An annual of open sandy places, including waste ground, and in docklands, usually casual but sometimes naturalised. Lowland.
Although P. arenaria was cultivated in Britain in 1804, it arrived as a grain impurity and was first recorded in the wild around 1860, and is now of only rare occurrence. There has been much nomenclatural confusion between this species and the allied P. afra; some mapped records may be errors for the latter, which Stace (1997) suggests is now commoner than P. arenaria in Britain.
P. arenaria has a Eurosiberian Southern-temperate distribution; its native range has been obscured by its spread as a weed and it is widely naturalised in other continents.
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.