Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Andropogon cabanisii


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Walsh, Roberta A. 1994. Andropogon cabanisii. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].

ABBREVIATION : ANDCAB SYNONYMS : Andropogon ternarius Michx. var. cabanisii (Hack.) Fern. & Grisc. [14] SCS PLANT CODE : ANCA2 COMMON NAMES : firegrass cabanis TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of firegrass is Andropogon cabanisii Hack. [4]. It is in the family Poaceae. There are no currently accepted infrataxa. LIFE FORM : Graminoid FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : No special status OTHER STATUS : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Firegrass occurs in Florida [4,7,14]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES12 Longleaf - slash pine FRES13 Loblolly - shortleaf pine FRES41 Wet grasslands STATES : FL BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : NO-ENTRY KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K079 Palmetto prairie K112 Southern mixed forest K115 Sand pine scrub K116 Subtropical pine forest SAF COVER TYPES : 69 Sand pine 74 Cabbage palmetto 83 Longleaf pine - slash pine 111 South Florida slash pine SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Plants associated with firegrass are listed for longleaf pine (Pinus palustris)/slash pine (Pinus elliottii) sites in the Apalachicola National Forest. Associates include gallberry (Ilex glabra), St. Johns-wort (Hypericum fasciculatum), blackberry (Rubus spp), dwarf huckleberry (Gaylussacia dumosa), wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera), smilax (Smilax bona-nox), wiregrass (Aristida stricta), low panicums (Dichanthelium spp.), broomsedge (Andropogon virginicus), Elliot bluestem (Andropogon gyrans), grasslike goldaster (Pityopsis graminifolia), goldenrod (Solidago spp.), aster (Aster spp.), pencil flower (Stylosanthes biflora), and tephrosia (Tephrosia spp.) [12]. Firegrass and grass associates which made up the ground cover on flatwoods in south-central Florida were as follows (greatest cover to least): wiregrass (Aristida stricta), creeping bluestem (Schizachyrium stoloniferum), panicum (Panicum spp.), paspalum (Paspalum spp.), chalky bluestem (Andropogon capillipes), broomsedge bluestem (A. virginicus), lopsided Indiangrass (Sorghastrum secundum), threeawn (Aristida spiciformis), firegrass, and beaked panicum (Panicum anceps) [5]. Plants associated with firegrass on limestone rockland South Florida slash pine (Pinus elliottii var. densa) forests in southeastern Florida include angadenia (Angadenia sagrae), small-flowered melanthera (Melanthera parviflora), Curtiss jacquemontia (Jacquemontia curtissii), crossopetalum (Crossopetalum ilicifolium), acalypha (Acalypha chamaedrifolia), senna (Cassia deeringiana), crotalaria (Crotalaria pumila), anemia (Anemia adiantifolia), coontie (Zamia pumila), dyschoriste (Dyschoriste oblongifolia var. angusta), and phyllantus (Phyllantus pentaphyllus) [10].


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : When the introduced Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) tree invades southern Florida slash pine stands in rockland pine forest of extreme southeastern Florida, it shades out the herbaceous understory flora, including firegrass. Prescribed fire may be useful in controlling Brazilian pepper [7]. Saw-palmetto (Serenoa repens) flatwoods in south-central Florida were treated with herbicides in conjunction with burning to improve native pastures, which included firegrass. Burning and 2,4,5-T application decreased saw-palmetto cover and increased total grass cover from 29.4 percent to 67.5 percent over a 2- year period [5].


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Firegrass is a native, perennial, cespitose graminoid [3]. Culms are erect, 31 to 59 inches (80-150 cm) tall, and occur in small tufts. The upper half of each culm bears long slender branches. The inflorescence has two racemes and is 1.6 to 2.8 inches (4-7 cm) long [4]. Rachis hairs make the inflorescence villous [14]. The lemma awn is 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long and twisted. The fruit is a caryopsis [4]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Hemicryptophyte REGENERATION PROCESSES : Firegrass sprouts from perennating buds at the base of the culms. It also reproduces by seed [4]. SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Firegrass occurs in dry pine woods of Florida [4,7,10]. It also occurs occasionally on sandhills and in sand pine (Pinus clausa) scrub of central Florida [14]. It sometimes occurs in moist sites as well [12]. Firegrass in south-central Florida occurs on fine sand. Average annual rainfall is about 55 inches (140 cm) a year, 75 percent of which falls from May to October. Average temperatures from May to October are maximum/minimum 90/64 degrees Fahrenheit (31.6/17.8 deg C) [5]. In extreme southeastern Florida firegrass occurs on rough limestone substrate with crevices and solution holes but very little soil development [7,10]. Firegrass in Liberty County occurs on limestone bedrock with surface soils derived from sand. It occurs on poorly drained, somewhat poorly drained, and moderately to excessively well-drained soils [12]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : Facultative Seral Species Firegrass in the Florida panhandle occurred in savanna vegetation, in stands of thinned and unthinned longleaf pine forest, and in a natural slash pine stand. The longleaf pine stands had trees up to 78 years old and canopy cover of 41 to 49 percent. The slash pine stand had 58 percent canopy cover. There was no midstory in either forest type [12]. In slash pine forests on limestone rockland in extreme southeastern Florida, firegrass and other herbaceous, light-requiring understory flora are eliminated when shaded by native tropical hardwood trees [7]. SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : Firegrass flowers in the fall in central Florida [14].


