Many species of wild flowers can be seen on Inishbofin Island throughout the year.
Inishbofin has some good examples of lowland hay meadows.
The habitat supports a typically diverse flora with such species as Yellow-rattle, Red Clover, Creeping Buttercup, Sheep’s Sorrel, Ribwort Plantain, Hogweed, Silverweed, Cocks-foot, Curled Dock, Hedge Woundwort, Selfheal, Meadow Vetchling, Wild Carrot, Autumn Hawkbit, Purple Loosestrife and Bracken.
Areas with dry heath
These areas support such species as semi-prostrate Heather, Mat-grass, Bell Heather, Carnation Sedge, Viviparous Fescue, Tormentil, Sweet Vernal-grass, Common Bent, Heath-grass, Wild Thyme and Sheep’s-bit. The rare Spotted Rock-rose (Tuberaria guttata) also occurs. The dry heath habitat generally merges seawards to Plantago sward, and landwards to patches of bog vegetation, Nardus grassland or wet heath with Erica tetralix.
Sea cliffs are found on the western and north-eastern parts of Inishbofin, as well as on Inishshark.
In places these support a species-rich vegetation with such species as Wild Angelica, Thrift, Stag’s-horn Plantain, Roseroot, Bell Heather, Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil, Yorkshire-fog, Dandelion, Bracken, Primrose, Honeysuckle, Common Sorrel, English Stonecrop and Royal Fern. Cliff-top vegetation frequently comprises a short turf usually dominated by Stag’s-horn Plantain, Sea Plantain and Thrift. This often grades inland to Nardus grassland, heath or marsh communities, where such species as Wild Thyme, Allseed, Sheep’s-bit, Common Centaury, Bog Pimpernel, Dandelion, Heath-grass, Kidney Vetch, Marsh Pennywort and a variety of lichens are found.
Lough Bofin is an excellent example of an isolated sedimentary lagoon with a cobble barrier.
This type of lagoon is relatively rare in Ireland. The lagoon is shallow (c. 2 m) and salinity varies considerably. Seawater enters by percolation and by overtopping the cobble barrier, and large volumes of fresh water enter at times of high rainfall. The lagoon is in an almost completely natural condition, of which there are very few examples in Europe.
Floristically, the lagoon is very interesting; it supports the rare charophyte Foxtail Stonewort, a lagoonal specialist which is listed in the Red Data Book and protected under the Flora (Protection) Order, 1999.
Adapted from Inishbofin and Inishshark SAC description.