Narthecium ossifragum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaLiliaceaeNartheciumNarthecium ossifragum


A rhizomatous perennial herb of wet, moderately basic to strongly acidic mineral soils and peats, in a wide range of raised, valley and blanket mire communities, and in wet heaths and flushes, especially where there is some water movement. It is intolerant of shade. Although it is slightly toxic, plants in the uplands may be heavily grazed. 0-1005 m (Beinn Heasgarnich, Mid Perth) but reportedly to 1130 m elsewhere in Scotland.



World Distribution

Oceanic Boreo-temperate element.

Broad Habitats


Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 9

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.3

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1296

Life form information

Height (cm): 45

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1628

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 716

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.32

Weighted Changed Factor: -7

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.