nature

Early-purple Orchid

Scientific Name: Orchis mascula

Irish Name: An Magairlín Meidhreach
A common widespread orchid. This plant can grow quite tall with up to 50 pinkish-purple flowers. An unusual factor with this species is the high percentage of white flowered plants that exist.


nature study

 Common Twayblade Orchid

Scientific Name:  Neottia ovata

Irish Name: Dédhuilleog

The Common Twayblade orchid is widely distributed throughout the country, and it can be found in a range of habitats ranging from grassland to woodland to coastal dunes.. Mostly plants do have two dark green, oval leaves. However, the flowers of the Twayblade are extremely small and inconspicuous and not what you usually associate with an orchid. 


 Pyramidal Orchid

Scientific Name: Anacamptis pyramidalis

Irish Name: Magairlín na stuaice

The Pyramidal Orchid gets its name from the shape of its flower spike, especially early in the season. As it matures, it becomes more cylindrical in shape. It is widespread on chalk and limestone throughout the country, especially in the midlands. It is pollinated by both butterflies and moths, especially, the six-spot burnett moth. It is a very distinctive species and not confused with any other orchid growing here.


 Flora of the wetlands

The area around Clogher contains large areas of peatland. At first glance the bogs look monotonous – acre upon acre of dull heather and sphagnum moss. However on closer examination the bogs are full of interesting plants. There are several insect eating plants such as sundews, bladderworths and butterworths which are quite common.

The most characteristic plant of bogs is heather, a family of evergreen shrubs that can cover a large area of any bog. Several species of heather grow wild in Ireland. The main Heather species of heathers that grow wild in bogs in Clogher include ling heather (Calluna vulgaris), bell heather (Erica cinerea) and Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix). Bell heather and ling heather are common on the drier parts of the bog while crossleaved heath prefers wetter bog.

Wild orchids can be found growing throughout the country with 28 different species native to Ireland. The Clogher Bog Loop Walk is very rich in its biodiversity and boasts up to 19 different varieties of wild orchids. Some of the more common orchids growing in Clogher bog include the Pyramidal Orchid, the Early Purple, the Common Twayblade and the Heath Spotted Orchid. 


 Common Bladderwort

Scientific Name: Utricularia intermedia sens
Irish Name: Lus borraigh Gaelach

Common bladderwort is an often overlooked, but remarkable aquatic carnivorous plant with highly divided, underwater leaf-like stems and numerous small "bladders". The flowers, which grow above water, are yellow, two-lipped with a forward facing spur on the lower lip (similar in form to snapdragons).
The "bladders", from which the common named is derived, are used to capture small aquatic organisms. Hairs at the opening of the bladder serve as triggers, and when contacted, mechanically cause the trap to spring open, drawing in water and organisms like a vacuum. Enzymes and /or bacteria inside the traps aid in digestion.


 Heath Spotted-orchid 

Scientific Name: Dactylorhiza maculata 

Irish Name: Na circíní

The Heath Spotted Orchid is another common orchid, especially in the North and West of the country. It is a very pretty orchid, found growing on well-drained habitats including grasslands, moors and heaths.


Sundew

Scientific Name: Drosera 
Irish Name: Drúctín Móna

The sundew is the most common insectivorous plant of the blanket bogs. Three species of sundew grow in Ireland. They all have round or oval leaves covered with red sticky hairs and small white flowers that bloom from June to August.
They are quite small plants usually 8 to 15 cms. tall. Due to the fact that boglands are quite low in nutrients these plants adapt to the conditions and consume insects from which they extract their food. It traps unwary insects on sticky pads on its leaves and then produces an enzyme which breaks down the insect into a form which can be readily absorbed by the plant



 Bog Cotton

Common Name: Common Cotton grass
Scientific Name: Eriophorum angustifolium
Irish Name: Ceannbhán

If you are anywhere near the bog in spring, you will see what looks like tufts of cotton wool swaying in the wind. This is cotton grass, or bog cotton. The "cotton" is made of long white hairs that help the seeds to disperse in the wind.
Bog cotton, as it is more commonly known in Ireland, is said to have been cursed by St. Patrick. It was once used as a filling for pillows and mattresses, making candlewicks and even as a dressing for wounds.



 Bog Asphodel 

Common Name: Bog Asphodel 
Scientific Name: Narthecium ossifragum 
Irish Name: Sciollam na móna 
Flowering time: July - August. Perennial. Native. 

