Chihuahuan Succulent Desert Scrub

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Nature Serve ID: CES302.738


Typically associated with limestones, but can also be found on gravels, igneous and sandstone substrates.


Often on rocky or gravelly slopes.


Rocky or gravelly sites derived from limestone, calcareous gravel deposits, sandstone or igneous. Igneous Hill and Mountain, Limestone Hill and Mountain, Sandstone Hill, Limestone Hill, Gravelly, and similar ecoclasses may be occupied by this system.

Parent Description

This system typically occupies dry slopes with significant exposed rock (typically limestone) or gravel. Shrub species such as Larrea tridentata (creosotebush), Parthenium incanum (mariola), Viguiera stenoloba (skeleton-leaf golden eye) (agarito), and Forestiera angustifolia (desert olive) may be present, but succulents such as Yucca torreyi (Torrey's yucca), Dasylirion texanum (Texas sotol), Agave lechuguilla (lechuguilla), Fouquieria splendens (ocotillo), Dasylirion leiophyllum (smooth sotol), Euphorbia antisyphilitica (candelilla), and Opuntia spp. (pricklypears) are conspicuous and are the aspect dominants. Overall cover is generally low and bare rock is easily visible in most occurrences. Herbaceous cover is low with grasses such as Bouteloua eriopoda (black grama), Bouteloua ramosa (chino grama), and Bouteloua curtipendula (sideoats grama) sometimes present. Fern and fern allies such as Astrolepis spp. (cloakferns), Cheilanthes spp. (lipferns) and Selaginella lepidophylla (resurrection plant) are often common.

Ecological Mapping Systems