A rhizomatous perennial of hedge banks, road verges, rough scrubby grassland and rocky outcrops, usually on dry calcareous soils. It may occur as a relic of cultivation. Generally lowland, but reaching 380 m at Conistone (Mid-W. Yorks.).
Some sites for C. ascendens were lost before 1930, particularly in the north of its range. There have been further losses since the 1962 Atlas, the reasons for which include the lack of scrub control in its grassland habitats, and changes in road verge management. However, it is now much better recorded in some areas, particularly East Anglia and Somerset.
European Temperate element.