A perennial herb of wet habitats, mainly mesotrophic and at least slightly basic, occurring where the water table lies close to or above the soil surface. It is found by lakes, rivers, streams, ponds and canals, in marshes and swamps, ditches, wet meadows and depressions in pasture, and in wet woodland. It also colonises wet hollows in disused sand-, gravel- and clay-pits. 0-455 m (Llyn Gorast, Cards.).
C. vesicaria has been lost from many sites in England and S.E. Ireland since the 1962 Atlas. Causes of this decline in Britain include drainage, falling water tables, ditch cleaning and eutrophication.
Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element.