A straggling perennial herb of cliffs, wood-borders, chalk pits and scrubby grassland on railway banks and road verges; mainly on calcareous soils and thriving on warm, sheltered banks and hollows without too much grazing. Generally lowland, but reaching 365 m at Winskill Stones (Mid-W. Yorks.).
This species is now much better recorded than it was for the 1962 Atlas, but county floras indicate a steady decline in sites because of the loss of rough grasslands and the tidying up of roadside banks and verges. It is often abundant where it occurs, but populations are becoming increasingly isolated.
European Temperate element; also in C. Asia.
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