Ornithopus perpusillus

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaFabaceaeOrnithopusOrnithopus perpusillus


A winter-annual of short, open grassland on free-draining acidic sands and gravels; also around rock outcrops, on sand dunes and in bare patches on dry heathland. It is frequently found on drought-prone, sunny banks beside tracks and paths, and can quickly colonise bare areas after fires and other disturbances. Generally lowland, but reaching 380 m at Ettrick (Selkirks.).



World Distribution

Suboceanic Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.

Broad Habitats

Acid grassland (includes non-calcareous sandy grassland)

Light (Ellenberg): 7

Moisture (Ellenberg): 4

Reaction (Ellenberg): 4

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.9

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.5

Annual Precipitation (mm): 935

Life form information

Height (cm): 10

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Therophyte (annual land plant)



Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Distribution information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1002

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 20

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 12

Atlas Change Index: -0.18

Weighted Changed Factor: -6

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