Mercurialis perennis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEuphorbiaceaeMercurialisMercurialis perennis


A rhizomatous, dioecious perennial herb usually growing on damp but free-draining base-rich soils. In the lowlands it is largely restricted to shaded sites, including ancient woodland, older secondary woodland, hedgerows and shaded banks, but in the uplands it occurs on unshaded basic crags, scree, cliff ledges and in ravines, particularly on moist N.-facing slopes, and it also grows in the grikes of limestone pavements. 0-1005 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland

Light (Ellenberg): 3

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.2

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1045

Height (cm): 40

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2214

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 4

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2

Atlas Change Index: -0.65

Weighted Changed Factor: -15

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


JNCC Designations


Atlas text references

Atlas (169b)
Curtis TGF
1981.  A further station for Mercurialis perennis L. in the Burren with comments on its status there. Irish Naturalists' Journal. 20:184-185.
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, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
Webb DA, Scannell MJP
1983.  Flora of Connemara and the Burren.