Checklist Introduction

A Checklist of the Vascular Plants of Texas

Stephan L. Hatch
Professor and Curator, S. M. Tracy Herbarium
Department of Rangeland Ecology and Management
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-2126
Kancheepuram N. Gandhi
former Assistant Curator, S. M. Tracy Herbarium
Larry E. Brown
Houston Community College
Houston, TX


This checklist is a continuation of the taxonomic account of the vascular plants of Texas initiated by Cory and Parks (1937) in their Catalogue of the Flora of Texas. The Soil Conservation Service publication A Guide to Plant Names in Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana-Arkansas (Wolff 1948 and 1954) was primarily an attempt to standardize common names. In 1955, a Soil Conservation Service workshop in College Station recommended the preparation of a bulletin to replace the Cory and Parks' catalogue. That recommendation resulted in Texas Plants -- A Checklist and Ecological Summary by Gould (1962), which was later revised (Gould 1969 and 1975a). Except for some changes in the grass family, Gould's 1975a revision is essentially the same as the 1969 revision.

In addition to these checklists, contributions made by the following have enhanced our knowledge of the Texas flora: Kartesz and Kartesz (1980), Reeves and Bain (1947), Rowell (1958), Shinners (1958 and 1972), Turner (1959), Jones et al. (1961), Lundell (1961, 1966, and 1969), Correll and Johnston (1970), Reeves (1972 and 1977), Gould (1975b), Jones (1975, 1977, and 1982), Stanford (1976), Nixon (1985), Mahler (1984 and 1988), and Powell (1988).

Of all the previous taxonomic works in Texas, Correll and Johnston (1970) and Gould (1975a and b) have been the most important sources of information. Since then, numerous additions (Correll 1972; Flook 1975; Hill 1981 and 1982; Lipscomb 1978 and 1984; Riskind 1978; Texas Natural Heritage Program 1987) and changes in our understanding of taxa and their distribution have made it necessary to replace Gould's checklist. We have made every effort to incorporate the appropriate changes into this checklist.


The section titled "Texas Plants -- An Ecological Summary" includes a discussion of the vegetation types, dominant plant species, soils, and current land uses within the 10 vegetational areas of Texas which is from Gould et al. [1960]). The arrangement of families in the current version of the searchable database and the 1990 version of the checklist generally corresponds to the sequence given in Correll and Johnston (1970), which is a modified Engler and Prantl (1887-1915) alignment. Within a family, the genera, species, subspecies, and varieties are arranged alphabetically.

Correct names, shown in bold face in the original checklist, are listed as the first line of each record in the database. Appropriate synonyms, shown in italics in the original checklist, are provided as an indication of "Other names in use" in the database.

Users may notice an alteration in the spelling of several specific epithets. If the stem in a two-part specific epithet ends in a, e, o, or u, then such a vowel is deleted and replaced by o for Greek stems and by i for Latin stems. For example, iva : folia, written as ivifolia, as per Article 73G of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (1983), was previously written as ivaefolia. Authorities are given for genera, species, subspecies, and varieties (typical subspecies and varieties, called autonyms, do not have authorities). To conserve space, we have cited only the essential authorities instead of complete authorities; for example, the authority for Muhlenbergia asperifolia is given as (Trin.) Parodi, not as (Nees and Mey. ex Trin.) Parodi (allowed either way, as per International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, Article 46E; Voss et al. 1983).

Scientific names are followed by common names (if available) in the original checklist and listed as "local name" in the database. The first or only common name of a species is shown in all capital letters, and additional common names appear in lower case letters. The initial letters of common names of genera, if any, are capitalized. If the common name of a genus is used for the species, the name is abbreviated to its first letter.

A broad regional distribution is given for each species, subspecies, and variety. The codes for origin, habit (longevity), phenology, and distribution, given on the inside of the front cover of the checklist, are either translated as phrases in the database or listed as 'yes' or 'no' indications (a description of the 'translation' of the electronic files is here).

Additions, corrections, and taxonomical changes (to Correll and Johnston 1970 and to Gould 1975b), indicated with asterisks (see the inside of front cover) in the checklist, are not specifically noted in the database, although later versions will carry this information. References for these recent revisionary works are given in the section titled "Bibliography." The references are provided in two categories: general and family.


The original publication was intended to enhance communication among the researchers (particularly botanists and ecologists), conservationists, amateur plant naturalists, and laypersons. The electronic version has been established with the same objective. Thus, both scientific and common plant names are employed. The scientific names are used for communication over large geographical areas as well as at the international level. Identification by scientific name is more accurate and less ambiguous than identification by vernacular (common or local) name; however, most ranchers and other laypersons use the common names of plants. The major disadvantages in using common names are that they are known only within small geographical regions, a single species may have several common names in Texas as well as within a single county, several species are known by a single common name, and many species have no common name.

Although we have attempted to provide all relevent data on Texas plants, this publication (and the electronic version) cannot be a complete assemblage of data. We emphasize the importance of expanding and refining the understanding of Texas flora. Thus, we welcome and encourage all interested persons to comment and make additions to the data base used for this list. We encourage the documentation of new records by specimen vouchers and expect to add many new records as a result of your interest.

A numerical summary of plant taxa is present in Table 1. This summarizes the total number of taxa per taxonomic rank as of the 1990 original checklist publication. The current database differs slightly. The ranks of the 10 largest families, according to their total number of species, are indicated by Roman numerals. The subspecies and varieties, other than the typical ones, representing species are included in the total number of species. Carex (74 species) and Euphorbia (63 species) are the two largest genera. Quercus is the largest genus of trees (39 species).

