The Conservation of Irish Fleabane (Inula salicina)

Irish fleabane (Inula salicina) Photo by Geraldine Wisdom

Irish fleabane (Inula salicina), photo by Geraldine Wisdom

Client: The Heritage Council

Irish fleabane (Inula salicina) is a rare native plant which has been reduced to only one small population growing on the shores of Lough Derg, and is therefore threatened with extinction in Ireland. It is a flagship species for the biodiversity of Lough Derg. This project aimed to ensure the species’ continued existence on the shores of Lough Derg through a conservation project that involved the local community, National Botanic Gardens, National Parks & Wildlife Service and BEC Consultants. Ex situ collections held at Trinity College Botanic Gardens and Riverrun Cottages in Terryglass, Co. Tipperary provided Irish fleabane planting material which was transplanted into four new locations along the shore of Lough Derg during 2006. All plantings took place with the agreement of the local landowners and the management and monitoring of these new populations has been initiated.

A further aim of this project was to use Irish fleabane as a flagship species to raise awareness in the local community and beyond of the loss of biodiversity in Ireland. This part of the project was accomplished through a series of workshops held at local schools and the production of posters that were exhibited in Terryglass.

This project was inspired by the determination of Tom Sanders and John Lewis not to allow Irish fleabane to become extinct and the project would not have achieved the successes it did in such a short time without their mobilisation of the local Terryglass community to become involved in the project. In particular, many thanks to Noreen Sheridan for helping to organise all the school workshops and to Gerardine Wisdom and her family for their help.