Heracleum sphondylium

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaApiaceaeHeracleumHeracleum sphondylium


A robust perennial herb of dry or moist, neutral to calcareous soils. It has a wide habitat range, including rough and disturbed grassland, especially on roadsides and trackways, woodland rides, scrub, river banks, stabilised dunes, coastal cliffs, montane tall-herb vegetation and waste ground. 0-1005 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurasian Boreo-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 7


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1088

Life form information

Height (cm): 175

Perennation - primary

Biennial, including monocarpic perennials

Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 2692

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 959

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 14

Atlas Change Index: 0.08

Weighted Changed Factor: -25

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 (167d)
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.
Sheppard AW
1991.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 171. Heracleum sphondylium L. Journal of Ecology. 79:235-258.
Tutin TG
1980.  Umbellifers of the British Isles. Botanical Society of the British Isles Handbook no. 2.