A calcifugous low shrub, common and locally dominant in well-drained heaths and moorland, especially in upland areas, and as an understorey in acid woodland of Betula, Pinus and Quercus; also found on hummocks in peat bogs in the north and west. It rarely regenerates from seed. 0-1300 m (Ben Macdui, S. Aberdeen).
V. myrtillus was mapped as `all records` in the 1962 Atlas. Analysis of the database reveals that the declines from the edge of its range in England have occurred since 1950, reflecting the loss of lowland heathland. It has also declined in C. Ireland, probably for the same reasons. Elsewhere it remains common in suitable habitats.
Eurosiberian Boreal-montane element.
Light (Ellenberg): 6
Moisture (Ellenberg): 6
Reaction (Ellenberg): 2
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.3
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.9
Annual Precipitation (mm): 1243
Height (cm): 50
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Life Form - secondary
Comment on Life Form
Clonality - primary
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1886
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 701
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 1
Atlas Change Index: -0.61
Weighted Changed Factor: -11
Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)
Atlas text references
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.
1956. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 56. Vaccinium myrtillus L. Journal of Ecology. 44:291-299.
2000. Studies on the paradox of seedling rarity in Vaccinium myrtillus L. in NE Scotland. Botanical Journal of Scotland. 52:17-30.