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Pennsylvania

New Texas Serpentine Barrens


Location
Southern Lancaster County
 
Size
210 acres
 
How to See This Site 
Because The Nature Conservancy manages this land for a private owner, it is not open to the public. The only way to see this special place is by joining us for a volunteer day. If you would like to lend a hand at this site, check out our volunteer workdays for currently scheduled activities.
 
Why You Should Visit
New Texas has the highest quality of grasslands in the serpentine barrens. In the larger meadows, moths and butterflies can be seen nectaring on wildflowers in late summer.
 
What to See: Plants
The serpentine aster (Aster depauperatus), one of the many rare plants found at New Texas, lives on the serpentine barrens in Pennsylvania and Maryland. It can be found nowhere else in the world. Its nearly leafless red-colored flower stalks and ground-hugging rosette help it to withstand heat and drought. The round-leaved fameflower (Talinum teretifolium) grows on isolated rock exposures scattered across the southeastern United States. Like a cactus, it is a true succulent, tolerating heat and drought by storing water in stems and pads. Warm-season grasses are found in quantity here, such as prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), and arrow-feather grass (Aristida purpirascens).
 
What to See: Animals
New Texas hosts many species of butterflies and moths, like the red-banded hairstreak and the dusted skipper. The site is also home to several birds, including owls and warblers. Because the warm-season grasses flower and go to seed later in the summer than other kinds of vegetation, these meadows are crucial for many bird and insect species.
 
Why the Conservancy Selected This Site
New Texas is part of the State-Line Serpentine Barrens, the largest occurrence of serpentine barrens in the eastern United States.
 
What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing
The greatest threat to this unique ecosystem is succession, or the gradual replacement of one plant community by another. A management agreement with the landowner allows us to conduct ecological restoration and habitat improvement at New Texas. A loyal group of dedicated volunteers has been working at this location since 1997, removing woody invasives in order to allow the warm-season grasses and rare species to thrive. To guide our work, volunteers with expertise in plant identification and GPS technology have identified and mapped the areas of highest priority.

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