This deciduous shrub or small tree grows on a wide range of soils, but avoids drought-prone and permanently waterlogged sites. It is found in scrub on fen peat, on the edges of raised mires, on heaths and in valley mires, in scrub, hedgerows and in woodland. It regenerates strongly after cutting, burning or grazing. Generally lowland, but reaching 450 m at The Arch (Cards.).
This species was formerly planted for charcoal production, and this may have blurred its native distribution in some areas. Its overall distribution is stable, but there have been some losses since the 1962 Atlas.
Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
Light (Ellenberg): 6
Moisture (Ellenberg): 8
Reaction (Ellenberg): 5
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.8
Annual Precipitation (mm): 881
Height (cm): 500
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 712
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 56
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0
Atlas Change Index: -0.16
Weighted Changed Factor: 16
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
1988. The Irish Red Data Book. 1. Vascular Plants.
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.