High Plains

The High Plains area is part of the Southern Great Plains. It is separated from the Rolling Plains by the Llano Estacado Escarpment and dissected by the Canadian River Breaks in the northern part. Notable canyons include Tule and Palo Duro along the Caprock. This relatively level plateau contains many shallow siltation depressions, or playa lakes, which sometimes cover as much as 40 acres and contain several feet of water after heavy rains. These depressions support unique patterns of vegetation within their confines.

The upland soils are dark brown to reddish brown, mostly deep, neutral to calcareous clay and clay loams in the north to sandy loams and sands in the south. Caliche is present under many soils at various depths, especially on the Potter series. The original vegetation of the High Plains was variously classified as mixed prairie, shortgrass prairie, and in some locations on deep, sandy soils as tallgrass prairie. Blue grama, buffalograss, and galleta (Hilaria jamesii) are the principal vegetation on the clay and clay loam sites.


Scientific Name Common Name Duration Habit Sun Water
Abronia ameliae Amelia's sand verbena, Heart's delight, Amelia's sand-verbena, Sand verbena Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Abronia angustifolia Purple sand verbena, Narrow-leaf sand-verbena Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Abronia fragrans Fragrant verbena, Sand verbena, Snowball, Snowball sand verbena, Sweet sand-verbena Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Abutilon fruticosum Indian mallow, Texas Indian mallow Perennial Herb Sun Dry
Acacia angustissima Prairie acacia, Fern acacia, Prairie wattle, Whiteball acacia Perennial Shrub Sun, Part-shade Dry
Achillea millefolium Common yarrow, Yarrow, Milfoil, Western yarrow Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Achnatherum hymenoides Indian ricegrass, Indian Millet, Sandgrass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Allium canadense var. canadense Canada onion, Meadow garlic, Wild onion Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Allium canadense var. mobilense Meadow garlic, Wild onion Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Allium coryi Yellow-flowered onion, Yellowflower onion Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Allium drummondii Drummond's onion, Wild Garlic, Drummond wild onion Perennial Herb Sun Dry
Amblyolepis setigera Huisache daisy, Butterfly daisy, Honey daisy Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Amorpha fruticosa Indigo bush, False indigo bush, False indigo, Desert false indigo Perennial Shrub Sun, Part-shade Moist
Ampelopsis cordata Heartleaf peppervine, Heart-leaf ampelopsis Perennial Vine Part-shade Dry
Andropogon gerardii Big bluestem, Turkeyfoot Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Moist
Aphanostephus skirrhobasis Lazy daisy, Arkansas lazy daisy, Arkansas dozedaisy Annual Herb Sun Dry
Argemone polyanthemos Annual pricklepoppy, Bluestem pricklepoppy, Bluestem prickly poppy, Crested pricklypoppy, Pricklypoppy, Thistle poppy, White prickly poppy, White pricklypoppy Annual Herb Sun Dry
Atriplex canescens Chamiso, Four-wing saltbush, Fourwing saltbush, Wingscale Perennial Shrub Part-shade Dry
Berlandiera lyrata Chocolate daisy, Chocolate flower, Lyreleaf greeneyes, Green-Eyed lyre leaf Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist
Bothriochloa barbinodis Cane bluestem Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Bouteloua curtipendula Sideoats grama Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Bouteloua dactyloides Buffalograss, Buffalo grass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Bouteloua eriopoda Black grama Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Bouteloua gracilis Blue grama Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Bouteloua hirsuta Hairy grama Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Dry
Calamovilfa gigantea Giant sandreed, Prairie sandreed Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Callirhoe involucrata Winecup, Purple poppy mallow Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Calylophus hartwegii Hartweg's sundrops, Western Primrose Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Celtis laevigata Sugar hackberry, Hackberry, Sugarberry, Texas sugarberry, Palo blanco Perennial Tree Part-shade Dry
Celtis laevigata var. reticulata Netleaf hackberry, Netleaf sugar hackberry, Sugar Hackberry, Texas Sugarberry, Palo Blanco, Acibuche Perennial Tree Part-shade
