Ellenberg - Nitrogen

Ellenberg Nitrogen values are in fact a general indication of preference for soil fertility. They are closely correlated with the stress values of Grime (1979, 2001), low N values corresponding to plants with high stress tolerance (Grime et al., 1997) and vice-versa.


Ellenberg value 



Indicator of extremely infertile sites (Agrostis curtisii, Clinopodium acinos, Drosera rotundifolia, Rubus chamaemorus)


Between 1 and 3 (Aira praecox, Carex panicea, Linum catharticum, Scabiosa columbaria)


Indicator of more or less infertile sites (Centaurea scabiosa, Galium saxatile, Pimpinella saxifraga, Teucrium scorodonia)


Between 3 and 5 (Agrostis capillaris, Cirsium palustre, Plantago lanceolata, Primula vulgaris)


Indicator of sites of intermediate fertility (Angelica sylvestris, Digitalis purpurea, Iris foetidissima, Trifolium pratense)


Between 5 and 7 (Cirsium arvense, Glyceria fluitans, Poa trivialis, Rumex crispus)


Plant often found in richly fertile places (Atriplex prostrata, Epilobium hirsutum, Stellaria media, Typha latifolia)


Between 7 and 9 (Beta vulgaris, Galium aparine, Lamium album, Urtica dioica)


Indicator of extremely rich situations, such as cattle resting places or near polluted rivers (Arctium lappa, Artemisia absinthium, Hyoscyamus niger, Rumex obtusifolius)



Grime, J. P. (1979) Plant strategies and vegetation processes. John Wiley, Chichester.

Grime, J. P. (2001) Plant strategies, vegetation processes, and ecosystem properties. Wiley, Chichester.

Grime, J.P., Thompson, K., Hunt, R., Hodgson, J.G., Cornelissen, J.H.C., Rorison, I.H., Hendry, G.A.F., Ashenden, T.W., Askew, A.P., Band, S.R., Booth, R.E., Bossard, C.C., Campbell, B.D., Cooper, J.E.L., Davison, A.W., Gupta, P.L., Hall, W., Hand, D.W., Hannah, M.A., Hillier, S.H., Hodkinson, D.J., Jalili, A., Liu, Z., Mackey, J.M.L., Matthews, N., Mowforth, M.A., Neal, A.M., Reader, R.J., Reiling, K., Ross-Fraser, W., Spencer, R.E., Sutton, F., Tasker, D.E., Thorpe, P.C. & Whitehouse, J. (1997) Integrated screening validates primary axes of specialisation in plants. Oikos 79: 259-281.