*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.


Eriochloa michauxii (Poir.) Hitchc.
var. simpsonii A.S. Hitchc.
Simpson''s cup grass


South Florida Status: Historical. Last collected in 1966 on Sanibel Island.

Taxonomy: Monocotyledon; Poaceae.

Habit: Perennial terrestrial herb.

Distribution: Endemic to South Florida.

South Florida Distribution: Collier, Lee, and Monroe counties.

South Florida Habitats: Beach dunes and dry disturbed sites.

Protection Status: Not listed by FDACS due to its status as a variety. Listed as critically imperiled by FNAI.

Aids to Identification: E. michauxii var. simpsonii can be distinguished from E. michauxii var. michauxii in that the lower floret is neutral instead of male (Wunderlin, 1998).

References: Hitchcock & Chase, 1950; Avery & Loope, 1980a; Shaw & Webster, 1987; Wunderlin, 1998.

Synonyms: None.



Historical Context: Joseph H. Simpson collected the type specimen of this endemic grass on Cape Romano in 1891 (262, NY). No other collections have been made from that area. Simpson collected another specimen, actually a month earlier, at Cape Sable on the Monroe County mainland (165, NY), in what is now Everglades National Park. Alvah A. Eaton made a collection in 1905 at Flamingo (Shaw and Webster, 1987), which is located to the east of Cape Sable in Everglades National Park. It is possible that both of these collections came from the same station, as that entire region was often referred to as Cape Sable.

Eaton made a collection of Simpson’s cup grass in “Lee County” in 1905 (1300, NY), but this specimen could have come from either Collier or Lee counties, as what is now Collier County was part of Lee County at the time. However, two specimens were collected from modern Lee County, the first in 1964 by Olga Lakela on a back dune on the Gulf of Mexico near Bonita Springs (27094, USF), and the second by William C. Brumbach from a dry roadside on Sanibel Island in 1966 (5583, USF).

Jason R. Swallen made a collection in 1939 “Keys” (4057, TAES), presumably in the Monroe County Keys. Swallen later made an additional collection on Lower Matecumbe Key (Shaw and Webster, 1987). No additional collections from the Keys have been made.

Comments: Most collections have been made from March to May, so surveys should be conducted during this time period.


Recommendations: · Survey historical locations, including Everglades National Park. · If plants are found, map and monitor known populations. · If plants are found, consider establishing an ex situ collection of germplasm. · Review FNAI rank.