Native Plant Communities

Dry Prairie

Dry prairie covers extensive flat areas characterized by sandy soils usually with a hardpan at moderate depth; fire is frequent. Typical vegetation is dominated by wiregrass with large numbers of seasonal wild flowers. Palmettos may exist but if abundant are a sign of past grazing and winter burning. True dry prairie was never forested and is not flatwoods minus its overstory.

Most dry prairie has been converted to agriculture with notable remnants at Three Lakes WMA, Kissimmee Prairie State Park, Myakka River State Park, and the Avon Park Bombing Range.


A Walk in the Dry Prairie at Kissimmee Prairie State Park

Presettlement extent of dry prairie.  Map created by Edwin Bridges.  It was prepared from original land surveys conducted mostly between 1820 and 1870 and the areas of prairie include not only the prairie but other, smaller plant communities that would have been embedded within it.  Much less remains today.  From the program of the Florida Dry Prairie Conference, 2004.


Florida Department of Environmental Protection. 1992. Soil and Water Relationships of Florida's Ecological Communities.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI). 2010. Guide to the natural communities of Florida: 2010 edition. Florida Natural Areas Inventory, Tallahassee, FL.

Knight, G. R., J. B. Oetting, and L. Cross.  2011.  Atlas of Florida's Natural Heritage - Biodiversity, Landscapes, Stewardship and Opportunities:  Institute of Science and Public Affairs, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.

Myers, R.L. and J.J. Ewel (eds.). 1990. Ecosystems of Florida University of Central Florida Press: Orlando.

Noss, R. F. 2013.  Forgotten Grasslands of the South - Natural History and Conservation.  Island Press, Washington.

USDA Soil Conservation Service. 1986. 26 Ecological Communities of Florida.

Whitney, E.N., D. B. Means, A. Rudloe. 2004. Priceless Florida: Natural Ecosystems and Native Species. Pineapple Press.

Date Updated 2020-05-17 11:49:18


Dry prairie at Kissimmee Prairie State Park by Shirley Denton.