Flora of County Waterford (2008)

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Flora of County Waterford
by Paul Green

published by the National Botanic Gardens: 26th August 2008

by Keith Ferguson

The flora of Ireland is remarkably under recorded in comparison with that of Great Britain despite the work for, and publication of, the recent New Atlas. Similarly there are few comprehensive and detailed local Floras. County Waterford, with a complex geology in many areas, varied topography, riparian, estuarine, coastal and mountain has a particularly rich and diverse flora. Many of the plants represent the transition between the eastern and western elements of the Irish flora. Western species such as Irish Spurge and Killarney Fern reach the eastern limit of their range. While the eastern elements not only have plants more common in eastern Ireland but are a somewhat impoverished but nonetheless interesting extension of the flora of southern Wales and the south of England.

My home was in Tramore for the first 25 years of my life and my first memories of plants in County Waterford are probably from the early 1940s – the family ritual on Maundy Thursday of bicycling to Newtown Cove or towards Garrarus Cove and Annestown and picking baskets of Primroses to decorate the Church for Easter. As housing developed by the late 1950s and onwards Primrose were never abundant in the lanes and ditches in east Waterford as they were then, though the species is still universal throughout the county. The magnificent Phragmites swamps which the railway that took me to school in Waterford crossed and smaller bogs, hillsides covered with Gorse, Western Gorse, Bell Heather and Ling, as well as meadows filled with Cowslip are now only a memory. The railway is long gone and many of the habitats have changed and sadly some disappeared as a result of drainage for agriculture and to accommodate the expansion of Waterford, Tramore and other towns.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s recording for the Atlas of the British Flora was being actively undertaken and Frank Perring was a regular visitor to the Trinity College Dublin Botany School whence he and David Webb set out to work up squares that were very poorly recorded. They, and Maura Scannell in the Botany Department of the National Museum, stimulated my enthusiasm leading to my discovery of Perennial Glasswort in neighbouring Wexford and to becoming BSBI recorder for Waterford in 1962. Some 20 years of relatively active botanical recording followed whenever I could get back to Waterford and a great many new records were added to the Monks Wood database and published. One of the highlights was the discovery, by Lorna Ferguson, in 1973, of Sea Knotgrass at Tramore. Over the last 15 years my commitment to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew curtailed much active field work.

Paul Green and his twin brother Ian became well known for their enthusiasm for and knowledge of the British flora in the early 1990s. The Atlas Flora of Somerset demonstrating their industry, enterprise and scholarship. Against this background I was more than pleased when in 1996 Paul volunteered to carry out the field work in County Waterford required for the New Atlas of the British and Irish Flora and accepted the card index of my records. Paul’s thoroughness, diligence and energy greatly impressed me through the regular bulletins of his discoveries in the county. Bringing a fresh pair of eyes and knowledge of many critical groups Paul began to amass a wealth of valuable information on the flora of the region. He explored every corner of the county and continued his field work at different seasons after the New Atlas had ceased accruing records. The remarkably detailed documentation of the flora, its history and as it is to-day makes Paul Green’s work a landmark in the recording of the Irish flora and sets a benchmark for future studies. This Flora has fundamental role in underpinning conservation and planning policy. Though of course it cannot be regarded as the last word on the flora as inevitably changes will occur, perhaps some rarities will be rediscovered and sadly some species may disappear and undoubtedly new aliens will appear. However, I have no doubt that this flora of County Waterford will be invaluable to users for many years to come.

by Michael Stephens

Paul Richard Green was born in Guildford, Surrey in 1967, the oldest of twins. As is often the case with identical twins, Paul and Ian have a close relationship and their lives have much in common, not least their fascination with botany. In fact ‘fascination’ is too weak a word, for those who know them well realize that their enthusiasm for botany can only be described as an obsession!

From early childhood they were aware of plants. They visited Grandfather Green who was a nursery manager and for a short while their father ran a nursery. While living at Alford, Surrey, at the age of two and a half they would often be taken by their mother to nearby Wildwood Farm to see their solitary cow being milked and to explore the meadows looking for wild flowers. They liked to gather the flowers to press and take to Play School where their mother helped teach the other youngsters the names of the flowers and such an interest was shown she was asked to take the whole Play School on wild flower walks.

