Rhynchospora alba

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCyperaceaeRhynchosporaRhynchospora alba


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.).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element, with a disjunct distribution.

Broad Habitats


Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 9

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1400

Life form information

Height (cm): 30

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Comment on Clonality

"pseudoannual; 1(-2-3) overwintering buds produced from meristems behind basal leaf sheaths (Ohlson & Malmer, 1990, Oikos, 58, 100-108)."

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 624

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 407

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.43

Weighted Changed Factor: 17

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


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