Contract Research Findings: Plants


Title:Restoring native grasslands
Journal/Year:Texas Cooperative Extension Publication/2004
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Author(s):K. Brian Hays | Matthew Wagner | Fred Smeins | R. Neal Wilkins
Abstract:The native grasslands of Texas have been steadily disappearing since the arrival of the first settlers. With urban development and the conversion of land to row crops and pastures of non-native grasses, only about 96 million of the original 148 million acres of native grasslands remain. Much of the remaining grassland area has been degraded by overgrazing and the encroachment of brush. The conversion of native grasslands to non-native pasture grasses is one of the most notable changes in land use in Texas over the last decade (Fig. 1). There are now more than 10 million acres of nonnative pastureland in Texas, with much of it planted to coastal bermudagrass for hay production and cattle grazing. Bermudagrass and other non-native grasses are normally managed as monotypic (single species) stands of grass, so the plant diversity of the original ecosystem is lost.
Management Implications:The cost of converting bermudagrass pastures to native grasslands is an estimated $100 to $200 per acre or more, depending on the cost of herbicide and seed. One way to do it less expensively is to stop adding fertilizer and soil amendments to bermudagrass pastures while grazing them heavily during the spring and early summer. Eventually this will reduce bermudagrass vigor and cover and allow native species to become established; it is a much lengthier process, however. Technical and/or cost-share assistance are available to landowners through the following programs.
Citation:Hays, K. B., M. Wagner, F. Smeins, and R. N. Wilkins. 2004. Restoring native grasslands. Texas Cooperative Extension Publication L-5456, Texas A&M University, College Station, USA.

Title:A field guide to the rare plants of Texas
Journal/Year:Texas A&M Press/2007
Author(s):Jackie M. Poole | W. R. Carr | D. Price | Jason R. Singhurst
Keywords:Rare plants | Texas botany | Texas flora | endangered plants | threatened plants | plant conservation | natural regions of Texas | management of rare plants | rare plant restoration | rare plants threats | Texas rare plant laws | rarity ranking | Texas rare plant references
Abstract:This is the first published assemblage of all the listed, candidate, and globally rare plants of the state of Texas. Although the Endangered, Threatened, and Protected Native Plants of Texas (Poole and Riskind 1987) covered some of these species, many plants have been added to the endangered species list in the ensuing decades. Also many species of concern and other critically imperiled plants were not included in Poole and Riskind (1987). Many of these species are too rare to be mentioned, much less illustrated, in any field guide. Thus only a handful of botanists know what these species or their habitats look like. More information about these species is needed to help in the understanding of these plants and their recovery. Without an easy way to identify these species, the information received is often incorrect. The audience for this book will include agency personnel, non-governmental entities, environmental consultants, natural resource professionals, naturalists, academics, and anyone who needs to know about the listed, candidate, or species of concern plants of Texas. We hope that the information contained here will stimulate further interest, research, conservation, and appreciation of these special elements of our wild heritage
Management Implications:The Rare Plants of Texas field guide provides the first comprehensive overview of the rarest plants in Texas. The guide provides photographs and/or line drawings of the covered species, many of which are not available in any previously easily available format. Complete descriptions of the species and its habitat were compiled from numerous, not easily available references, giving the reader a quick and effortless review. Information on easily mistaken, similar plants is also provided to alleviate as many misidentifications as possible. An exhaustive reference section is included for those who want to pursue more in-depth information. Chapters on threats, management, rarity, state and federal status, state rare plant law, natural regions of Texas and their relevance to rare Texas plants, and a form to report new finds along with the descriptions, photos, illustrations, range maps and descriptions, habitat information, etc. should allow for better understanding of these species and aid in their recovery.
Citation:Poole, J. M., W. R. Carr, D. Price, and J. R. Singhurst. 2007. A field guide to the rare plants of Texas. Texas A&M Press, College Station, USA.

Title:Studies on the taxonomy, distribution, and abundance of Thalictrum texanum (Ranunculaceae)
Journal/Year:Phytologia/2007
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | David J. Rosen | William R. Carr | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Ranunculaceae | Thalictrum | Texas
Abstract:Field and herbarium studies show Thalictrum texanum, a species of conservation concern, to be distinct from both T. arkansanum and T. debile. The species, which is endemic to southeast Texas, is documented to occur in eight counties. A description of the species, list of exsiccatae, distribution map, discussion of its abundance and environment, and comments on its conservation status are also included.
Management Implications:Based upon our findings, it is recommended that Thalictrum texanum be considered distinct from both T. debile and T. arkansanum, which may be conspecific. It is further suggested that T. texanum be considered to be of conservation concern, largely on the basis of the limited number of extant populations.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., D. J. Rosen, W. R. Carr, and W. C. Holmes. 2007. Studies on the taxonomy, distribution, and abundance of Thalictrum texanum (Ranunculaceae). Phytologia 89: 79-89.

