The distribution and phytosociology of Yucca elata in southern New Mexico

TitleThe distribution and phytosociology of Yucca elata in southern New Mexico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1978
AuthorsSmith SD, Ludwig J.
JournalThe American Midland Naturalist
Date Published1978
Call Number00309
Keywordsarticle, articles, journal, journals, Yucca,distribution, Yucca,phytosociology

The ecological distribution and phytosociological characteristics, i.e., species correlations and associations and spatial patterning, of Yucca elata were examined on the New Mexico State University Jornada Ranch. Yucca elata has a similar geographical and edaphic distribution on the Jornada as in the Chihuahuan Desert as a whole. Yucca elata is significantly associated with Prosopis glandulosa and Xanthocephalum sarothrae around a playa site on the Jornada Ranch. However, a general lack of significant correlations and associations between Y. elata and other species in desert scrub and grassland communities indicates the ubiquitous nature of this species. It reaches its best development in the desert grassland community and occurs in the more mesic areas of the desert scrub communities, possibly being a relic of past grassland vegetation in these areas. Individual canopies exhibit strong clumping due to vegetative propagation being the dominant form of reproduction. Cattle and fire disturbance appear to increase clumping in the species.