Included here is a zone that extends from the northwest and northern parts of the Iberian Peninsula (including the Pyrenees) north to include Great Britain and Ireland and on to the western shores of Norway as far north as the islands of Hitra and Froga. On the European mainland the Armorican Massif, the Aquitanian and Parisian Basins, the Central Massif, and most of the German lowlands are included.

Atlantic European Maritime Cliffs

On the seaward fringes, the exposed rocky ledges often support Crithmum maritimum and the endemic Spergularia rupicola (Caryophyllaceae) in the south, and Ligusticum scoticum in the north. Further inland rocky cliff-tops usually give way to maritime grassland with Festuca rubra and on exposed sites this may extend inland for up to 500 m. Endemics within this zone are numerous although many such as Angelica polycarpa (Apiaceae), Anthyllis vulneraria ssp. corbierei (Fabaceae), Centaurium scilloides, C. chloodes (Gentianaceae), Coincya wrightii Lundy cabbage (Brassicaceae), Heriaria ciliolata ssp. ciliolata (Caryophyllaceae), Limonium minutum, L. paradoxum, L. recurvum and L. transwallianum (Plumbaginaceae) and Primula scotica Scottish primrose (Primulaceae), are rare with very local distributions.


Polunin, O. & Walters, M. 1985. A guide to the vegetation of Britain and Europe. Oxford University Press.

Poore, M. E. D. & Robertson, V. C. 1949. The vegetation of St Kilda in 1948. Journal of Ecology, 37: 82-99.

Rhind, P. M. 2003. Comment: Britain’s contribution to global conservation and our coastal temperate rainforest.  British Wildlife, 15: 97-102.

Vevers, H. G. 1936. The land vegetation of Ailsa Craig. Journal of Ecology, 24: 424-445.