A perennial herb of damp or free-draining, neutral and acidic soils. Habitats include woodland clearings, neglected pastures, hay meadows, grass-heaths, hedge banks and waysides. It is tolerant of some nutrient enrichment, and is often a constituent of neglected pasture. 0-740 m (Knock Fell, Westmorland).
There has been no appreciable change in its distribution since the 1962 Atlas.
Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.