A perennial herb of over-grazed pastures, hay meadows and rough grassy places, roadsides, arable fields and other cultivated land, and in urban habitats and waste ground. Plants regenerate freely from rhizome fragments which are broken up by ploughing or other disturbance. 0-700 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth), and at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).
Though listed as a noxious weed in Britain under the 1959 Weeds Act, there has been no change in distribution since the 1962 Atlas and probably little over many decades before that.
Eurasian Temperate element, but naturalised in N. America so distribution is now Circumpolar Temperate.
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Light (Ellenberg): 8
Moisture (Ellenberg): 6
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1092
Height (cm): 120
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2736
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 968
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14
Atlas Change Index: 0.47
Weighted Changed Factor: -34
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.
1985. Hermaphrodites and subhermaphrodites in a reputedly dioecious plant, Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. New Phytologist. 100:457-472.
1992. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.
1975. The biology of Canadian weeds. 13. Cirsium arvense (L.) Scop. Canadian Journal of Plant Science. 55:1033-1048.