Sunday 25 February 2018

Alien flower species on the increase

Spring has sprung, flowers are blooming and Zoë Devlin has produced a new flower book.

Titled 'The Wildflowers of Ireland: A Field Guide' the recently published book has a very attractively yet very simple front cover featuring a seasonally appropriate Bluebell.

Published by The Collins Press in Cork, printed in Poland and exceptionally well presented, the book runs to 290 pages and is ideally proportioned to slip into a coat pocket when going out of doors. As always, bringing the book to the plant is better practice that uprooting half the countryside and hauling it home to be identified later.

The most recently reported authoritative statistic for the number of wild flowering plants we have in Ireland put the figure of natives at 1,180. Aliens keep coming at an alarming rate so it is very difficult to say how many there are but the figure is over 1,000 so we are talking about a flora of well over 2,000 species not to mention sub-species, varieties, hybrids, etc.

Considering the number of species involved and the complexities of plant taxonomy, identifying a wide range of wild plants correctly is a skill that few people possess. Zoë Devlin has spent years developing her skills and her new book brings her passion for wildflowers within everybody's reach in that she makes everything very simple and user friendly.

She arranges plants by flower colour so if you want to identify an unknown white flower you go to the section on white flowers. The white flower section is then broken down into subsections for plants with three petals, four petals, five petals, and so on. The book covers 530 species and its great strength is that it is a photographic guide with over 1,200 of Zoë's own images of plants and plant parts.

The photographs are outstanding and a very impressive amount of work has gone into imaging, selecting and arranging the pictures. Flicking through the multi coloured pages is an endless source of pleasure and information as familiar plants fly by and new discoveries are made.

A huge amount of information has been packed into the pocket guide and is presented in a very attractive way. Anyone interested in nature should make room on his or her bookshelf for this new paperback. Priced at a very reasonable €14.99 "The Wildflowers of Ireland: A Field Guide" by Zoë Devlin is published this month by Collins and is available in all good bookshops and online from

Enniscorthy Guardian

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