Title:The vascular flora of Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Mason County, Texas
Journal/Year:Southeastern Naturalist/2007
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Laura L. Sanchez | Donnie Frels, Jr. | T. Wayne Schwertner | Mark Mitchell | Sara Moren | Walter C. Holmes
Abstract:A survey of the vascular flora of Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, located in the Llano Uplift of Central Texas, was conducted between spring of 2001 and spring of 2006. A total of 693 species and infraspecific taxa in 103 families and 376 genera were documented from 14 plant associations. Poaceae (117 species), Asteraceae (102 species), Fabaceae (46) species, and Euphorbiaceae (31 species) were the families with the largest number of species. Five taxa, Campanula reverchonii (basin bellflower), Eriogonum tenellum Torr. var. ramosissimum (tall buckwheat), Isoetes lithophila (rock quillwort), Packera texensis (Llano groundsel), and Tradescantia pedicellata (Edwards Plateau spiderwort) are endemic to the Llano Uplift, while 24 others are endemic to Texas. Other noteworthy taxa included Isoetes piedmontana (Piedmont quillwort), Pililaria americana (American pillwort), and Senecio ampullaceus (Texas ragwort).
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., L. L. Sanchez, D. Frels, Jr., T. W. Schwertner, M. Mitchell, S. Moren, and W. C. Holmes. 2007. The vascular flora of Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area, Mason County, Texas. Southeastern Naturalist 6:683-692.

Title:Vicia lathyroides (Fabaceae): new to the flora of Texas
Journal/Year:Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas/2007
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Author(s):Sonnia Hill | Ruth Loper | Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Abstract:Vicia lathyroides is reported for the first time as occurring in Texas. The overall distribution of the species and a comparison with a similar species are also discussed.
Citation:Hill, S., R. Loper, J. R. Singhurst, and W. C. Holmes. 2007. Vicia lathyroides (Fabaceae): new to the flora of Texas. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 1:1243-1254.

Title:Abundance of wigeongrass during winter and use by herbivorous waterbirds in a Texas coastal marsh
Journal/Year:Wetlands/2009
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Author(s):Kevin M. Hartke|Kevin H. Kriegel|G. Matt Nelson|M. Todd Merendino
Keywords:exclosure|food availability|herbivory|Ruppia maritima|waterfowl
Abstract:Wigeongrass (Ruppia maritima), a submerged aquatic plant inhabiting estuarine wetlands, is an important winter food for waterbirds along the Texas Gulf Coast. We examined availability of wigeongrass at Mad Island Wildlife Management Area, Texas, USA by estimating aboveground biomass from October through January, 1998-1999 and 2001-2002. We also used an exclosure experiment to determine the extent to which herbivory by waterbirds was responsible for depletion of wigeongrass. Aboveground biomass of wigeongrass declined an average of 189 g/m2 and 71 g/m2 between October and January each year. Aboveground biomass declined at a higher rate among plots exposed to herbivory compared to exclosures, and the loss of biomass attributable to foraging by waterbirds was 19%. In 1998, counts of gadwalls (Anas strepera), American wigeons (A. americana), and American coots (Fulica americana) using study ponds peaked in November and then followed a declining trend similar to availability of wigeongrass, suggesting that as wigeongrass was depleted herbivorous waterbirds moved to other habitats where food was more available.
Management Implications:Coastal wetland managers concerned with providing food resources for herbivorous waterbirds should try to maintain a complex of brackish and freshwater wetlands to provide alternative sources of submerged aquatic vegetation. As availability of wigeongrass is depleted from brackish wetlands, foraging waterbirds can switch to adjacent freshwater habitats where food may be more abundant. In addition, biologists interested in modeling carrying capacity of coastal marsh as winter foraging habitat for waterbirds need to consider factors that may reduce overall availability of submerged aquatic vegetation.
Citation:Hartke, K. M., K. H. Kriegel, G. M. Nelson, and M. T. Merendino. 2009. Abundance of wigeongrass during winter and use by herbivorous waterbirds in a Texas coastal marsh. Wetlands 29:288-293.

Title:Effects of summer and winter burning on vegetation and wildlife in a sand sagebrush/honey mesquite savanna
Journal/Year:Thesis/2009
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Author(s):Matthew W. Poole
Abstract:There is substantial information on the generalized effects of fire in some grassland ecosystems. However, studies addressing seasonality of fire are less common. The Rolling Plains have high climatic variability with periodic droughts; however, little information is available on the potential role of burning in these communities under these conditions. Therefore, I initiated a project to explore the effects of seasonality of fire on a sand prairie ecosystem. We established 5 blocks of 3 18-ha plots at Matador Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Cottle County, Texas. Each plot, within a block, was randomly assigned to a summer burn (August), winter burn (February), or a control (no fire) treatment. Herbaceous vegetation cover and frequency were measured twice annually (May-June and August-September) using 0.1 m² quadrats, while woody cover was measured during late summer using the line-intercept method. Invertebrates, herpetofauna, and small mammals were sampled utilizing drift fence arrays during the spring and summer. Invertebrates were also sampled in late summer using sweep nets and small mammals were also sampled twice annually using Sherman live traps. Summer burning appeared to benefit forbs, species richness, evenness and diversity. In general, forbs were not affected by winter burning, but forbs were similar to grasses, in that individual species' responses to winter burning were variable. My results indicated that prescribed summer burning appears to be effective at reducing, but not eliminating sand sagebrush, honey mesquite, prickly pear, yucca, and total woody canopy cover. Summer burning was the most effective treatment at reducing honey mesquite and sand sagebrush, which may have promoted the observed increases in herbaceous vegetation by making resources, such as light and water, available to grasses and forbs. However, many of the wildlife species examined did not respond to the application of summer and winter burning, but responded to onset of drought conditions. Therefore, a combination of both summer and winter burning treatments are recommended for suppressing woody plant cover and increasing overall plant diversity by promoting desirable herbaceous species for a wide variety of wildlife and livestock. Longer term research on the effects of summer and winter burning on herbaceous and woody vegetation, especially in drought years, is needed to fully evaluate the effects of burning in the Rolling Plains of Texas.
Citation:Poole, M. W. 2009. Effects of summer and winter burning on vegetation and wildlife in a sand sagebrush/honey mesquite savanna. Thesis, West Texas A&M University, Canyon, USA.

