Ireland has a very small land percentage as woodland, approximately 1.5% as deciduous woods and 5% as forestry plantations of conifers. Little remains of the native woodland that once covered the land, comprised of oak, alder, ash, birch, hazel, yew and scots pine. Parts of the Killarney woods, Co.Kerry, are the only place where tree cover has been continuous since the last Ice Age.
To grow and flower plants require light which is why many plants found in deciduous woodland flower early in the year, before the leaves open above them and reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the ground. Conifer plantations provide a very poor plant habitat as their evergreen leaves cast dense shade all year round, blocking the light needed for photosynthesis. Below are some wildflowers often found growing in and near the edges of woodland in Ireland. Please hover over images for the Common and Irish name and click for more photographs, plant details and distribution maps. Lichens found on trees and in undisturbed woodland can be seen here (links open in new window).