Sporobolus floridanus

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Sporobolus floridanus
Sporobolus floridanus DL.jpg
Photo by Bobby Hattaway hosted at Discoverlife.org
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Liliopsida - Moncots
Order: Poales
Family: Poaceae
Genus: Sporobolus
Species: S. floridanus
Binomial name
Sporobolus floridanus
Natural range of Sporobolus floridanus from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common Name(s): Florida dropseed[1]

Taxonomic Notes


‘’Sporobolus floridanus’’ is a monoecious perennial graminoid.[2]


Sporobolus floridanus is endemic to an area from southern South Carolina to peninsular Florida and west through Alabama, but the majority is found in Florida.[3] It can be found in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.[1][2]



S. floridanus has been found in sandy pinelands, pine savannahs, marsh edges, longleaf pine-wiregrass flatwoods, and pine woodlands.[4] It is also found in disturbed areas including burned pine flatwoods and powerline corridors.[4]

Associated species: Sarracenia, Macbridea, Cuphea, Verbesine chapmanii, Justicia crassifolia, Rhexia, Liatris, Carphephorus, and Helianthus angustifolius, Anthaenantia, Paspalum, Erianthus, Arnoglossum, Eupatorium, and Bigelowia, and Rhynchospora spp.[4]

S. floridanus is additionally found in wet savannas,[1], seepage bogs, and titi/cypress swamps and is abundant in wet pine savannas.[5] In north Florida mesic flatwoods S. floridanus occurred in 53% of plots with a mean coverage of 0.0613 m-2 and was the sole herbaceous indicator species this community type.[6]

Sporobolus floridanus is an indicator species for the North Florida Mesic Flatwoods community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[7]


S. floridanus has been observed to flower from June through September.[1][8]

Seed dispersal

This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity.[9]

Fire ecology

In Georgia, the percent cover of S. floridanus increased from 0.4% after one growing season following a burn to 1.0% after 8 growing seasons.[10] Populations of Sporobolus floridanus have been known to persist through repeated annual burns.[11][12]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

In the past, native peoples would harvest the tiny husk-less grains and grind them into a flour.[13]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Weakley A. S.(2015). Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Herbarium.
  2. 2.0 2.1 USDA, NRCS. (2016). The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 10 January 2018). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.
  3. Sorrie, B. A. and A. S. Weakley 2001. Coastal Plain valcular plant endemics: Phytogeographic patterns. Castanea 66: 50-82.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Florida State University Herbarium Database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: June 2021. Collectors: L.C. Anderson and R.K. Godfrey. States and counties: Florida: Franklin, Gulf, Liberty, Nassau, Wakulla, and Walton.
  5. Drewa P. B., Platt W. J., and Moser E. B. (2002). Community structure along elevation gradients in headwater regions of longleaf pine savannas. Plant Ecology 160(1):61-78.
  6. Carr S. C., Robertson K. M., and Peet R. K. (2010). A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75(2):153-189.
  7. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  8. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 10 JAN 2018
  9. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  10. Lemon P. C. (1949). Successional responses of herbs in the longleaf-slash pine forest after fire. Ecology 30(2):135-145.
  11. Robertson, K.M. Unpublished data collected from Pebble Hill Fire Plots, Pebble Hill Plantation, Thomasville, Georgia.
  12. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  13. Fernald, et al. 1958. Edible Plants of Eastern North America. Harper and Row Publishers, New York.