Hippocrepis comosa

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeHippocrepisHippocrepis comosa


A perennial herb occurring in dry, sunny pastures on chalk and limestone, and on rock ledges on limestone cliffs. It prefers a S.-facing aspect, an open situation, and is able to colonise bare chalk, such as that in new road cuttings. Generally lowland, but reaching 600 m on Long Fell, Warcop (Westmorland).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

Broad Habitats

Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 3

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16

Annual Precipitation (mm): 814

Life form information

Height (cm): 25

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 348

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 2

Atlas Change Index: -0.54

Weighted Changed Factor: -29

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.

Atlas text references

Atlas (113b)
Fearn GM
1973.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 134. Hippocrepis comosa L. Journal of Ecology. 61:915-926.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.