A perennial herb of woods and copses on calcareous soils, especially in sheltered beech woodlands and along medieval boundary banks and old hedgerows. Generally lowland, but reaching 440 m at Brough (Westmorland).
Although now better recorded since the 1962 Atlas, H. europaeus has declined across much of its range mainly due to the removal of hedge banks and the coniferisation of deciduous woodland. It has not been seen in Ireland since 1949.
European Temperate element.
Light (Ellenberg): 6
Moisture (Ellenberg): 4
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.2
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.5
Annual Precipitation (mm): 788
Height (cm): 120
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 185
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 1
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
Atlas Change Index: 0.12
Scarce Atlas Account
Hordelymus europaeus (L.) Jessen
This grass usually grows on wood banks and hedgerows, often occurring on or near medieval woodland boundary banks. It is often round under the high canopy of Ulmus spp. and in the shade of shrubs such as Corylus avellana and Sambucus nigra in sites near the edge of the wood where some light penetrates from the margin. Most sites are over chalk and limestone; it is less frequent on calcareous boulder clay. Plant associates include several common woodland species such as, Anthriscus sylvestris, Galium aparine, Geum urbanum, Glechoma hederacea, Hedera helix, Heracleum sphondylium, Hyacinthoides non-scripta, Mercurialis perennis, Rubus spp. and Urtica dioica.
It is a perennial reproducing by seed.
H. europaeus is usually found in a wood as discrete colonies, which are often small. It persists in woods which are managed by coppicing or periodic clear-felling, and the only real threat lies in the destruction of old woodland.
H. europaeus is found in Europe, North Africa and western Asia. It is widespread in this area but has a curiously discontinuous distribution (Hulten & Fries 1986).
P. J. O. Trist
Atlas text references
1988. The Irish Red Data Book. 1. Vascular Plants.
1992. Stewart & Corry's Flora of the North-east of Ireland, edn 3.
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.
1994. Scarce plants in Britain.