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This plant is endemic to Bulgaria and Greece and is one of the relict elements of the tertiary times. It is found in northeastern Greece, the Central Balkan mountains and Thracian plain and Rhodopi mountains (Menikion, Pangeon, Falakron, Rodopi, Papikion and the Nestos river gorge). The extent of occurrence is estimated to be smaller than 20,000 km².
This perennial herb grows in damp shady rocky places, mainly on limestone and sometimes also on volcanic rock. It can survive without water for more than three years.