A perennial herb of field margins, hedge banks, roadsides, stream and river banks, ditches and neglected cultivated ground. Mostly lowland, up to 565 m on Dent Crag (Westmorland), but with an exceptional record at 845 m on Great Dun Fell (Westmorland).
There has been no change in the distribution of this species since the 1962 Atlas. It is the commonest species of Rumex in Britain.
European Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.