A spring-germinating annual of open habitats on well-drained, often calcareous, soils, including cultivated fields, forestry tracks, on rough waste ground, old walls, quarries, and especially along railways. 0-425 m (Kirkstone Pass, Westmorland).
C. minus was mapped as `all records` in the 1962 Atlas. It has declined in many areas, particularly in Ireland. It was once a familiar weed of cultivated farmland, but agricultural intensification has now rendered it much rarer in this habitat and it is now more likely to be found along railways and in railway yards.
As an archaeophyte C. minus has a European Temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.
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