A perennial herb of grasslands on infertile, mainly calcareous substrates; also around rock outcrops, screes, quarry heaps and old lead workings. In many areas it is most frequent in dry, sandy, base-rich grassland on cliff-tops and dunes. Generally lowland, but reaching at least 680 m on Mt Brandon (S. Kerry).
A tufted perennial grass of open, sheep-grazed turf around rock outcrops on S.-facing Carboniferous limestone slopes. Its sites are characterised by high levels of insolation and summer drought. Lowland.