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Scientific Name: East Gulf Coastal Plain Savanna and Wet Prairie
Unique Identifier: CES203.192

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Summary: This ecological system of western Florida and adjacent Alabama and Mississippi has been called "lush grassland," "grass-sedge savannah," wet prairie, or wet savanna. As implied by these names, this system consists of primarily herbaceous vegetation with relatively thick cover of grasses and sedge species. Examples occupy low, flat plains on poorly drained soils, often saturated for 50-100 days per year. Frequent fires, including growing-season burns, are essential for maintenance of this system. Some examples have a sparse tree component of Pinus elliottii or Pinus palustris and scattered shrubs, such as Morella caroliniensis.

Classification Approach: International Terrestrial Ecological Systems Classification (ITESC)

Classification Comments: Related vegetation of central Florida is covered by another ecological system.

Similar Ecological Systems
Unique Identifier Name
CES203.491 Central Florida Wet Prairie and Herbaceous Seep

Component Associations
Association Unique ID Association Name
CEGL003869 Hypericum fasciculatum / Rhynchospora (chapmanii, harperi) Wet Shrubland
CEGL004152 Aristida beyrichiana - Rhynchospora spp. - Verbesina chapmanii Seepage Meadow
CEGL004153 Aristida beyrichiana - Rhynchospora spp. - Pleea tenuifolia - Sarracenia (psittacina, flava) Seepage Meadow
CEGL004154 Aristida beyrichiana - Rhynchospora oligantha - Carphephorus pseudoliatris - Sarracenia (flava, leucophylla) Seepage Meadow
CEGL007717 Scleria baldwinii - Rhynchospora cephalantha - Polygala cymosa - Fuirena scirpoidea Seepage Meadow
CEGL007725 Taxodium ascendens / Hypericum chapmanii / Rhynchospora harperi Swamp Dwarf Woodland
CEGL008595 Nyssa ursina / Aristida beyrichiana - Rhynchospora (chapmanii, corniculata) Seepage Meadow


Land Cover Class: Herbaceous Wetland
Spatial Pattern: Large patch
Natural/Seminatural: No
Vegetated ( > 10% vascular cover):
Upland: No
Wetland: Yes
Isolated Wetland: No

Diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier
Extensive Wet Flat  
Very Short Disturbance Interval  

Non-diagnostic Classifiers
Primary Classifier Secondary Classifier

At-Risk Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
NatureServe Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status
Agalinis filicaulis
  (Thread-stem False Foxglove)
Asclepias viridula
  (Southern Milkweed)
Calamovilfa curtissii
  (Curtiss' Sandgrass)
Cirsium lecontei
  (Le Conte's Thistle)
Coelorachis tuberculosa
  (Florida Jointgrass)
Coreopsis floridana
  (Florida Tickseed)
Cuphea aspera
  (Tropical Waxweed)
Dichanthelium nudicaule
  (Naked-stem Panicgrass)
Drosera tracyi
  (Tracy's Sundew)
Dryachloa dauca
  (Carrot Glass)
Euphorbia telephioides
  (Telephus Spurge)
G1 LT: Listed threatened
Eurybia chapmanii
  (Chapman's Aster)
Eurybia eryngiifolia
  (Coyote-thistle Aster)
Eurybia spinulosa
  (Pinewoods Aster)
Gentiana pennelliana
  (Wiregrass Gentian)
Harperocallis flava
  (Harper's Beauty)
G2 LE: Listed endangered
Hartwrightia floridana
  (Florida Hartwrightia)
Hymenocallis henryae
  (Henry's Spider-lily)
Hypericum chapmanii
  (Chapman's St. John's-wort)
Justicia crassifolia
  (Thickleaf Water-willow)
Lachnocaulon digynum
  (Pineland Bogbutton)
Lilium iridollae
  (Panhandle Lily)
Linum westii
  (West's Flax)
Ludwigia curtissii
  (Curtiss' Seedbox)
Lythrum curtissii
  (Curtiss' Loosestrife)
Macbridea alba
  (White Birds-in-a-nest)
G2 LT: Listed threatened
Neofiber alleni
  (Round-tailed Muskrat)
Notophthalmus perstriatus
  (Striped Newt)
G2G3 C: Candidate
Nyssa ursina
  (Bear Tupelo)
Oxypolis greenmanii
  (Giant Water-dropwort)
Oxypolis ternata
  (Savanna Cowbane)
Parnassia caroliniana
  (Carolina Grass-of-Parnassus)
Parnassia grandifolia
  (Largeleaf Grass-of-Parnassus)
Physostegia godfreyi
  (Godfrey's False Dragonhead)
Pinguicula ionantha
  (Violet-flowered Butterwort)
G2 LT: Listed threatened
Pinguicula planifolia
  (Chapman's Butterwort)
Platanthera chapmanii
  (Chapman's Fringed Orchid)
Platanthera integra
  (Yellow Fringeless Orchid)
Rhexia parviflora
  (Small-flower Meadowbeauty)
Rhododendron chapmanii
  (Chapman's Rhododendron)
G1 LE: Listed endangered
Rhynchospora macra
  (Large Beakrush)
Ruellia noctiflora
  (Night-flowering Wild Petunia)
Sarracenia leucophylla
  (Whitetop Pitcherplant)
Scutellaria floridana
  (Florida Skullcap)
G2 LT: Listed threatened
Sporobolus floridanus
  (Florida Dropseed)
Verbesina chapmanii
  (Chapman's Crownbeard)
Xyris isoetifolia
  (Quillwort Yellow-eyed-grass)
Xyris scabrifolia
  (Harper's Yellow-eyed-grass)

