The Cross Timbers Ecoregion…

This blog post is not about fishing obviously, instead I thought I’d share some information about where I live.

I live on a cuesta in the Cross Timbers Ecoregion. This is a unique transition zone between the Ozarks to my East and the prairies to the West. It consists primarily of a tangle of Blackjack Oak and Post Oak trees. It is a mix of woodlands, savannah and prairie, some of which are found together in a 5 acre stretch, or a 5000 acre stretch and sometimes one or the other are in an exclusive swath spanning many miles.

I keep a half acre wide patch of my property in its natural state. Since I have horses, they have pretty much manicured the rest of the property to their liking. But there are areas around me that are true old growth forests. You couldn’t tell by looking at the trees that they were actually really old.

This particular Post Oak is at or near 100 years old and it might be 30 feet high at the highest point.

Not far from here is a preserve named the Keystone Ancient Forest that holds 500-year old Eastern Red Cedars and 300-year old Post Oak trees. It is a sight to behold.

The landscape is rugged, water can be difficult to find and the heat can be oppressive. Anything growing here has to be hardy. But it has a beauty to it that has to be experienced to fully understand. I’ve ventured through forest areas that were so thick and intertwined that you were forced onto your hands and knees just to traverse through a section. I’ve meandered through areas of savannah that had knee to waist high prairie grasses that remind a person of the African Savannah complete with non-native Mimosa trees. And the rocks…they are everywhere! They comprise every shape and size from pebbles to house size boulders.

No shortage of Prickly Pear Cactus around here.

If you spend the time and do the research, you begin to notice the abundance of edible and medicinal plants in this ecoregion. I have cataloged 63 different varieties on our property so far. What most people call weeds are actually very useful plants. And for those who don’t know…Botany is another hobby of mine! I just read an interesting article this past Friday about the effects of Taraxacum officinale on the COVID-19 virus…that’s the Latin name for Dandelion by the way. And as a side note: look into the US Pharmacopeia Book from the 1800’s–before modern pharmaceuticals took hold.

This is a picture of the soil in this area. Since this area used to be covered by the Western Interior Sea during the Cretaceous Period 145 million-66 million years ago…we have LOTS of sand.

I could literally start another blog just on the topic of edible and medicinal plants but I’m sure there are plenty of those out there.

Anyway, enough of me rambling on. I thought I’d share a small snippet of the area I call home. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. The pioneers weren’t too impressed with this region and saw no economic profit potential here. That’s fine by me as they ignored it and left an amazing old-growth area intact for us to experience today.

1 Comment

  1. Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this information together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    Like

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