Listera ovata

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaOrchidaceaeListeraListera ovata


A rhizomatous perennial herb found on a wide range of calcareous to mildly acidic soils. Its habitats include grassland, woodland, hedgerows, scrub, sand dunes, dune-slacks, limestone pavement and heathland; in Anglesey and Ireland it also grows in fens. It frequently occurs, sometimes as large colonies, on railway embankments and in disused quarries and sand-pits. 0-670 m (Ben Lawers, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element.

© P. Shannon

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 6

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1001

Life form information

Height (cm): 60

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1866

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 512

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 3

Atlas Change Index: -0.54

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 (334c)
Allan B, Woods P
1993.  Wild orchids of Scotland.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jenkinson MN
1991.  Wild orchids of Dorset.
Sanford M
1991.  The orchids of Suffolk.