21 Trees

According to the ancient law texts, Ireland has 21 native trees. A few of them have more than one species. The Irish name is shown in italics. Each category of trees had its own penalties for cutting or removing them.

21 Native Irish Trees

Airig fedo – Nobles of the wood

  1. Apple Úll   (Malus sylvestrus). Known for fruit, dye (from bark), otherworld.
  2. Ash Fuinseóg (Fraxinus excelsior). Known for hurleys, wood for chariots, wellbeing.
  3. Hazel Coll  (Corylus avellana). Known for nuts, wisdom, protection against evil.
  4. Holly Cuileann  (Ilex aquifolium). Known for its red berries, protection, winter forage.
  5. Oak Dair  (Quercus pataea & Quercus robur). Known for timber, acorns for pigs, strength.
  6. Scot’s Pine Giúis (Pinus sylvestrus). Known for resin, firewood, rebirth.
  7. Yew Iúr (Taxus baccata). Known for long life, excellent timber.

Aithig fedo – Commoners of the wood

  1. Alder Fearnóg  (Alnus glutinosa). Known for its red wood, shields, water resistance.
  2. Birch Beith (Betula pendula & betula pubescens). Known for beauty, colonising new ground.
  3. Cherry Silín  (Prunus avium). Known for beautiful blossoms, sweet fruit, symbol of love. 
  4. Elm Leamhán (Ulmus glabra). Known for waterproof timber, fertility.
  5. Hawthorn Sceach gheal   (Crategus monogyna). Known for white blossoms, associated with May festival, fairies.
  6. Rowan Caorthann  (Sorbus aucuparia). Known for magic, red berries, spear shafts.
  7. Willow Saileach  (Salix caprea). Known for food for bees, fertility, baskets.

Fodla fedo – Lower divisions of the wood

  1. Arbutus Caithne (Arbutus unedo). Known for blossoms and fruit, Co. Kerry.
  2. Aspen Creathach (Populus tremula). Known for whispering, sound, age.
  3. Blackthorn Draighean (Prunus spinosa). Known for fruit, clubs, sticks, fierceness.
  4. Elder Trom (Sambucus nigra). Known for flowers, berries, witchcraft, tonic.
  5. Juniper Aiteal (Juniperus communis). Known for most aromatic wood.
  6. Spindle Feoras (Eunymous europeaus). Known for bright berries, the sun, sight.
  7. Whitebeam Fionncholl  (Sorbus aria & sorbus hibernica). Known for royal authority, staffs.

Note: Buckthorn and broom are also native but don’t appear on the tree list. Broom was included on a list of bushes (see following list). Buckthorn does not appear as either tree or bush. One bush, Spín, isn’t definitively identified but is thought to be wild rose or gooseberry.

7 Native Irish Bushes

Losa fedo – Bushes of the wood

  1. Bog myrtle Rait
  2. Bracken Raith
  3. Bramble Dris
  4. Broom Gilcach
  5. Gorse Aiten
  6. Heather Fróech
  7. Wild rose or gooseberry Spín

From the ancient Irish law tract: Bretha Comaithchesa

Source: Mac Coitir, Niall. Ireland’s Trees – Myths, Legends & Folklore . Gill Books. Kindle Edition.