Contact Information

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Wildlife Division
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


Plant Guidance by Ecoregions

Ecoregion 8 – Rolling Plains

At the south end of the Great Plains of the central United States, this region characterizes the “last gasp” or the great continental prairie ecosystem. Annual rainfall in the region averages 22 to 30 inches, with the greater numbers being in the east. Average temperatures are 60 to 64 degrees. East of the Cap Rock, the native prairies consist of midgrass to tallgrass communities. Pristine pockets of prairie are a rare treat today though. Much of the great expanse of sideoats grama, little bluestem and blue grama is now tilled for cotton. Overgrazing has allowed honey mesquite and shinnery oak to invade the prairie – along with snakeweed and prickly pear. Many are surprised to learn that some trees were a natural part of this landscape – especially along the waterways. Plains cottonwood, Mohr oak, netleaf hackberry, one-seed juniper and Rocky Mountain juniper are among these species.

The gently rolling hills and broad flats of the Rolling Plains harbor the headwaters of the great rivers of Texas, including the Canadian, the Colorado, the Concho and the Red Rivers which originate in the brakes of the Cap Rock Escarpment. These rivers and their tributaries are inhabited by some of the rare and unique fauna of Texas such as the Concho Water Snake and the Brazos Water Snake. Sand bars on the upper reaches of these rivers provide nesting habitat for the Interior Least Tern and the Snowy Plover. The Palo Duro Mouse, a close relative of the Pinyon Mouse of the Rocky Mountains, can be found in the juniper woodlands on the steep breaks of the canyons there. Burrowing at the base of mesquite trees on certain clay loam soils of the Rolling Plains may be the Texas Kangaroo Rat – a unique desert adapted rodent that still has scientist guessing as to its origins.

Plants for the Rolling Plains