*The following is based on Gann, G.D., K.A. Bradley & S.W. Woodmansee. 2002. Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration. The Institute for Regional Conservation: Miami. For updated species accounts, see Citation below. For the original text, follow the link in the Update field. If no Update field is displayed, then cite as the original publication.

Chloris elata Desv.

Tall windmillgrass


South Florida Status: Extirpated. Last reported in 1979 on North Key Largo.

Taxonomy: Monocotyledon; Poaceae.

Habit: Perennial terrestrial herb.

Distribution: Native to South Florida, the West Indies, and South America.

South Florida Distribution: Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County Keys.

South Florida Habitats: Open, dry sand, pine rocklands, and openings in hammocks. Presumably the specific habitat in Miami-Dade was sandy pine rocklands, while the habitat in the Florida Keys was dry, open coastal berms, openings in hammocks, and pine rocklands on Big Pine Key (Swallen 5210, US). Protection Status: Not listed by any agency. Identification: Hitchcock & Chase (1950) has an illustration. There are now five species of exotic Chloris in Florida including some in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, so the best key to use is Wunderlin (1998).

Protection Status: Not listed by any agency

Aids to Identification: Hitchcock & Chase (1950) has an illustration. There are now five species of exotic Chloris in Florida including some in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, so the best key to use is Wunderlin (1998).

References: Small, 1933a; Hitchcock & Chase, 1950; Anderson, 1974; Wunderlin, 1998.

Synonyms: C. dandyana C. Adams; C. polydactyla Sw.



Historical Context: Joseph H. Simpson first collected tall windmill grass in 1892 in “Southern Florida” (s.n., NY). Charles I. Pollard and others collected it in 1898 in the village of Newport on Key Largo (152, NY), in the vicinity of what is now John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. It was collected several more times on Key Largo between 1909 (Small & Carter 2883, NY) and 1941 (Dean 61009, UC). It was collected last in 1978 by George N. Avery at a disturbed site on the east end of New Card Sound Road on North Key Largo (1936, FLAS), within what is now Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park. Ten to twelve plants were observed in July 1978 and again in July 1979. No plants have been observed there since that time. Gann and Florida Park Service biologist Janice A. Duquesnel surveyed this area in July 2000, but failed to locate any plants.

A number of one time collections are known from other sites in the Florida Keys: Upper Matecumbe Key (Chase 3914, US), Vaca Key (Swallen 5189, US), Plantation Key Swallen 5210, US), Long Key (Silveus 5329, TEX), and Big Pine Key (Swallen 14461, US). While some of these collections were from roadsides and disturbed areas, others were from undisturbed natural areas. These collections were made from 1907 through 1954.

In 1903, Albert S. Hitchcock made a collection in Miami (186, NY, US), presumably in the sandy pinelands near the Miami River. Several other collections were made in that area in the early 1900s: Tracy 8857, NY; Hitchcock 724, US; and Chase 3864, US. F.W. Hunnewell made the last collection on the mainland in 1921 along a roadside in Miami (7491, NY).

Comments: Collections of tall windmill grass appear to be mostly from disturbed areas, so considerable care should be exercised before any reintroductions are attempted.


Recommendations: · Consider reintroduction to Dagny Johnson Key Largo Hammocks Botanical State Park. · Consider introduction to John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park. · Consider restoring pine rocklands near the Miami River and reintroducing tall windmill grass. · Review for listing by FDACS and FNAI.