The Trans-Pecos

Perhaps the most spectacular ecoregion in Texas is the Trans-Pecos, offering both breathtaking landscapes and incredibly biodiversity. West of the Pecos River this 19 million acres of impressive desert grassland, desert scrub, salt basins, sand hills, and rugged plateaus to wooded mountain slopes support an amazing variety of plant and animal life that is highlighted by the amazing diversity within the coniferous and mixed hardwood forests at the mountain peaks. More rare and endemic species can be found in this region than in any other part of Texas.

Parts of this region are the hottest and driest of the state, with some areas receiving less than 8 inches of annual rainfall. Precipitation tends to rise with elevation, so the more moisture loving plant communities are likely to be in the mountains. Heat is a significant feature of the area, and the average temperature of 64 degrees fails to reflect either extreme.

The south rim of a mountain system here might include juniper, Texas madrone and pine species, while the desert immediately surrounding it might feature creosote bush and ocotillo. Creosote-tarbush desert-scrub grasslands are the dominant features interspersed with montane forests of pinyon pine, ponderosa pine and oak.

Fifty four species of bird are primarily confined to this region within the state including the prized Montezuma’s Quail. This is the region where the Lucifer Hummingbird is most reliably seen. Berylline Hummingbird has only been reported from the Trans-Pecos. Reptiles abound including eastern collared lizard and Trans-Pecos rat snake. Mexican long-tongued bat, Texas antelope squirrel kit fox and bighorn sheep are some of the unusual mammals found in this area. Black bears and mountain lions are both making significant returns in this area.

With an area this unique, it is not surprising that there is a long list of plants available to the gardener wanting to Wildscape his property. These are just a few possibilities.

Plants for the Trans-Pecos

  • Trees
    • Texas madrone
    • Net-leaf Hackberry
    • Fragrant ash
    • Gregg ash
    • Meseta cottonwood
    • Quaking aspen
    • Emory oak
    • Chisos red oak
    • Peach-leaf willow
    • Western soapberry
    • Mexican buckeye
    • Alligator juniper
    • Rocky Mountain juniper
    • Mexican pinyon pine
  • Shrubs
    • White-thorn acacia
    • Flame acanthus
    • Sand sage
    • Fourwing saltbush
    • Butterfly bush
    • Buttonbush
  • Succulents
    • Agave
    • Brown spine prickly-pear cactus
    • Soaptree yucca
    • Faxon yucca
    • Teddy-bear cholla
  • Vine
    • Old man’s beard
    • Climbing milkweed vine
    • Canyon grape
  • Grasses
    • Cane bluestem
    • Sideoats grama
    • Hairy grama
    • Buffalograss
    • California cottontop
    • Hairy tridens
    • Tanglehead
    • Burrogras
    • Alkali acaton
  • Wildflowers
    • Yellow columbine
    • Desert marigold
    • Slender-stem bitterweed
    • Purple groundcherry
    • Cedar sage
    • Scarlet standing-cypress
    • Big-bend lupine
    • Paperflower