An annual weed of cultivated, marginal and waste ground, often within root-crops (especially potatoes) on peaty soils. 0-445 m (Clun Forest, Salop).
This species has declined markedly since the 1962 Atlas. It is often associated with traditional arable farming and has suffered where modern methods of cultivation and weed control have been introduced.
As an archaeophyte G. speciosa has a Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range.