Centaurea americana American basket-flower, American star-thistle, Basket-Flower, Star thistle, Shaving brush Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Centaurium beyrichii Mountain pink, Meadow pink, Catchfly, Quinineweed Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Cephalanthus occidentalis Common buttonbush, Buttonbush, Button willow Perennial Shrub Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Cercocarpus montanus Alderleaf mountain mahogany, Alder-leaf mountain-mahogany, Mountain mahogany, Silverleaf mountain mahogany Perennial Shrub Sun Dry
Cercocarpus montanus var. argenteus Silver mountain mahogany, Mountain mahogany, True mountain mahogany, Silverleaf mountain mahogany Perennial Tree Sun Dry
Chloris virgata Feather fingergrass, Showy chloris Annual Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Dry
Cirsium texanum Texas thistle Biennial Herb Sun Dry
Cooperia drummondii Evening rain lily, Evening star rain lily Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Coreopsis lanceolata Lanceleaf coreopsis, Lanceleaf tickseed, Lance-leaved coreopsis, Sand coreopsis Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Dry
Coreopsis tinctoria Plains coreopsis, Golden tickseed, Goldenwave, Calliopsis Annual Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist
Corydalis aurea Scrambled eggs, Golden corydalis Annual Herb Dry
Corydalis curvisiliqua Curvepod, Curvepod fumewort, Golden Smoke, Scrambled Eggs Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Dasyochloa pulchella Fluff grass, Low woollygrass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Datura wrightii Sacred thorn-apple, Jimsonweed, Thorn apple, Datura, Angel Trumpet, Sacred datura Annual Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Digitaria californica Arizona cottontop, California cottontop, California crab grass, Cottontop Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Dry
Diospyros texana Texas persimmon, Mexican persimmon, Black persimmon, Chapote, Chapote prieto Perennial Tree Sun, Part-shade Dry
Elymus canadensis Canada wild rye, Canadian wildrye, Prairie wildrye, Nodding wildrye Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Moist
Elymus elymoides ssp. brevifolius Squirreltail, Long-leaf squirrel-tail Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Ephedra antisyphilitica Mormon tea, Joint-fir, Clapweed, Popote Perennial Shrub Part-shade Dry
Eriogonum annuum Annual buckwheat, Wild Buckwheat Annual Herb Sun Dry
Eriogonum wrightii Perennial buckwheat, Wright buckwheat, Wild buckwheat, Bastard sage Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Erioneuron pilosum Hairy Woollygrass, Hairy Tridens Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Eryngium leavenworthii Leavenworth's eryngo, Eryngo Annual Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist
Euphorbia marginata Snow on the mountain, Snow-on-the-mountain Annual Herb Part-shade Moist
Funastrum cynanchoides Fringed twinevine, Climbing milkweed vine, Twine-vine Perennial Vine Part-shade Dry
Funastrum cynanchoides ssp. heterophyllum Hartweg's twinevine, Vine milkweed Perennial Vine Part-shade Dry
Gaillardia pinnatifida Blanket flower, Red dome blanketflower, Red-dome blanket-flower, Yellow gaillardia Perennial Herb Sun
Gaillardia pulchella Firewheel, Indian Blanket Annual Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Gaillardia suavis Perfumeballs, Pincushion daisy, Fragrant gaillardia, Rayless gaillardia Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Glandularia bipinnatifida var. bipinnatifida Prairie verbena, Purple prairie verbena, Dakota mock vervain, Dakota vervain Annual, Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Glossopetalon planitierum Plains greasebush Perennial Shrub Part-shade Dry
Gutierrezia sarothrae Broom snakeweed, Kindlingweed, Matchbrush, Texas snakeweed, Broomweed, Turpentine weed, Matchweed Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Helianthus petiolaris Prairie sunflower, Plains sunflower Annual Herb Sun
Heliotropium curassavicum Salt heliotrope, Seaside heliotrope, Quail plant, Cola de mico, Cola de gama Annual Herb Sun Dry
Heliotropium tenellum Pasture heliotrope, White heliotrope Annual Herb Sun Dry
Hymenopappus flavescens Yellow plainsman, Collegeflower Biennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Ipomoea leptophylla Bush morning-glory Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Juniperus monosperma Oneseed juniper, One-seed juniper, Cherrystone juniper Perennial Shrub Part-shade