Title:Impacts of buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) on a forb community in south Texas
Journal/Year:Invasive Plant Science and Management/2009
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Author(s):Joseph P. Sands | Leonard A. Brennan | Fidel Hernandez | William P. Kuvlesky, Jr. | James F. Gallagher | Donald C. Ruthven, III | James E. Pittman, III
Keywords:Buffelgrass | exotic grasses | introduced species | Texas
Abstract:Since the 1950s, many south Texas rangelands have been seeded with buffelgrass, a perennial C4 bunchgrass native to Africa that is believed to contribute to reductions in biodiversity. Forb species represent a critical habitat component throughout the breeding period for many wildlife species as seed (summer to fall), as green vegetative material (spring to summer), and as habitat for arthropods (spring to summer). Reductions in richness and diversity of crucial ecosystem components such as forbs and arthropods have large implications for grassland birds and other wildlife. We sampled annual and perennial forbs within 1-m² quadrats on 15 study plots (1 ha; n = 20 quadrats/plot) at Chaparral Wildlife Management Area, in LaSalle and Dimmit counties, Texas, during 2005 and 2006. Study plots were divided into five light-buffelgrass plots (0 to 5% buffelgrass canopy coverage), five moderate-buffelgrass plots (5 to 25% buffelgrass canopy coverage), and five heavy-buffelgrass plots (>25% buffelgrass canopy coverage). Buffelgrass in study plots was composed of naturalized plants, and was not deliberately planted. During 2005 we observed that plots with > 25% buffelgrass had a 73% reduction in forb canopy of native species, a 64% reduction in native forb species richness, and a 77% reduction in native forb stem density compared to plots with 0 to 5% buffelgrass. These trends in native forb reduction (-79% native forb canopy, -65% forb species richness, -80% forb stem density) were nearly identical in 2006, even with greatly reduced rainfall. Simple linear regression revealed negative relationships between buffelgrass cover, total exotic grass cover (buffelgrass and Lehmann lovegrass), and total grass cover and the richness, coverage, and density of forbs/m². Reductions in diversity may have larger implications regarding ecosystem function and available useable space and densities of desired bird species such as northern bobwhite.
Management Implications:The results of this study indicate that from the standpoint of species richness and diversity, areas of extensive buffelgrass coverage may exhibit a greatly simplified herbaceous vegetation community when compared to areas of native grass composition. Vitousek (1990) suggested that presence of certain exotic species should be able to change ecosystem processes by altering the way resources are acquired or used within an ecosystem, changing the trophic structure within the invaded area, or by altering the disturbance regime of an ecosystem. Forbs represent a critical aspect of habitat usability for northern bobwhite (Colinus virginianus) and other grassland birds for seed and green vegetative material, and as habitat and food for arthropods. Reductions in arthropod and avian abundance in exotic grass habitats are driven primarily by reduced species richness within native plant communities (Flanders et al. 2006). In this case, buffelgrass may be altering the trophic structure of south Texas rangeland communities through the simplification of the herbaceous vegetation component. These reductions in diversity have larger implications regarding the abundance and habitat use patterns of desired bird species such as northern bobwhite (Flanders et al. 2006; Sands 2007). Despite these negative effects, buffelgrass is still planted extensively by private land managers in south Texas. Given the importance of wildlife, especially passerine songbirds and northern bobwhite, on private lands across south Texas it seems logical that both public wildlife officials and private landowners should understand the potential drawbacks of planting buffelgrass. Treatment methods employing disturbance (e.g., prescribed burning, discing, root plowing, etc.) are commonly used to maintain grasslands, to inhibit brush encroachment, or to provide habitat for target management species such as northern bobwhite. However, buffelgrass and other exotic grasses are adept at colonizing recently disturbed areas (Butler and Fairfax 2003; Christian and Wilson 1999; McIvor 2003; Milberg and Lamont 1995), so managers should beware of disturbing land in direct proximity to patches of buffelgrass. Treating established patches of buffelgrass represents a challenge to managers because buffelgrass is a copious seed producer, and is fire tolerant. Research involving restoration techniques such as treating buffelgrass patches with herbicide and then seeding robust native grasses such as Arizona cottontop [Digitaria californica (Benth.) Henr.] and native forbs into these stands is needed (e.g., Biedenbender and Roundy 1996; Daehler and Goergen 2005). Eliminating buffelgrass on a landscape scale is unfeasible, and at present the best option for managing buffelgrass may be to adopt a preventative approach.
Citation:Sands, J. P., L. A. Brennan, F. Hernandez, W. P. Kuvlesky, Jr., J. F. Gallagher, D. C. Ruthven, III, and J. E. Pittman, III. 2009. Impacts of buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) on a forb community in south Texas. Invasive Plant Science and Management 2:130-140.

Title:Polygala cymosa (Polygalaceae) new to Texas
Journal/Year:Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas/2009
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Author(s):Michelle Pollard | Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Abstract:Polygala cymosa Walter is reported as new to Texas.
Citation:Pollard, M., J. R. Singhurst, and W. C. Holmes. 2009. Polygala cymosa (Polygalaceae) new to Texas. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 3:969-970.

