Trientalis europaea


A deciduous perennial herb of moist, acidic and humus-rich, but often fertile, soils in Betula, Pinus and Quercus woodland and on moorland; less commonly on heaths. It is highly localised, colonies often being separated by much apparently suitable ground. Seed-set is rare. It is a good competitor, but a poor colonist. Lowland to 1100 m at Cnap Coire na Spreidhe (Easterness).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreal-montane element, but absent from eastern N. America.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 5

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 3

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 1.8

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 12.6

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1277

Life form information

Height (cm): 20

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Clonality - secondary

Detaching ramets at or below ground

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 514

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.27

Weighted Changed Factor: -1

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 (204a)
Breeding system and pollination ecology of Trientalis borealis (Primulaceae),
Anderson, R. C., and Beare M. H.
, American Journal of Botany, Volume 70, p.408-415, (1983)

Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
Hultén, E., and Fries M.
, Königstein, (1986)

Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols,
Meusel, H., Jäger E., Rauschert S., and Weinert E.
, Jena, (1978)

Demography and modelling of clonal fragments in the pseudoannual plant Trientalis europaea,
Piqueras, J., and Klimes L.
, Plant Ecology, Volume 136, p.213-227, (1998)