A dioecious, evergreen, rhizomatous shrub, found as a native in dry woods and hedgerows, and on cliffs and rocky ground near the sea. It is also naturalised in similar situations, and in churchyards and near habitation. It reproduces vegetatively by creeping rhizomes, and by seed, which may be bird-sown. Lowland.
R. aculeatus is frequently grown in gardens, and may become established where discarded or deliberately planted, or where bird-sown. The overall distribution is stable since the 1962 Atlas, but the line between native and alien occurrences is becoming increasingly blurred and it is probably much planted within the mapped 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.