Irish Native Trees & Shrubs

Taken from Anon. (2000 - see Reference section)

You can also view a Quick Reference to Trees

Photo Name Description
Ivy - Eidhneán Ivy - Eidhneán
Hedera helix

Another climber, this one evergreen and self supporting, and so even better than honeysuckle for screening unattractive fences and buildings. Ivy produces its pale yellow flowers in winter, food for the few winter-flying insects, and its berries ripen in spring when they are an important food...

Juniper - Aiteal Juniper - Aiteal
Juniperus communis

An unusual shrub found in rocky areas, especially on the Burren and in West Donegal, and often at woodland edges. One of our few native evergreens, juniper is generally found on limestone. It will thrive in other soils and could be introduced to areas outside its natural distribution, however,...

Oak – Dair Oak - Dair
Quercus spp

Once widespread throughout Ireland, centuries of harvesting, with few trees being replaced, means that truly native oak can be hard to find, though there are small woods in most counties. Very often, semi-natural oak woodlands contain a proportion of birch and ash, with hazel, holly and rowan...

Pedunculate Oak – Dair ghallda Pedunculate Oak – Dair ghallda
Quercus robur

The pedunculate or English oak is also considered to be a native tree. It is generally associated with heavy lowland soils and can withstand wet soil in winter. These oak woods are found in Charleville, Co. Offaly and Abbeyleix, Co. Laois.

Rowan - Caorthann Rowan - Caorthann
Sorbus aucuparia

Rowan adds colour to woodland throughout Ireland, especially in the hills where it will grow at a high altitude even on rocky ground: its other common name is mountain ash. The creamy flowers ripen into scarlet berries which colour early in the season and provide food for thrushes through the...

Scots Pine - Péine albanach Scots Pine - Péine albanach
Pinus sylvestris

Originally a native tree. Pollen found in soil samples from bogs indicates that Scots pine was widespread in Ireland thousands of years ago. Human impact and the gradual change to a warmer, wetter climate led to its decline, and it may even have died out completely. Pine stumps have been found...

Sessile Oak – Dair ghaelach Sessile Oak - Dair ghaelach
Quercus petraea

The traditional Irish oak is the sessile oak. It is the main species to be found in Ireland’s most familiar woodlands. Sessile oak is found more commonly on poor acid soils, often in hilly regions. These woodlands can be found in Killarney, Co. Kerry, the Glen of the Downs, Co. Wicklow and...

Spindle - Feoras Spindle - Feoras
Euonymous europaeus

Another bush more common on limestone soils though it is tolerant of a range of non-acid soils. It shares its most common areas of distribution with the guelder rose. It is an inconspicuous shrub with pale bark, smooth and pointed leaves, and small pale flowers. Young twigs are green and four...

Whitebeam - Fionncholl Whitebeam - Fionncholl
Sorbus spp

These are small trees, quite unusual in the wild, and many imported specimens have been planted in towns and parks, along roads etc. If you want the truly native tree you may have to search - it is most common in the south of the country. Whitebeam leaves have a pale under surface, which...

cherry-blossom Wild Cherry or Gean - Crann silín fiáin
Prunus avium

One of our most attractive trees, with its white or very pale pink flowers in spring, followed by hanging cherries. The bark is also attractive, and the leaves provide autumn colour. Wild cherry is very common in St. Johns Wood, Co. Roscommon. Cherry is often found in old field hedgerows where...

Willows - Saileach Willows - Saileach
Salix spp

There are several varieties of willow native to Ireland. All grow in damp soil, have catkins or 'pussy willows' that produce seeds, but are most easily grown from cuttings, which root very readily. The most widespread willow species are the goat willow, the rusty or grey willow (both known as '...

Wych Elm – Leamhán sléibhe Wych Elm - Leamhán sléibhe
Ulmus glabra

The wych elm is native, but many varieties of wych elm and smooth leaved elm have been introduced and planted in Ireland in the past, mostly for timber. Wych elm is chiefly found in mountain glens in the northwest of the country. English elm was mainly planted in demesnes. In recent years many...