A biennial or perennial herb, mainly of calcareous soils, occurring in the less heavily grazed swards in chalk and limestone grassland, on roadsides and railway banks, and in quarries and lime-pits. It is intolerant of heavy grazing and is a poor competitor in dense vegetation. Lowland.
P. hieracioides has shown little change in distribution since the 1962 Atlas, though there have been some losses in the northern and eastern parts of its range. It has been introduced to Ireland, where it has spread towards the south and west along railways.
Eurasian Temperate element.