Title:Romulea rosea (Iridaceae): adventive in Texas
Journal/Year:Phytologia/2009
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Kay M. Fleming | Ruth Loper | Walter C. Holmes | Virginia Privett
Keywords:Iridaceae | Romulea | Texas | invasive plant
Abstract:Romulea rosea is reported as adventive in Texas.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., K. M. Fleming, R. Loper, and W. C. Holmes. 2009. Romulea rosea (Iridaceae): adventive in Texas. Phytologia 91:73-75.

Title:Two additions to the vascular flora of Texas
Journal/Year:Phytologia/2009
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | David J. Rosen | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Asteraceae | Cyperaceae | Euthamia | Rhynchospora | Louisiana | Texas | West Gulf Coastal Plain
Abstract:Euthamia caroliniana is reported as new to Texas, while Rhynchospora chapmanii is reported as new to Texas and the West Gulf Coastal Plain.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., D. J. Rosen, and W. C. Holmes. 2009. Two additions to the vascular flora of Texas. Phytologia 91: 68-71.

Title:Carissa macrocarpa (Apocynaceae): new to the Texas flora
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2010
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Apocynaceae | Carissa macrocarpa | Texas | naturalized
Abstract:Carissa macrocarpa (Eckl.) A. DC. is documented as occurring outside of cultivation in Texas. Several colonies were found growing on shell middens in Nueces County. It is suspected that seeds were dispersed from landscape plantings in the Corpus Christi area. Carissa macrocarpa has moderate invasive potential along the Texas coast.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., and W. C. Holmes. 2010. Carissa macrocarpa (Apocynaceae): new to the Texas flora. Phytoneuron 19:1-3.

Title:Comments on Buddleja lindleyana (Buddlejaceae) in Texas
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2010
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Buddleja | Texas | naturalized | persistent
Abstract:Buddleja lindleyana, a non-native species known to occur in east Texas, is recognized as relying on repeated introductions through cultivation and subsequent abandonment for long term persistence.
Management Implications:Field observations and specimens available for study suggest that the species does not form long-term self-replacing populations, particularly in the Pineywoods vegetational region. Its continued presence relies on cultivation and subsequent long persistence after abandonment. In Texas, the species is best considered alien or casual alien (Categories from Pysek et al. 2004). In the classification of Nesom et al. (2010), the species is given an invasive index of F3 (woody plants that are few in number, repeatedly introduced and/or long persisting).Buddleja lindleyana presents neither immediate nor long-term concern as a problematic plant in Texas. Judging from the scattered localities from where it is reported elsewhere in the USA, from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas eastward through the coastal states to North Carolina (USDA, NRCS 2010; Kartesz 2010), the extra cultivation occurrence of the species probably is similar to that in Texas.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., and W. C. Holmes. 2010. Comments on Buddleja lindleyana (Buddlejaceae) in Texas. Phytoneuron 42:1-2.

Title:Lilium lancifolium (Liliaceae): new to Texas
Journal/Year:Phytologia/2010
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Lilium | Liliaceae | naturalized | Texas
Abstract:Lilium lancifolium, the Tiger lily, is reported as new to Texas.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., and W. C. Holmes. 2010. Lilium lancifolium (Liliaceae): new to Texas. Phytologia 92:31-33.

Title:New and noteworthy plants of Texas
Journal/Year:Phytologia/2010
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Jeffrey N. Mink | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Texas | Rhexia | Melastomataceae | Rhynchospora | Cyperaceae | Ratibida | Asteraceae | Tradescantia | Commelinaceae | Saccharum | Poaceae
Abstract:Rhexia alifanus (Melastomataceae) and Rhynchospora inundatum (Cyperaceae), both previously reported in the state, are documented as part of the flora of the state. Ratibida pinnata (Asteraceae), Tradescantia fluminensis (Commelinaceae) and Saccharum ravennae (Poaceae) are reported as new to Texas.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., J. N. Mink, and W. C. Holmes. 2010. New and noteworthy plants of Texas. Phytologia 92:249-255.

Title:Penstemon oklahomensis (Scrophulariaceae) in Texas
Journal/Year:Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas/2010
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Author(s):Jeffrey N. Mink | Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Abstract:Penstemon oklahomensis is documented as new to the flora of Texas. Included is a key to discriminate the white-flowered Penstemon species of northeast Texas.
Citation:Mink, J. N., J. R. Singhurst, and W. C. Holmes. 2010. Penstemon oklahomensis (Scrophulariaceae) in Texas. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 4:471-472.

Title:Prenanthes aspera (Asteraceae: Cichorieae): new to Texas
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2010
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Prenanthes | Asteraceae | Cichorieae | Texas
Abstract:Prenanthes aspera is reported as new to the native Texas flora - it has been discovered in a calcareous, open, pimple mound woodland and prairie in Bowie County. A key to the four species of Prenanthes occurring in the state and a distribution map are included.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., and W. C. Holmes. 2010. Prenanthes aspera (Asteraceae: Cichorieae): new to Texas. Phytoneuron 52:1-4.

