Heritage Council


The Arable Weed Flora of the Rye Crop on the Aran Islands, Co. Galway (1994)

Published by Andrew Bleasdale, 1994. In the early 1990s, a study was undertaken of the arable weed flora of the rye crop on the Aran Islands. This study is frequently referenced in more recent works on the Aran Islands, including the Heritage Council’s own research into high nature value farming practices.

As the study itself states, “clearly the Aran Islands are of interest from a cultural and historical perspective. They are also of great interest botanically and archaeobotanically in terms of the plant species they contain at present. Relictual agricultural practices are still extant on Inis Meáin in particular, with the result that the afore-mentioned arable weeds continue to grow here in association with the rye crop. These weed communities present a unique source of study when one considers that these habitats are one of the last remaining examples of traditional agriculture in north-western Europe.”

The study seeks to understand why the rye crop on the Aran Islands was heavily contaminated with rare weed species, such as darnel, bristle or black oat and spring wild oat, and why these species were often extinct on the mainland, in order to help inform their management and conservation.

Download The Arable Weed Flora of the Rye Crop on the Aran Islands [PDF 90MB].
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