Flora of Northern Ireland

Native or introduced?

It is useful to distinguish native trees (which arrived in Ireland naturally) from introduced, or alien, trees which have been brought in by man for ornament, timber or other uses.

Note that many now familiar trees of the modern Irish landscape, such as beech (Fagus sylvatica), poplars (Populus x canadensis etc), horse-chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum), sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus), Norway maple (Acer platanoides), lime (Tilia spp.) and all coniferous trees except yew (Taxus baccata) and juniper (Juniperus communis) have been deliberately introduced to Ireland.

The trees which are native to Northern Ireland are:

Elm Ulmus glabra
Oak Quercus petraea and Q. robur
Hazel Corylus avellana
Birch Betula pubescens and B. pendula
Ash Fraxinus excelsior
Yew Taxus baccata
Alder Alnus glutinosa
Aspen Populus tremula
Rowan and whitebeams Sorbus spp.
Holly Ilex aquifolium
Elder Sambucus nigra
Cherry Prunus avium
Bird-cherry Prunus padus
Blackthorn Prunus spinosa
Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna
Purging buckthorn Rhamnus catharticus
Alder buckthorn Frangula alnus
Spindle Euonymus europaeus
Crab Malus sylvestris

Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) became extinct before 1700, but was re-introduced from Scotland and other parts of northern Europe.