Plants and Animals.


The first thing to note is the very flat terrain and the vegetation coverage which is a low grass and shrub mixture. This is what James Long noted in his description. According to ( "Commonly Associated Plants in the area:Catclaw, whitethorn acacia, sotol, cholla, Torrey yucca, palmella, brickelbush, mesquite, javelina bush, beargrass, black grama, chino grama, fluffgrass, broom snakeweed, jimmyweed. These are located Principally in the vicinity of the Chinati mountains and surrounding the Solitario, Presidio, and Brewster Counties, Trans-Pecos." The common Yucca-Ocatillo Shrub is apparently he common bush-like plant interspersed with the grasses seen in many views of this region.

According to a narrative of the Texas Mountain Trail: in the Alpine Section:, In this open land, where rainfall may be less than 10 inches a year, only the hardiest plants can survive - mesquite, cactus, catclaw, sage, and the ever-present greasewood. to early inhabitants, greasewood was both medicine and building material. Its twigs and leaves, steeped in boiling water, made a healing poultice for man and animal; parasitic deposits from leaf undersides, mixed with pulverized rock, made cement." Presidio:" Seven miles north of Shafter the impressive Elephant Rock (47) is indicated by a highway sign, and two miles farther is a good view of Chinati Peak (48) to the west, whose summit reaches 7,730 feet. Geologists say this region is the biggest volcanic center in Texas and estimate the age of Chinati's rock at 32 million years. The land here is unchanged from the days when countless buffalo made it their home. It is now devoted to vast, sparsely vegetated ranches. A cowboy from the previous century would find it perfectly familiar, except for this thin ribbon of highway and the airplanes now used by large ranches to supplement sure-footed cow ponies. About 25 miles north of Shafter, highway cuts reveal more evidence of volcanic phenomena. Easily recognizable black lava flows contrast vividly with the nearly white volcanic ash that appears in the cuts."

Copyright (C) 2001 Dr. Sten Odenwald