A tufted rhizomatous perennial, occurring in damp woods, ditches, fens, ungrazed or lightly grazed grasslands, and on sheltered sea-cliffs and sand dunes; also as a colonist of artificial habitats such as old quarries, roadsides and railway banks. It usually grows on light sands or heavy clays. 0-370 m (Great Asby, Westmorland).
There has been some change since the 1962 Atlas, with C. epigejos either having been better recorded, or increasing its range. Counties in which local floras recorded it rarely in the past now have more records and it has spread locally because of a relaxation of grazing.
Eurasian Boreo-temperate element.