An erect biennial or perennial herb growing as a native, at least in England, on damp, fertile soils in woodland and rocky grassland. It is much more widespread in a wider range of habitats as a garden escape. 0-485 m (East Stone Gill, N.W. Yorks.).
The native range of M. sylvatica has been totally obscured by escapes, and all records are mapped as if they are native. Alien plants were once similar to the natives but are now often recognisable by their more varied, brighter flower colours. Such escapes were excluded from the map in the 1962 Atlas. Large-flowered variants of M. arvensis may have been reported as this species.
Eurasian Temperate element; widely naturalised outside its native range.
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.
Atlas text references
1986. Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
1978. Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 2. 2 vols.
1998. Plant crib 1998.