Non-Native Plants

Non-native plants are those that have been intentionally introduced into Ireland by plant collectors or inadvertently by people travelling from one place to another. Most of these plants are confined to gardens and parks because they only survive in cultivation, however, sometimes plants escape and can be found growing in other areas. Leopard's bane (Doronicum paralianches) is a garden herbaceous species, however this specimen has escaped and was found growing along the roadside in Dranagh, Co. Carlow. Plants that escape and manage to survive from year to year outside of cultivation are termed naturalised, and if they spread they may be considered invasive. Whether or not this plant becomes invasive only time will tell.

Occasionally, some of the introduced plants can become a serious problem, taking over and killing the native species, the rhododendron (Rhododendron ponticum) is one such plant. It was brought into Ireland in the 18th Century to some of the large estate gardens of the time such as Muckross house in Killarney and Glenveagh in Donegal. Unfortunately, since then it has spread into the surrounding oak woods where it has shaded out may of the native plants. This leads to a reduction in habitat value where fewer species are supported.

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