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Growing Wild Winter Heliotrope and Frogspawn

Catherine Keena, Teagasc Countryside Management Specialist takes a closer look at some of our native Irish biodiversity to look out for in the countryside.

Winter Heliotrope

Winter heliotrope

Look out for one of the baddies – winter heliotrope with distinctive kidney shaped leaves, which are downy on the underside. It grows in shady places along roadsides where ground has been disturbed or existing vegetation sprayed. It creeps along by rhizomes or underground stems carpeting large areas of ground with its dense canopy of leaves suppressing other vegetation. Winter heliotrope, a native plant in the Mediterranean, was introduced to Ireland in the early nineteenth century and is now an invasive alien species, having escaped from gardens. As with all invasive alien species, the problem is that winter heliotrope crowds out our native Irish biodiversity.



Look out for frogspawn which are the eggs of frogs who return to the same area where they were born. Males arrive and croak to attract females. Each female lays about 2,000 eggs which are fertilised by sperm shed by the males over the eggs. Eggs absorb water, swell into jelly blobs and float. After a few weeks, a tadpole wriggles out of the egg. Over ten weeks, the tadpole grows legs, looses its tail and becomes a small frog which goes to live on land. Found in wet grassland pools or edges of slow flowing streams or drains, frogspawn is part of our native Irish biodiversity.

See previous Growing Wild articles below:

Keep an eye on Teagasc Daily for another Growing Wild later in the month. Learn more from Teagasc about Biodiversity & Countryside