Juanita - It’s so difficult to pick your favourite species. In college it definitely would have been Ireland's mammals, and every year I seem to develop a special affinity with a different group or species, be it our native trees or common garden birds, such as the House Sparrow this year. Ten or more House sparrows wait at the feeders for me every morning. But working on the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, my top Irish species at the moment has to be the Dandelion. Hated by so many, this underdog of the gardening world is the most important plant for insects in early spring, providing vital food for bees and other early-flying insects such as butterflies. Later, when the flowers disappear, birds feast on the seed-heads. Dandelion seed is a favourite with birds such as the Goldfinch and Greenfinch. The plant’s leaves are also food for some moth larvae, including the lovely Garden Tiger moth. If only we could change how we see Dandelions. Between birds and bees, what more could one flower offer to the world?
More dandelions = more biodiversity
(And not to forget, dandelions allow you make wishes!)
Image: Heath Bumblebee © Anneke Vrieling