Vegetation Composition (incomplete)
Species Name Rounded Global Status Growth Form Stratum Char-
Domi-nant Con-stant
Cover Class %
Nyssa biflora G5 Broad-leaved deciduous tree Tree canopy    
Cyrilla racemiflora G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Shrub/sapling (tall & short)    
Hypericum fasciculatum G5 Broad-leaved evergreen shrub Short shrub/sapling    
Cirsium lecontei G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Eriocaulon decangulare G5 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Hartwrightia floridana G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Lachnanthes caroliana G4 Flowering forb Herb (field)    
Lilium iridollae G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Lythrum curtissii G1 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Platanthera chapmanii G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Rhexia parviflora G2 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Ruellia noctiflora G3 Flowering forb Herb (field)      
Aristida beyrichiana G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
Rhynchospora corniculata G5 Graminoid Herb (field)    
Sporobolus floridanus G3 Graminoid Herb (field)    

Animal Species Reported for this Ecological System
Scientific Name
  (Common Name)
Global Status U.S. Endangered Species Act Status Charact-
Dryachloa dauca
  (Carrot Glass)
Neofiber alleni
  (Round-tailed Muskrat)
Notophthalmus perstriatus
  (Striped Newt)
G2G3 C: Candidate    
Pseudacris nigrita
  (Southern Chorus Frog)
Pseudacris ornata
  (Ornate Chorus Frog)
Thamnophis sauritus
  (Eastern Ribbonsnake)

Color legend for Distribution Map
Nation: United States
United States Distribution: AL, FL, MS
Global Range: Western Florida and adjacent Alabama and Mississippi.

Biogeographic Divisions
Division Code and Name Primary Occurrence Status
203-Gulf and Atlantic Coastal Plain C: Confident or certain

The Nature Conservancy's Conservation Ecoregions
Code Name Occurrence Status
53 East Gulf Coastal Plain Confident or certain

MRLC 2000 Mapzones
Code Name Occurrence Status
46 Northern Gulf Plains Never was there
55 Southeastern Coastal Plain Confident or certain
99 Southern Gulf Plains Confident or certain

National Mapping
ESLF Code (Ecological System Lifeform): 9206
ESP Code (Environmental Site Potential): 1485
EVT Code (Existing Vegetation Type): 2485

West Landfire Legend: No
East Landfire Legend: Yes

Element Description Edition Date: 22May2014
Element Description Author(s): R. Evans and C. Nordman

Ecological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Clewell, A. F. 1981. Natural setting and vegetation of the Florida Panhandle: An account of the environments and plant communities of northern Florida west of the Suwannee River. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Mobile, AL. 773 pp.

  • Collins, M. E., R. Garren, and R. J. Kuehl. 2001. Ecological inventory of the Apalachicola National Forest. Summary report submitted to USDA Forest Service. Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville.

  • Comer, P., D. Faber-Langendoen, R. Evans, S. Gawler, C. Josse, G. Kittel, S. Menard, C. Nordman, M. Pyne, M. Reid, M. Russo, K. Schulz, K. Snow, J. Teague, and R. White. 2003-present. Ecological systems of the United States: A working classification of U.S. terrestrial systems. NatureServe, Arlington, VA.

  • Eyre, F. H., editor. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Society of American Foresters, Washington, DC. 148 pp.

  • FNAI [Florida Natural Areas Inventory]. 2010a. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL. 228 pp. []

  • Hubricht, L. 1985. The distributions of the native land mollusks of the eastern United States. Fieldana: Zoology, New Series, No. 24. 191 pp.

  • Kindell, C. E., B. J. Herring, C. Nordman, J. Jensen, A. R. Schotz, and L. G. Chafin. 1997. Natural community survey of Eglin Air Force Base, 1993-1996: Final report. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee. 123 pp. plus appendix.

  • Norquist, H. C. 1984. A comparative study of the soils and vegetation of savannas in Mississippi. M.S. thesis, Mississippi State University, Starkville. 110 pp.

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Version 7.1 (2 February 2009)
Data last updated: March 2019