• News

Rare plant is found on Hungry Hill

Wednesday, 12th June, 2019 5:45pm
Rare plant is found on Hungry Hill

The starry saxifrage was last spotted here in 1894.

A RARE plant was found in West Cork last weekend, having last been spotted in the county 125 years ago.

 Starry saxifrage (saxifraga stellaris) was found on Hungry Hill over the weekend by a group of botany enthusiasts.

 The discovery was made during a fieldtrip to the mountains of Beara by the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), with a group of botanists from around Ireland, including local conservation ranger, Clare Heardman from Glengarriff Nature Reserve. 

‘It was great to have the sense of following in the footsteps of another Cork botanist from over 100 years ago and perhaps being the first people to see the plant since,’ she said.

People will get a chance to follow in the footsteps of a botanists from even longer ago, during the Ellen Hutchins Festival taking place around Bantry August 17th-25th. The festival celebrates the life and work of Ireland’s first female botanist born in Ballylickey in 1785.

The 1894 find was by Robert Albert Phillips, who was born in Courtmacsherry in 1866. He joined the Cork stationery company, Guy & Co, when he was just 14 years old and later became an itinerant rep for the company. He travelled widely for his job in southern Ireland in the late 1800s & early 1900s and apparently he took ‘every opportunity during this time to study the natural history of his surroundings.’