Cynosurus cristatus

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaPoaceaeCynosurusCynosurus cristatus


A short-lived perennial herb growing in a wide variety of grasslands, particularly short and heavily grazed swards. It grows in a range of neutral to base-rich, fairly well-drained or damp soils, avoiding only the extremes of base-status, waterlogging, drought and disturbance. Generally lowland, but to 660 m on Burnhope Seat (Cumberland) and exceptionally at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).



World Distribution

European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1103

Height (cm): 75

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2745

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 962

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 13

Atlas Change Index: 0.02

Weighted Changed Factor: -23

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (382d)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Lodge RW
1959.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 70. Cynosurus cristatus L. Journal of Ecology. 47:511-518.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.