Molinia caerulea

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaPoaceaeMoliniaMolinia caerulea


This deciduous perennial herb is found in a wide range of habitats, especially open heaths, moors, bogs and fens, but also in open birchwoods, mountain grassland and cliffs and stony lake margins. It is found on mildly basic to strongly acidic peats and mineral soils which are permanently or seasonally wet. 0-870 m (Meikle Kilrannoch, Angus).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element.

© M. Cotterill, IWNHAS

Broad Habitats


Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8

Reaction (Ellenberg): 3

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1179

Height (cm): 130

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Comment on Clonality

Can spread out when closely grazed; tussocks can be very long-lived and spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2244

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 897

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 6

Atlas Change Index: -0.34

Weighted Changed Factor: -3

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (371d)
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.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Taylor K, Rowland AP, Jones HE
2001.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 216. Molinia caerulea (L.) Moench. Journal of Ecology. 89:126-144.
Trist PJO, Sell PD
1988.  Two subspecies of Molinia caerulea (L.) Moench in the British Isles. Watsonia. 17:153-157.