M. effusum inhabits damp, deciduous woods and shaded banks, where it grows on winter-wet, calcareous to mildly acidic clay and loam soils, and also over rocks in western Scotland.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
It can be found in the northern United States and Canada,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and Europe, including Britain but excluding the Mediterranean, east to Siberia and the Himalayas.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
The yellow-leaved cultivar ‘Aureum’, known as Bowles’ golden grass, is cultivated as an ornamental garden plant, and in the UK has won the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.<ref name = RHSPF>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref>
- P. de Frenne et al. Biological Flora of the British Isles: Milium effusum, Journal of Ecology, 2017, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12744. Detailed overview of all aspects relevant to ecology and behaviour.