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BSBI Annual Summer Meeting 2023

Last month, six of our ecologists attended the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) Annual Summer Meeting of 2023. The meeting took place over the course of 4 days (Friday to Monday, 19th to the 22nd of May) within Killarney National Park. Over 65 people in total attended at least part of the four days. The meeting consisted of a range of excursions across the National Park each day which included botanical recording around Muckross Lake, Glencar Valley and blanket bog habitats, the Dingle Peninsula and sand dune habitats, Tomies Wood and the Gap of Dunloe, Derrycunnihy Wood (one of Ireland’s largest ancient oak woodlands) and a trip up Lough Leane and its rivers up to Upper Lake, kindly funded by the NPWS. The trips consisted of gathering as many botanical records as possible, as well as sharing botanical identification knowledge, and it was a real privilege to listen to the wisdom of a team of expert botanists in the field and soak up as much of their knowledge as possible as well as the sunshine and spectacular scenery.

Talks were held in a hotel in the evening by Dr. Rory Hodd (Botanist and Ecologist, Nimbosa Ecology), Jessica Hamilton (BSBI recorder for North Kerry), Dr. Daniel Kelly (Fellow Emeritus of Trinity College), Dr. Tom Rich (Botanical Specialist with Tetra Tech Europe) and Mary Sheehan (NPWS District Conservation Officer for Killarney National Park) which covered fascinating topics including the distinctive plant life found in Killarney National Park, insights into ancient woodland and management, endemic whitebeam species of Killarney National Park as well as the habitats and species of note found in North Kerry. Talks were followed by a session of plant identification of species collected in the field during the trips, were very informative and were a great opportunity for knowledge interchange and networking.

The BSBI are a fantastic organization dedicated to furthering knowledge on the plants and habitats of Britain and Ireland, we would highly recommend becoming a member and getting involved in botanical data collection. Keep an eye out for BSBI meetings and trips around Ireland on their website!





Killarney Fern (Vandesboschia speciosa/Trichomanes speciosum) is one of Irelands rarest ferns. It is listed under Annex II and IV of the Habitats directive and the Flora Protection Order (FPO).


Scannells Whitebeam (Sorbus scannelliana), with just 4 individual plants: 1 tree and 3 saplings, is one of the rarest tree species in the world. It is endemic to Ross Island near Killarney, Co. Kerry.


Birds Nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis) is an unusual orchid that lacks chlorophyll and acts as a parasite on fungi in the genus Sebacina.


Sphagnum pulchrum: One of the rarest Sphagnums native to Ireland.


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