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Recently Updated Plant Articles

Chestnut Oak

Chestnut Oak (Quercus montana)

Updated November 10th, 2021

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

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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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Recently Updated Ecoregion Articles

A rocky bald in the foreground with scattered, stunted evergreens, and lusher forest at lower elevations in the distance
North America » Northern Forests » Atlantic Highlands » Northeastern Highlands »

Worcester/Monadnock Plateau

Updated November 12th, 2021

An irregularly-shaped region in Massachussets and New Hampshire with scattered monadnocks and diverse forest types.

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A forested landscape with a lake in the center, misty hills in the background.
North America » Eastern Temperate Forests » Mixed Wood Plains » Northeastern Coastal Zone »

Gulf of Maine Coastal Plain

Updated November 12th, 2021

A hilly, irregular, more inland portion of the coastal plain in southeastern New Hapmpshire, southern Maine, and eastern Massachussets.

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A completely forested landscape with a lake, and hills and low mountains in the background, under a bright, cloudy sky
North America » Northern Forests » Atlantic Highlands » Northeastern Highlands »

Sunapee Uplands

Updated November 12th, 2021

A mostly-forested region in southwestern New Hampshire, with a diversity of forest types reflecting diverse topography.

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Recently Updated ID / Comparison Guides

collage of Late Boneset and Tall Thoroughwort

Late Boneset (Eupatorium serotinum) vs. Tall Thoroughwort (Eupatorium altissimum)

Updated November 6th, 2021

These similar plants have a wide range of overlap and often occur together in open, disturbed ground. They are easily told apart by a close look at their leaves, flowers, or seedheads. Their names are misleading in that late boneset can sometimes grow taller, and their bloom times are similar. Eupatorium serotinum ranges into wetter habitats, and ranges farther south, whereas Eupatorium altissimum ranges into drier habitats, especially on calcareous soils, and ranges farther northwest. Overlap is greater in anthropogenic habitats than in natural areas.

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collage of Balsam Fir and Black Spruce

Balsam Fir (Abies balsamea) vs. Black Spruce (Picea mariana)

Updated November 1st, 2021

Although balsam fir looks very different from black spruce when growing in shade, black spruce is frequently confused with balsam firs growing in open, sunny conditions; the species look most similar when they co-occur on rocky sites near the tree line. Both can have a narrow, conical shape, short, bluish needles, and hairy twigs, especially on new growth. They are easily distinguished by cones or close examination of needles. They also have differences in shape, as well as habitat and successional stage: balsam fir is absent from bogs and poorly-drained sites, where black spruce is common, and balsam fir occupies a later stage in forest succession in areas where both species co-occur.

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collage of Pale Touch-me-not and Jewelweed

Pale Touch-me-not (Impatiens pallida) vs. Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)

Updated October 26th, 2021

These species are very similar; they are usually easily told apart by bloom color and examination of the spurs on each flower. With difficulty, they can often be distinguished by comparing differences in serrations on leaf margins and foliage color. ID can sometimes be challenging as all of these traits are variable and some individuals may have one or more characteristics outside the typical range for its species. Although they can occur together in the same habitat, Impatiens pallida can be found in slightly drier conditions. However, Impatiens capensis is usually more common, and also ranges farther in all directions. Although they overlap greatly in height, Impatiens pallida is more likely to be taller (to 6 ft vs. 5.)

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February 9th, 2021

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