This perennial herb is found in a wide range of wetland habitats, including pond and lake margins, marshes, fens and fen-meadows, wet grassland, hillside flushes, bogs and wet heath, often on acidic soils. It occurs in both open habitats and amongst tall vegetation. 0-780 m on Cross Fell (Cumberland).
V. scutellata is now much better recorded than in the 1962 Atlas, where it was mapped as `all records`. The current map shows widespread declines, especially in C. & S. England and C. Ireland. Analysis of the database reveals that these losses have occurred since 1950.
Eurosiberian Boreo-temperate element; also in N. America and widely naturalised outside its native range.