The following photos are examples of habitats defined using National Vegetation Classification (NVC). As examples they cannot be used as a substitute for the official guides to classify vegetation elsewhere. I hope however they are useful illustrations of the the vegetation that can be found in some NVC comunities.

I highly recommend that anyone interested in pursuing this topic consults the following books:

British Plant Communities (Volumes 1-5)

Plants and Habitats


CG = Calcarious grassland vegetation (typically found on alkaline soils)
H = Heath vegetation
M = Mire vegetation
MG = Mesotrophic grassland vegetation (typically found on PH neutral soils)
U = Upland vegetation (typically found on acidic soils and dominated by grasses or sedges)
S = Swamp vegetation (emergent from standing water)

Click the photos to enlarge them. Many have notes on to help with their interpretation.

Calcareous grasslands

CG11CG 11Sheep’s fescue, Common bent & Wild thyme with Alpine lady’s mantle

CG10 CG10a?Fescue (Sheep’s or Red) and wild thyme


H10 H10 Heather with Bell heather H12 H12Heather with Bilberry
H13 H13 Heather with Lichen H18 H18 Bilberry with Wavy hair grass
H21a H21Heather & Bilberry with Small-red sphagnum H22 H22-2Bilberry & Small-red sphagnum often with Cloudberry


M3 M3Common cotton grass bog pool

M4 M4Bottle sedge & Sphagnum
 M6/M23 M6-M23-2 M6 M6Star sedge & Sphagnum
 M10 M10-2Spike rush & Brown mosses  M11- M38 Mosaic M11-M38 mosaic
 M11M11Sedges & Yellow saxifrage M15M15-2Cross-leaved heath & Deer grass often with Matt grass, Purple moor grass, Heather & Common hair moss
M17M17Common cotton grass & Tormentil with Small-red sphagnum & Heathers M19M19-2Heather & Hare’s-tail cotton grass with Small-red sphagnum
 M37M37 Brown moss dominated spring  M38M38Brown moss dominated spring with alpine species
 MxMxSedge mire with brown mosses

Mesotrophic grassland

MG1MG 1False oat-grass dominated grassland

MG3MG3Northern hay-meadow: mixed grasses with wood cranesbill

MG5MG5Crested dog’s tail grass and common knapweed

MG6MG6Rye grass and crested dog’s tail grass with herbs such as creeping buttercup


S9S9-2 Bottle sedge swamp

S10S10Horsetail swamp

S12S12 Bulrush swamp

Uplands (Grass and sedge dominated vegetation)

 U2U2Wavy hair grass dominated grassland  U4cU4c-3Mixed grasses such as fescues and sweet vernal grass with heath bedstraw, herbs and sedges.

U4eU4e Viviparous fescue & Heath bedstraw with Alpine lady’s mantle

U5aU5a-2Matt grass & Heath bedstraw

U6aU6aHeath rush & Viviparous fescue

U7U7-2Matt grass & Stiff sedge

U8U8Stiff sedge & Alpine haircap moss

U10U10Stiff sedge & Wooly fringe moss

U8/U10u10 or u8

U12U12Dwarf willow & Wooly fringe moss with Liverworts