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Recently Updated Plant Articles

Partridge Pea

Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata)

Updated September 24th, 2021

A showy, nitrogen-fixing annual of sunny, average to dry habitats, native to central to eastern North America.

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Box Elder

Box Elder (Acer negundo)

Updated August 27th, 2021

A maple with compound leaves, native across North America, coast-to-coast, common in riparian areas and near wetlands.

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Balsam Fir

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea)

Updated August 27th, 2021

An evergreen conifer native to North America, and a late-successional species found in areas that have not been disturbed recently. The only fir found in the northeast.

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Recently Updated Ecoregion Articles

Adirondack High Peaks
North America » Northern Forests » Atlantic Highlands » Northeastern Highlands »

Adirondack High Peaks

Updated April 9th, 2021

Mid-elevations (1,500-2,800 feet) in the Adirondacks, covered in a more conifer-rich variant of northern hardwood forests.

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Berkshire Transition
North America » Northern Forests » Atlantic Highlands » Northeastern Highlands »

Berkshire Transition

Updated April 9th, 2021

A hilly, geologically diverse transition between the Berkshire mountains and lower elevations of coastal New England.

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St. John Uplands
North America » Northern Forests » Atlantic Highlands » Northeastern Highlands »

St. John Uplands

Updated April 9th, 2021

A mostly unpopulated, hilly upland region at the northern border of Maine, extending into Quebec and New Brunswick.

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Recently Updated ID / Comparison Guides

collage of Tree of Heaven and Staghorn Sumac

Tree of Heaven (Ailanthus altissima) vs. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

Updated September 23rd, 2021

These trees are sometimes confused because of similar compound leaf shape and occurrence in the same disturbed habitats, such as along roadsides and railroads. Both tend to form colonies with multiple trunks attached to a single root system. They can be easily distinguished at any time of year by leaves, twigs, bark, and fruit. Although their ranges and habitat overlap considerably, tree of heaven ranges farther west and is more common in cities and anthropogenic habitats, whereas staghorn sumac ranges farther north and is more common in natural areas farther from human influence.

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collage of Smooth Sumac and Staghorn Sumac

Smooth Sumac (Rhus glabra) vs. Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)

Updated September 23rd, 2021

Smooth and staghorn sumac are very similar in appearance and overlap both in range and habitat. They are usually easily distinguished by the presence or absence of hairs along stems, and they also have differences in growth habit and berry clusters. The two plants, however, can hybridize, so it may not be possible to identify all individuals; hybrids are especially common in the upper Midwest. Smooth sumac ranges farther west and south and tends to be found in drier habitats, whereas staghorn sumac ranges farther north.

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collage of Greater Celandine and Celandine Poppy

Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) vs. Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum)

Updated May 24th, 2021

These two plants, one native to North America and the other introduced and invasive in many regions, have superficially similar leaves and flowers. With effort, they can be told apart by leaves and flowers. They are easiest to distinguish by their seed pods or the arrangement of leaves along stems. Although their habitats overlap and both can occur together in the same habitat, Chelidonium is shorter-lived and more likely in sunnier, disturbed habitats whereas Stylophorum is longer-lived and more likely in shadier habitats, especially intact wild areas.

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February 9th, 2021

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