Title:The vascular flora of Kerr Wildlife Management Area, Kerr County, Texas
Journal/Year:Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas/2010
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Laura L. Hansen | Jeffrey N. Mink | Bill Armstrong | Donnie Frels, Jr. | Walter C. Holmes
Abstract:An inventory of the vascular plants of Kerr Wildlife Management Area, Kerr County, Texas, was conducted from 2006 to spring 2009. The area consists of 21 natural plant community associations and three land use classes. The Sawgrass-Spikesedge-Beakrush-Black Bogrush-Aparejograss Herbaceous Vegetation Association, and Ashe Juniper_Bastard Oak-Plateau Live Oak Woodland Association is reported as new to the state. The checklist reports 719 taxa from 106 families and 410 genera, with 27 of the species being endemic to the state. The largest families were Asteraceae (113 species), Poaceae (109 species), Fabaceae (38 species), and Euphorbiaceae (34 species). Non-native species comprised 9.04% (65 species) of the flora. Among the more unusual plant records for the area, which consists of a mixture of eastern and western species, are Rhynchospora capillacea, Petrophytum caespitosum, and Echeandia flavescens. Statistics on the adequacy of sampling and a comparative vegetation analysis are also presented.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., L. L. Hansen, J. N. Mink, B. Armstrong, D. Frels, Jr., and W. C. Holmes. 2010. The vascular flora of Kerr Wildlife Management Area, Kerr County, Texas. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 4:497-521.

Title:A commentary on Cheilanthes lanosa (Pteridaceae) in Texas
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Walter C. Holmes | Jason R. Singhurst | Jeffrey N. Mink
Keywords:Cheilanthes | Pteridaceae | Texas | E. T. Wherry
Abstract:Based on a historical collection (1925) from McLennon County, Texas, by E. T. Wherry, Cheilanthes lanosa (Pteridaceae) is substantiated as a natural member of the flora of the state. A review of the published accounts of the species in Texas is also included.
Citation:Holmes, W. C., J. R. Singhurst, and J. N. Mink. 2011. A commentary on Cheilanthes lanosa (Pteridaceae) in Texas. Phytoneuron 35:1-5.

Title:Baseline avian and vegetation communities on post oak savannah restoration areas
Journal/Year:TPWD Final Report/2011
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Author(s):Christopher E. Comer | Erica W. Lundberg
Citation:Comer, C. E., and E. W. Lundberg. 2011. Baseline avian and vegetation communities on post oak savannah restoration areas. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Final Report, Austin, USA.

Title:Biomass not linked to perennial grass mortality following severe wildfire in the southern High Plains
Journal/Year:Rangeland Ecology and Management/2011
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Author(s):Sandra Rideout-Hanzak | David B. Wester | Carlton M. Britton | Heather Whitlaw
Keywords:East Amarillo Complex | fire ecology | perennial grasses | plant mortality | post-fire management | primary production | wildfire
Abstract:In March 2006 the East Amarillo Complex (EAC) wildfires burned over 367 000 ha of short and mixed grass prairie of the southern High Plains, USA. We studied EAC wildfire effects on perennial grass mortality and peak standing crop on Deep Hardland and Mixedland Slopes ecological sites. Deep Hardlands were dominated by blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis H.B.K. [Griffiths]) and buffalograss (Buchloe dactyloides [Nutt.] Engelm.); common species on Mixedland Slopes were little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium [Michx.] Nash.) and sideoats grama (Bouteloua curtipendula [Michx.] Torr.) with scattered sand sagebrush (Artemisia filifolia Torr.) sometimes present. We hypothesized that perennial grass mortality would increase and standing crop would decrease following severe wildfire, and that these responses would be greater than documented prescribed fire effects. Frequency of perennial grass mortality was higher on both sites in burned areas than nonburned areas through three growing seasons following wildfire; however, standing crop was minimally affected. Results suggest that post-wildfire management to ameliorate wildfire effects is not necessary, and that wildfire effects in this area of the southern High Plains are similar to prescribed fire effects.
Management Implications:Despite the harsh environmental conditions leading up to the EAC wildfires and the extreme conditions experienced during the wildfire, this vegetation exhibited resilience that likely reflects the historical role of fire in this ecosystem. Our study sites represented a broad array of management practices both before and after the EAC wildfires. Incorporating this into the selection of our study sites, and analyzing our data to test these effects, was not possible. Consequently our results represent the average of these effects, and our overall finding of minimal wildfire effects suggests that management to ameliorate wildfire effects is unnecessary. In this study we failed to find a link between frequency of mortality and standing crop production. Finally, effects of these wildfires on standing crop were similar to prescribed fire effects reported in the literature.
Citation:Rideout-Hanzek, S., D. B. Wester, C. M. Britton, and H. Whitlaw. 2011. Biomass not linked to perennial grass mortality following severe wildfire in the southern High Plains. Rangeland Ecology and Management 64:47-55.

Title:Castilleja coccinea (Scrophulariaceae): new to Texas
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Matt White | Jeffrey N. Mink | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Castilleja | Scrophulariaceae | Pineywoods | Texas | U.S.A
Abstract:Castilleja coccinea, scarlet Indian paintbrush, is reported as new to Texas. The species is known only from Bowie County, which is located in the extreme northeast corner of the Pineywoods Ecoregion of the state. The distribution of Castilleja in Texas is briefly discussed and a list of associated flora occurring with the species is presented.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., M. White, J. N. Mink, and W. C. Holmes. 2011. Castilleja coccinea (Scrophulariaceae): new to Texas. Phytoneuron 32:1-3.

Title:Dryopteris celsa (Dryopteridaceae) and E.J. Palmer 29404: solution of a Texas mystery
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Jeffrey N. Mink | Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Dryopteris | Dryopteridaceae | Osmunda cinnamomea | Osmundaceae | Texas | E.J. Palmer
Abstract:A study of the specimens of E.J. Palmer 29404 from Bowie County, Texas, validates the occurrence of Dryopteris celsa in Texas and discloses that the specimens are mixed in various combinations with Osmunda cinnamomea (Osmundaceae).
Citation:Mink, J. N., J. R. Singhurst, and W. C. Holmes. 2011. Dryopteris celsa (Dryopteridaceae) and E.J. Palmer 29404: solution of a Texas mystery. Phytoneuron 11:1-8.

