Listera ovata

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOrchidaceaeListeraListera ovata


A rhizomatous perennial herb found on a wide range of calcareous to mildly acidic soils. Its habitats include grassland, woodland, hedgerows, scrub, sand dunes, dune-slacks, limestone pavement and heathland; in Anglesey and Ireland it also grows in fens. It frequently occurs, sometimes as large colonies, on railway embankments and in disused quarries and sand-pits. 0-670 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1001

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1866

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 512

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 3

Atlas Change Index: -0.54

Weighted Changed Factor: -25

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (334c)
Allan B, Woods P
1993.  Wild orchids of Scotland.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jenkinson MN
1991.  Wild orchids of Dorset.
Sanford M
1991.  The orchids of Suffolk.