A Guide to Woodland Flora

Parks & Gardens
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Portumna Forest Park is a popular and beautiful natural amenity on the northern shore of Lough Derg, and a haven for wildlife. The woodland in the park contains a mix of native Oak woodland, conifer plantation, stands of Beech, wet willow woodland and unique Juniper formations in wetland near the lakeshore. The diversity of plant life in Portumna Forest Park provides a wealth of food for wildlife (e.g. leaves, flowers, nuts, seeds and berries. The park is home to a thriving population of red squirrel. The more elusive pine marten and otters along the lakeshore are also in the park and fallow deer can often be seen darting about in the shadows. Stoat, hedgehogs, badgers and bats are also likely to be present. There is also a rich and diverse birdlife in the park including the iconic white-tailed sea eagle. This is a short guide to some of the native plants - trees and flowers that can be seen in Portumna Forest Park as you stroll through the woods. Most of our native trees are deciduous -they lose their leaves in the winter e.g. Oak and Ash - but some are coniferous - they have needle-like leaves e.g.Scots pine and Yew. Many woodland flowers appear on the woodland floor in early spring before the leaves are out on the trees e.g. Lesser celandine and Wood anemone) but others don’t mind the deep shade cast by the trees and flower later in the summer for example Herb Robert. Yew is one of the few native conifers in Ireland. It used to be more common but now only occurs rarely in woods, such as Portumna Forest Park, and is generally associated with limey soils or limestone pavement. A long-lived tree, yew can live for over 2000 years! Yew was traditionally associated with immortality and is often planted in churchyards. It has dark, green foliage and casts a dense shade. Unusually for a conifer, Yew produces bright red berries. The leaves and berries of Yew are poisonous to people and livestock but not birds.