Linum catharticum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaLinaceaeLinumLinum catharticum


An annual or bennial herb of dry, infertile calcareous or base-rich substrates, but also found in flushed sites on neutral or mildly acidic soils. It occurs in a wide range of calcareous grasslands, mires and flushes, in short-sedge fen-meadows, on outcrops and ledges of basic rock, road cuttings, quarry spoil and lead-mine debris, and very locally on dry heaths. 0-840 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

European Temperate element; also in N. America.

Broad Habitats

Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.4

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1113

Life form information

Height (cm): 18

Perennation - primary

Biennial, including monocarpic perennials

Life Form - primary


Comment on Life Form

According to P J Grubb (pers. comm.) never annual; the books are wrong.



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2596

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 875

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 8

Atlas Change Index: -0.44

Weighted Changed Factor: -12

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 (90b)
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.