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Cross Timbers Chapter

Plants for the Cross Timbers Ecoregion

North Central Texas Plant List from Native Landscape Certification Program

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mtianpd6frl36gj/NPSOT%20North%20Central%20TX%20List%2020.0719%20fixed.pdf

About the Cross Timbers EcoRegion

Map of ecoregions

Level IV Ecoregions in the Cross Timbers Area

  • 27i – Broken Red Plains
  • 29b – Eastern Cross Timbers
  • 29c – Western Cross Timbers
  • 29d – Grand Prairie
  • 29e – Limestone Cut Plains
  • 29f – Carbonate Cross Timbers
  • 30a – Edwards Plateau
  • 30b – Llano Uplift
  • 32a – Northern Blackland Prairie
  • 32c – Flood Plains and Low Terraces

The Plant List for North Central Texas was developed by the Native Landscape Certification Program for use in their series of landscaping classes. To best use the list pay close attention to the “native region” column on the list. The abbreviations in this column are defined in the footnotes on each list and are correlated to the Level IV eco-regions shown on the map above. The list was created for use in classes for particular events and are not meant to be an exhaustive list of suitable plants for a location. If you are interested in plant lists for areas not shown on the map above see all the NLCP plant lists.

In the Cross Timbers you can find natives at the nurseries participating in our NICE! Native Plant Partners program. Wherever you shop ask to see native plants.

View our current Cross Timbers Plant List for Weatherford and the Parker County area. (All lists on this page open in a new window)

Not all non-natives are invasive but the plants on this list of non-native invasive plants are definitely not recommended.

This list of “Alter-Natives” will help you substitute native plants for non-natives in your garden while giving a similar look.

What is the Cross Timbers?

Map of where ancient cross timbers growth sprawled across Texas and Oklahoma

The Western Cross Timbers extend from far southern Oklahoma, including parts of Love and Carter counties, into central Texas, where it covers large parts of Montague, Young, Jack, Wise, Stephens, Palo Pinto, Parker, Eastland, Erath, Brown, San Saba, and Mills counties, as well as smaller parts of Clay, Cooke, Callahan, Hood, Coleman, and McCulloch counties. This area includes the towns of Weatherford and Mineral Wells; Stephenville lies on the eastern fringe, while Brownwood is on the western edge.

The part of this region north of I-20 is sometimes colloquially referred to as the Palo Pinto Mountains; the hills are isolated, rugged, and scenic, with spectacular bluffs along the Brazos River as it flows through the region. John Graves wrote about this area and its people in his classic book Goodbye to a River.

Coal mining has historically been an important activity, as bituminous coal deposits are found throughout the region. In the mid-to-late 19th century, Comanche Indians occupied this area, and it became a flash point for conflict between various groups of white settlers, the Comanche, and the U.S. Cavalry; Forts Belknap and Richardson were built in the area to protect this part of the frontier.

Richard Francaviglia has written an excellent introduction to the natural environment of the area called The Cast Iron Forest, so-named from a quote from Washington Irving who visited the area in the 1830’s and wrote that it was like traveling through “forests of cast iron.”

You can read more about the Cross Timbers and its vegetation at these sites:

Cross Timbers Urban Forestry Council

The Ancient Cross Timbers Consortium

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About the Region

New Braunfels, the location of our Fall 2024 Symposium, straddles both the Edwards Plateau Ecoregion and the Blackland Prairie ecoregion. Interstate 35 divides the city of New Braunfels; its path through the city closely parallels the boundary of these two ecoregions, with the Edwards Plateau on the west side and the Blackland Prairies region to the east. The Edwards Plateau area is also called the Hill Country; however, this general term covers a much larger area extending farther north. Spring-fed creeks are found throughout the region; deep limestone canyons, rivers, and lakes (reservoirs) are common. Ashe juniper is perhaps the most common woody species found throughout the region. Additional woody species include various species of oak, with live oak (Quercus fusiformis) being the most common. Sycamores (Platanus occidentalis) and bald cypress (Taxodium distichum) border waterways. This area is well known for its spring wildflower displays, though they may be viewed in spring, late summer, and fall, as well. According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, average annual rainfall in the Edwards Plateau ranges from 15 to 34 inches.

The Blackland Prairie extends from the Red River south to San Antonio, bordered on the west by the Edwards Plateau and the Cross Timbers, and on the east by the Post Oak Savannah. Annual rainfall averages 30 to 40 inches, with higher averages to the east. This region is dominated by prairie species. The most common grass species include little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) and Indian grass (Sorghastrum nutans) in the uplands and switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the riparian areas and drainages. Common herbaceous flowering plants include salvias, penstemons, and silphiums. This area has suffered greatly from overgrazing and agricultural use. Few intact areas remain, though many of the plants can be found along county roadsides throughout the region.

Our four host chapters (New Braunfels, Lindheimer, Guadalupe, and the Hill Country chapters) are located in one or both of the ecoregions above. However, the eastern portion of Guadalupe County also falls within the Post Oak Savanna ecoregion. Annual rainfall averages 35 to 45 inches, with higher averages to the east. A wide variety of hardwood trees are found, including several species of oaks, elms, and in the Bastrop area, loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). Grasses and forbs dominate in the open savannas, with most common grass being little bluestem. Ranching, agriculture, and fire suppression have allowed woody species to encroach on the once-open savannas.

Source: Wildflowers of Texas by Michael Eason