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Firegrass sprouts from basal buds after aerial portions are burned [10]. If thick tufts form [4], they may protect the basal buds from fire damage. POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : Tussock graminoid Secondary colonizer - on-site seed


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : Firegrass culms are killed by fire [10]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : Firegrass responds to fire with rapid growth and increased flowering [9,10]. Firegrass in the rockland pine vegetation of South Florida recovers in place and has approximately the same number of individuals before and after fire [7,10]. Firegrass in this habitat flowers very infrequently except in recently burned pineland [10]. It flowers the first autumn after fire provided the plant has had time to sprout [9]. About a year after fire, burned sites have a stand of tall grasses, including firegrass. This grass stage is typically prominent for only one season. After 2 or 3 years the shrub understory has largely recovered, and the grasses are much less prominent [9]. Saw-palmetto flatwoods in south-central Florida were burned to improve native pastures. Average cover of all grasses, including firegrass, increased from 30.5 percent to 42.2 percent after fire treatment [5]. Firegrass occurred in all measured longleaf pine and slash pine forests in Liberty County that had been subject to prescribed fires designed to retard development of a shrub component [12]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : Limestone rockland slash pine forests of southeastern Florida require fire to be maintained. These forests have been invaded by Brazilian pepper which shades out the herbaceous flora, including firegrass. Prescribed burning at approximately 5-year intervals within Everglades National Park has largely prevented establishment of Brazilian pepper. Native tropical hardwood tree species will also shade out firegrass and other herbaceous species and they, too, can be controlled by fire. In the absence of fire a layer of pine litter 8 to 28 inches (20-70 cm) thick develops, and contributes to the elimination of the herbaceous flora [7]. In the absence of fire for 15 to 25 years, pineland vegetation develops into tropical hardwood hammocklike vegetation with a 13- to 20-foot (4-6 m) canopy under the emergent pines. In a pine forest burned at intervals of about 5 years, hardwood shrubs rarely exceed 10 feet (3 m) in height. In 11 limestone rockland slash pine forest sites in Everglades National Park subject to prescribed burning every 3 to 7 years, firegrass had a mean frequency of 44 percent and a density of 280 plants per 100 square meters. Brazilian pepper was absent. In another stand which had escaped fire for about 35 years, but in which Brazilian pepper was also absent, frequency and density of firegrass were zero [7].


SPECIES: Andropogon cabanisii
REFERENCES : 1. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 2. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 3. Gould, Frank W.; Shaw, Robert B. 1983. Grass systematics. 2d ed. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press. 397 p. [5667] 4. Hitchcock, A. S. 1951. Manual of the grasses of the United States. Misc. Publ. No. 200. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Administration. 1051 p. [2nd edition revised by Agnes Chase in two volumes. New York: Dover Publications, Inc.]. [1165] 5. Kalmbacher, R. S.; Boote, K. J.; Martin, R. G. 1983. Burning and 2,4,5-T application on mortality and carbohydrate reserves in saw-palmetto. Journal of Range Management. 36(1): 9-12. [11955] 6. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 7. Loope, Lloyd L.; Dunevitz, Vicki L. 1981. Impact of fire exclusion and invasion of Schinus terebinthifolius on limestone rockland pine forests of southeastern Florida. Report T-645. Homestead, FL: U.S. Department of the Interior, South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park. 30 p. [17457] 8. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 9. Robertson, William B. 1962. Fire and vegetation in the Everglades. In: Proceedings, 1st annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1962 March 1-2; Tallahassee, FL. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 67-80. [19340] 10. Snyder, James R.; Herndon, Alan; Robertson, William B., Jr. 1990. South Florida rockland. In: Myers, Ronald L.; Ewel, John J., eds. Ecosystems of Florida. Orlando, FL: University of Central Florida Press: 230-274. [17391] 11. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 12. Tanner, George W. 1987. Soils and vegetation of the longleaf/slash pine forest type, Apalachicola National Forest, Florida. In: Pearson, Henry A.; Smeins, Fred E.; Thill, Ronald E., compilers. Ecological, physical, and socioeconomic relationships within southern National Forests; 1987 May 26-27; Long Beach, MS. Gen. Tech. Rep. SO-68. New Orleans, LA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Forest Experiment Station: 186-200. [10173] 13. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 14. Wunderlin, Richard P. 1982. Guide to the vascular plants of central Florida. Tampa, FL: University Presses of Florida, University of South Florida. 472 p. [13125]

FEIS Home Page