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What Flowers Grow in Antarctica? Barren Land With Wilderness

Many wonder if flowers grow in Antarctica despite the challenging environment, lack of sunlight, and permanent snow.

You will be amazed to know that Antarctica has only two known species of flowers: Antarctic hair grass and Antarctic Pearlwort, which are relatively short in size with unnoticeable blooms.

Continue reading to find out more if you are in awe of this fact.

Can Flowers Grow in Antarctica?

It is usual to find flowers blooming in Antarctica when its temperature can plummet below -112°F (– 80°C).

Thanks to more pronounced seasonal change, Antarctica receives about six months or approximately 182 days of sunlight, enough for photosynthesis.

The Antarctic plants’ ability to absorb water quickly and enough sunlight helps them to get by throughout the year.

Similarly, some flowers would bloom after a long winter, especially in summer when the sun is high. But you could not tell these flowers.

It is because, unlike tropical or temperate regions, Antarctic flowers are relatively small, inconspicuous, and colorless due to their bitter habitat.

Nonetheless, two flowers manage to combat all these challenges and finally adapt to cold temperatures to bloom in summer.

According to researchers, these plants can tolerate extreme cold and adapt to low light conditions, especially displaying a short growing season and compact growth to conserve heat.

1. Antarctic Hair Grass 

Antarctic Hair Grass is, in fact, a type of grass that grows along the coastal areas in the Antarctic region.

Regarded as the southernmost flowering plant by the Guinness Book of World Records, it was only discovered in a 1981 expedition.

However, it only grows on the South Orkney Islands or Shetlands, where the temperature is slightly warmer than the rest.

Deschampsia antarctica
It is Antarctica’s most common flowering plant and plays a pivotal role in maintaining the local ecosystem.

Here is a table highlighting the characteristics of the flower.

Scientific NameDeschampsia antarctica
Common NameAntarctic Hairgrass
FamilyPoaceae (Grass family)
Height10-30 cm (4-11 inch)
HabitatAlong the coastal lines
Appearance- Slender, green leaves
- Dense growth
- Tiny flowers (wind-pollinated)
Adaptations- Forms dense mats to trap heat and insulate the soil
Role in Ecosystem- Provides habitat for local wildlife
- Stabilize soil in windy environments
Bloom SeasonOnly in Summer

However, it displays tiny, delicate greenish flowers less than one centimeter in size, which you cannot tell without a closer look.

Similarly, they form dense mats or tufts on rocks to protect from high wind and cold.

2. Antarctic Pearlwort 

Another flower native to Antarctica is Pearlwort, a cushion plant adapted to the harsh Antarctic weather.

It grows along the west coast of South Shetland in Antarctic Peninsula, similar to Antarctic hair grass.

These regions are rich in guano-enriched soil (soil accumulated from sea birds and penguins’ stool), which helps Pearlwort to thrive.

Scientific NameColobanthus quitensis
Common NameAntarctic Pearlwort
Height5 cm (2 inches)
HabitatAlong the coastal and inland areas
Appearance- Low-growing, cushion-like plant
- Small, white or yellows flowers
Adaptations- Compact growth for protection from cold and wind
Role in Ecosystem- Provides habitat for local wildlife
- Stabilize soil and minimize erosion
Bloom SeasonOnly in Summer

Although it looks like a moss due to its short growth, it is a carnation flower that primarily displays vibrant pink flowers.

Antarctic Pearlwort 
These flowers appear only in summer, providing habitat and forage for local wildlife but penguins.

However, the Antarctic Pearlwort differs from its pink cousins because it hardly grows above 2-3 inches with small, white, or yellowish flowers.

You might find it challenging to differentiate the flowers from the distance because they are less than a centimeter in diameter.

However, Pearlwort is more vibrant and colorful than the hair grass, displaying a slightly bright appearance.

From Editorial Team 


Typically, flowers in Antarctica start to bloom in summer when daylight appears and temperature rises significantly.

Antarctic flowers adapt to the local environment and available water or sunlight to bloom like any place on Earth.

So, there are flowers in Antarctica that will continue to thrive unless affected by human or animal incursion.