Plant Species

Rare & threatened fern and fern allies conservation and monitoring

The Rare and threatened fern and fern allied species in Ireland under investigation include Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum), Clubmosses (Lycopodiaceae species) and Moore’s Horsetail (Equisetum x moorei). This is collaborative project between NPWS Scientific Unit, Trinity College Dublin Botany Department and the National Botanic Gardens Glasnevin.

Photo of Killarney FernThe three main aims of the project are:

  • To develop practical monitoring guidelines for reporting on these species to the EU under Article 17 of the Habitats Directive.
  • To develop methods for best conserving these species in the wild and in long-term storage (ex situ) as backup collections.
  • To determine the genetic makeup of populations of the Annex I species Killarney Fern (Trichomanes speciosum) using a DNA fingerprinting technique.

Photo: Killarney Fern (Naomi Kingston)

Bryophyte Conservation

There have been a number of NPWS bryophyte conservation projects completed in recent years including the publication of a Flora Protection Order Map Viewer – Bryophytes. Other useful resources include:


Scapania ornithopodioides


The LichenIreland project, in conjunction with CEDaR and the Environment and Heritage Service Northern Ireland, was initiated in 2005. This project aims to increase awareness of the species group, as well as improve understanding of the distribution and ecology of the Lichen flora in Ireland.

Members of the Scienific Unit can be contacted by e-mailing: