Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Shrubs, Succulents, and Semi-Succulents of the Western Concho Valley, Texas

Purpose:  This list provides a partial listing of perennial woody vegetation of the western Concho Valley in Texas.  (Cacti, agaves, and yuccas are listed separately from other shrubs due to their distinctive appearance.)  It was compiled after examining  some 21,500 county level range maps compiled by the Biota of North America Program (BONAP), corresponding United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Plants Database entries, multiple print sources, and through personal observation of area rangeland.

Description of the Region:  The western Concho Valley of Texas consists primarily of the areas drained by three streams: the North Concho River (ephemeral), the Middle Concho River (ephemeral), and South Concho River (permanent) in West Central and Southwest Texas.  These streams merge near San Angelo to become the Concho River which drains into the Colorado River of Texas.  Annual average rainfall totals in this semi-arid desert region range from 16" inches for Reagan County to 18.2" for Tom Green County.  Average annual potential evaporation rates as computed by the Irrigation Technology Center of Texas A&M University exceed 70".  The western Concho Valley, as defined here, consists of Tom Green, Irion, Reagan, Crockett, Coke, Sterling, Schleicher, and Sutton counties.

A summary of the Environmental Protection Agency Level IV eco-regions in the western Concho Valley can be found electronically at:

Comments:  The author's review of BONAP and USDA county level range maps resulted in a list of more than 800 plant species (including gramineous and herbaceous vegetation) in this remote area of West Texas occupying an area roughly equivalent to the state of Massachusetts.

The presence of the Concho River and its tributaries permit a number of non-xerophytes to flourish near waterways.  While xeric species are generally widely distributed throughout the region, some of those listed below are localized to certain areas or appear sporadically (e.g. Guajacum angustifolium).  By the same token, a person will never be far from populations of other species (e.g. Prosopis glandulosa), regardless of location in the western Concho Valley.

Tables read: Scientific Name / Common Name.  Most species have multiple common names and those chosen are ones likely to be familiar to readers outside of West Texas.  Ziziphus obtusifolia, for example, is also known as graythorn and gumdrop bush.  Depending on location in West Texas, Leucophyllum frutescens may be referred to as purple sage, cenizo, barometer bush, or silverleaf.
[NOTE: * indicates introduced species]


Shrubs, Small Trees

Acacia angustissima / Prairie Acacia                                                         
Acacia berlandieri /Guajillo                                                                         
Acacia greggii / Catclaw                                                
Acacia rigidula / Blackbrush Acacia                                           
Acacia roemeriana / Roemer Acacia                                                        
Ailanthus altissima / Tree of Heaven                                      
Aloysia gratissima / White Brush                                              
Aloysia wrightii / Oreganillo                                        
Amorpha fruticosa / Desert False Indigo Bush                    
Atriplex canescens / Fourwing Saltbush                                
Baccharis neglecta / Jara Dulce                                                  
Baccharis salicina / Willow Baccharis                                        
Bernardia myricaefolia / Southwest Bernardia              
Bernardia obovata /Desert Myrtlecroton                                             
Caesalpinia gilliesii / Bird of Paradise                                                       
Calia secundiflora / Mountain Laurel                                      
Capsicum annuum var glabriusculum / Chilipiquin                                                            
Carya illinoinensis / Pecan                                                                           
Castela erecta / Goatbush                                                          
Celtis pallida / Desert Hackberry                                               
Celtis reticulata / Netleaf Hackberry                                       
Cephalanthus occidentalis / Buttonbush                                                              
Cercis canadensis / Redbud                                                                  
Cestrum diurnum / Day Jessamine                                                          
Cevallia sinuata / Stinging Cevallia                                            
Chilopsis linearis / Desert Willow
Chlorocantha spinosa / Spiny Chlorocanth            
Colubrina texensis / Hogplum                                                   
Condalia ericoides / Javelina Bush                                                           
Condalia hookeri / Brasil                                                                              
Condalia spathulata / Knifeleaf Snakewood                                        
Condalia virides / Green Snakewood                                                                      
Crataegus turnerorum / Turner Hawthorn                                           
Dalea formosa / Feather Dalea                                                 
Dalea lasiathera / Purple Dalea                                                 
Diospyros texana / Mexican Persimmon                                              
Ephedra antisyphilitica / Vine Ephedra                                                  
Ephedra pedunculata / Jointfir                                                 
Ephedra trifurca / Longleaf  Ephedra       
Eysenhardtia texana / Vara Dulce                                                            
Fallugia paradoxa / Apache Plume                                                           
Flourensia cernua / Tarbush                                                       
Forestiera angustifolia / Spring Herald                                                   
Foestieria pubescens / Elbowbush                                                        
Fouquieria splendens / Ocotillo                                                                
Frangula caroliniana / Carolina Buckthorn                                             
Gleditsia triacanthos / Honey Locust                                                      
Guajacum angustifolium / Soapbush                                                      
Gymnosperma glutinosum / Gumhead                                                 
Indigofera lindheimeriana / Lindheimer Indigo                                  
Juglans microcarpa / Little Black Walnut                                
Juniperus ashei / Ashe Juniper                                                 
Juniperus pinchotii / Redberry Juniper                                  
Koeberlinia spinosa / Allthorn                                                   
Lantana urticoides / Lantana                                                      
Larrea tridentata / Creosote Bush                                                           
Leucaena retusa / Goldenball Leadtree                                
Leucophyllum frutescens / Purple Sage                                                
Lonicera albiflora / Western White Honeysuckle                               
Lycium berlandieri / Wolfberry                                                 
Lycium puberulum / Downy Desert Thorn                                           
Maclura pomifera / Osage Orange                                                          
Mahonia trifoliata / Agarita                                                                         
Malus ioensis / Prairie Crab Apple                                           
Melia azerdarach / Chinaberry Tree*                                                     
Menodora longiflora / Showy Menodora                                             
Mimosa aculeaticarpa / Catclaw Mimosa                                              
Mimosa borealis / Fragrant Mimosa                                       
Mimosa roemeriana / Roemer Mimosa                                
Morus alba / Mulberry                                                 
Morus microphylla / Texas Mulberry                                                  
Nerisyrenia camporum / Mesa Greggia                
Nicotiana obtusifolia / Desert Tobacco                                                  
Parkinsonia aculeata / Jerusalem Thorn                                
Parkinsonia texana / Border Paloverde                                 
Parthenium incanum / Mariola                                                                 
Platanus occidentalis / American Sycamore                                         
Pomaria brachycarpa / Broadpod Nicker                                               
Populus deltoides / Cottonwood                                                             
Prosopis glandulosa / Honey Mesquite                                 
Prunus rivularis / Creek Plum                                                     
Prunus texana / Sand Plum                                                        
Quercus fusiformis / Small Texas Live Oak                                           
Quercus havardii / Havard Shin Oak                                        
Quercus macrocarpa / Bur Oak                                                                 
Quercus mohriana / Mohr Oak                                                 
Quercus sinuata / Bastard Oak                                                  
Quercus stellata / Post Oak                                                        
Rhus aromatica / Fragrant Sumac                                                             
Rhus microphylla / Desert Sumac                                                             
Rhus trilobata / Skunkbush                                                         
Rhus virens / Evergreen Sumac                                
Ribes aureum / Golden Currant                                
Salix babylonica / Weeping Willow                                          
Salix nigra / Black Willow                                                              
Salsola kali / Tumbleweed*                                                        
Sambucus nigra  / Blue Elderberry                                                            
Sapindus saponaria / Wingleaf Soapberry                                            
Schaefferia cuneifolia / Desert Yaupon                                                 
Sideroxylon lanuginosum / Chittimwood                                                         
Sueda suffrutescens / Desert Seepweed
Tamarix aphylla athel /Tamarisk*                                                             
Tamarix chinensis / Five-stamen Tamarisk*                                        
Tamarix gallica / French Tamarisk*                                          
Tidestromia lanuginosa / Woolly Tidestromia                                     
Tiquilia canescens / Woody Crinkle Mat                                
Ulmus americana / American Elm                                                            
Ungnadia speciosa / Mexican Buckeye                                  
Viguiera dentata / Toothleaf Goldeneye                                              
Viguiera stenoloba / Skeleton Leaf Goldeneye                  
Vitex agnus-castus / Lilac Chaste Tree                   
Zanthoxylum hirsutum / Prickly Ash                                                       
Ziziphus obtusifolia / Lotebush                                                 

