Silene acaulis

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaCaryophyllaceaeSileneSilene acaulis


This cushion- or mat-forming perennial herb is confined to base-rich substrates. It is characteristic of a species-rich dwarf-herb ledge community on Scottish mountains. However, it also grows in sparse vegetation on exposed mountain plateaux, serpentine fell-fields, cliff-slopes and stabilised sand dunes. From sea level in W. and N. Scotland to 1305 m on Ben Macdui (S. Aberdeen).



World Distribution

European Arctic-montane element; also in E. Asia and N. America.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 5

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 1


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 1.9

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 11.8

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1937

Life form information

Height (cm): 10

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Little or no vegetative spread

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 236

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 9

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.47

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 (63a)
Curtis TGF, McGough HN
1988.  The Irish Red Data Book. 1. Vascular Plants.
Hultén E, Fries M
1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1986)
Jones V, Richards PW
1962.  Biological Flora of the British Isles. No. 83. Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq. Journal of Ecology. 50:475-487.
Lusby P, Wright J
1996.  Scottish Wild Plants: their history, ecology and conservation.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E
1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.