Title:Epilobium leptophyllum (Onagraceae) in the Texas flora
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Jeffrey N. Mink | Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Epilobium | Onagraceae | Lake Meredith National Recreation Area | Great Plains | Texas
Abstract:Epilobium leptophyllum is reported as new to Texas. This species was collected from Wheeler County, in the southern Great Plains of the Panhandle area of the state. A collection from Lake Meredith National Recreation Area in Potter County also is documented here.
Citation:Mink, J. N., J. R. Singhurst, and W. C. Holmes. 2011. Epilobium leptophyllum (Onagraceae) in the Texas flora. Phytoneuron 17:1-3.

Title:Heuchera americana (Saxifragaceae) in Texas
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Walter C. Holmes | Jason R. Singhurst | Jeffrey N. Mink
Keywords:Heuchera | Saxifragaceae | Texas | USA
Abstract:The occurrence and distribution of Heuchera americana in Texas are clarified and expanded with documentation for five counties: Bowie, Cass, Harrison, Red River, and San Augustine. A distribution map and photo of a specimen from Harrison County are included.
Citation:Holmes, W. C., J. R. Singhurst, and J. N. Mink. 2011. Heuchera Americana (Saxifragaceae) in Texas. Phytoneuron 6:1-4.

Title:Isoetes texana (Isoetaceae): a new species from the Texas Coastal Bend
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Jason R. Singhurst | Ann E. Rushing | Cullen K. Hanks | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Isoetes | Isoetaceae | Texas | USA
Abstract:Isoetes texana Singhurst, Rushing, & Holmes, sp. Nov., endemic to Calhoun and Aransas counties of the Texas Coastal Bend, is described. The new species is characterized by its aquatic habitat, leaf length of up to 62 cm, and smooth megaspore surfaces. Photos of the plant and habitat and SEM photos of the megaspores are included.
Citation:Singhurst, J. R., A. E. Rushing, C. K. Hanks, and W. C. Holmes. 2011. Isoetes texana (Isoetaceae): a new species from the Texas Coastal Bend. Phytoneuron 22:1-6.

Title:Low variability of DNA fingerprints of Texas snowbells: conservation implications
Journal/Year:Phytologia/2011
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Author(s):Robert P. Adams | Jackie Poole
Keywords:Styrax platanifolius var. texanus | Texas snowbells | RAPDs | conservation
Abstract:Texas snowbells (Styrax platanifolius var. texanus) is one of the most threatened native Texas plants. A preliminary study using DNA fingerprinting (RAPDs) was performed on plants from three natural populations. Almost no genetic variation was found, either within or between these three populations. Implications for conservation are discussed.
Management Implications:The present data, although preliminary, are concordant with the isozyme data (Fritsch, 1996) that there is very little genetic variation among Texas snowbells. It appears that conservation of several natural populations will not conserve genetic variation. However, maintaining several natural populations guards against a catastrophic extinction of Texas snowbells and might lead to the accumulations of genetic mutations in the future to diversify the genetic base.
Citation:Adams, R. P., and J. Poole. 2011. Low variability of DNA fingerprints of Texas snowbells: conservation implications. Phytologia 93:198-202.

Title:Remarks on Equisetum arvense (Equisetaceae) in Texas
Journal/Year:Phytoneuron/2011
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Author(s):Jeffrey N. Mink | Jason R. Singhurst | Walter C. Holmes
Keywords:Equisetum arvense | Equisetaceae | Texas | Great Plains
Abstract:Equisetum arvense, previously recorded in Texas from one collection in Lubbock County in 1932, is documented here from a recent collection in the headwaters of Murtaugh Creek in Wheeler County.
Citation:Mink, J. N., J. R. Singhurst, and W. C. Holmes. 2011. Remarks on Equisetum arvense (Equisetaceae) in Texas. Phytoneuron 21:1-3.

