Travelling through our green isle, our roads, pathways, parks and fields are lined with trees of various shapes and sizes. Can you name them? If not, it might actually be a little easier than you might think!
Look a little closer and you may notice that many look the same. As native trees go, Ireland doesn’t have the longest list. You’ve got Alder, Ash, Birch, Beech Tree, Cherry, Blackthorn, Whitehorn, Crabapple, Hazel, Holly, Oak, Mountain Ash, Scots Pine, Whitethorn, Willow and Yew.
That’s basically all of our native trees in a nutshell!
Which trees do you see the most? We’ve profiled the 5 most common trees across Ireland and provided some key details as to how you can easily identify them on your next drive or walk.
1. The Alder
This tree loves wet conditions so it’s no surprise it is completely at home here in Ireland. The Alder tree grows very rapidly on wet soil. You will usually find this type of tree on wet or marshy ground alongside a river or lake, so it’s very unlikely you will ever find one growing at the end of your garden or in the middle of a field!
Its round green leaves are instantly recognisable, alongside its small cones that eventually flower.
2. The Birch Tree
The Silver Birch and the Downy Birch are the members of the Birch tree family that are native to our Emerald Isle and both thrive in wet and poor soil conditions.
The Downy Birch, in particular, is widespread across Ireland and you’ve definitely come across one. You will recognise the Downy Birch by its rounded green leaves with slightly grey and hairy underside. The Silver Birch is less common, identifiable by its broad based, triangular shaped, pointy tipped leaves.
3. The Rowan Tree
Growing high and upright on hillsides is where you will most frequently find the “Rowan” tree as it’s most commonly known in Ireland, or the Mountain Ash tree as it is more commonly known worldwide.
They are also a common feature in residential gardens, as they do not require great soil conditions. Rowan trees are very distinctive to spot due to their cream coloured flowers which blossom into red berries in Autumn, alongside the green leaves which turn beautiful shades of yellow and red as Autumn creeps in.
4. The Ash Tree
The 'clash of the ash' – the tree most famous for providing the timber for hurleys! Ash trees are widespread right throughout the country, thriving in our roadside ditches primarily. Even if cut down, it can instantly begin sprouting again, typically growing up to 40 feet. You’ll recognise the Ash tree by its broad green leave coupled with the beautiful dark purple flowers that appear in Summer time.
5. The Oak Tree
You will find quite a few species of Oak tree in Ireland, however, only two are actually native to Ireland – Sessile Oak, Ireland’s “national tree”, most often found in the West and Pedunculate Oak, which is more frequently found in the midlands.
The easiest way to tell them apart is the positioning of their acorns. The acorns on the Sessile Oak sit on its twigs while the acorns on the Pedunculate Oak dangle from the stalks.
We hope your next stroll or scenic drive has been given a whole new perspective; let’s see how many of these trees you can now identify!