ,spotted Orchid and a froghopper nymph.  .We walked through a large plantation of Eucalyptus on coillte land on the East of Carrig mountain. The Eucalyptus trees currently standing at Ballymanus were planted in 1935 and are now over 30metres height. A number of species were grow to test which would be most suited to the Irish climate for commercial use. Cofords published a document entitled Eucalyptus as a potential biomass species for Ireland which is an interesting read and includes info regarding the species at Carrig mountain planted in both 1934 and 1935. There seems to be issues with frost hardiness below about -12 celcius. 

 

 

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