An annual of roadsides, railway banks, open grassland, gardens and waste ground. It can be a serious weed in fields where winter cereals are grown repeatedly using minimum cultivation techniques, especially in S. Britain (Grime et al., 1988). A. sterilis has frequently been introduced with wool shoddy. Generally lowland, but reaching 365 m in Derbyshire.
The distribution of A. sterilis is stable.
As an archaeophyte A. sterilis has a European Southern-temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this 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.