Festuca vivipara

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaPoaceaeFestucaFestuca vivipara


A tufted perennial herb of upland heathy pastures, open Betula and Quercus woodland, rock ledges and crevices, and a wide range of mountain slope and plateau communities including areas of late snow-lie; also found in the drier parts of bogs and on stream banks. It grows on both basic and acidic substrates. From sea level in W. Scotland and Ireland, to 1215 m on Ben Macdui (S. Aberdeen).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-arctic Montane element.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 3

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 2


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.7

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 12.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1592

Life form information

Height (cm): 44

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Tussock-forming graminoid, may slowly spread

Clonality - secondary

Detaching ramets on inflorescence

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 801

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 182

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: 0.13

Weighted Changed Factor: -3

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 (375b)
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Wilkinson MJ, Stace CA
1991.  A new taxonomic treatment of the Festuca ovina L. aggregate (Poaceae) in the British Isles. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. 106:347-397.