A short-lived perennial herb of open well-drained habitats (heaths, dry moors, open woodlands, tracksides, sometimes roadside banks) on light acidic soils; if apparently on calcareous soils, then rooting in a shallow acidic surface layer. Generally lowland, but reaching 530 m at Cat-and-Fiddle, Cheshire.
Although H. humifusum is widespread, it is always local and rarely more than locally abundant. It was mapped as `all records` in the 1962 Atlas. Analysis of the database reveals that the widespread decline in England and Scotland has occurred since 1950. Losses in W. Ireland are probably due to under-recording.
European Temperate element.