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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 Butterfly Milkweed and Tropical Milkweed

Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) vs. Tropical Milkweed (Asclepias curassavica)

Updated October 5th, 2021

These two plants are sometimes confused due to the similar color of their flowers and similar seedpod shape. They are easily distinguished by a close look at the flowers, leaves, or seedpod texture. Tropical milkweed is widely planted in gardens, but in the wild it is restricted to the southernmost parts of North America. Outside of gardens, butterfly weed occurs in dry habitats whereas tropical milkweed is more likely in wetter habitats.

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collage of Common Milkweed and Purple Milkweed

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) vs. Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens)

Updated October 5th, 2021

Although these plants average different bloom colors, they are otherwise quite similar and can be hard to tell apart, especially early in the season. Even some blooming plants can be hard to distinguish, due to a high variation in bloom color in each species. Common milkweed is wider-ranging and occurs in a broader variety of disturbed habitats, whereas purple milkweed is rarer and more restricted to intact natural areas.

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collage of Partridge Pea and Sensitive Partridge Pea

Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista fasciculata) vs. Sensitive Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista nictitans)

Updated September 30th, 2021

These two species look similar, have wide ranges of overlap, and can sometimes occur in the same habitat. They are easily told apart by flowers, but can be challenging to tell apart otherwise. With magnification, they can be told apart by examining the petiolar glands. Chamaecrista fasciculata is often slightly larger and upright in habit, and ranges farther northwest, where it can be found in prairies. Chamaecrista nictitans ranges farther northeast as well as farther south.

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February 9th, 2021

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