Ranunculus penicillatus


The Ballinderry is characterised as a typical fast flowing river with moderate nutrient levels (mesotrophic, meso meaning moderate, trophic meaning nutrient).
This means that the river is able to support a wide range of plants and animals.

Plant Communities

The upper river is dominated by mosses and liverworts (known as bryophytes). These include Fontinalis antipyretica and Racomitrium aciculare.

Higher aquatic plants include water-cress Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum, water starwort Callitriche spp and stream water-crowfoot Ranunculus penicillatus spp. Penicillatus (picture above).

The middle and lower river flow through a more managed agricultural landscape and the plant communities are less diverse.

The riverbank plant communities vary along the length of the river, though wooded pockets are common, including wet woodland and some ancient woodland near Cookstown on the Ballinderry River and at Loughry on the Killymoon River.

The rare orchid Marsh Helleborine Epipactis palustris (picture below) has been recorded along the Ballinderry.

Animals Communities

The river is one of only six rivers in Northern Ireland known to still hold a population of the globally endangered freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera, though its numbers are low and may be fewer than 1000.

In addition, the river is home to:

Otter Lutra lutra

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis,

Dipper Cinclus cinclus,

the globally threatened White-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes,

Brook lamprey Lampetra planeri,

Atlantic salmon Salmo salar,

River brown Trout Salmo trutta

the unique Dollaghan Trout Salmo trutta ssp..  

A number of non-native invasive species, including Giant hogweed, Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and mink are all present along the river but are largely found in the middle and lower parts of the river.

click here for photocredit Helleborine Epipactis palustris and here for Ranunculus penicillatus