A perennial herb occurring on rocky sea-cliffs from the lowest zone of vascular plants to cliff-top grassland, on seaside walls, shingle banks and on drift-lines. It can tolerate high levels of nutrient enrichment, and can be abundant on cliff-tops adjoining sea-bird colonies. It also occurs rarely on upland lake shores, streamsides, river shingle, cliffs and in gullies. Artificial habitats include metalliferous mine spoil, disused railway lines, ballast and tips. 0-775 m (Fairfield, Westmorland), and to 970 m in the Scottish Highlands.
There has been no significant change in the distribution of S. uniflora since the 1962 Atlas.
Suboceanic Boreo-temperate element.