Wildflowers Ferns and Mosses
Wildflowers come in all different colours, shapes and sizes. By looking at the colours and shapes you can find the names of them.
Wildflowers are important for many reasons. Here are some:
1. They look beautiful to us and help the world around us appear more colourful
2. They are a resting place for many insects including butterflies. Many butterflies sit on them and open their wings to the sun to warm up
3. Many insects, including bees and butterflies feed on the sweet water called nectar that they can find in the centre of the flower.
4. It is interesting that flowers need insects also because insects help carry pollen from one flower to another. The pollen helps the flower make seeds to produce more flowers.
5. And of course birds love to eat some of the seeds or they carry the seeds back to the baby birds (fledgelings) in the nest and feed them.
So you can see that flowers are important for Ireland's biodiversity.
Mosses never have flowers. They are usually green, but some may be brown. Mosses are brilliant at holding on to rainwater. They don't like to be in direct sunlight. They prefer the shade.
Insects that like to be wet a lot of the time live in the mosses, walking through them as though the moss was a large jungle! Of course moss seems like a large jungle to such tiny insects.
Ferns never have flowers either. The have beautiful leaves called fronds. The shape of the frond is a clue to the fern's name. Ferns like the shade, but some don't mind direct sunlight, however all ferns like to be near water or be in places where there is plenty of rain. Ireland is a great country for ferns.
Places to live or habitats are important
Flowers, ferns and mosses will die if they cannot find a place to live. The place where a living thing lives is called a habitat. It is very important that there are plenty of different habitats in Ireland. We must give living things places to live.
Below are web links to pictures of wildflowers, ferns and lichens found in Ireland.
Jenny Seawright's Irish Wild Flowers
A wonderful wildflower web site is Jenny Seawright's Irish Wild Flowers Click here for Jenny's site. It has hundreds of photographs of Irish wildflowers. Jenny's web site shows us that Ireland has a great biodiversity of wildflowers.
Jenny's site also has an additional section with photographs illustrating some of the many Trees, Ferns, Fern Allies, Grasses, Rushes and Wood-rushes, Club-rushes, Sedges, Mosses, Liverworts and Lichens to be found in Ireland.
And a special thanks to Jenny for allowing iSPYnature.com to use some of her photographs of mosses, liverworts and ferns.
How to make your wildflower identification
Use a magnifying glass - at least 10x - and capture as much detail as you can by camera, bearing in mind that the scent of some plants can be a help to identification. A small ruler is also very useful to photograph alongside the flower as it's sometimes hard to remember the size afterwards.
Always bring your wildflower guide-book to the plant and not the other way around.