Eriophorum vaginatum


A tussock-forming rhizomatous perennial herb of wet heaths and mires, including blanket- and raised bogs. It is characteristic of wet peaty moorlands, often dominant or co-dominant with Calluna vulgaris, where it survives, or even increases, after burning. Its sites are always open and almost always acidic. 0-945 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-arctic Montane element.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats


Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.1

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1307

Life form information

Height (cm): 50

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1516

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 560

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.36

Weighted Changed Factor: 8

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

Atlas (347b)
Comparative Plant Ecology,
Grime, J. P., Hodgson J. G., and Hunt R.
, London, (1988)

Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
Hultén, E., and Fries M.
, Königstein, (1986)

Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols,
Meusel, H., Jäger E., and Weinert E.
, Jena, (1965)

Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 132. Eriophorum vaginatum L,
Wein, R. W.
, Journal of Ecology, Volume 61, p.601-615, (1973)