Succulents and Semi-Succulents

Agave americana / Century Plant                                                             
Agave lechuguilla / Lechuguilla                                                  
Agave neomexicana / Century Plant                                                      
Agave scabra / Century Plant           
Coryphantha echinus / Rhinocerus Cactus                                           
Cylindopuntia kleiniae / Candle Cholla                                                   
Cylindropuntia davisii / Thistle Cholla                                                     
Cylindropuntia imbricata / Tree Cholla                                                   
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis / Pencil Cactus                                                            
Cylindropuntia tunicata / Thistle Cholla                                                 
Dasylirion texanum / Sotol                                                                          
Echinocactus texensis / Horse Crippler                                                  
Echinocereus coccineus / Hedgehog Cactus  
Echinocereus dasyacanthus / Rainbow Cactus                                                   
Echinocereus enneacanthus / Pitaya                                                                      
Echinocereus reichenbacchii / Lace Hedgehog Cactus                                     
Echinocereus triglochidatus / Claret Cup Cactus                                
Escobaria vivipara / Spinystar                                                     
Mammillaria heyderi / Nipple Cactus                                                      
Nolina texanum / Sacahuista                                                     
Opuntia engelmannii / Prickly Pear Cactus                                           
Opuntia macrocentra / Purple Prickly Pear             
Yucca constricta / Buckley Yucca                                                               
Yucca glauca / Small Soapweed Yucca                                    
Yucca reverchonii / San Angelo Yucca                                   
Yucca torreyi / Torrey Yucca                    



Principle Range Map and Species Identification Sources:
BONAP (Biota Of North America Program):
USDA Plants Database:

Everitt, James H. et al.  Trees, Shrubs, & Cacti of South Texas, Lubbock (TX), 2002
Hart, Charles R. et al.  Toxic Plants of Texas, College Station (TX), 2003
Loughmiller, Campbell and Loughmiller, Lynn.  Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide, Austin, 2006
MacMahon, James A.  Deserts, New York, 1997
Powell, A. Michael.  Trees and Shrubs of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas, Austin, 1998
Tull, Delena and Miller, George Oxford. Wildflowers, Trees, and Shrubs of Texas, Lanham (MD), 1999

Search Terms:
Plant, Plants, Woody Plants, Flora, Vascular Flora, Shrub, Shrubs, Desert, Chihuahuan Desert, Texas Desert, Concho Valley, Texas, West Texas, Southwest Texas, Southwestern Texas, Western Edwards Plateau, Edwards Plateau, Vegetation, Concho Valley, Western Concho Valley, San Angelo, Ozona, Big Lake, Robert Lee, Eldorado, Sterling City, Junction, Mertzon, Barnhart, Tom Green County, Irion County, Reagan County, Crockett County, Coke County, Sterling County, Schleicher County, Sutton County

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