Chihuahuan Sandy Plains Semi-Desert Grassland

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Nature Serve ID: CES302.736


Aeolian sand, sometimes as a thin veneer over surrounding formations, such as caliche, and sandstone.


Often level plains and mesas to gently rolling.


Sandy, loamy sand, and shallow sandy loam soils.

Parent Description:

This grassland or steppe occurs on sandy plains throughout the Trans-Pecos and into the arid southern portions of the High Plains. The herbaceous layer is often dominated by grasses such as Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama), Sporobolus flexuosus (mesa dropseed), Sporobolus cryptandrus (sand dropseed), Muhlenbergia arenicola (sand muhly), Sporobolus airoides (alkali sacaton), Cenchrus spinifex (common sandbur), and Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn). Species such as Prosopis glandulosa (honey mesquite), Yucca elata (soaptree yucca), Yucca campestris (plains yucca), Yucca torreyi (Torrey’s yucca), and Larrea tridentata (creosotebush) may occur as a scattered woody component. The non-native species Eragrostis lehmanniana (Lehmann lovegrass) and Eragrostis barrelieri (Mediterranean lovegrass) are frequently found in this system.

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