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Recently Updated Plant Articles

Swamp Chestnut Oak

Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii)

Updated January 12th, 2021

A white oak of bottomlands in the southeastern coastal plain and Mississippi valley, superficially resembling the chestnut oak.

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Chinquapin Oak

Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Updated January 8th, 2021

A white oak native to North America, preferring soils high in calcium.

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Chestnut Oak

Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana)

Updated January 7th, 2021

A native oak of ridgetops and dry uplands, especially in the Appalachians, named for its resemblance to the American chestnut.

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Recently Updated Ecoregion Articles

Maumee Lake Plain
North America » Eastern Temperate Forests » Central USA Plains » Huron/Erie Lake Plains »

Maumee Lake Plain

Updated January 22nd, 2021

A flat, poorly-drained region on the western shore of Lake Erie, heavily altered by urbanization, draining, and agriculture.

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Champlain Lowlands
North America » Eastern Temperate Forests » Mixed Wood Plains » Eastern Great Lakes Lowlands »

Champlain Lowlands

Updated January 6th, 2021

A region surrounding Lake Champlain, near the border of northwestern VT and northeastern NY state, with high biodiversity and abundant agriculture.

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Lake Superior Clay Plain
North America » Northern Forests » Mixed Wood Shield » Northern Lakes and Forests »

Lake Superior Clay Plain

Updated January 3rd, 2021

A mostly flat shoreline region in Wisconsin and Michigan with reddish, clayey soils and mixed forests.

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Recently Updated ID / Comparison Guides

collage of Norway Maple and Sugar Maple

Norway Maple (Acer platanoides) vs. Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum)

Updated January 20th, 2021

These plants are often confused due to similarity in leaf shape and occurrence in the same habitat; they are easily distinguished by samaras, flowers, mature tree bark, buds, or the presence/absence of milky sap. Leaf shape can be distinguished, but is best supplemented by other cues. Although there is much overlap in habitat, Norway maple is found on a broader range of sites, including disturbed habitats, whereas sugar maple is more limited to rich, mesic sites.

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collage of Water Oak and Willow Oak

Water Oak (Quercus nigra) vs. Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)

Updated January 11th, 2021

Water oak and willow oak are sometimes confused, and often occur in the same range and habitats (bottomlands in the southeastern U.S.) and have similar growth habits, bark, and acorns. They are easily distinguished by differences in their leaves, but they also have subtle differences in acorns and bark. Water oak prefers sites slightly better-drained than willow oak, and is also found on a wider range of sites, sometimes occurring on mesic uplands; willow oak is rare on uplands, only occurring locally on poorly-drained sites.

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collage of Swamp Chestnut Oak and Chinquapin Oak

Swamp Chestnut Oak (Quercus michauxii) vs. Chinquapin Oak (Quercus muehlenbergii)

Updated January 6th, 2021

These two species are sometimes confused where their ranges overlap, due to similar leaf shape, bark, and acorns. They can be distinguished by close examination of the leaves, acorn cap scales, and buds. Swamp Chestnut oak is usually limited to acidic soils and moister habitats, and ranges farther south, whereas Chinquapin oak prefers calcium-rich soils that are less acidic, can grow on much drier sites, and ranges much farther north and west.

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