2022 County Report for West Cork

Clare Heardman

2022 County Report for West Cork (H3)

As has become tradition, we started the year with a group New Year Plant Hunt (NYPH) in Glengarriff Nature Reserve, finding thirty six species in flower including Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree).

Coastal and maritime species became a bit of a theme in terms of interesting finds in the remainder of the year, including the discovery of a species new to Ireland.


Asplenium obovatum (Lanceolate Spleenwort)

Asplenium obovatum is a rare fern, listed on Ireland’s Flora (Protection) Order 2022, which has a mainly south westerly distribution in Ireland.

In early January 2022, Peter Leonard found a small population on an earthen bank on Dursey Island, a new hectad for the species. In April, I found a healthy population of around 50 plants on a stone ruin above a cliff top on the north side of the Beara Peninsula. In early June, I visited Inishfarnard, an island in Kenmare Bay and found the largest population to date in Co Cork. The small fern was widespread on a dozen stone ruins on the island and was also present on nearby earth-stone walls and banks. Ironically, the name Inishfarnard – Inis Fearn Ard – translates as ‘island of the tall fern’.

Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s-tongue)

Between the end of May and mid-June, Ophioglossum vulgatum was found in three new hectads across West Cork. John Deasy found ‘plenty growing in a small area of dune slack’ at Inchdoney; Mary Sheehan found some on Crow’s Head, Beara, and I found it towards the western end of Inishfarnard.

Rumex hydrolapathum (Water Dock)

In May, I found Rumex hydrolapathum, a scarce species in West Cork, at a new site near Ownahincha strand.

Atriplex halimus (Shrubby Orache)

In September, Graham Day discovered Atriplex halimus near Schull on the Mizen Peninsula. This was a first record for Ireland, with his identification being confirmed by Paul Green, BSBI Officer for Ireland. It is a Mediterranean species which occurs as neophyte in Britain, being found mainly along the south coast where it is sometimes planted as a salt-resistant windbreak.

Chaenostoma cordatum (Bacopa)

In September, Graham Day found Chaenostoma cordatum growing through paving stones in Skibbereen, a first record for County Cork. It is a South African species which is often planted in hanging baskets and containers.

Salicornia spp. (Glassworts)

Several Salicornia species which are scarce and/or under-recorded in West Cork, were picked up by Graham Day: Salicornia ramosissima (Purple Glasswort) at Sherkin, Lough Hyne and Rosscarbery, and S. dolichostachya (Long-spiked Glasswort) and S. fragilis (Yellow Glasswort) at Rosscarbery.