Book examines plants of the Big Bend

By Craig Nyhus

Lone Star Outdoor News

Texas’ very own secret garden lies in the rugged areas of Big Bend and the Trans-Pecos.

Mule deer, desert bighorns and pronghorns and other wildlife have their favorite plants to eat. In Big Bend and the Trans-Pecos, many of those plants aren’t recognizable to most Texans, where diets are more focused on browse than in other parts of the state.

Louis Harveson knows a few things about the Trans Pecos region of Texas. He’s been teaching natural resource management at Sul Ross State University for years and he is the Dan Allen Hughes Jr. Endowed Director of the Borderlands Research Institute.

His book, “Woody Plants of the Big Bend and Trans-Pecos: A Field Guide to Common Browse for Wildlife,” examines 84 species of browse plants, many unique to the region, with photographs and including the plant’s habitat, leaves, flowers and fruits. The book also describes each plant’s value to wildlife, identifying whether the plant is a first, second or third choice plant.

From first-choice plants like the Mexican redbud, bigtooth maple and guayacan to third-choice plants like ocotillo and the dreaded creosote, Harveson’s book is the perfect field guide for landowners, wildlife managers or anyone interested in the plants they observe when they travel west.

Harveson’s book is available through Texas A&M University Press ( for $29.95.