A perennial herb of calcareous rendzina and brown earth soils, usually over chalk or limestone, but also over glacial deposits and basic igneous rocks. It is characteristic of well-grazed chalk and limestone downland, but is also found on screes, cliffs and limestone pavements, and occasionally in open Fraxinus woods, on sand dunes and on montane ledge communities with Dryas octopetala. 0-835 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth).
The distribution of H. pratense is stable, though the apparent losses in S.E. England may be significant indicators of a decline in the lowlands. Montane populations with larger spikelets may be taxonomically distinct.
European Temperate element.
There are no images in this gallery.
Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 4
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.9
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.6
Annual Precipitation (mm): 986
Height (cm): 80
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Comment on Life Form
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1001
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 1
Atlas Change Index: 0.31
Weighted Changed Factor: -28
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
1991. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 173. Avenula pratensis (L.) Dumort. (pp. 829-846), Avenula pubescens (Hudson) Dumort. (pp. 846-865). Journal of Ecology. 79:829-865.
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.