Erect flowering spike, bright yellow flowers with orange anthers. Flat, iris-like basal leaves, stem leaves are small and scale-like. Height: 10-40cm. Can be locally very frequent on wet heathlands and sphagnum bogs throughout Ireland.  



 Water crowfoot

Common Name: Water crowfoot
Scientific Name: Ranunculus peltatus
Irish Name: Néal uisce scéithe
Flowering April - September. Aquatic perennial. Native. 

White flowers, petals with yellow base. Young achenes are hairy, young fruits without short bristles. Laminal leaves are absent, the thread-like capillary leaves on the central section of stem are shorter than the adjacent internodes. 
Found in still or slow-moving, shallow water in ditches, pools and lake edges, can be semi-terrestrial on wet mud.



 Meadowsweet

Common Name:   Meadowsweet
Scientific Name:  Filipendula ulmaria
Irish Name: Airgead luachra

Meadowsweet is a common wild flower of the countryside found in damp meadows, near streams and on roadsides during the summer months flowering between late June and September. It has clusters of pale yellow flowers with a beautiful perfume and grows from 2 - 4 feet in height. Meadowsweet was considered a sacred herb in ancient Celtic rituals. Few of its medicinal uses were recognised in the past when it was used mainly for scouring milk churns in Co Mayo and strewing on floors. Its active ingredient, salicylic acid, has been isolated, synthesised and is in tablet form as 'aspirin' – 'a' for acetyl and ' –spirin' for Spirea, the original botanical name for Meadowsweet. 



Birdsfoot trefoil

Scientific Name: Lotus corniculatus
Irish Name: Crobh éin

This much loved little yellow pea-flowered perennial is a wildflower which brightens up roadsides, sandhills, stone-walls and most grassy places. 
 Bird's-foot Trefoil is a native plant that attract wasps, bees and butterflies when it flowers from June to September. This is the principal larval food plant of the Common Blue Butterfly.  The leaves are alternate and pinnate. It is the distinctive seedpod which gives the plant its name. The seeds are contained in slender pods which when ripe resemble a bird's foot.



Yellow Flag or Yellow Iris

Scientific Name:  Iris pseudacorus
Irish Name: Feilistrum

It grows in wet habitats in - meadows, woods, marshes, edges of lakes, ponds, streams, rivers and canals. Yellow Iris is a striking, native perennial herb; growing up to 1.5m.The flowers are bright yellow, typically iris-like and up to 10cm across. Leaves are broad and grass-like



Bog bean

Scientific Name: Menyanthes trifoliata
Irish Name: Bearnán lachan
Flowering time: April - July. Aquatic perennial. Native.

Flowers are pinkish white and fringed with white hairs. Long-stalked trifoliate leaves, raised above water. Creeping submerged stems and rootstock. Height: 12-30 cm. Found in ponds, fens and bogs in shallow muddy water. Food plant for Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillars.



Bog-myrtle

Scientific Name:  Myrica Gale
Irish Name: Roideóg

A real West-of-Ireland shrub, Bog-myrtle,  a native plant,  loves acid soil, lake shores and bogland in impenetrable little thickets, it grows to about 1 metre tall, having red-brown, twiggy stems.  From April to May, little catkins grow – orange and red, on different plants; the male (orange) are each 15mm long with 4 stamens, the female(red) only 6mm long. 
Flowers from April to May, little catkins grow – orange and red, on different plants; the male (orange) are each 15mm long with 4 stamens, the female(red) only 6mm long.  The oval leaves are downy below, almost hairless, and a distinctive fragrance of resin emanates from them and from small yellow dots which grow on the branches.
lso known as Sweet Gale, Bog-myrtle was used as flavouring for some beers before the widespread availability of hops



Purple moor grass

Scientific Name:  Molinia caerulea 
Irish Name: Fionnán 
Flowering: July-August. Deciduous perennial. Native. 

Flower-heads long, branched, either spreading or narrow. Numerous green or purple spikelets with 1-4 flowers. 
Leaves mainly basal, flat, 5-8mm wide, sparsely hairy. Ligules replaced by ring of hairs. Purplish leaf sheaths. Forms dense tussocks. Wiry stems 30-100cm. 
Widespread, locally abundant on permanently or seasonally wet ground. Marshes, fens, and on wet heaths and moors. 



