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Recently Updated Plant Articles

White Avens

White Avens (Geum canadense)

Updated June 30th, 2022

An perennial with inconspicuous flowers native and common across much of central to eastern North America.

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Black Cherry

Black Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Updated June 10th, 2022

The largest tree of the Prunus genus in much of its range, the black cherry is a major component of Eastern forests, especially younger forests.

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Fraser Fir

Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)

Updated June 8th, 2022

A conifer limited to late successional stages of forests at high elevations in the southern Appalachians; endangered due to a variety of factors.

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Recently Updated Ecoregion Articles

An arid landscape with some short grasses and small shrubs in the foreground and some dry hillsides in the distance
North America » North American Deserts » Cold Deserts »

Columbia Plateau

Updated June 23rd, 2022

A relatively flat, arid region, mostly in the northwestern US, almost entirely surrounded by mountains.

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Snow in the foreground, a small lake, some coniferous forest, and rugged snow-capped mountains with a U-shaped valley.
North America » Northwestern Forested Mountains » Western Cordillera »

North Cascades

Updated June 21st, 2022

The northern part of the Cascade Range, mostly in WA, partly in BC, slightly colder and less volcanic than the south.

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A lake surrounded by lush coniferous forest, with a snow-covered mountain in the background, under clear skies.
North America » Northwestern Forested Mountains » Western Cordillera »


Updated June 20th, 2022

A mountainous region including all but the easternmost slopes and northern end of the Cascade Range.

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Recently Updated ID / Comparison Guides

collage of White Avens and Spring Avens

White Avens (Geum canadense) vs. Spring Avens (Geum vernum)

Updated July 1st, 2022

These species are sometimes confused where both occur. They are easy to distinguish by bloom color and timing, as well as fruit size and structure. Although both species have highly variable leaf shapes, there are differences in leaf shape and texture, and leaves on the stem are particularly easy to distinguish. G. canadense has a much broader range and is also found in a wider range of habitats, including sunnier, drier conditions, anthropogenic habitats, and adverse soil conditions. G. vernum is less tolerant of sunny, dry conditions, and is more restricted to deciduous woodlands with rich, loamy soil.

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collage of Annual Fleabane and Philadelphia Fleabane

Annual Fleabane (Erigeron annuus) vs. Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus)

Updated June 17th, 2022

These visually-similar species often occur together in the same habitat. Flowers can be distinguished by width and count of rays; leaf bases clasp the stem on E. philadelphicus but not on E. annuus. There are other major differences in leaves and growth habit, but the variability of both species makes these characteristics trickier to rely on for identification. On average, E. philadelphicus blooms earlier, but both species have variable bloom times. E. annuus ventures into slightly drier and slightly more disturbed sites, whereas E. philadelphicus is more restricted to moist sites.

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collage of Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed and Sweetscented Joe Pye Weed

Coastal Plain Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium dubium) vs. Sweetscented Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)

Updated June 16th, 2022

These plants are occasionally confused in the region where their ranges overlap; both tend to have 3-4 leaves per whorl. They are usually easily distinguished by leaf vein pattern, and the color and density of the inflorescence can also provide ID clues. Populations in the north can be easily distinguished by stems. E. purpureum averages taller than E. dubium, but their heights overlap. However, their habitats are almost entirely non-overlapping, with E. dubium preferring acidic, wet ground in sunnier conditions, and E. purpureum preferring drier, shadier habitats.

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