An annual growing in cultivated and disturbed ground in gardens, on waste ground and in arable fields, particularly with root and leaf crops. It thrives on dry, well-drained, neutral to base-rich soils in sun-warmed situations. The seeds may be dispersed by ants. Mainly lowland, but ascending to 450 m in Clun Forest (Salop).
There has been no change in the overall distribution of this species since the 1962 Atlas, but the map suggests a decline at the edges of its range.
As an archaeophyte E. helioscopia has a Eurasian Southern-temperate distribution, but it is naturalised in N. America so its distribution is now Circumpolar Southern-temperate.
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.