Our Native Trees

Quercus petraea / Dair ghaelach (Sessile oak)
Quercus robur / Dair ghallda (Pedunculate or common oak)

  • Quercus petraea is noted for having a less spreading habit and a taller, straighter trunk than Quercus robur. However to truly tell these trees apart you must look at their leaves and acorns, the Pedunculate oaks acorns have stalks whereas the Sessile oaks do not. Further to this the Pedunculate oaks leaves have little if any stalks attached whereas the Sessile oaks leaves have a stem attached.
  • Slow-growing.
  • Expected height: 25m / Expected spread: 25m over 50 years
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade
  • Soil must be deep and well-drained.
  • The Pedunculate Oak grows well in moist humus rich soils whereas Sessile Oak prefers lighter free draining soils, because of this it can often be found growing on higher ground.
  • Add copious amount of compost to the planting hole.
  • Both native oaks when mature provide a home and nourishment for an astounding range of our local fungi, insects and birds, over 400 in fact.

Ash tree ... Fraxinus excelsior ... Fhuinseog
  • Fast-growing.
  • Expected height: 25m / Expected spread: 20m over 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade.
  • Tolerant of most soils but prefers a moist, deep, rich soil.
  • Provides support in the form of habitation and food for 41 different insect species

Wych Elm ... Ulmus glabra ... Leamhán sléibhe
  • Grows at a moderate rate.
  • Expected height: 40m / Expected spread: 40m in over 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade.
  • Tolerant of most soils but prefers a well-drained soil.
  • Provides support in the form of habitation and food for 82 different insect species.

Silver Birch ... Betula pendula ... Beith Gheal
Downey Birch ... Betula pubescens ... Beith Chlúmhach

  • Shallow rooted; not being able to reach deep into the soil for moisture, so don’t forget to water the tree deeply during dry weather
  • Grows at a moderate rate.
  • Expected height: 13m / Expected spread: 12m in 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade.
  • Tolerant of most soils but prefers a moist but well-drained soil.
  • It is estimated that a single mature silver birch grown to 13 metres (40ft), can support up to 229 different species of insect

Black Alder ... Alnus glutinosa ... Fearnóg
  • Quickly reaching its maximum height of 20-25 metres.
  • If you spot a thriving group of Alder trees, you can reliably assume that its roots are sitting in soggy soil, possibly alongside a marsh, stream, river or lake, in situations such as this it is common for the trees to form a dense thicket. Our Alnus glutinosa is very tolerant of waterlogged situations, preferring a heavy soil and damp conditions to all others.
  • Refuge for up to 90 species of insects, not to mention the many varieties of moss and lichen
  • Makes nitrogen available to grass and other plants growing nearby, through the amazing nitrogen-fixing bacteria growing in its root nodules

Wild Cherry ... Prunus avium ... silíní fiáin
  • Direct sunlight.
  • Unhampered by surrounding growth and planted in fertile, moist soil, this deciduous open-branched tree grows quickly to 15 metres tall, often reaching up to 25m tall.

Bird cherry ... Prunus padus ... Donnroisc
  • Birds, primarily starlings, pigeons, robins and thrushes devour the small, black fruits.
  • Rarely exceeds 12 metres in height and 8 metres in spread.
  • Attractive to many insects including flies and bees.
  • Thrives on acid soils, often close by the moist soil of birch woods. Similar to wild cherry, the bird cherry will not thrive in heavy shade, instead favouring sunlit woodland edges and gardens
The two native cherries dislike exposure to strong winds.


Aspen tree / Trembling poplar (Populus tremula/ tremuloides) Crann Creathach
  • Catkins are part of the trees eco-system, which is known to sustain up to 90 insect species.
  • Populus tremula can still be found on hillsides, deep in valley bottoms and on the edges of wooded areas. The trees preferred growing conditions are moist with a neutral to acid PH in full sun to semi-shade.
  • 20 metres tall by 10 metres wide, it does possess an extremely aggressive root system. These roots have the ability under certain circumstances to damage building foundations within a 10-metre radius

Goat Willow (Salix caprea) (Saileach Dubh)
Grey Willow (Salix atrocinerea)
Bay Willow (Salix pentandra)
Eared Willow (Salix aurita)

  • Quick-growing.
  • Grow in full sun.
  • Prefers heavy, damp soils.
  • Expected height and Expected spread over 30 years - Goat willow 10m tall by 8m wide – Grey willow 10m tall by 8m wide – Bay Willow 10m tall by 10m wide – Eared Willow 2.5m tall
  • Provides support in the form of habitation and food for 266 different insect species

Mountain Ash or Rowan ... Sorbus aucuparia ... an Caorthann
  • Fast-growing.
  • Expected height: 15m / Expected spread: 7m over 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or light shade.
  • Tolerant of most soils but prefers a slightly acid soil.
  • Provides support in the form of habitation and food for 28 different insect species.
  • Fruit stripped bare by the many woodland garden inhabitants, including thrushes and blackbirds.

Irish Whitebeam tree ... Sorbus hibernica ... an Fioncholl
  • Slow-growing.
  • Expected height: 10m / Expected spread: 8m over 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or very light shade.
  • Tolerant of most soils.

