Ireland is a relatively small island, yet many species that live here have limited distributions or are confined to specific sites. Studying species that have restricted distributions in Ireland tells us a great deal about the environmental and ecological conditions necessary for their survival, and can provide valuable insights into how factors such as climate and land use change is impacting on the environment. This is one reason why documenting and mapping species’ distributions is so important. Here are examples of 10 species that have curious distributions in Ireland.

 

St Dabioc’s heath

St Dabioc’s heath
St Dabioc’s heath (Daboecia cantabrica) is one of around 15 wildflowers known as the Lusitanian Flora. This unique collection of Mediterranean plants came originally from the Iberian Peninsula (North Spain and Portugal), and in Ireland most are found in the south and west. They are mainly absent from Britain. It is unlikely that they have survived from before the last Ice Age and there is no conclusive explanation for their presence here. St Dabioc's heath grows on dry heaths, acid soils and rocky moors where it blooms from May to October.