The coastal flats and lowlands of the Antarctic are extremely harsh environments, and the Antarctic hair grass therefore prefers sheltered areas next to mosses or crevices between rocks (2) (5) (6) (7) (9). The other flowering plant of Antarctica, the Antarctic pearlwort, also provides the Antarctic hair grass with shelter from climatic extremes (3).
The soil in the Antarctic is acidic and damp, containing an abundance of dead roots, foliage and decaying moss. The soil is also shallow, rarely exceeding 20 centimetres in depth (2) (3) (9). The Antarctic hair grass is found in areas of the most highly developed soil, which occurs on sheltered, moist, level or north-facing slopes. It occasionally colonises areas in front of glaciers (8) (9).