Tamus communis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaDioscoreaceaeTamusTamus communis


A dioecious, tuberous liane, found mostly on neutral to calcareous, well-drained soils, particularly those overlying chalk and limestone, but also on clay. It can be luxuriant in hedgerows, woodland edges and along paths and in waste land, but is often found in a depauperate, non-flowering state in woodland. It possesses a very large tuber and therefore avoids shallow or waterlogged soil. It is bird-sown, but is not a good colonist. Lowland.



World Distribution

Submediterranean-Subatlantic element.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 850

Height (cm): 400

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: 1421

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 4

Atlas Change Index: -0.41

Weighted Changed Factor: -9

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (331a)
Burkill IH
1944.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 12. Tamus communis L. Journal of Ecology. 32:121-129.
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.