Saussurea alpina

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaAsteraceaeSaussureaSaussurea alpina


A perennial herb of damp, base-rich cliffs, screes and other open ground, occasionally found in flushed areas and sometimes washed down mountain streams to become established on rocky stream banks and riverside shingle. It reproduces by seed, and spreads vegetatively by new rosettes arising from stolons. From near sea level in Caithness to 1170 m on Ben Lawers (Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Eurasian Arctic-montane element.

© Pete Stroh

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 3


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 1.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 11.9

Annual Precipitation (mm): 2010

Life form information

Height (cm): 45

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary


Comment on Life Form

"CTW treat as a chamaephyte, but better as a hemicryptophyte, as it dies back to ground level in winter."



Clonality - primary

Shortly creeping, stolons in illuminated medium

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 237

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 21

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.51

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