The family moved to High Ham, Somerset when Paul was five years old and on moving to the smaller hamlet of Muchelney Ham at the age of eleven he became fascinated by the wealth of wildlife on the surrounding Levels. First he became interested in Lepidoptera and avifauna, particularly the wintering wildfowl that visited the flooded Levels. However plants soon became his main interest. This was largely inspired by his grandmother, Mrs E.E. Goldsmith, who moved from Sussex in 1981 to live in the “Granny Annex”. She encouraged his desire to learn more and started to take him to natural history meetings.

By the time he took his driving test Paul was a very keen botanist. On leaving school he completed an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery, achieving his City and Guilds. However, with the building trade in recession he took up alternative employment as a milkman. This suited his botanical interests admirably, giving him many more hours of daylight to pursue his interest. This was stimulated further by completing diaries and entering competitions for the Wild Flower Society (WFS) of which Paul eventually became a Branch Secretary.

With their knowledge and enthusiasm ever increasing, Paul, Ian and a friend, Geraldine Crouch, embarked upon an ambitious scheme. They decided to compile an Atlas Flora of Somerset. Paul and Ian worked on this throughout the decade of their twenties and it is the product of enormous youthful energy. It was published in 1997, is a highly regarded county flora and won the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) and WFS President’s prize for the best botanical work published that year.

Occasionally Paul would undertake botanical expeditions further afield, and it was while visiting Ireland that he made a remarkable discovery in Co. Galway. On an isolated peat bog he found a plant he had never seen before and that puzzled other botanists to whom he showed specimens. Eventually it was determined that the plant (which still thrives in its site) was Haloragis micrantha (Creeping Raspwort), a plant native to southeast Asia to Australasia and that had never been found growing in Europe before! As one botanist of advanced years remarked, all his life he had hoped to find something like this and this mere youth had achieved it in his twenties.

With The Atlas Flora of Somerset completed, Paul returned to Ireland when he responded to a request to help gather data for the BSBI New Atlas that was eventually published in 2002. As he collected information about Co. Waterford he conceived the idea of producing a Flora of that county. By now Paul was living in Cornwall and had found employment working with adults with learning difficulties. However, majority of his holidays were spent in visiting Co. Waterford and such was the lure of the county that in 2006 he settled in Ireland. He is Vice County Recorder for both Co. Waterford (H6) and Co. Wexford (H12) and joint recorder for South Somerset (VC5).

For many years Paul (and Ian) have contributed articles to botanical magazines. That they should do that and write books is a remarkable accomplishment for what many do not know is that both are dyslexic and could not read until they reached their teens. Theirs is a truly inspiring achievement that would no doubt amaze their primary school teachers.

Perhaps it is the way their brains work, or perhaps it is has developed as compensation for their difficulties with language, but both have acute powers of observation and recall of plants. Although not averse to keying out plants, they have a remarkable ability to subsequently recognize again plants they have previously seen, even though they can find it difficult to explain to others just how they make the identification. It might be added that along with this goes an extremely intelligent appreciation of factors such as habitat preference and companion species when trying to find or identify plants.

Their botanical knowledge and expertise have made them popular and respected leaders of botanical field meetings for both the BSBI and the WFS. More recently Paul has been employed to lead botanical trips abroad, including Turkey and Kazakhstan. One participant in a field meeting remarked when the identity of a certain plant was being discussed, “If Paul says it’s such and such a plant, that’s good enough for me”. But I would not want to give the impression that he is super-human; Paul shares the frustrations of most botanists when it comes to identifying difficult species such as the Euphrasia and Hieracium. Nevertheless he has become the BSBI referee for Alliums and in his garden is developing a reference collection of these plants. He is always ready to help other people who are interested in botany.

So what kind of botanist is Paul? He is ready to “twitch” a plant but that is certainly not his main interest. He also loves to find plants new for a county. Unlike a good number of botanists he is as interested in alien species as much as in native ones. He records all alien plants growing in the wild, whether they are invasive plants fast becoming part of our flora, or whether it is a single specimen of a garden discard with no territorial aspirations.

Essentially, though, Paul is the kind of botanist who enjoys recording. He never seems to tire of collecting data to build up a detailed picture of the flora of his “patch”. In this he is meticulous. Cursory visits to a tetrad will not suffice. It must be visited at various times of the year and if its habitats are varied all must be explored. When a look at the species map of the county reveals unexplained gaps a further visit must be made to check if the plant is really absent or has just been missed.