Native Irish Crab Apple tree ... Malus sylvestris ... an crann fia-úll
  • Deciduous.
  • Quick-growing.
  • Expected height: 10m / Expected spread: 6m over 30 years.
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil must be well-drained.
  • 90 possible associated insects that the Crab apple provides a home and sustenance for
  • Crab apples are much loved by birds

The Native Irish Yew ... Taxus baccata ... Iúr
  • Evergreen.
  • Slow-growing.
  • Expected height: 15m / Expected spread: 4m over 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or partial shade.
  • Soil must be fertile and well-drained.
  • Lleaves, bark, wood and seeds of the Yew tree are extremely poisonous if eaten
  • Birds, primarily the thrush, which feast upon the harmless sticky fleshed fruit of the Yew, survive as the poisonous seeds embedded within the fruit pass unbitten through them. That is the secret to their survival. Although poisonous to livestock, it is said that the Yew is unable to poison deer.
  • The oldest tree in Europe is said to be a 3,000-year-old Yew. At one time its circumference was measured at at 16 metres

The Native Irish Juniper ... Juniperus communis ... Aiteal
  • Evergreen.
  • Slow growing.
  • Expected height: 7 metres Expected spread 4 metres.
  • Either acid or alkaline soils, but most examples are to be found on well-drained rocky outcrops and cliff areas based on limestone soils

Scots pine / fir... Pinus sylvestris ... Péine albanach
  • Evergreen.
  • Quick-growing.
  • Expected height: 15m / Expected spread: 12m over 50 years.
  • Grow in full sun or very light shade.
  • Tolerant of most soils but prefers acid.
  • Best conifer for wildlife, as in addition to food for the finches, owls will often use it for nesting, and insects use its mature bark for shelter. Upwards of 50 species of insect are known to be associated with the tree, including beetles, spiders, woodlice, butterflies and their offspring, the caterpillars that can be found munching on the pine needles when they are in season.

Irish Native Blackthorn tree ... Prunus spinosa ... Draigean
  • Growing up to 4 metres high at a medium growth rate.
  • It appears to cope with everything except extremely wet and acidic soils.
  • A fair amount of insects are also known to flock to the tree, especially in spring when the subtle scents of its flowers attract the insects vital for pollination. Not as vital to the trees survival, but still linked by nature are the caterpillars of the brown hairstreak butterfly, who use the blackthorns leaves for food.

Irish Native Hawthorn ... Crataegus monogyna .. Sceach Gheal
  • Height and spread of 6 metres.

The Killarney Strawberry ... Arbutus unedo .. Caithne
  • A rich, well drained soil, preferably with a neutral to slightly acid PH.
  • Select a location in full sun to partial shade with shelter from cold winds, especially when the plant is young
  • Avoid planting Arbutus unedo where it will overhang paths, patio and driveways, as the fallen fruit, once squished, can make a difficult to remove mess.
  • Although the Killarney Strawberry tree can be found with a single stem, it is more common to find it sprawling with three to four reddish brown trunks enhanced by cracked bark. Red coloured bark is something unusual to find in Ireland. These stems are quite slow growing, rarely exceeding 10 metres (33 ft) by 10 metres in the space of fifty years.

Irish Native Hazel ... Corylus avellana .. An Coll
  • It is estimated that the Hazel in Ireland provides support in the form of habitation and food for 73 different insect species.
  • They are also an important food source for mice, pigeons, and pheasants.
  • Seldom grows past six metres tall. Its an easily grown plant on most soils, but requires a moist, free-draining, alkaline soil, in full sun to partial shade for the production of hazelnuts.

Irish Native Privet ... Ligustrum vulgare ... An Pribhéad
  • Reaching a maximum height and spread of 12ft (4 metres).
  • Semi-evergreen.
  • Provide a feast for our native birds.
  • Numerous insects and especially moths which rely on them for nectar.

Irish Native Spindle ... Euonymus europaeus ... An Feoras

  • Rarely exceeds 6 metres (20ft) in height.
  • Deciduous multi-branched shrub.
  • It can be found growing in the wild on limey or alkaline soils within hedgerows, scrubland and on the edges of woodland.
  • Appeases many of our insects with the richness of their nectar.
  • Poisonous to humans and animals. Birds on the other hand are unaffected as the seeds pass through them undigested, chief amongst these seed nibblers are the robins, which is where the plants common name “Robins' bread” comes from.

Native Guelder rose ... Viburnum opulus ... An Chaor Chon
  • The sour tasting fruit can lead to an upset stomach. The birds appreciate the juicy fruit however.
  • Height and spread 4 metre by 4 metre.
  • In a soggy or partially shaded location.

Native Irish Dog Rose ... Rosa canina ... An Fheirdhris
  • Grow rapidly to three metres high by three metres wide with arching, prickly, green or purple stems. Through using the hooked spines along its stems it can be found scrambling up to five metres high within trees, but it is more commonly found at the 2-3 metre mark growing as part of established hedgerows. You will also see many fine examples of the dog rose flourishing in the wild on woodland edges and within scrubland.
  • The types of soils that dog roses cope with are wide ranging, even encompassing heavy clay. It will tend to succeed in all soils except those that are extremely wet or dry, provided it has access to a fair bit of sunlight.
  • Attracts bees, butterflies and moths.
  • Important source of food for cold and hungry birds.


Native Irish Elder / Elderberry... Sambucus nigra .. An Trom
  • Rarely exceeds 7 metres in height, it is more usually seen as a plant of approximately 3 metres tall with a similar spread.
  • Flowers to be pollinated more so by flies than bees.
  • Coping with partial shade, coastal winds, harsh pruning.


Native Irish Holly... Ilex aquifolium .. An Cuileann
  • Growing to 2 metres (6 ft) high over the short term, or if left unpruned over a long period it can reach heights in excess of 15 metres.
  • Berries grow only on female flowering holly bushes, which have been fertilised by a nearby male holly.
  • The flowers of our native holly are also worth noting, white and scented, they are held in clusters between April, May and June. The scent of these four petalled flowers is particularly attractive to bees, which require the male holly plant to be within 30 metres (100 feet) of the female holly to ensure pollination. If they are much farther apart, the bees will not travel, leaving you with plain green hollies over winter