NVC plant communities

The British National Vegetation Classification or NVC is a system of describing and classifying natural habitat types in Great Britain according to the vegetation they contain.

In practice the NVC community descriptions do not translate directly into a corresponding set of seed mixtures that can be sown to recreate the given community as some have tried to suggest. The NVC was not designed for this purpose and many other factors have to be considered when specifying seed mixtures. However since its publication in 1992 it has proved an invaluable resource when creating wild flower and grass seed specifications and mixtures.

Emorsgate have used the NVC extensively over the years to inform the development of the seed mixtures we offer. The following is a guide to the NVC categories that inform the mixtures we offer based upon plant communities that could develop in, or be appropriate to, the circumstances for which in our mixtures are commonly specified.

If you have a particular plant community specified as an objective for restoration do contact us for advice as to the best practical way to try and achieve this.

Most of our seed mixture reference more than one NVC community type. This is a reflection of the fact that firstly a given site and soil type can naturally support a number of communities depending on management, hydrology and other factors; and secondly, that the communities overlap and can change over time from one to another.

MG5 Cynosurus cristatus - Centaurea nigra mesotrophic grassland underlies many of our seed mixture specifications as this is the major grassland type included within the popular, but often loosely applied, category of ‘Old Meadow' which in turn is the objective of many schemes.

The following list gives links to Emorsgates' principal mixtures followed by codes of the NVC categories which have informed their composition.

EM1 EM2 EM3 General purpose meadow mixtures
MG5 MG1 MG1e

EM4 Meadow mixture for clay soils
MG5 MG5a Heavy neutral brown earths over clays/shale

EM5 Meadow mixture for loamy soils
MG5 MG5b Lighter brown earths developed from alluvium and other material often over calcareous bedrock

EM6 Meadow mixture for chalk and limestone
MG5 MG5b CG2 CG3 CG9

EM7 Meadow mixture for sandy soils
MG5 MG5c

EM7a Meadow mixture for acid soils
MG5 MG5c Ca deficient brown earths of rather sandy texture
U1 U4

EM8 Meadow mixture for wetlands
MG4 Seasonally (winter) flooded Lowland Alluvial Meadows
MG8 Water meadows
MG5 MG5a
M22 Fen meadow

EP1 Pond edge mixture
M22 M23 M27 Mires
MG4 MG8 Flood plain meadows and water meadows

EM10 Tussock mixture
MG1 MG1e MG5 MG9

EH1 Hedgerow mixture
MG1 MG1e MG5

EW1 Woodland mixture
W8 W9 W10 W11 W12