A tufted perennial grass found in a very wide range of neutral to base-rich habitats. It is frequent in grasslands, but is especially common on road verges, hedge banks, and river banks. It is an important stabiliser of limestone scree, and a coloniser of bare, muddy, calcareous cliffs and maritime shingle. Var. bulbosum is widely distributed on roadside banks and as an arable weed on light soils. 0-550 m (E. Perth).
The distribution of A. elatius is similar to that mapped in the 1962 Atlas. Var. bulbosum is still frequent in arable fields, and is encouraged by current direct drilling practices.
European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
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Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 5
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1089
Height (cm): 150
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Clonality - secondary
Comment on Clonality
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2678
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 958
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 13
Atlas Change Index: 0.37
Weighted Changed Factor: -2
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
1962. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 81. Arrhenatherum elatius (L.) J. & C. Presl. Journal of Ecology. 50:235-245.