A rhizomatous perennial herb of dry, open, infertile habitats including grassland, fixed dunes, rock ledges, roadsides and railway banks. It tolerates a wide range of soil pH, being found on both mildly acidic and calcareous substrates, and heavy-metal tolerant races are known. 0-1160 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth).
There has been no significant change in the range of this species, other than some local declines at the edges of its range. It was mapped as `all records` in the 1962 Atlas. Its absence from some apparently suitable areas, especially in S.W. England, is very difficult to explain.
Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element.
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