EVENTS

               Members Reports and Photos

 

PRAEGER CENTRE, national botanic gardens,  SEPTEMBER 2014

LEADERS: DECLAN DOOGUE and others

Autumn Fruits (morning)

Declan gave a general introduction to the origin and composition of hedgerows in Ireland. Many of the 'modern' hedges in Ireland were planted to act as field boundaries and to contain livestock. Frequently used were quick thorns (Crataegus monogyna) or sloe thorns (Prunus spinosa). Other hedges will have served as Barony or Estate boundaries. Much evidence of the vegetation present in Ireland in earlier eras is derived from study of pollen deposits in cores, by palynologists.

Species or genera viewed and/or discussed included Crataegus, Fagus, Sambucus, Symphoricarpos, Clematis, Ilex, Quercus, Eunonymus, Viburnum, Rhamnus, Frangula, Corylus, Sorbus, Ligustrum, Solanum, Salix Malus, Prunus and Rosa. Many specimens were on view thanks to Declan and to other members of the group who brought along their collections.

Particular attention was given to the Downy Roses and Declan provided the  group with specimens of R. sherardia and R. mollis to  examine in addition to R. canina and R. arvensis and discussed their distribution and some of the associated taxonomic issues including introgression and hybridisation.  Many of the apples found in hedgerows these days are of 'domestic' origin - Malus domestica. The truly native species (Malus sylvestris) should be looked for in woodland remnants and edges and in old hedges. Domestic apples have downy flower stalks (early in the year).

Prunus also poses its own  taxonomic difficulties. The native species is Prunus spinosa but there are also a range of damsons and bullaces which hybridise producing fertile progeny. From specimens produced by Declan, clearly further work is required on this plum group.

Flora of County Wicklow (afternoon)

A presentation was made on the progress of the project which has the main objective of developing a Supplement to the original Flora of the County Wicklow published by the late Field Club member  J P Brunker in 1951. JP was a very well known member of the Club and he together with the late Howard Hudson made many excursions into the County. An in depth analysis of the published Flora has been done and has identified some specific areas for revisitation in addition to the general 'square bashing' that is needed in Brunker's eight Districts. A programmes of visits is being planned and volunteers are being sought to vist the specific areas identified and more generally the Districts themselves.
                

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