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Old 04-23-2018, 08:11 PM
 
Location: North Caroline
262 posts, read 132,166 times
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Obviously, the US is a vast and varied country with numerous climates, elevations, landscapes, etc. Most of us can probably tell when we're entering a different region of the states on a road trip or plane ride just by observing the changes in scenery and the natural environment ("Headed down south to the land of the pines..."). Indeed, different parts of the South are known for pine trees such as the loblolly, longleaf, etc., or live oaks towards the coastal areas. Raleigh, NC, is known as the "City of Oaks" for its many oak trees.

My question is, what unique or dominant species of vegetation (think plants, flowers, trees, etc.) characterize your region? How do they come together to form a unique sense of place and identity for your state/region? What regions share similarities with others in terms of their dominant flora, and how does this change as you head east vs. west and north vs. south? Pictures would be appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 04-23-2018, 08:25 PM
 
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A couple comments: There are plenty of pines in the Boreal forests of MN, WI, MI, NY, VT, NH, & ME. Different types of pines than in the South, though. Interesting that MN's favorite son Bob Dylan wrote those lyrics to Wagon Wheel calling NC the "land of the pines" when he himself came from the Iron Range which itself is a "land of the pines", as is the "Northern New England" he references in his song. (Now ya got me singing it! Better head over to You Tube to give a listen! )

Also, in my travels I was surpised to see cacti in southern Missouri near lake of the Ozarks as well as in North Dakota less than 50 miles south of the Canadian border. Exploded my mental images of the Midwest!
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Old 04-23-2018, 11:56 PM
 
Location: Seattle WA, USA
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The PNW west of the cascade mountains is dominated by tall/large coniferous trees with some deciduous trees interspersed in the lowlands and near rivers and creeks.

List of notable and common tree species.
Coast douglas fir (3rd tallest and 7th largest tree species in the world)
Western red cedar (largest species of thuja and 4th largest in the world)
Sitka spruce (largest species of spruce and 4th tallest and 8th largest in the world)
Western hemlock (largest species of hemlock and 16th tallest in the world)
Red alder (largest species of alder in north America)
Black cottonwood (largest species of poplar in the Americas)
Big-leaf maple (largest leaves of any species of maple)

if you go far enough south you also get the tallest and 2nd largest species of tree in the world, the coast redwood.

as you move to the east and enter the rain shadow casted by the cascades it gets increasingly dominated by ponderosa pine which is the 2nd tallest pine species in the world (the tallest being the suger pine which also happens to grow in the PNW) . as you continue east and go further into the rain shadow the forests give way to sagebrush.
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Old 04-24-2018, 12:43 AM
 
Location: New Mexico
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One could spend a lifetime exploring this topic. Climate and elevation have a major influence all across the country. The micro climates are very interesting based on particular characteristics of smaller and sometimes hidden places. The Boone's Lick salt springs in central Missouri have a specific mosquito that only lives there where there is access to the salty spring water. The area around Grand Junction has a warmer micro climate than other places in Colorado so it successfully grows fruit and grape vineyards. In the Ozarks and other regions there are small isolated remnants of ancient forests trees and plants that were common during the end of the ice age. South facing slopes will often have isolated plant communities that are more common to the south or even desert areas. Everything eventually (but slowly) adapts to the prevailing conditions to survive...which makes global warming that much more of a threat.


When I moved to the NM desert from the Midwest everything was wildly different. The elevation is 5500 ft. where I live and we might get 10 inches of rain in wet years. Even under these conditions there are native plants everywhere and it is quite green, although a dusky and faded green in comparison to eastern forests. There is tremendous variation in plants and animals and I can be in a pine forest in 30 minutes or on a ancient barren lava flow in about the same time or in a riverside cottonwood forest in 10 minutes.
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Old 04-24-2018, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Reno, NV
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I wanna say the Chicago area is on the border of the prarie and deciduous forest biomes. Nothing really distinctive - but there was a species of plant that went extinct in the city, on the extreme south side.

An Extinction in Chicago
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Old 04-24-2018, 07:10 PM
 
Location: Denver
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In Colorado and the surrounding area, it's interesting because a lot of forests here are pretty dominated by one tree species, so it's easy to tell when you've moved from one climate / forest type to another. These aren't the most scenic pictures, but they are the most representative I could find to what the normal forest looks like.

Probably peoples most common image is the aspen and spruce tree forests, which are found higher up in the mountains of Colorado.



Lower in elevation from the spruce trees, lodgepole pine dominate the forests. A lot of ski areas and mountain towns have lodgepoles on bottom and spruce on top. Lodgepoles are kind of ugly because they grow too thick, have cones all over, and always seem half dead as they are a transitional species.


On the front range, what CO Springs and Denver are surrounded by, are Ponderosa Pine forests. I like these forests the best as you can walk underneath them easily and they aren't so dark and thick like the spruce forests.


Out on the plains, into Nebraska, cedars and junipers are common. They only grow along ridges. They are kind of cool because they have some unique red and blue tints that are pretty rare to see in trees. Since they are short, the make the landscape look very big and open.


Southern CO into New Mexico is Pinon country.

Last edited by Phil P; 04-24-2018 at 07:25 PM..
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Old 04-24-2018, 08:27 PM
 
Location: North Caroline
262 posts, read 132,166 times
Reputation: 386
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
In Colorado and the surrounding area, it's interesting because a lot of forests here are pretty dominated by one tree species, so it's easy to tell when you've moved from one climate / forest type to another. These aren't the most scenic pictures, but they are the most representative I could find to what the normal forest looks like.

Probably peoples most common image is the aspen and spruce tree forests, which are found higher up in the mountains of Colorado.



Lower in elevation from the spruce trees, lodgepole pine dominate the forests. A lot of ski areas and mountain towns have lodgepoles on bottom and spruce on top. Lodgepoles are kind of ugly because they grow too thick, have cones all over, and always seem half dead as they are a transitional species.


On the front range, what CO Springs and Denver are surrounded by, are Ponderosa Pine forests. I like these forests the best as you can walk underneath them easily and they aren't so dark and thick like the spruce forests.


Out on the plains, into Nebraska, cedars and junipers are common. They only grow along ridges. They are kind of cool because they have some unique red and blue tints that are pretty rare to see in trees. Since they are short, the make the landscape look very big and open.


Southern CO into New Mexico is Pinon country.

Great post and nice pictures!
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Old 04-25-2018, 11:29 AM
 
4,247 posts, read 9,724,266 times
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The sugar maple is a key element of identity in VT, upstate NY, higher elevation parts of PA, MD. Even a county in VA has a maple festival.

Mountain-laurel, a shrub with tough wood, figures into local identity in parts of the interior Northeast. It's the state flower of PA and CT. It dominates the understory in high plateau and mountain regions of PA from northeast to southwest.

Buckeye, of course, is a big part of Ohio's identity.
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