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Plants and Animals


Harebel Northern IrelandHarebel Northern IrelandPhoto:Toubib CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The Irish island is also called the "emerald isle" because of the many shades of green that dominate the island. Only 5% of the island is covered with forest, mostly planted coniferous wood. In a distant past, much of the island was covered with forests, but over-grazing and logging between the 16th and 18th centuries led to widespread deforestation.

In the counties and around Belfast, the following plant species typical of that region are common:

Antrim - harebel
Armagh - water razor
Belfast - gorse
Derry - saxifrage
Down - star hyacinth
Fermanagh - bullet buttercup
Tyrone - swamp rosemary

Northern Ireland has many special plant species, below is a random list:

Screw Orchid Northern IrelandScrew Orchid Northern IrelandPhoto: Brett Francis CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

golden primrose, white mosquito orchid, floating water ranunculus, cloudberry, alpine scissors, mountain saxifrage, capricorn saxifrage, glue herb, chive lily, betonia, small purse herb, false milk violet, peat moss orchid, peat odor grass, forest barley, water violin, smooth hogweed, marsh lavender, marsh lavender polei mint, bluebell, dust seed, bird's nest, bee orchid, harlequin, ivy broomrape, one-sided evergreen, pill fern, lance fern, musk herb, pyramidal green, stiff ostrich, arctic sedge, centaury, scrubweed, scrubweed, scrubweed, scrubweed, scrubweed, scrubweed, scrubweed, sharp fleabane, buckthorn, pelargonium, curved triangle fern.

Very special for Northern Ireland is the screw orchid or Irish women's shoe, a rare orchid species.


Pipistrelle Bat Northern IrelandPipistrelle Bat Northern IrelandPhoto: Barracuda 1983 CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Northern Ireland is rich in bats. The common pipistrelle bat is common. They are only 4.5 cm in size and weigh no more than a few grams. Other species include the little pipistrelle bat, Nathusius pipistrelle bat, Daubenton's water bat, brown long-eared bat, bearded bat and the Frill-tailed bat. The forest bat or Leisler's bat has become rare across Europe, but is still common in Northern Ireland.

Approx. 15,000 White-bellied Brent Geese fly from northeast Canada into Ireland and Northern Ireland in the fall each year to hibernate, including in the vicinity of Strangford Lough.

The hummingbird butterfly did not appear in Northern Ireland until recently because of the cold; it is typically a butterfly found only in Mediterranean countries. Due to global warming, the animal is already being spotted in Northern Ireland.

Irish HareIrish HarePhoto: Jimmy Edmonds (CC BY-SA 2.0) no changes made

The Irish hare is closely related to the Arctic hare. It is somewhat smaller than the normal brown hare and also has somewhat shorter ears and a white tail.

Northern Ireland is rich in spiders: garden spider, house spider, common stretch spider, dash spider, maternity web spider, water spider, wolf spider, red and white cell spider and house zebra spider.


Cahill, M. J. / Northern Ireland
Chelsea House Publishers

Day, C. / North of Ireland


CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated April 2024
Copyright: Team The World of Info