Region 9: Live Oak-Mesquite Savanna
THIS region, comprising roughly the territory reaching from the upper south Llano to the upper North Concho, might be called the south-central Edwards Plateau. It lies north of the rugged hills which characterize the Balcones Escarpment and south of the sandy south plains (11) and the Permian Redlands (13). Buffalo, curly mesquite and grama grasses together with adequate stock water, combine to make it an ideal ranching country. Streamways are heavily timbered with pecan, and the nuts constitute in them' selves a very valuable crop. Other trees are western walnut, syca more, hackberry, wild china, elm, and liveoak. The latter, in mottes, are a conspicuous landscape feature of the uplands. In the rougher, more hilly portions, Spanish oak and scrub (Mohr's) oak, shin oak and possibly some others, together with cedars, occur. Western redbud and Spanish buckeye are conspicuous when in bloom in early spring. In the more level and sandier portions, mesquite and species of Acacia are scattered over the grassland.
Intensive grazing, especially by sheep and goats, has greatly depleted the wealth of wild flowers which formerly covered the whole region in profusion. A few unpalatable sorts, like the per' nicious, sheep-poisoning bitterweed (Hymenoxys odorata) are fa' vored by overgrazing so long as an abundance of palatable food is available, but when scarcity of other forage forces sheep and goats to eat it, serious losses among the flocks result. At the present time one may drive over the whole region and hardly see any flower but bitterweed, except in areas protected from sheep and goats. This is not, in the case of perennials, because they are exter' minated, but rather because they are too closely cropped to be able to bloom. In all well kept pastures, in spring and after rains, the buffalo or curly mesquite grass simulates a green velvety carpet dotted with liveoak and stretching out of sight over the undulating hills. Families of flowers naturally represented are many and varied, as well as colorful. This is abundantly shown in such areas as are protected from sheep and goats. An enumeration would be more burdensome than profitable, hence the interested reader is referred to the list of genera in the second part of this section.