Campos rupestres (on quartzite substrates) are an enigmatic habitat mosaic characterised by nutrient-poor (mainly phosphorus-deprived) soils and supporting grassland and scrub. They occur at high elevations of some mountain ranges of several eastern and central Brazilian states. Campos rupestres are known for high species diversity and remarkable plant endemism. This paper places the Brazilian campos rupestres into a global perspective and discusses questions if campos rupestres are a grassland or savanna, if they are zonal (to which zonobiome they should be classified) and if there are some habitat complexes (and vegetation) ecologically analogous to the campos rupestres found on other continents than South America. I suggest that the vegetation of campos rupestres is of azonal nature and a member of the global peinobiome (a type of pedobiome controlled by very low nutrient status). South African sourvelds and grassland scrub-grassy mosaics and similar habitats on sandstone plateaus of the Australian Top End were identified as the direct ecological analogues of the vegetation supported by the Brazilian quartzitic campos rupestres.