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The initial killing frost occurs about November 12 in the south and as early as October 20 in the north. Historically, the growing season has played a major role in crop production. Optimum conditions for growing commercially important crops were found in the areas with over 220 frost-free days. For example, cotton was grown all over the state, but the longer growing season in eastern Arkansas made production easier there than in the highlands. Page 16 Page 17 8. Vegetation Patterns Five major categories of natural vegetation have existed in recorded times in Arkansas.

This period was marked by cultural differentiation among the emerging communities. The areas south of the Arkansas River received their greatest cultural influence from Louisiana and southwestern Mississippi, yet these people were further divided by cultural contacts. Those between the Mississippi and Ouachita rivers were affiliated with the cultures of the Mississippi River valley, and those west of the Ouachita with the Caddo culture of the southwest. In the north, the peoples on the north and east had greater impact.

These Caddos, descendants of previous Indian groups in the area, were hunters and farmers. They cultivated traditional Indian crops such as corn, squash, beans, pumpkins, and sunflowers. Permanent Caddo settlements were located along many of the streams of southwestern Arkansas. The French estimated that there may have been as many as eight thousand Caddo in the three confederations. Among the lesser Indian groups found by the French, the Tunica had moved north along the Mississippi and had villages in the southeastern part of the state.

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