Southern United States, the West Indies, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Old World.
Map of select IRC data for peninsular Florida
SOUTH FLORIDA Occurrence:
SOUTH FLORIDA Native Status:
SOUTH FLORIDA Cultivated Status:
This is a perennial bunch grass of nearly worldwide distribution between 35º N latitude and 35º S latitude (USDA Plant Fact Sheet
). Wunderlin (1998) treated it as native to Florida, and IRC has traditionally done so as well. However, the Flora of North America (2003) suggested that this was "probably native" to the Old World and introduced here, and that view has gained traction over the last decade. The Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants (2015) currently treats it as not native to Florida, but Calflora
and USDA PLANTS considers it native to California and other parts of North America. Regardless of the debate about its nativity in North America, Heteropogon contortus
is not historically known from the southeastern United States, including Florida. John Kunkel Small's (1933) Manual of the Southeastern Flora did not include it, and A.S. Hitchcock and Agnes Chase's (1950) Manual of the Grasses of the United States listed its range as Texas to Arizona. It was also not included in Robert Long and Olga Lakela's (1971) A Flora of Tropical Florida, but was collected in South Florida as early as 1963 by Frank Craighead (s.n. USF
) on Cape Sable in Everglades National Park and in 1968 by George Avery (419A USF
) in Miami-Dade County. It appears to be a recent arrival spreading mostly from road edges and railroad rights-of-way, and may not be a native component of the South Florida flora. As such, we are reclassifying this as doubtfully native to South Florida (3 Nov 2015).