Edwards Plateau Cliff

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Nature Serve ID: CES303.653


Hard-bedded limestones.


Vertical or near vertical rock faces, sometimes alternating with slope forming limestone members.


Little to no soil development. Some soil accumulating on ledges and in crevices.

Parent Description

Some of these sites may be mesic, accumulating moisture from nearby slopes in crevices within the limestone substrate, and seeps may be present. They often occur as long narrow bands. Composition and cover on these cliff faces is a function of aspect, canopy cover provided by surrounding systems, local climate, and moisture available from the underlying 51 geologic formation. Seeps and mesic sites may have fairly dense cover of Adiantum capillusveneris (maiden-hair fern) with patches of Thelypteris ovata var. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's maidenfern) present. More xeric sites often have significant shrub cover, with species such as Buddleja racemosa (Texas butterflybush), Ungnadia speciosa (Mexican buckeye), Diospyros texana (Texas persimmon), Ageratina havanensis (shrubby boneset), Garrya ovata ssp. lindheimeri (Lindheimer's silktassel), Bernardia myricifolia (southwest bernardia), Philadelphus spp. (mock-orange), Styrax spp. (snowbell), and Toxicodendron radicans ssp. eximium (poison ivy). Herbaceous species that may be present include Salvia roemeriana (cedar sage), Penstemon baccharifolius (baccharisleaf beardtongue), Schoenus nigricans (black sedge), Chaetopappa bellidifolia (least daisy), Perityle spp. (rockdaisy), and ferns in the genera Asplenium, Astrolepis, Cheilanthes, and Pellaea. Sparse grasses including Bouteloua hirsuta (hairy grama), Bouteloua rigidiseta (Texas grama), and Aristida oligantha (oldfield threeawn) may be present. These cliffs often serve as refugia from herbivores.

Ecological Mapping Systems

Edwards Plateau: Wooded Cliff / Bluff

Edwards Plateau: Barren or Grassy Cliff / Bluff

Mapping System ID: 807

This vegetation type generally lacks significant vegetative cover due to the limited potential for soil development on such steep surfaces. These cliffs or bluffs may have development of some lichen and patchy grass clumps in limited areas where soil can remain stable. Sparse shrubs and herbaceous cover (with species suggested in the system description) may be present.

Distribution Map

Edwards Plateau: Barren or Grassy Cliff / Bluff


Example Edwards Plateau: Barren or Grassy Cliff/Bluff.jpg