This strongly calcicolous shrub or small tree is found in a variety of habitats, including as an undershrub in woodland (usually Fraxinus and Quercus), in scrub and hedgerows and in fen-carr and damp Alnus woods. Reproduction is by seed, and it regenerates from cut stools and after grazing or burning. 0-380 m (near Malham Tarn, Mid-W. Yorks.).
There is some evidence of a decline in the distribution of R. cathartica in W. Britain since the 1962 Atlas, although it is now much better recorded in Ireland.
Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 5
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.8
Annual Precipitation (mm): 783
Height (cm): 600
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 857
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 88
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
Atlas Change Index: -0.04
Weighted Changed Factor: -5
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
1943. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 11. Rhamnaceae (pp. 66-68). Rhamnus cathartica L. (pp. 69-76), Frangula alnus Miller (Rhamnus Frangula L.) (the genus Rhamnus sensu lato, L.) (pp. 77-92). Journal of Ecology. 31:66-92.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1978. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.