Title:Implications of coastal wetland management to nonbreeding waterbirds in Texas
Journal/Year:Wetlands/2012
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Author(s):Owen N. Fitzsimmons | Bart M. Ballard | M. Todd Merendino | Guy A. Baldassarre | Kevin M. Hartke
Keywords:aquatic invertebrates | marsh management | Texas coast | waterbirds
Abstract:Texas coastal marshes have declined in number and quality, prompting the widespread use of levees and water control structures to create or enhance coastal marsh habitat. In particular, management techniques that control water to provide fresh (< 0.5 ppt) and intermediate (0.5-5 ppt) marsh in a landscape dominated by brackish and saline marsh. However, research is needed to assess the effectiveness of these techniques in providing waterbird habitat. During 2007-09 along the central Texas Coast, we investigated the effects of marsh management on bird, plant, and aquatic invertebrate communities by comparing leveed areas within the coastal marsh that received water level and mechanical management, to adjacent nonmanaged marsh that received no hydrologic or mechanical manipulations. Managed marshes supported more bird species, greater waterbird densities, greater plant diversity, and greater aquatic invertebrate biomass than nonmanaged sites. However, nonmanaged wetlands supported greater densities and more species of secretive marsh birds (e.g., rails). Management of coastal marsh that reduces water salinities and suppresses plant succession appears to be a possible way to mitigate the effects of declines in fresh and intermediate marsh on nonbreeding waterbirds.
Management Implications:Our findings suggest that proper management of wetlands along the Texas coast can provide productive and diverse habitat for many wetland bird species. Greater invertebrate biomass and available energy, as well as greater seasonal variation in hydrology may have contributed to the higher bird species richness, bird diversity, and waterbird densities that we observed in managed wetlands. Marsh management techniques that reduce water salinities and suppress plant succession appear to create habitat for a suite of species that are not present in adjacent saltwater marshes. However, the value of nonmanaged marsh also was evident, as nonmanaged areas supported the majority of secretive marsh bird species (e.g., rails, bittern, sparrows) detected and greater marsh bird densities throughout the study. Future comparative studies should use extended monitoring efforts to account for broader temporal changes in plant and bird communities, and to better assess patterns across years. Also, investigating differences in foraging values of managed and nonmanaged marshes to different groups of waterbirds would help explain differences in their use, as aquatic invertebrates represent only a portion of the foods available to waterbirds in wetlands. Evaluating stopover duration, vital rates, or mass change of birds using managed and unmanaged marsh would allow a stronger assessment as to the quality of these habitats to migratory and wintering birds. Finally, major events such as hurricanes can provide valuable pre- and post event research opportunities, and future monitoring in these areas might provide clearer understanding of natural disturbances. Depending on specific objectives, managed wetlands on the Texas Coast can provide important habitat during crucial non-breeding periods to a large and diverse assemblage of birds, some of which are of high priority for conservation. Marsh management techniques present managers with an effective way to alleviate the negative effects of recent loss and degradation of freshwater and intermediate marsh on the Texas Coast (Moulton et al. 1997). The benefits of such practices are justification for the establishment of managed marshes in conjunction with the conservation of natural areas to improve habitat diversity for wetland birds at the local and landscape level on the Texas Coast.
Citation:Fitzsimmons, O. N., B. M. Ballard, M. T. Merendino, G. A. Baldassarre, and K. M. Hartke. 2012. Implications of coastal wetland management to nonbreeding waterbirds in Texas. Wetlands 32:1057-1066.

Title:Long-term effects of aeration and fire on invasion of exotic grasses in mixed-brush plant communities
Journal/Year:Rangeland Ecology and Management/2012
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Author(s):Feliz Ayala-A. | J. Alfonso Ortega-S. | Timothy E. Fulbright | G. Allen Rasmussen | D. Lynn Drawe | David R. Synatzske | Andrea R. Litt
Keywords:cover | litter | native vegetation | prescribed burn
Abstract:Invasion of exotic grasses into grasslands dominated by native plants changes fire cycles and reduces biodiversity. Brush management practices that create soil disturbance, such as aeration, may potentially result in invasion of exotic grasses and replacement of native vegetation. We tested the hypothesis that a long-term effect of aeration and prescribed burning is an increase in exotic grasses. The study was conducted at the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in the western south Texas plains where four treatments were evaluated: aeration, warm-season burn, aeration followed by a warm-season burn, and no treatment (control). The experimental design was a randomized complete block with four replicates. We estimated percentage canopy cover of exotic grasses, native grasses, forbs, litter, bare ground, and woody and succulent plants in 2007. There was a multivariate main effect among treatments for the dependent variables absolute canopy cover of exotic grasses, native grasses, forbs, litter, and bare ground (Wilks's Lambda F15,179.84 =2.78, P=0.001). Variables that contributed to the significant overall effect included litter (F3,69=4.32, P=0.008) and native grasses (F3,69=6.11, P=0.001). The multivariate main effect of treatment was significant (Wilks's Lambda F9,180.25=2.04, P=0.038) for the relative canopy cover of herbaceous species. Relative cover of exotic grasses was 31% higher (P = 0.024) in control than in the prescribed burn treatment. Native grasses relative cover was 30% higher (P=0.003) in prescribed burn than in the control treatment. We did not detect differences among treatments in the percentage of total woody and succulent plants canopy cover (P=0.083). Under the environmental conditions at the time of the study, aeration and/or prescribed burning do not increase exotic grasses.
Management Implications:Our results contradicted previous studies wherein prescribed fire promoted the increase of several exotic grasses (Milberg and Lamont 1995; Grace et al. 2001). Additional research is needed to determine why disturbance by fire reduced relative cover of exotic grasses and increased absolute and relative cover of native grasses in our study. Aeration as an initial disturbance to reduce woody canopy cover and to promote herbaceous vegetation, followed by prescribed burning after a few years as a follow-up to suppress woody species, may result in greater herbaceous species richness. A major concern is that disturbance associated with brush management may facilitate ingress of exotic grasses; however, our results demonstrate that this is not always the case. Ecosystems are highly complex, and additional research is needed to develop greater understanding of how aeration and burning influence the processes and mechanism underlying the dynamics of exotic grass invasion and native plant communities.
Citation:Ayala-A., F., J. A. Ortega-S., T. E. Fulbright, G. A. Rasmussen, D. L. Drawe, D. R. Synatzske, and A. R. Litt. 2012. Long-term effects of aeration and fire on invasion of exotic grasses in mixed-brush plant communities. Rangeland Ecology and Management 65:153-159.

