Definition of ruderal in US English:



  • (of a plant) growing on waste ground or among refuse.

    • ‘These populations are morphologically distinct from the more typical ruderal form which often occurs in close proximity in surrounding pastureland.’
    • ‘Once these openings close, the ruderal species disappear.’
    • ‘Other studies have found compositional shifts in plant species with greater proportions of ruderal and invasive species in the downriver direction, possibly reflecting greater disturbance rates downriver.’
    • ‘Most of the introduced woody species exist in ruderal habitats.’
    • ‘Most of the non-endemic species within this group have adapted to ruderal areas, while none of the endemics occupies this kind of habitat.’


  • A plant growing on waste ground or among refuse.

    • ‘Bupleurum lancifolium and B. odontites occur in North Africa, but their original area of distribution is not clear as both species have been introduced and are ruderals or weeds in cultivated land.’
    • ‘One of the characteristics of ruderals is a high potential relative growth rate in the seedling phase.’


Mid 19th century: from modern Latin ruderalis, from Latin rudera, plural of rudus ‘rubble’.