A rhizomatous, dioecious perennial herb usually growing on damp but free-draining base-rich soils. In the lowlands it is largely restricted to shaded sites, including ancient woodland, older secondary woodland, hedgerows and shaded banks, but in the uplands it occurs on unshaded basic crags, scree, cliff ledges and in ravines, particularly on moist N.-facing slopes, and it also grows in the grikes of limestone pavements. 0-1005 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth).
There has been no appreciable change in the distribution of M. perennis since the 1962 Atlas. In Ireland, it is apparently native only in the Burren (Scannell & Synnott, 1987).
European Temperate element.
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
1981. A further station for Mercurialis perennis L. in the Burren with comments on its status there. Irish Naturalists' Journal. 20:184-185.
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
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.
1983. Flora of Connemara and the Burren.