A short-lived perennial herb growing in a wide variety of grasslands, particularly short and heavily grazed swards. It grows in a range of neutral to base-rich, fairly well-drained or damp soils, avoiding only the extremes of base-status, waterlogging, drought and disturbance. Generally lowland, but to 660 m on Burnhope Seat (Cumberland) and exceptionally at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).
C. cristatus was a frequent constituent of seed mixtures until the 1940s, and is still used in amenity sowings and possibly in upland leys on poor soils. There has been no change in its distribution since the 1962 Atlas.
European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its 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.
Atlas text references
1988. Comparative Plant Ecology.
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1959. Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 70. Cynosurus cristatus L. Journal of Ecology. 47:511-518.
1965. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.