Literature Cited

Correll, D. S. 1972.  Manual of the vascular plants of Texas:
I. Additions and corrections.  Amer. Midl. Nat. 88:490-496.
Corrrel, D. S., and M. C. Johnston.  1970.  Manual of the vascular
plants of Texas.  Texas Research Foundation, Renner, TX.

Cory, V. L., and H. B. Parks.  1937.  Catalogue of the flora of the
state of Texas. Bull. No. 550.  Tex. Agri. Exp. Sta.  Colleg Station.

Engler, A., and K. Prantl. 1887-1915.  Die naturlichen
pflanzenfamilien, 23 vols.  Leipzig.

Flook, J. M.  1975.  Additions and corrections to the flora of
Texas. Sida 6:114.

Gould, F. W.  1962.  Texas Plants - a checklist and ecological
summary. MP-585.  Tex. Agri. Exp. Sta., College Station.
Gould, F. W.  1969.  Texas Plants - a checklist and ecological
summary. MP-585/Revised.  Tex. Agri. Exp. Sta., College Station.

Gould, F. W.  1975a.  Texas Plants - a checklist and ecological
summary. MP-585.  Tex. Agri. Exp. Sta., College Station.

Gould, F. W.  1975b.  The grasses of Texas.  Texas A&M University
Press, College Station.

Gould, F. W., G. O. Hoffman, and C. A. Rechenthin.  1960.
Vegetational areas of Texas.  Leaflet 492.  Tex. Agri. Exp. Sta.,
College Station.

Hill, S. R.  1981.  Supplement to flora of the Texas Coastal Bend by
F. B. Jones.  Sida 9:43-54.

Hill, S. R.  1982.  Distributional and nomenclatural notes on the
flora of Texas coastal bend.  Sida 9:309-326.

International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.  1983.  Adopted by the
Thirteenth International Botanical Congress, Sydney, August 1981.
W. Junk, Publishers, the Hague and Boston.

Jones, F. B.  1975.  Flora of the Texas Coastal Bend.  Welder Wildlife
Foundation.  Sinton, TX.

Jones, F. B.  1977.  Flora of the Texas Coastal Bend.  2nd. ed. Welder
Wildlife Foundation.  Sinton, TX.

Jones, F. B.  1982.  Flora of the Texas Coastal Bend.  3rd. ed.
Welder Wildlife Foundation.  Sinton, TX.

Jones, F. B., C. M. Rowell, Jr., and M. C. Johnston.  1961.  Flowering
plants and ferns of the Texas Coastal Bend Counties.  Welder
Wildlife Foundation, Sinton, TX.  

Kartesz, J. T., and R. Kartesz.  1980.  A synonymized checklist of the
vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland.
University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

Lipscomb, B. L.  1978.  Additions to the Texas flora.  Sida 7:393-394.

Lipscomb, B. L.  1984.  New additions or otherwise noteworthy plants
of Texas.  Sida 10:326-327.

Lundell, C. L.  1961.  Flora of Texas.  Vol. 3.  Texas Reseach
Foundation, Renner, TX.

Lundell, C. L.  1966.  Flora of Texas.  Vol. 1.  Texas Reseach
Foundation, Renner, TX.

Lundell, C. L.  1969.  Flora of Texas.  Vol. 2.  Texas Reseach
Foundation, Renner, TX.

Mahler, W. F.  1984.  Shinners' manual of the north central Texas
flora.  Southern Methodist University Herbarium, Dallas.

Mahler, W. F.  1988.  Shinners' manual of the north central Texas
flora.  Botanical Research Institute of Texas, Inc.  Fort Worth.

Nixon, E. S.  1985.  Trees, shrubs, and woody vines of East
Texas. Bruce Lyndon Cunningham Productions, Nacogdoches, TX.

Powell, M. A.  1988.  Trees and shrubs of Trans-Pecos Texas.  Big Bend
Natural History Association, Inc., Big Bend National Park, TX.

Reeves, R. G.  1972.  Flora of Central Texas.  Grant Davis

Reeves, R. G.  1977.  Flora of Central Texas.  Revised.  Grant Davis
Inc., Dallas.

Reeves, R. G., and D. C. Bain.  1947.  Flora of south central
Texas. The Exchange Store, Texas A&M University, College Station.

Riskind, D. H.  1978.  Noteworthy vascular plant records from
Texas. Sida 7:394-396.

Rowell, C. M., Jr.  1958.  Provisional checklist of the flora of the
Texas Panhandle.  Mimeographed.

Shinners, L. H.  1958.  Spring flora of the Dallas-Fort Worth area,
Texas.  Published by the author, Box 473, Dallas.

Shinners, L. H.  1972.  Shinners' spring flora of the Dallas-Fort
Worth area, Texas. 2nd ed.  W. F. Mahler (ed.)  Prestige Press, Fort

Stanford, J. W.  1976.  Keys to the vascular plants of the Texas
Edwards Plateau and adjacent areas.  Published by the author, Howard
Payne University, Brownwood, TX.

Texas Natural Heritage Program.  1987.  Special Plant List:
1-24. Mimeographed.  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Turner, B. L.  1959.  The legumes of Texas.  University of Texas
Press, Austin.

Wolff, S. E.  1948.  A guide to plant names in
Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana-Arkansas.  USDA, SCS.

Wolff, S. E.  1954.  A guide to plant names in
Texas-Oklahoma-Louisiana-Arkansas.  Revised by C. A. Rechenthin.