Juniperus pinchotii Pinchot's juniper, Pinchot juniper, Redberry juniper Perennial Tree Part-shade Dry
Juniperus scopulorum Rocky Mountain juniper, Rocky Mountain red cedar Perennial Tree Sun, Part-shade Dry
Lepidium montanum Mountain peppergrass, Western peppergrass, Mountain pepperweed, Mountain pepperwort, Montana pepperweed Biennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Leptochloa dubia Green sprangletop Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Dry
Lesquerella fendleri Fendler's bladderpod, Fendler's bladderpod, Popweed Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Liatris punctata Dotted blazing star, Dotted gayfeather Perennial Herb Sun Dry
Linum berlandieri var. berlandieri Berlandier's yellow flax, Yellow Flax, Stiff-stem flax Annual Herb Sun Dry
Linum hudsonioides Hudson Flax, Texas flax, Yellow Flax Annual Herb Sun Dry
Linum pratense Meadow flax Annual Herb
Linum rigidum Stiffstem flax, Large-flower yellow flax, Yellow flax Annual Herb Sun Dry
Lithospermum incisum Narrowleaf stoneseed, Puccoon, Fringed puccoon, Narrowleaf gromwell, Fringed gromwell, Narrow-leaved puccoon Perennial Herb Sun Dry
Lobelia cardinalis Cardinal flower Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Melampodium leucanthum Blackfoot Daisy, Rock daisy, Plains blackfoot Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Melica nitens Three-flower melic, Tall melicgrass, Threeflower melicgrass, Melicgrass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Moist, Dry
Monarda citriodora Lemon beebalm, Purple horsemint, Lemon mint, Plains horsemint, Lemon horsemint, Horsemint, Purple lemon mint Annual Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Morus microphylla Littleleaf mulberry, Mountain mulberry, Texas mulberry Perennial Tree Part-shade Dry
Muhlenbergia arenacea Ear muhly Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Muhlenbergia torreyi Ring muhly, Torrey muhly Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Nuttallanthus texanus Texas Toad-Flax, Texas toadflax, Toadflax Annual Herb Sun Moist
Oenothera speciosa Pink evening primrose, Showy evening primrose, Mexican evening primrose, Showy primrose, Pink ladies, Buttercups, Pink buttercups Perennial Herb Sun Moist, Dry
Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii Cactus apple, Prickly pear Perennial Cactus/Succulent Sun Dry
Opuntia macrorhiza Common prickly-pear, Plains prickly pear, Prickly Pear, Twist-spine prickly-pear, Twistspine pricklypear Perennial Cactus/Succulent Sun Dry
Palafoxia rosea Rosy palafox, Rose palafoxia Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Palafoxia sphacelata Othake, Sand palafoxia Annual Herb Dry
Panicum virgatum Switchgrass, Wand panic grass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Pascopyrum smithii Western wheatgrass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Moist
Penstemon ambiguus Pink plains penstemon, Pink plains beardtongue, Gilia penstemon, Gilia beardtongue, Sand penstemon, Sand beardtongue Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Penstemon fendleri Fendler's penstemon, Fendler's beardtongue, Fendler penstemon, Fendler beardtongue, Purple foxglove Perennial Herb Sun
Penstemon jamesii James's penstemon, James's beardtongue, James penstemon, James beardtongue Perennial Herb Sun
Phacelia integrifolia Gyp blue-curls, Gypsum phacelia Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Pinus edulis Colorado pinyon pine, Pinyon pine, Two-needle pine, Colorado pinyon, Pinyon Perennial Tree Part-shade Dry
Polygala alba White milkwort Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Populus deltoides ssp. monilifera Plains cottonwood, Great Plains cottonwood Perennial Tree Part-shade Dry
Prosopis glandulosa Honey mesquite Perennial Tree Sun Dry
Prunus virginiana Chokecherry, Common chokecherry, Choke cherry Perennial Tree Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Ptelea trifoliata Wafer ash, Common hoptree, Hop tree Perennial Tree Sun, Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist, Dry
Quercus mohriana Mohr oak, Shin oak, Scrub oak Perennial Shrub, Tree Part-shade Dry
Quincula lobata Purple groundcherry, Chinese lantern Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Ratibida columnifera Mexican hat, Prairie coneflower, Upright prairie coneflower, Red-spike mexican-hat, Long-headed coneflower, Thimbleflower Perennial Herb Sun Moist, Dry
