West Gulf Coastal Plains Southern Calcareous Prairie

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Nature Serve ID: CES203.379


Primarily associated with the Fleming Formation, a calcareous clay/sandstone of Miocene age. The Cook Mountain Formation, a marly Eocene formation, may also give rise to clays that support this system.


Occurs on upper slopes and broad uplands in gently undulating landscapes.


Circumneutral to moderately alkaline, vertic soils such as Ferris, Houston Black, or Wiergate clays.

Parent Description

This graminoid-dominated system occurs within a landscape generally dominated by forest and woodland. It occupies deep vertic soils with circumneutral surface pH, a condition uncommon in the landscape of predominantly acidic, forested soils. Occurrences may reflect a relationship to the blackland prairie further to the west, within the Fayette Prairie, and some consider these small patch prairies to be outliers of the Blackland Tallgrass Prairie. The system may be dominated by species such as Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem), Sorghastrum nutans (Indiangrass), Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver bluestem), Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama), Andropogon gerardii (big bluestem), Nassella leucotricha (Texas wintergrass), Paspalum pubiflorum (hairyseed paspalum), and Panicum virgatum (switchgrass). Non-native grasses such as Bothriochloa ischaemum var. songarica (King Ranch bluestem), Bromus arvensis (Japanese brome), Cynodon dactylon (Bermudagrass), and/or Lolium perenne (Italian ryegrass) may be conspicuous to dominant. Other herbaceous species that may be encountered include Acacia angustissima (prairie acacia), Carex cherokeensis (Cherokee sedge), Croton monanthogynus (doveweed), Neptunia spp. (neptunia), Carex microdonta (smalltooth sedge), Grindelia lanceolata (Gulf gumweed), Rudbeckia missouriensis (Missouri coneflower), Rudbeckia hirta (blackeyed susan), Indigofera miniata (scarlet-pea), Arnoglossum plantagineum (groovestem Indian plantain), Euphorbia bicolor (snow-on-the-prairie), Dalea spp. (prairieclovers), Coreopsis tinctoria (plains coreopsis), Eustoma exaltatum (tall prairie gentian), and Symphyotrichum spp. (asters). Various woody species from the surrounding landscape, including Pinus taeda (loblolly pine), Ulmus alata (winged elm), Liquidambar styraciflua (sweetgum), Juniperus virginiana (eastern redcedar), Crataegus spathulata (littlehip hawthorn), Crataegus crus-galli (cockspur hawthorn), Sideroxylon lanuginosum (gum bumelia), and others, may invade these prairies. Non-native woody species, such as Rosa bracteata (Macartney rose), may also invade. This may be a result of long-term fire suppression.

Ecological Mapping Systems

Pineywoods: Southern Calcareous Mixedgrass Prairie

Mapping System ID: 4407

As described for the system.

Distribution Map

Pineywoods: Southern Calcareous Mixedgrass Prairie


Example Pineywoods: Southern Calcareous Mixedgrass Prairie.jpg

Public Land Occurrence

  • None.