Cirsium acaule

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeCirsiumCirsium acaule


A rosette-forming perennial herb of short swards on base-rich soils, particularly on chalk and limestone. The northerly and westerly limits appear to be determined by summer warmth and in areas such as the Yorkshire Wolds and Derbyshire it is almost wholly confined to S.W.-facing slopes. It benefits from the sward being grazed to less than 10-15 cm, or frequent mowing, but is destroyed by heavy trampling. Generally lowland, but reaching 425 m at Trefil (Mons.).



World Distribution

European Temperate element.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Calcareous grassland (includes lowland and montane types)

Light (Ellenberg): 9

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 8

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 16.1

Annual Precipitation (mm): 742

Life form information

Height (cm): 15

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Rhizome shortly creeping

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 734

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 3

Atlas Change Index: -0.52

Weighted Changed Factor: -37

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