A stoutly rhizomatous perennial herb of hay meadows, ungrazed damp woodlands, streamsides and mountain rock ledges, and in many areas a characteristic feature of laneside hedge banks and verges. Mainly upland, to 1005 m on Ben Lawers (Mid Perth).
G. sylvaticum has declined locally since the 1962 Atlas, particularly on the edges of its range, having been lost from many hay meadows due to the increased use of fertilisers and the widespread change to silage production (Halliday, 1997). It is grown in gardens, though much less frequently than G. pratense and G. sanguineum, and sometimes escapes.
Eurosiberian Boreal-montane element.