A perennial herb of meadows and pastures, sea-cliffs, roadsides, railway banks, scrub, woodland edges, field borders and waste ground, on a wide range of soils. 0-580 m (Cadair Idris, Merioneth) and exceptionally at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).
The distribution of C. nigra is stable. Forms on light soils in England and Wales are sometimes recognised as subsp. nemoralis. Elsewhere, subsp. nigra predominates. Intermediates occur where both subspecies grow, and also in the absence of subsp. nemoralis.
Suboceanic 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
Atlas Supp (74a-c)
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
1957. The Flora of Wiltshire.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1954. British Knapweeds.
1992. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 3. 2 vols.
1969. Variation within Centaurea nigra L. Proceedings of the Botanical Society of the British Isles. 7:549-552.