In compiling the present flora Paul has found that just as enjoyable as the fieldwork has been the extensive research into historical records and study of herbarium specimens. Much valuable data has been obtained this way and some remarkable finds subsequently made in the field.

Paul is grateful for all the records made by others and is always ready to acknowledge their contribution. Nevertheless anyone who studies this book will soon realize how much of the work has been done by Paul. His love of botany, which has continued undiminished since childhood, has been demonstrated by the enormous amount of time that has been enthusiastically spent on this Flora and the tremendous dedication it has received.


I would like to thank the following: Keith Ferguson, who has a wealth of knowledge of Co. Waterford, for his support and encouragement and for passing on the botanical card index he had compiled for the county; Geraldine A. Crouch, Ian P. Green, Alan C. Leslie, Declan McGrath, Mike L. Stephens, Matt J. Stribley and John C. Wallace for accompanying me for many hours in the field recording; Dominic Berridge for arranging and accompanying me on visits to Little Island; Alec Lockton and David Pearman for help with information in the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) database; Bob Ellis, Matt J. Stribley and John C. Wallace for help with Mapmate, the database used for computerising the records for this flora; Ian P. Green, Alan C. Leslie and Mike L. Stephens for proof reading the flora and offering many useful suggestions; Sylvia C.P. Reynolds for answering questions about alien plants in Ireland; Olivier J-L. Martin and John C. Wallace for help with the various maps at the start of flora.

Many BSBI referees and other botanists have helped with identifying and checking specimens, which was greatly appreciated. Particular thanks are due to David E. Allen for naming many Rubus, Keith Ferguson for help with Salicornia, Jeanette Fryer for help with Cotoneaster, Antony L. Primavesi and Robert Maskew for help with Rosa, Matt J. Stribley for looking at Polypodium, Mike L. Stephens for help with naturalised garden species, John C. Wallace for looking at Montia seeds and Peter F. Yeo for help with Aster.

Herbariums have been very helpful with providing information on specimens they house, for letting me visit and letting me spend many hours looking at specimens and using their libraries. They are: British Museum, London (BM), University of Cambridge, Cambridge (CGE), National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin (DBN), Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (E), Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (K), National Museum of Wales, Cardiff (NMW) and Trinity College, Dublin (TCD). I would particularly like to thank Matthew Jebb of DBN, Mike Wilson of TCD and Mark Spencer of BM.

I would like to thank Sarah Ball and Colette Edwards for their help in the library at the National Botanic Gardens, and staff in the library at the Royal Irish Academy and Trinity College.

I would like to thank the Mapmate team who have helped me with so many queries over the last few years.

I would like to thank my family for all their help and support, particularly my brother Ian for all his help in the field in the first few years, reading numerous drafts of this flora and listening to me over the phone when consulting him about all the problems I had putting the text together and the problems with the database. My father, Alan, being a forester many years ago, helped out in 1997 by suggesting names of conifers Ian and I had found growing wild in the county. My late mother, Pat Green, and grandmother, Mrs E.E. Goldsmith, gave me much support and always took an interest in my botanical activities.

