2021 County Report for West Cork

Clare Heardman

The continuing presence of Covid-19, meant botanising as a group was largely restricted for the second year in a row but a successful field meeting to Warren Strand, Rosscarbery was held in June. The main aim was to see Ireland’s best site for the rare and protected Lathyrus japonicus subsp. maritimus (Sea Pea) and we were rewarded with the sight of an obviously thriving population along the edge of the dunes.

During the year there were also some nice incidental finds, adding to the distribution maps of some of the less common plants in H3. They included the following:

Viola lactea (Pale Dog-violet)

Found at a new site on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula by Mary and Werner Sheehan while walking part of the Sheep’s Head Way on the May Bank Holiday. An exciting find as there are only a few modern records of this “Flora (Protection) Order, 2015” species.

Aconitum napellus (Monk’s-hood)

In April, a first for the county came with a find by John Deasy of Aconitum napellus, a highly poisonous non-native plant located on the banks on the Bandon River near Murragh Bridge.

Cardamine occulta (Asian C. flexuosa)

In September, Graham Day found another county first with the discovery Cardamine occulta, a small naturalised brassica, on a path at a garden centre on the outskirts of Skibbereen.

Adiantum capillus-veneris (Maidenhair Fern)

This fern, usually associated with limestone areas, was previously known from two sites in H3 but was not re-seen during survey work for Atlas 2020. It was therefore a nice surprise that Julia and Graham Day found a single specimen at its former stronghold in a railway cutting in Skibbereen.

Poterium sanguisorba (Salad Burnet)

Only one record of this calcareous grassland plant was made during Plant Atlas 2020, so Claire Deasy doubled the number of hectads it’s known from in H3 with her find near Gullane Lake pNHA, Clonakilty.

Orobanche minor (Common Broomrape)

Common Broomrape had only been previously recorded from five hectads in H3, so its discovery by John Deasy in a new hectad at Long Strand added nicely to its distribution in West Cork.

Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s-tongue) and Viola canina (Heath Dog-violet)

During a coastal Chough survey I was carrying out as part of my work with National Parks and Wildlife Service, I found new cliff-top sites for a number of West Cork’s less common plants: Ophioglossum vulgatum and Viola canina in two new hectads on Bere Island, along with new sites for Cerastium arvense (Field Mouse-ear) on Dursey Island and Betonica officinalis (Betony) on the mainland.