In 2003, The Nature Conservancy of Texas purchased a 36-ha remnant of bottomland prairie (Cowleech Prairie Preserve) along the Cowleech Fork of the sabine River, Hunt County, northeastern Texas.
In this paper, we describe floristic associations within the Cowleech Prairie Preserve, thereby providing the first comprehensive description of this type of community.
Materials and Methods--The study was conducted at Cowleech Prairie Preserve, located at the main fork of the Sabine River, 8 km S Greenville, Hunt County, northeastern Texas.
In the past, Cowleech Prairie Preserve was used for production of hay.
Three of the five transects (transects 1, 2, and 5) were in drier parts of the prairie, whereas the other two transects (transects 3 and 4) were through more mesic parts of Cowleech Prairie Preserve.
Similarly, species richness at Cowleech Prairie Preserve varied with seasons and among transects.
This may further explain seasonal differences in species richness at Cowleech Prairie Preserve; most graminoids recorded were warm-season grasses that peak in production towards autumn.
Species of Aster were the only composites that were widely distributed in Cowleech Prairie Preserve.
The ecological affinity of the Cowleech Prairie Preserve with other tallgrass communities in the Texas blackland prairie and the more northerly North Ameican tallgrass prairie is not clear.
Aside from the Cowleech Prairie Preserve, the only known large remnant of these prairies is in south-central Texas on the Mill Creek floodplain in Austin County.
This study represents the first comprehensive documentation of composition, dominance, and floristic changes with seasons in Cowleech Prairie Preserve.