A tufted perennial grass found in a very wide range of neutral to base-rich habitats. It is frequent in grasslands, but is especially common on road verges, hedge banks, and river banks. It is an important stabiliser of limestone scree, and a coloniser of bare, muddy, calcareous cliffs and maritime shingle. Var. bulbosum is widely distributed on roadside banks and as an arable weed on light soils. 0-550 m (E. Perth).
The distribution of A. elatius is similar to that mapped in the 1962 Atlas. Var. bulbosum is still frequent in arable fields, and is encouraged by current direct drilling practices.
European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
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
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
1962. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 81. Arrhenatherum elatius (L.) J. & C. Presl. Journal of Ecology. 50:235-245.