Tread carefully this summer: our plants are in peril - The Irish Times - Sat, Jul 17, 2010
Remedial farm plans have taken some effect, but most of the heather has vanished for good, and with it many of the botanically famous rarities of Ireland’s mountain plant life. Some typical damage was spelled out this spring in the UK science journal Field Bryology , under the heartfelt heading: “The tragedy of the Twelve Bens of Connemara: is there a future for Adelanthus lindenbergianus ?” As little plants most people don’t know exist, the liverworts tend to get stuck with only scientific names, “Lindenberg’s featherwort” is at least a little easier to say, but what is so special about it? Like the mosses, liverworts were some of the earliest land plants of the planet, branching off the vegetable evolutionary tree below the ferns and then the plants with flowers. Many of them seek out out the shade of heather and other dwarf shrubs among the rocky scree of rain-soaked oceanic mountains. There they form a mat, often a striking mix of colours, that helps weld the stones together.