North American Warm Desert Playa

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Nature Serve ID: CES302.751


Quaternary alluvial, playa, and caliche deposits.


Internally draining, somewhat circular basins.


Verhalen clay.

Parent Description

This system forms in alternately wet and dry, internally draining, often clay-lined basins, sometimes over caliche. They tend to be sparsely vegetated, sometimes with open water, or herbaceous vegetation. High evaporation rates leads to high salinity and halophytic species may be common. Species that may be present include Distichlis spicata (saltgrass), Allenrolfea occidentalis (pickle-weed), Tiquilia canescens (oreja de pero), Suaeda spp. (seablite), Salsola spp. (Russian thistle), and Atriplex canescens (four-wing saltbush).

Ecological Mapping Systems

Trans-Pecos: Desert Playa Lake And Barrens

Mapping System ID: 11900

Sites as described for the system that are sparsely vegetated or are open water when precipitation events occur.

Public Land Occurrence

  • None.

Trans-Pecos: Desert Playa Grassland

Mapping System ID: 11907

Sites as described for system with vegetative cover as described for system.

Distribution Map

Trans-Pecos: Desert Playa Grassland


Example Trans-Pecos: Desert Playa Grassland.jpg

Public Land Occurrence

  • None.