New Year Plant Hunt – Armagh

It’s that time of year again to dust off the wet gear and boots and head out searching for plants. The New Year Plant Hunt is a recording initiative run by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) with an aim to record any plants which are in flower from the 1st -4th of January.

You can read up about my first day of fun, botanising in my home area of Donegal . The next trip on the list took myself and Mairéad across the border and into (eventually) Co. Armagh, where we would join up with BSBI President John Faulkner. We had great local knowledge on hand from those who turned up and learned some interesting facts about the sites we visited.

First on the list was the very wet Victoria Lock, most of the cars we met on this road were straddling the white line as the roads were quite flooded. When the recording started it was quite mild, very calm and not even raining, as can be seen by the picture below along the Newry canal.

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One of those images you could have upside down and not many would notice – Oisín Duffy

Hedgerows, cracks in pavement and small bits of disturbed ground where fencing had been put up were the best places to look in this location. The list for the area went as follows –

  • Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
  • Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg)
  • Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  • Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
  • Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
  • Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
  • Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium)
  • Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)
  • Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum agg)
  • Daisy (Bellis perennis)
  • Lesser Swine-cress (Coronopus didymus)
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BSBI President John Faulkner (with hand lens) – showing the group Lesser Swine-cress (Coronopus didymus) – Oisín Duffy

The next area on our list was a woodland site at Daisy Hill, it was here that we finally managed to get Ivy (Hedera helix) marked off the list. In Victoria Lock it had all gone over, but here there was still some nice displays of flowers.

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Ivy (Hedera helix) – Oisín Duffy

One of the highlights of the day (at least for me) was Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens), it was the first I had come across the species and it was quite a pretty little plant.

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Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens) – Oisín Duffy

The list for Daisy Hill ended up like this –

  • Herb Robert (Geranium robertianum)
  • Annual Meadow Grass (Poa annua)
  • Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
  • Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg)
  • Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea)
  • Nipplewort (Lapsana communis)
  • Wavy Bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa)
  • Gorse (Ulex europaeus)
  • Creeping Buttercup (Ranunculus repens)
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum agg)
  • Laurel
  • Cotoneaster sp
  • Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
  • Lesser celandine (Ficaria verna)
  • Bush Vetch (Vicia sepium)
  • Broom (Cytisus scoparius)
  • Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens)
  • Wild Turnip (Brassica rapa)
  • Smooth Hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris)
  • Lesser stitchwort (Stellaria graminea)
  • Ivy (Hedera helix)
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Bramble (Rubus fruiticosus agg.) – In flower at Daisy Hill – Oisín Duffy

Derrymore House added Yorkshire Fog (Holcus lanatus) to the list, while the beautiful Camlough added another 4 species, 3 grasses, Cock’s foot (Dactylis glomerata) Perennial Rye Grass (Lolium perenne) and Italian Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) and one flower Pineappleweed (Matricaria discoidea).

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The beautifully calm Camlough, Co. Armagh – Oisín Duffy
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Some of the group looking at the differences between the two loliums. – Oisín Duffy
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Italian Rye Grass (Lolium multiflorum) – Oisín Duffy

While on the way to finish the evening at Slieve Gullion we stopped for a few moments at an old quarry. This turned out to be a great decision as we added Bell Heather (Erica cinerea), Western Gorse (Ulex gallii), Soft Rush (Juncus effusus) and one of my other favourites of the day Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum).

While the Mayweed may have been scentless, the area certainly wasn’t as there was a group of feral goats clambering up the steep slopes.

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The quarry goats (doesn’t sound like a bad name for a band actually) – Oisín Duffy

We ended the day, slightly wet but extremely happy that we managed to record 38 plants in flower throughout the 3 hours of recording. It was great to do some cross border botany, especially in a county where I haven’t spent a great amount of time. Looking forward to revisiting some of these sites during the year if time allows.

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Some of the crowd from the our day botanising in Armagh. Myself (Centre and grinning manically) Therese from the Ring of Gullion (to my right) Mairéad (2nd from right) and BSBI President John Faulkner (far right).

I may get another post out during the week for any other plants myself and Mairéad record on the 4th (weather permitting).

Again, you can keep up to date with all my latest botanical finds by following me on twitter @OshDuffy


5 thoughts on “New Year Plant Hunt – Armagh”

  1. Good stuff Oisin and Mairead, glad to see you were out and about over the new year. I recorded 20 species around Craughwell, which appears to be about the norm for rural East Galway. I was only looking at roadsides and didn’t venture into woods or bogs. See you later in 2015.


    1. Thanks John!

      Managed to get a quick stop in Strabane yesterday for a quick look around, most of the usual suspects in flower there as well. (Overall list sits at 40 species in flower).
      By the time we got to Waterford last night it was a bit too dark to see anything else in flower.
      20 sounds like a great number for Craughwell, was it easy to navigate around the area or did you have to use an amphibious vehicle?

      All the best and I’m sure we’ll see you soon!
      Oisín and Mairéad


      1. Most of the dangerous flooding has subsided around Craughwell however the area north of Gort is still bad with many minor roads flooded.


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