Sphagnum moss

Sphagnum moss is one of the most important plant species of the bog. Sphagnum moss has great powers of absorption, being able to hold many times its weight in water. It is this sponge-like property of the species which contributes to the wetness of bogs. Because of these considerable powers of absorption Sphagnum moss was extensively gathered in Ireland during World War 1 for use as a wound-dressing. In addition to contributing to the wetness of a bog the species also actively acidifies the water by holding onto any plant nutrients and replacing them with hydrogen ions which further slows the rate of decomposition.
Sphagnum moss is commonly known as bog moss. Pale green bog moss is the most common type but it can have a range of colours, such as dark green, yellow, pink, red and brown.
Decayed bog moss is often called peat moss. It is also very useful. Often, it is added to sandy soil to help it hold in moisture. A layer of peat moss is often used when growing mushrooms.
Spagnum mosses are peat forming mosses and are often called “The Bog Builder.” Without sphagnum mosses bogs would not exist. The surface of bogs is composed of living sphagnum moss. This is floating on a thick layer of waterlogged and partially rotted plant material. Sphagnum moss can hold up to 20 times its own weight in water.





Lousewort 

Scientific Name: Pedicularis sylvatica ssp. hibernica
I
rish Name: Lus an ghiolla
Flowering time: April-July. Perennial. Native.
Habitat: Damp moorland. SW, W, NW Ireland. Frequently replaces P. sylvatica in W.Ireland. 

This perennial wildflower is a native plant commonly found growing on damp, peaty soil and bogs.  It grows very low to the ground with numerous unbranched stems carrying dense little spikes of pale pink flowers from April to July.  These flowers (20-25mm long) are two-lipped, the upper lip toothed at the tip only, and they emerge from an inflated, veined lobed calyx.  The leaves are fern-like with lobed leaf segments. 
The Latin word 'pediculus' means 'louse' and the common name Lousewort was given to this little plant originally as it was thought that it gave lice to livestock grazing on it.  Subsequently it has been found to carry snails and possibly the liver-fluke larvae may be introduced to stock this way.  It is a hemi-parasitic plant which feeds on minerals and water from other plants. The plant is also known as Dwarf Red Rattle.  



Common Butterwort

Scientific Name: Pinguicula vulgaris
Irish Name: Bodán meascáin

The Common Butterwort is an insectivorous plant. Its bright yellow-green leaves of excretes a sticky fluid which attracts unsuspecting insects. They have purple flowers that appear from May to July.
Once an insect get trapped, the leaves slowly curl around their prey and digest it. The acidic bogs, fens where they live in don't provide it with enough nutrients, so it has evolved this carnivorous way of life to supplement its diet.
Common Butterwort has a rosette of yellow-green and sticky leaves that appear flat to the ground and shaped like a star. It produces around two or three upright flower stalks which bear small, purple flowers.



Ling heather

Scientific Name: Calluna Vulgaris
I
rish Name: Fraoch Mór

This is one of the most abundant plants in the area and is especially noticeable in late summer when it is in bloom. It is a native evergreen shrub which flowers from July-September.
The flowers are a tiny usually a mauve-pink colour, clustered in long dense spikes and are honey- scented. Occasionally you find a white flowering plant. A white heather is considered to be lucky.
Heather's scientific name Calluna comes from the Greek word meaning ’to brush’. It was used in this locality to  make a sweeping broom called a “besom.”



Bell heather

Scientific Name: Erica Cinera
irish Name: Fraoch cloigíneach 

Bell heather is a native species of flowering plant in the family Ericaceae. It is distinctive with its dark purple-pink, bell-shaped flowers forming clusters up the stem, and short, dark green needle-like leaves borne in whorls of three.
It is a low, spreading shrub growing to 15-60cm tall, with fine needle-like leaves arranged in whorls of three.
The dark purple-pink, bell-shaped flowers appear between July and September, carpeting boglands and bringing them to life with the buzzing of nectar-loving bees and insects.



Cross-leaved Heath

Scientific Name: Erica Tetralix
Irish Name: Fraoch Naoscaí

Cross-leaved Heath is a type of heather that gets its name from the distinctive whorls of four leaves that occur along its stems. An evergreen shrub, it prefers acid bogs and wet heath or moorland. It flowers between July and September and attracts many nectar-loving insects including bees and moths.  h has pink, bell-shaped flowers clustered at the end of long, branched stems. Grey-green leaves are narrow and in whorls of four.

