A perennial herb of base-poor acidic bogs, wet heaths and mires, often in association with Sphagnum species. It is intolerant of competition, preferring open sites, and is frequently found on bare wet peat, sometimes in shallow standing water. Generally lowland, but reaching 850 m (Clogwyn y Garnedd, Caerns.).
Many former lowland sites of R. alba were lost in the 19th century as a result of drainage, peat extraction and afforestation. Since the 1962 Atlas more sites have been lost in S. England, but its distribution elsewhere has been largely stable.
Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element, with a disjunct distribution.
Height (cm): 30
Perennation - primary
Life Form - primary
Clonality - primary
Comment on Clonality
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Atlas text references
Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
, Königstein, (1986)
Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols,
, Jena, (1965)