A perennial herb of grazed grassland on hill-slopes and banks, and on rock ledges. Although usually found on calcareous rocks, it is a mild calcifuge, preferring leached soil but avoiding very acidic sites; it also grows on metalliferous soils. In W. Ireland it occurs on coastal dunes. Mainly upland, reaching 1050 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth).
V. lutea has declined since the 1962 Atlas due to agricultural improvement. Its confirmation from Somerset in 1990, where it was first reported in 1901, represents a significant extension of its British range. Irish dune populations have some characteristics of V. tricolor subsp. curtisii.
European Boreal-montane element, but absent from the Boreal zonobiome.
PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections. A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.