This species seems to have evolved by crossing between two different species of eyebright; Euphrasia anglia and Euphrasia miracantha(2). During the Middle Ages, the related species Euphrasia officinalis was used to brighten the eyes, hence the common name 'eyebright' (4).
Grows on bristle brent (Argostis curtisii) and western gorse (Ulex galli) heathlands (3). The species requires fairly open conditions and short grass created by grazing or burning to keep the gorse and heather in check (3). It often occurs alongside paths in coastal areas, where regular trampling maintains open conditions (2).
Habitat destruction has resulted in the loss of this plant at a number of sites in inland Cornwall (5). Grazing maintains the open conditions favoured by this species, so the widespread decline in grazing poses a threat (5).
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