2023 County Report for Co. Wexford

Paul R. Green & Paula M. O'Meara

The main aim in 2023 was to promote the Flora of County Wexford which was published at the end of 2022. I spoke to South East Radio, and gave presentations at the libraries in Enniscorthy, New Ross and Wexford. The BSBI has turned the Flora into an eBook: https://bsbi.org/publications/ebooks/flora-of-county-wexford

Hand delivering the Floras added Veronica filiformis (Slender Speedwell) new to hectad S80 as it was on a buyer’s lawn.

11,373 records were collected during 2023. The lowest number since 2009. 531 monads (see map) were visited producing 760 new monad records, and 147 new hectad records. Of these records 11 were new species or hybrids for the county. Interestingly 979 of the 1713 species and hybrids known from the county were recorded during the year.

Both VCRs joined the Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club for a BioBlitz at Castletalbot in July, where we collected a total of 537 plant records from 4 monads. Nitella translucens (Translucent Stonewort) seen in a small pond by the castle was new for the hectad, and the 4th county record. Paula led a walk for the club at Enniscorthy along the River Slaney in April.

I lead the Wexford Naturalists’ Field Club for their first BSBI NYPH around Wexford town where we saw 61 species in flower.

Two BSBI meetings were held in 2023. The first being at Rosslare in April where we looked at the spring annuals on the dunes. In September Alison Evans and Roger Golding lead a fern training day at Edenvale where 15 members attended.

Hedera helix subsp. poetarum (Yellow-berried Ivy)

Found by Edel and Paul Maher in 2016, but only reported to the VCRs in 2023. The photo here was taken by Paul Maher of a cutting he grew on in his garden. This Yellow-berried Ivy must have been there for a long time as it grows along a 0.5km stretch of roadside hedge. A specimen was sent to the Alison Rutherford, who confirmed the identity.

Solanum villosum subsp. villosum (Red Nightshade)

Found by Dominic Berridge in 2022 by the Westgate in Wexford town. Dominic thought it was a yellow-berried Solanum dulcamara (Bittersweet). As soon as I saw his photos in 2023, I knew it wasn’t Bittersweet. This is the first record for Ireland.

Cuscuta campestris (Yellow Dodder)

Found by Gene Draper in a flower pot in his garden at Mulrankin. It is thought that the seed is likely to have arrived with birdseed. This is a new non-native for Ireland.

Equisetum × trachyodon (Mackay's Horsetail)

Paula O’Meara found this hybrid horsetail growing for 17m on a hedge bank between fields, and in the ditch either side of the field bank at Ballykeerogemore. Neither of the parents are very common in the county. A specimen was sent to the BSBI referee Pat Acock who confirmed the identity. A new county record.

Vaccinium vitis-idaea (Cowberry)

While walking along the ridge on Black Rock Mountain a large stand of Cowberry was found on a knoll amongst the heather and bilberry. This being the first record for the Co. Wexford side of the Blackstairs Mountains.

Dryopteris affinis subsp. kerryensis & D. affinis subsp. paleaceolobata

I took Alison Evans and Roger Golding along a forest road on the lower slope of the Blackstairs Mountains at Corrageen to look at what I thought was Dryopteris affinis subsp. kerryensis, even though what I thought was this fern wasn’t, elsewhere along the bank of the forest road we found several clumps of D. affinis subsp. kerryensis and a clump of D. affinis subsp. paleaceolobata (see photo). Both are new subspecies for the county.

Cotoneaster obscurus (Obscure Cotoneaster)

A very wet walk around John F. Kennedy Arboretum produced a self-sown Cotoneaster obscurus (Obscure Cotoneaster). A new non-native for Ireland. A specimen was sent to the BSBI referee Jeanette Fryer who confirmed the identity.

3 Flora (Protection) Order 2022 species new site

One of the best discoveries of the year was a sloping field at Blackwater which was grazed by three ponies. Here grew three species on the Flora (Protection) Order 2022: Lotus subbiflorus (Hairy Bird’s-foot-trefoil), Scleranthus annuus (Annual Knawel) and Trifolium subterraneum (Subterranean Clover). Both the Lotus and Trifolium occurred in large quantities in the field, and were found in many other sites within the vicinity.

Misopates orontium (Weasel's-snout)

A very rare plant in Ireland was found by Joanna Hodghton in December in a field gateway at Marshalstown. This was a new species for hectad S94, and only the 13th record for the county since 2000.