Title:Marsh construction techniques influence net plant carbon capture by emergent and submerged vegetation in a brackish marsh in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico
Journal/Year:Ecological Engineering/2012
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Author(s):Eric N. Madrid | Antonietta Quigg | Anna R. Armitage
Keywords:carbon storage and sequestration | constructed marsh | restoration | net annual primary production | net annual plant carbon capture | Gulf of Mexico
Abstract:Coastal marshes play an important role in global carbon cycles, yet coastal development has led to widespread losses of marsh habitat. To address this problem, many coastal wetlands have been restored or created over the past several decades using a variety of construction techniques, but it is unclear if net plant carbon capture in constructed marshes is equal to that of reference marshes, or if rates of plant carbon capture are influenced by marsh construction techniques. To comparatively assess relative carbon capture by emergent and submerged vegetation in constructed and reference marshes, we measured standing biomass and carbon content in above- and belowground emergent plant tissue and submerged vegetation in three constructed areas (2-3 years old) and one reference area in a brackish marsh in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico in 2009 and 2010. We also used aerial photographs to construct a GIS database of emergent and submerged vegetation coverage. These data were combined to estimate net annual plant carbon capture per square meter of marsh vegetation in each constructed and reference area. This index of carbon input to wetland vegetation suggests that rates of carbon capture by emergent aboveground vegetation and submerged aquatic vegetation were similar in constructed and reference areas. However, submerged vegetation captured less carbon (0.1-0.3 kg m²) than emergent vegetation (0.2-1.7 kg m²), and constructed areas contained an order of magnitude less emergent habitat than the reference area. Consequently, the annual carbon production of entire constructed areas (emergent + submerged vegetation; 0.1-1.2 kg m²) was always less than half that of the reference area (0.8-2.5 kg m²). Therefore, although productivity of emergent and submerged vegetation in constructed and reference areas was similar, the smaller ratio of land to water in the constructed areas reduced their annual rate of plant carbon capture at a larger spatial scale. To more closely mimic rates of plant carbon capture in reference marsh habitats, constructed marsh designs should aim to replicate the ratio of land to water in adjacent reference marshes.
Management Implications:A large body of scientific literature has shown that constructed and reference marshes can obtain similar levels of emergent above-ground primary production (Costa-Pierce and Weinstein, 2002; Kentula, 2002; Shafer and Streever, 2000; Turner and Streever, 2002; Zedler, 2000a; Zedler and Callaway, 1999). However, the present investigation demonstrates that even when the productivity of a single species of vegetation is comparable between constructed and reference areas, the constructed site as a whole may not be performing as well on a landscape scale that integrates emergent and subtidal habitat. It is important for constructed and reference marshes to have comparable rates of plant carbon capture, and marsh construction designs should aim to duplicate the ratio of land to water in adjacent reference marshes to meet or exceed this goal.
Citation:Madrid, E. N., A. Quigg, and A. R. Armitage. 2012. Marsh construction techniques influence net plant carbon capture by emergent and submerged vegetation in a brackish marsh in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico. Ecological Engineering 42:54-63.

Title:Moist-soil managed wetlands and their associated vegetative, aquatic invertebrate, and waterfowl communities in east-central Texas
Journal/Year:Dissertation/2012
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Author(s):Daniel P. Collins, III
Citation:Collins, D. P, III. 2012. Moist-soil managed wetlands and their associated vegetative, aquatic invertebrate, and waterfowl communities in east-central Texas. Dissertation, Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX, USA.

Title:Plant and small vertebrate composition and diversity 36-39 years after root plowing
Journal/Year:Rangeland Ecology and Management/2013
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Author(s):Timothy E. Fulbright | E. Alejandro Lozano-Cavazos | Donald C. Ruthven, III | Andrea R. Litt
Keywords:amphibians | brush management | Prosopis glandulosa | reptiles | rodents | woody plants
Abstract:Root plowing is a common management practice to reduce woody vegetation and increase herbaceous forage for livestock on rangelands. Our objective was to test the hypotheses that four decades after sites are root plowed they have 1) lower plant species diversity, less heterogeneity, greater percent canopy cover of exotic grasses; and 2) lower abundance and diversity of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals, compared to sites that were not disturbed by root plowing. Pairs of 4-ha sites were selected for sampling: in each pair of sites, one was root plowed in 1965 and another was not disturbed by root plowing (untreated). We estimated canopy cover of woody and herbaceous vegetation during summer 2003 and canopy cover of herbaceous vegetation during spring 2004. We trapped small mammals and herpetofauna in pitfall traps during late spring and summer 2001-2004. Species diversity and richness of woody plants were less on root-plowed than on untreated sites; however, herbaceous plant and animal species did not differ greatly between treatments. Evenness of woody vegetation was less on root-plowed sites, in part because woody legumes were more abundant. Abundance of small mammals and herpetofauna varied with annual rainfall more than it varied with root plowing. Although structural differences existed between vegetation communities, secondary succession of vegetation reestablishing after root plowing appears to be leading to convergence in plant and small animal species composition with untreated sites.
Management Implications:A concern regarding use of root plowing to manage woody plants is that it can cause permanent changes in vegetation structure and composition that are undesirable for wildlife. Based on our long-term (>three decades) data, root plowing should be avoided if land managers wish to maintain woody plant species richness and diversity. Effects of root plowing, however, do not appear to be a conservation concern for small vertebrate communities on the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in Texas.
Citation:Fulbright, T. E., E. A. Lozano-Cavazos, D. C. Ruthven, III, and A. R. Litt. 2013. Plant and small vertebrate composition and diversity 36-39 years after root plowing. Rangeland Ecology and Management 66:19-25.