Beech

Irish Name: Fábhile
Latin name: Fagus sylvatica

The Beech is one of our largest and most beautiful forest trees, growing to a height of one hundred feet in as many years and continuing to grow in girth for many years afterwards. The tall massive erect trunk and enormous branches have a smooth blue - grey bark. The leaves appear in April and are then emerald green edged with fine white downy hairs. The dark green colour persists until October when it turns to vivid russet – brown before falling.
Sometimes the shrivelled leaves will remain on the tree throughout the winter until they are pushed off by the newly – developing leaves in the spring.  These majestic trees often retain their leaves long after they have turned from green to brown, and beech hedges are therefore also quite popular. A beech is at least forty years old before it bears flowers. They are brownish – purple in colour with long, golden – tipped stamens. The fruit is a three – sided brown nut, known as mast".


Alder

Irish Name: Fearnóg
Latin name:  Alnus glutinosa.             

 One of Ireland's most traditional and widely distributed trees, alders may be found in damp areas, beside freshwater loughs and along river banks, where their strong fibrous roots may help to keep the bank in place.
Like most trees, alder flowers before the leaves are out, with attractive reddish catkins and small cones that contain the seeds. Alder will grow in most soils, and likes wet sites. Given rich damp soil alder will grow rapidly and is a really productive tree for timber.                                                 
In ancient Ireland sections of alder trunks were used as round shields. Later, it was used for making clogs and also in the furniture trade where it was known as 'Irish mahogany'  


Oak

There are two species of
oak trees common throughout
Ireland.
Sessile Oak
Irish Name: Dair Ghealach
Latin name: Quercus petraea
Common Oak  
Irish Name: Dair Ghallda
Latin name:  Quercus robur

Oak trees produce acorns. Enclosed in the safe, tough shell of each acorn is a single seed. It is dependant on birds and other animals to carry it away to an area where it can grow into a new oak tree. The leaf of an oak tree is very distinctive, with its tough texture, dark green colour and wavy edge. The leaves on an oak tree grow in a spiral.
Both the sessile oak and the common oak are very similar. One of the main differences between them is that the acorns on a sessile oak don’t have stalks, but the acorns on the common oak do have stalks.
Some of the place names in Ireland are called after the oak tree or ‘dair as it is called in Irish. For example, Kildare is known as ‘Cill Dara’ in Irish. This translates to ‘Church of the oak’.  The oak tree and the hazel tree were symbols of knowledge. The Celts also believed that doors that were made of oak wood would ward off evil spirits.


Rowan

Irish Name: Rudha-an
Latin name: Sorbus aucuparia
Rowan trees usually only grow to between ten and twenty metres high, which is quite small when compared to the Oak tree that can grow up to forty metres high! They are deciduous trees, with smooth barks and long, elegant leaflets that grow either side of the stem. From April to June, creamy-coloured blossoms appear on the Rowan tree.
The rowan tree produces red berries in the autumn. These are soft and juicy, and a great source of food for birds. The leaves also turn a reddish colour before they are shed. In fact, the red colour of the leaves gives the Rowan tree its name in Irish. ‘Rudha-an’ literally means ‘the red one’.
The original name for the rowan tree comes from the Old Norse name for a tree, ‘raun’. It is also known as mountain ash, because the leaves of the ash trees are very similar to those on a rowan tree. However, the trees are not related at all!



Ash

Irish Name: Fuinseog
Latin name: Fraxinus excelsior
The common ash is Ireland’s most common, tallest native tree. It is a deciduous tree and after it has been cut down, it is able to re-sprout and start growing again. The flat, broad leaves grow opposite each other in pairs on a long stem, and have an oval shape that narrows into a point at the end.
The seeds of the common ash tree look like a great big bunch of keys, so as you could guess, they are commonly known as ‘keys’! These seeds provide food for lots of wildlife such as birds, mice and squirrels. During the summer, look out for the dark purple coloured flowers of the ash tree, and the distinctive black buds that appear in the winter.
The wood of the ash tree is used in Ireland to produce furniture, walking sticks and many sports equipment items (especially hurleys). This is because it is a strong wood, flexible and does not break very easily.
The ash was sacred to our ancestors, the Celts. They believed that the ash tree and the rowan tree held powers of protection.



next...... next......

Clogher Heritage Complex - Newtown, Clogher, Claremorris, Co Mayo

home cottage & forge walks sights & stories news & events contact & links