Recorders, BSBI referees, contributors and helpers who have assisted me with this flora since 1997 are: Pat Acock, Dr John R. Akeroyd, Dr David E. Allen, Michael Archer, Dominic Berridge, Nigel Blackstock, Dr Laurence A. Boorman, Dr Humphrey J.M. Bowen, Catriona Brady, J. Caffrey, Martin Cawley, Arthur O. Chater, Susan Cobley, Rita Cooke, Rob C. Cooke, Dr T.A. Cope, John Coveney, Geraldine A. Crouch, Dr Tom Curtis, Katharine Duff, Graham V. Day, A. Ian Denholm, Fiona D. Devery, Lisa M.J. Dolan, Declan A. Doogue, Bob Ellis, David Fenwick, Dr I. Keith Ferguson, Jeanette Fryer, Lady Ro. FitzGerald, Rosaleen Garbett, Roger N. Goodwillie, Joanne E. Goodyear, David Goyder, Ian P. Green, Dr Peter S. Green, Dr Raymond M. Harley, Siobhan Hearne, T.R. Hodkinson, Pauline Hodson, Dr Nigel Holmes, Libby Houston, Dr Matthew Jebb, C.T. Kelleher, Daniel L. Kelly, Catherine Keena, Giles E. King-Salter, Brian Laney, Dr Alan C. Leslie, Richard V. Lansdown, Alex Lockton, Dr Brian Madden, Olivier J-L. Martin, Mark McCorry, David J. McCosh, Úna McDermott, Declan McGrath, David McNeill, W. Ian McNeill, R. Desmond Meikle, Megan R.W. Morris, Rose J. Murphy, Gina Murrell, Meikle Muyllaert, Richard G.W. Nairn, E. Charles Nelson, Alan Newton, Dr Mary O’Conor, Paddy O’Keeffe, Tony O’Mahony, Jim L. O’Malley, Prof. John S. Parker, David A. Pearman, T.D. Pennington, John Poutsma, Rev. Antony L. Primavesi, Rob D. Randall, Gill H. Read, Dave Rees, Albert W. Reid, Julian Reynolds, Sylvia C.P. Reynolds, Dr Tim C.G. Rich, J. Ian M. Rippey, Dr Norman K.B. Robson, RPS Consultants Ltd, Maura J.P. Scannell, Dr Mary Clare Sheahan, Br. Cathal Smiddy, Mark Spencer, Prof. Clive A. Stace, Mike L. Stephens, Alastair Stevenson, Matt J. Stribley, Pascal Sweeney, John C. Wallace, Dr S. Max Walters, Roy Watson, Erica Wiebe, Mike Wilcox, Frank Winder, Rob Woodall, Dr Mike B. Wyse Jackson and Dr Peter F. Yeo.

Other people whose records were made before 1997, (which I have extracted from various sources): H.I. Adams, Rev. Thomas Allin, G.J. Allman, T. Anderson, G.C. Argent, E. Armitage, Penny Austin, Prof. Charles C. Babington, J.P. Bailey, Anne E. Ball, P.W. Ball, Robert Ball, Dr Baker, G.E.H. Barrett-Hamilton, Richard M. Barrington, A.L. Beale, Arthur Bennett, C.E. Bond, Evelyn M. Booth, E.H. Bowers, A. Brady, Con Breen, Lady Anne Brewis, James Britten, J.B. Brunker, Richard Burkett, Carroll Isaac, P.H. Carvil, Rev. FR. M. Casey, J. Casper, Thomas Chandlee, M. Chearnley, Pat Clancy, H.R. Clark, Prof. C.D. Cook, Rev. J. Cooke, Vera Copp, Mayor Cummins, Frances W. Currey, Mick Daily, James E. Dandy, V.E.J. Davidson, R.W. David, R. Davis, H.J. Dawson, C.M. Dowlen, George C. Druce, James Drummond, P. Duffy, T.T. Elkington, J.L. Farguharson, Lynne Farrell, Lorna F. Ferguson, S.A. Filfilan, Eddy Fitzgerald, H. Fitzsimons, Rev. William W. Flemyng, Dr George Fogarty, A.R. Friel, Stephen Gallwey, Mrs Gibbon, Louisa S. Glascott, J. Goode, R.J. Gornall, A.M. Greenwood, J. Ernest Grubb, Susanna Grubb, M.D. Guiry, Dr G. Halliday, Henry C. Hart, R. Hartas-Jackson, J.G. Hawkes, J. Heslop-Harrison, H. Heuff, Norman Hickin, Arthur Hogan, Dr Pete M. Hollingsworth, I. Horne, H.W. Howard, Charles E. Hubbard, W. Hussey, Mrs Hutton, W.S. Irving, K. Jefferies, A.C. Jermy, B. Jonsell, Q.O.N. Kay, H.J. Killick, G.M. Kilty, Prof. John R. Kinahan, D. Kingston, Matilda C. Knowles, Mary E. Leebody, CH. T. Lett, Rev. Henry W. Lett, Rev. Edward F. Linton, Cynthia Longfield, A.G. Lyon, J.D. Lovis, Jas T. Mackay, Rev. S. Madden, E. Malone, Di Maxwell, Hugh A. McAllister, Miss McArdle, Mary McCallum Webster, H.D. Megaw, Ronald Melville, Beverley A. Miles, B. Morley, David Moore, Alexander G. More, J.K. Morton, Prof. Murphy, D. Murray, Joheph Neale, Rev. W.W. Newbould, F. Nicholson, G. Nicholson, Michael O’Brian, M. O’Leary, Dr Austin O’Sullivan, Mrs Owens, James T. Palmer, Dr Richard J. Pankhurst, C. Pearson, Dr Frank H. Perring, Mrs Persse, Robert A. Phillips, Katherine Plunkett, J. Poole, Thomas Power, Robert L. Praeger, Herbert W. Pugsley, Quigley, Q. Quinlan, Derek A. Ratcliffe, J.S. Rees, A.J. Richards, J. Ryan, Noel Y. Sandwith, Reginald W. Scully, Peter D. Sell, Norman D. Simpson, Pat Smiddy, Charles Smith, Rev. Travers R. Smith, G. Spencer, Arthur W. Stelfox, S.A. Stewart, Dr B.T. Styles, J. Sullivan, Victor S. Summerhayes, Donal M. Synnott, Pierre M. Taschereau, A. Taylor, Sir George Taylor, P. Taylor, The Dublin Naturalist’s Field Club (DNFC), Nesta Tirard, Miss Trench, Thomas G. Tutin, R.J. Usher, Richard P. Vowell, Dr Walter Wade, Rev. Coslett Herbert Waddell, A.E. Wade, W.A. Watts, David A. Webb, S.D. Webster, C. West, P. Whelan, Mrs White, M. Wilkinson, A.J. Wilmott, J.J. Wood, J. Woods, Dr. E. Perceval Wright, T. Wright, Peter S. Wyse Jackson, Rod Young and Rijnus Zwijnenbury.

