An annual or biennial herb, typically occurring in open habitats on free-draining acidic sands and gravels. Habitats include heaths, commons, tracks (particularly forestry tracks in W. Scotland), quarries, gravel- and sand-pits, railway yards and waste ground. It occasionally grows on stabilised shingle and sand dunes. It is tolerant of trampling. Generally lowland, but recorded at over 560 m on Deadwater Fell (S. Northumb.).
There has been little change in the distribution of this species since the 1962 Atlas, although there have been local declines in the English Midlands.
European Southern-temperate element; also in N. America and 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.