Vascular flora of saline lakes in the Southern high plains of Texas and Eastern New Mexico

David J. Rosen, Amber D. Caskey, Warren C. Conway, David A. Haukos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Saline lakes and freshwater playas form the principal surface hydrological feature of the High Plains of the Southern Great Plains. Saline lakes number less than 50 and historically functioned as discharge wetlands with relatively consistent water availability due to the presence of one or more springs. Currently, less than ten saline lakes contain functional springs. A survey of vascular plants at six saline lakes in the Southern High Plains of northwest Texas and one in eastern New Mexico during May and September 2009 resulted in a checklist of 49 species representing 16 families and 40 genera. The four families with the most species were Asteraceae (12), Amaranthaceae (8), Cyperaceae (5), and Poaceae (12). Non-native species (Bromus catharticus, Poa compressa, Polypogon monspeliensis, Sonchus oleraceus, Kochia scoparia, and Tamarix ramosissima) accounted for 10% of the total species recorded. Whereas nearly 350 species of vascular plants have been identified in playas in the Southern High Plains, saline lakes contain a fraction of this species richness. The Southern High Plains saline lake flora is regionally unique, containing taxa not found in playas, with species composition that is more similar to temperate desert wetlands of the intermountain Region and Gulf Coastal Plain of North America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-602
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas
Volume7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 27 2013

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