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Vegetation of Texas


Forest of Texas
Forest of Texas

Much of eastern Texas and the Gulf Coastal Plain has red and yellow soils that are mostly sandy and reasonably productive with the proper use of fertilizers. Parts of the Gulf Coastal Plain and central Texas section have soils based on weathered decayed limestone. This limestone, with its thick cover of native grasses, has formed a rich, nearly black soil. It is one of the best types of farming soil in Texas, although it becomes hard when dry. When wet, it becomes gummy and difficult to plow.

Many of the soils of southern Texas are rich, especially along the lower Río Grande, which has fertile alluvial soils. However, the soils in this area are often not productive because of scanty rainfall. Most of the High Plains has rich reddish-chestnut soils that are productive with adequate water. Farther south, the Edwards Plateau has thin, poor soils.

Most of the land in this area is used for grazing livestock. The Basin and Range province has some fertile alluvial soils in the river valleys of the Pecos and the Río Grande. In most other parts of the area the soil is too salty for farming.

Texas’s vegetation changes gradually from east to west as the climate becomes more arid. Eastern Texas has forests largely made up of loblolly pines and shortleaf pines. The undergrowth of these forests usually includes several types of ferns. West of the pinewoods is an area of mixed pine and hardwood forests called the post oak belt. Several kinds of oaks, as well as sweetgums, hickories, and elms, grow there. Farther west the forests are thinner and the trees smaller. Mistletoe, a parasitic plant, often grows on the trees of this region. Much of central Texas is grassland, with thickets of junipers known as “cedar breaks.”

Texas’s vegetation changes gradually from east to west as the climate becomes more arid. Eastern Texas has forests largely made up of loblolly pines and shortleaf pines. The undergrowth of these forests usually includes several types of ferns. West of the pinewoods is an area of mixed pine and hardwood forests called the post oak belt. Several kinds of oaks, as well as sweetgums, hickories, and elms, grow there. Farther west the forests are thinner and the trees smaller. Mistletoe, a parasitic plant, often grows on the trees of this region. Much of central Texas is grassland, with thickets of junipers known as “cedar breaks.”

Some parts of western Texas have desert vegetation. The plants in this region generally have few leaves and flower only in moist seasons. They send their roots far into the earth to gather as much water as possible. Some, such as the cacti, have thick spongy tissues that store water. The higher elevations of western Texas have some fir and pine trees.

The fields and roadsides of central Texas have many colorful wildflowers, especially in late spring. Among the most notable wildflowers are the bluebonnet, which is the state flower; the Indian paintbrush; and the prickly pear, a type of cactus that is common in dry areas and that bears large yellow flowers on the edges of its thorny leaves. "Texas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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