Empetrum nigrum

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaEmpetraceaeEmpetrumEmpetrum nigrum


A low-growing evergreen shrub of well-drained acidic soils. It is found on moorlands and mountains, and on blanket mire where it can increase greatly after burning or where dry surfaces have been bared by erosion (Rodwell, 1991b). 0-1270 m (Cairngorms, S. Aberdeen).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-arctic Montane element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 2

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1381

Life form information

Height (cm): 30

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Comment on Life Form

dwarf shrub



Clonality - primary

Extensively creeping and rooting at nodes

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1359

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 236

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.29

Weighted Changed Factor: -5

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 (198c
Bell JNB, Tallis JH
1973.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 130. Empetrum nigrum L. Journal of Ecology. 61:289-305.
Grime JP, Hodgson JG, Hunt R
1988.  Comparative Plant Ecology.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Rauschert S, Weinert E
1978.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.