Flora of County Waterford
- links to pdf files

Introductory chapters pages 6 to 26
Some of my favourite places to botanise / how to use the flora pages 27 to 37
Ferns and Gymnosperms. pages 38 to 55
Ranunculaceae, Berberidaceae, Papaveraceae, Moraceae, Ulmaceae, Cannabaceae, Urticaceae pages 56 to 70
Myricaceae, Fagaceae, Betulaceae, Aizoaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Amaranthaceae, Portulacaceae, Caryophyllaceae. pages 71 to 92
Polygonaceae, Plumbaginaceae, Paeoniaceae, Elatinaceae, Clusiaceae (Hypericaceae), Tiliaceae, Malvaceae, Droseraceae, Violaceae, Tamaricaceae. pages 92 to 110
Cucurbitaceae, Begoniaceae, Salicaceae, Brassicaceae, Resedaceae, Empetraceae. pages 111 to 134
Primulaceae, Grossulariaceae, Hydrangeaceae, Crassulaceae, Saxifragaceae, Rosaceae. pages 135 to 174
Saururaceae, Fabaceae, Elaeagnaceae, Haloragaceae, Lythraceae, Gunneraceae, Thymelaeaceae, Onagraceae, Cornaceae, Viscaceae, Celastraceae, Aquifoliaceae, Buxaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Vitaceae. pages 174 to 196
Linaceae, Aceraceae, Hippocastanaceae, Oxalidaceae, Geraniaceae, Limnanthaceae, Tropaeolaceae, Balsaminaceae, Araliaceae, Apiaceae (Umbelliferae). pages 197 to 216
Gentianaceae, Apocynaceae, Solanaceae, Convolvulaceae, Cuscutaceae, Menyanthaceae, Polemoniaceae, Hydrophyllaceae, Boraginaceae, Verbenaceae. pages 216 to 227
Lamiaceae (Labiatae), Hippuridaceae, Callitrichaceae, Plantaginaceae, Buddlejaceae, Oleaceae, Scrophulariaceae. pages 228 to 257
Orobanchaceae, Acanthaceae, Lentibulariaceae, Campanulaceae, Rubiaceae, Caprifoliaceae, Valerianaceae, Dipsacaceae. pages 257 to 269
Asteraceae (Compositae). pages 269 to 292
Butomanaceae, Alismataceae, Hydrocharitaceae, Juncaginaceae, Potamogetonaceae, Ruppiaceae, Zannichellaceae, Zosteraceae, Arecaceae, Araceae, Lemnaceae, Juncaceae. pages 292 to 306
Cyperaceae. pages 306 to 320
Poaceae, Sparganiaceae. pages 320 to 344
Typhaceae, Liliaceae, Iridaceae, Agavaceae, Orchidaceae pages 344 to 359
BIBLIOGRAPHY pages 360 to 368