Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, October 5, 2017

Contact: Jaclyn Lopez, (727) 490-9190,  

Four Endangered South Florida Plants Protected Against Climate Change

Endangered Species Protections Will Help Unique Plants Survive Sea-level Rise

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today protected four plant species found only in South Florida under the Endangered Species Act.

The Florida pineland crabgrass, pinelands sandmat and Everglades bully are now protected as threatened species under the Act. The Florida prairie clover is protected as endangered.

The plants are part of the irreplaceable and quickly disappearing landscape of South Florida, threatened by sea-level rise, urban sprawl and loss of natural fires. They join a growing number of endangered species that occur in pine rocklands. Despite being among the Earth’s rarest habitats, Florida’s pine rocklands are imminently threatened by the planned development of a shopping mall and theme park in south Miami.

“This decision underscores just how vulnerable South Florida is to rising seas,” said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Without Endangered Species Act protections, storms like Irma could wipe out these Florida natives overnight.”

Florida pineland crabgrass is also known as Everglades grass or twospike crabgrass, and only occurs in the Everglades in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. It was first identified as needing endangered species protection in 1975; the Center petitioned the Service to protect it in 2004.

The Florida prairie clover has been waiting on the agency’s candidate list for federal protection since 1999. It’s a member of the pea family and grows to 6 feet tall in pine rocklands and coastal uplands.

The pinelands sandmat has been a candidate for protection since 1999. Also known as the pineland deltoid spurge, rockland spurge and wedge sandmat, it’s a beautiful perennial herb with a red stem and delicate, yellow flowers.

The Everglades bully has been a candidate for protection since 2004. The shrub is native to Miami-Dade County and is only found in pine rocklands.

To date 192 plants and animals have received protection as a result of a 2011 agreement between the Center and the Fish and Wildlife Service, including the four plants protected today. Another six are proposed for protection. Read more about the Center’s 757 agreement and our sea-level rise campaign.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.5 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

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