Rhus aromatica Fragrant sumac, Aromatic sumac, Lemon sumac, Polecat bush Perennial Shrub Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Rhus microphylla Littleleaf sumac, Desert sumac, Correosa, Agritos Perennial Shrub Part-shade Dry
Rivina humilis Pigeonberry, Rouge plant, Baby peppers Perennial Herb Part-shade Moist
Ruellia humilis Fringeleaf wild petunia, Hairy ruellia, Low wild Petunia, Low ruellia Perennial Herb Part-shade Moist
Sagittaria latifolia Broadleaf arrowhead, Arrowhead, Duckroot, Duck-potato, Wapato Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Wet
Sagittaria platyphylla Delta arrowhead Perennial Herb Part-shade Wet
Salix amygdaloides Peachleaf willow, Peach-leaf willow, Almond-leaf willow Perennial Tree Sun, Shade, Part-shade Wet, Moist
Salvia azurea Pitcher sage, Big blue sage, Azure sage, Giant blue sage, Blue sage Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Salvia texana Texas sage, Blue sage Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Dry
Schizachyrium scoparium Little bluestem Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Dry
Scleropogon brevifolius Burrograss Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Setaria parviflora Marsh bristlegrass, Knotroot bristlegrass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Moist
Sisyrinchium langloisii Roadside blue-eyed grass, Dotted blue-eyed grass, Southern blue-eyed grass Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Sisyrinchium sagittiferum Blue-eyed grass, Spearbract blue-eyed grass Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Solanum elaeagnifolium Silverleaf nightshade, Silver-leaf nightshade, White horse nettle, Trompillo, Tomato weed Perennial Herb Sun Dry
Solidago altissima Tall Goldenrod, Late goldenrod, Canadian goldenrod, Canada goldenrod Perennial Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist
Solidago canadensis Canada goldenrod, Canadian goldenrod, Tall goldenrod, Giant goldenrod Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Solidago nemoralis Gray goldenrod, Prairie goldenrod, Old field goldenrod, Grayleaf goldenrod, Gray-leaved goldenrod Perennial Herb Sun, Shade, Part-shade Dry
Sorghastrum nutans Indiangrass, Yellow indian grass Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Shade, Part-shade Moist, Dry
Sphaeralcea angustifolia Copper globemallow, Copper-mallow, Globe mallow Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Sporobolus cryptandrus Sand dropseed Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun, Part-shade Dry
Sporobolus giganteus Giant dropseed Perennial Grass/Grass-like Sun Dry
Symphyotrichum subulatum Baby's breath aster, Annual Aster, Eastern annual saltmarsh aster, Blackland aster, Hierba del Marrano Annual Herb Shade, Part-shade Moist
Tetraneuris scaposa Four-nerve daisy, Hymenoxys, Stemmy four-nerve daisy, Yellow daisy, Bitterweed Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Teucrium canadense Canada germander, American germander, Canadian germander, Germander, Hairy germander, Wood sage Perennial Herb Part-shade Moist
Teucrium laciniatum Cut-Leaf germander, Dwarf germander, Lacy germander Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Thalictrum dasycarpum Purple meadow-rue, Meadow rue, Tall meadow-rue Perennial Herb Part-shade Wet, Moist
Tradescantia gigantea Giant spiderwort Perennial Herb Sun, Part-shade Moist
Tradescantia ohiensis Bluejacket, Ohio spiderwort Perennial Herb Part-shade Dry
Tridens albescens White tridens, White Top Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Moist
Tridens flavus Purpletop tridens, Redtop tridens, Tall redtop tridens, Purpletop, Redtop, Tall redtop Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Dry
Tridens muticus var. elongatus Slim tridens Perennial Grass/Grass-like Part-shade Dry
Verbena halei Slender verbena, Texas verbena, Texas vervain Perennial Shrub Sun Dry
Vernonia baldwinii Baldwin's ironweed, Western Ironweed, Ironweed Perennial Herb Sun Moist
Vitis arizonica Canyon grape, Arizona grape Perennial Vine Part-shade Dry
Xanthisma texanum ssp. drummondii Drummond's sleepydaisy, Sleepy-Daisy Annual Herb Part-shade Dry
Yucca campestris Plains yucca Perennial Cactus/Succulent Sun Dry
Yucca glauca var. glauca Narrow-leaf yucca, Soapweed yucca Perennial Cactus/Succulent Part-shade Dry
Zinnia grandiflora Rocky Mountain zinnia, Little golden zinnia, Yellow zinnia, Plains zinnia, Prairie zinnia Perennial Shrub Part-shade Dry