This submerged, perennial aquatic grows in a range of shallow-water habitats. The most characteristic include clear chalk streams, eutrophic lakes and ponds, and brackish lagoons, ponds and ditches. It is a frequent colonist of disused mineral workings. 0-380 m (Llynheilyn, Rads.).
Z. palustris is much more frequent within its British and Irish range than was shown in the 1962 Atlas. This probably represents more effective recording, but there is evidence for the expansion of this species in S. Scotland, in response to eutrophication. Conversely, the current map shows a decline in England, presumably from drainage and ditch improvements.
Circumpolar Southern-temperate element.
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