A perennial herb which occurs in a dwarf form in unimproved chalk grassland. Robust alien variants are found on grassy banks, roadsides and by tracks on chalk and less often on other calcareous soils. They can be abundant on newly sown roadsides. Generally lowland, reaching 335 m near Taddington (Derbys.).
The chalk grassland form of O. viciifolia may be native, but the limits of its native distribution have been obscured by aliens. Agricultural variants were introduced in the 17th century and widely cultivated for fodder until the 19th century. The species is increasing as a constituent of wild-flower mixtures and as a contaminant of grass-seed.
Eurosiberian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
Light (Ellenberg): 7
Moisture (Ellenberg): 4
Reaction (Ellenberg): 8
Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3
Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0
January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6
July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.2
Annual Precipitation (mm): 710
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.