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Recently Updated Plant Articles

pine tree with twisted trunk and branches and relatively long needles

Pitch Pine (Pinus rigida)

Updated June 13th, 2024

A scrubby, fire-adapted pine that often grows in harsh conditions, such as dry, acidic, sandy or rocky soil.

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White Avens

White Avens (Geum canadense)

Updated May 30th, 2024

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

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Philadelphia Fleabane

Philadelphia Fleabane (Erigeron philadelphicus)

Updated May 18th, 2024

A common and widely-distributed biennial or short-lived perennial of moist sites, native across North America.

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Recently Updated Ecoregion Articles

a river in the foreground, and a flat landscape with mostly evergreen trees, tall snowy mountains in the distance
North America » Northwestern Forested Mountains » Boreal Cordillera »

Copper Plateau

Updated June 19th, 2024

A cold, flat, poorly-drained region in Southcentral Alaska, surrounded by ice-covered mountains.

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a river curving through a valley with sloped walls, with patchy forest interspersed with open meadows, in a hilly landscape
North America » Northwestern Forested Mountains » Boreal Cordillera »

Interior Highlands and Klondike Plateau

Updated June 18th, 2024

An area of interior Alaska and western Yukon with hilly terrain, mostly unglaciated and only spottily forested.

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Recently Updated ID / Comparison Guides (See All)

collage of Common Milkweed and Hemp Dogbane

Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) vs. Hemp Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum)

Updated June 19th, 2024

These two species are in the same family, and are easily confused early in the season. Both are long-rhizomatous, with simple, opposite leaves with entire margins. Later in the season, they can easily be told apart by flowers, seed pods, or branching habit. Common milkweed ranges into drier conditions and is more tolerant of sandy and/or clayey soils, whereas hemp dogbane ranges farther west and south, prefers loamy soils, and is more tolerant of temporary spring flooding.

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collage of Spreading Dogbane and Hemp Dogbane

Spreading Dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) vs. Hemp Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum)

Updated June 19th, 2024

These two species are visually similar and have a large range of overlap, although their habitats overlap little. They are easily distinguished by their blooms, or in winter by seed length, and they also have differences in growth habit. A. androsaemifolium prefers drier, shadier conditions, and acidic, sandy or rocky soil, whereas A. cannabinum is found in sunnier, wetter habitats that only become dry later in summer, with richer, loamy to clayey soil, or on calcareous rocks, and ranges farther south in the eastern and central portions of its range. These species can and do hybridize in much of their range, producing intermediate dogbane (Apocynum ×floribundum), which is uncommon and harder to identify.

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collage of Tall Blue Lettuce and Canada Lettuce

Tall Blue Lettuce (Lactuca biennis) vs. Canada Lettuce (Lactuca canadensis)

Updated June 10th, 2024

Lactuca species have notoriously variable leaf shapes. These species are often confused by people unfamiliar with them, but they are usually easy to tell apart, especially when they are blooming or making seeds. There is significant overlap in habitat, and plants can often be found growing side-by-side, but L. biennis is slightly more shade-tolerant and more restricted to partly-shaded, moister habitats, and more neutral soils, whereas L. canadensis ventures into drier, sunnier conditions, ranges much farther south, and is more tolerant of acidic soils. Because of variability, it is important to check multiple characteristics.

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