Cure your “plant blindness” with a virtual stroll through Ireland’s diverse habitats

Botanists from Trinity are inviting people to tackle their “plant blindness” with soothing virtual strolls through Ireland’s diverse habitats via a brand new ‘5 in five’ video series.

The botanists will showcase the wonderful flora of Ireland by featuring five different plant species in five-minute videos, each of which put the spotlight on one of the country’s varied habitats – from shingle beaches to mountain bogs, and from old city walls to coastal meadows.

See https://trinitybotanicgarden.ie/5-in-five/ for more details. The first of an initial five videos (shingle beaches) appears below.

The 5 in five idea was hatched by head of Trinity’s botany department, professor Jennifer McElwain, while she was out walking within a 5 km radius of her home during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Professor McElwain said:

“Our aim is to present five plant species in each five-minute video in an engaging way that showcases Ireland’s plant diversity and the amazing array of native habitats on our doorstep. Most of us suffer from ‘plant blindness’, simply not seeing the immense diversity of plant life in Ireland. While we are evolutionarily primed to see animals – they may be a threat to our survival or offer a high protein meal – plants, in all their extraordinary diversity, tend to meld into the greenness of the background.

“Books, apps and public talks are all wonderful resources to learn about our flora and fauna, but you cannot beat spending five minutes with an expert in the field. We hope these short videos will highlight the most common plants in your neighbourhoods and outline some of their medicinal and culinary uses, as well as their interactions with pollinators, and provide useful identification tips and fascinating stories behind their original discovery and naming.”

The 5 in five series will call on Trinity’s internationally recognised expertise of lecturers, professors and students. Initially, five videos are available, but new episodes will be added regularly with the aim of eventually covering the entire native flora of Ireland.

The botanists encourage individuals to share the free video resources widely and to contact them to suggest new places, themes and species they would like to see featured in the future.