Habitat Type

The coastal prairie plant community, located along the Gulf Coast of the United States, once encompassed and estimated 8.6 million acres. Today, only a tiny fraction survives: less than 100 acres of upland prairie in small, narrow patches paralleling railroad tracks, and another 100 to 300 acres of wet prairie in disjunctive remnants on private land.

Like Midwestern prairies, coastal prairie is dominated by grasses, such as little bluestem, gamma grass, switchgrass, Indiangrass, and big bluestem. Coastal prairies are diverse with over 500 species of grasses, sedges, and wildflowers. However coastal prairie is distinct in several ways, including the presence of species that are not found in the Midwestern prairies, such as slender bluestem, brownseed paspalum, and sweet goldenrod. Prairie nymph, Oklahoma grass pink orchid, and prairie parsley are a few of the rare species found in coastal prairie habitat. For more information about the coastal prairie habitat and conservation visit the Cajun Prairie Society.

Facts About Prairie

  • Much of former prairie habitat has been lost
  • High plant diversity
  • Return of grassland birds may indicate improved prairie health