This ericetal plant has been found in the Clyde Beds at Garvel Park, of Late Glacial age. Its present distribution is the N. Temperate Zone of Europe, N. Asia, N. Africa, and the Himalayas. It is found in all parts of Great Britain except the Shetlands, as far north as the Orkneys, ascending to 1200 ft. in the Highlands. It is native in Ireland as well as the Channel Islands.

Red Bartsia is found in fields and waste places over a wide area. It is a common roadside plant growing with Tufted Vetch, Yellow.