An annual of arable fields, occasionally found on waste ground and in other disturbed habitats, favouring light, dry, calcareous soils. Seed is short-lived and populations depend upon regular disturbance for survival. Lowland.
Archaeological evidence suggests that this species has been an arable weed in Britain since the Bronze Age. It has declined substantially since the 1950s because of agricultural intensification, and in many areas it is now uncommon in arable fields. Seed can be transported with grain, resulting in casual populations outside its core range.
As an archaeophyte L. arvense has a Eurosiberian Southern-temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.
Light (Ellenberg): 8
Moisture (Ellenberg): 4
Reaction (Ellenberg): 7
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.9
Annual Precipitation (mm): 755
Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 614
Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 10
Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2
Atlas Change Index: -1.91
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
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1978. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
1986. Sminkrotens historia och biologi i Sverige. (History and biology of Lithospermum arvense in Sweden). Svensk Botanisk Tidskrift. 80:107-131.