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Latest Plants News

12-03-2014 - Slide show for images

PLANTS now presents images in a "slide show", enabling PLANTS users to scroll through photos and line art, providing a faster and easier way to review images.

  Associated Files: PLANTS slide show2.pdf  


08-20-2014 - PLANTS has a new mapping system

Plants is trying out a new, more modern mapping system. Our new system allows users to scroll side to side and zoom in and out. At higher scale zoom levels users can see county-level data. Please see the attached PDF for detailed instructions.

  Associated Files: PLANTS maps.pdf  


10-06-2012 - New photo indicator and links

We have added a new functionality to the results of a basic search (the open search box to the upper left of a PLANTS page), showing a camera icon if photos are available for a plant when more than one plant is given in the search results. Visible at the right-hand side of the search results, the number of photos is indicated and the camera icon is a link to the images of interest. If only one photo exists then you will be taken to the plant's Profile page, but if more than one exists you will be taken to the results of an Image Gallery query. Try this on the scientific name "Quercus" to see for yourself. We hope to add this photo-indicator functionality to other kinds of search results in the future.


10-06-2012 - USDA Plant Hardiness Map

Are you looking for the famous USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map? Well, you've come to the wrong place! Often we are asked if we manage or provide this map, but it is the product of the USDA Agricultural Research Service and collaborators. However, we have added a link to this map under "Related Tools" at the bottom of the vertical gray bar to the left of most PLANTS pages. Please click here to read more about this map.


06-01-2012 - 2012 National Wetland Plant List

PLANTS now reports the wetland indicator status ratings from the 2012 National Wetland Plant List (NWPL) as a table linked to species profile pages. The revised NWPL was developed under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), along with the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, using taxonomic and distribution data from the Biota of North America Program (BONAP) and legacy information from the USFWS. Beginning June 1, 2012, this list is to be used for all wetland delineations performed for Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, the Swampbuster provisions of the Food Security Act, and the National Wetland Inventory, replacing the 1988 USFWS list. The new list makes four major changes to the 1988 list:

  • More species: The 2012 NWPL includes 8200 species. Most of the increase is because of taxonomic changes and species discovered since the 1988 list appeared that are either new to the United States or new to science.
  • New wetland regions: The 2012 NWPL arranges the species in 10 new regions covering the United States and its possessions. The regions are based on Major Land Resource Areas (MLRAs) and Land Resource Regions (LRRs). They are the same as the regions used in the USACE Regional Supplements to the 1987 USACE Delineation Manual.
  • Changes to wetland status ratings: The 2012 NWPL, like the 1988 list, assigns plants to five wetland indicator categories: UPL (obligate upland), FACU (facultative upland), FAC (facultative), FACW (facultative wetland), and OBL (obligate wetland). The 2012 NWPL uses qualitative instead of quantitative definitions for the categories instead of the numerical definitions used in the 1988 list (see also National Wetland Plant List Indicator Rating Definitions). Also, the 2012 NWPL eliminates the + and - modifiers to the FACU, FAC, and FACW categories that the 1988 list used to give finer distinctions to the wetland categories.
  • Cultivated plants: The 2012 NWPL excludes crops and other cultivated plants. These include species that escape from cultivation but do not persist naturally in the environment.


01-05-2012 - Cover Crops

Please see our new Cover Crops page. Cover crops are a diverse group of plants that can be used on farmland for soil protection and health. We now offer a sortable list, linking to profile pages, of over 70 species used for cover crops in North America.


12-15-2011 - Gymnosperms updated

Oregon State University and the National Plant Data Team have completed a review of the 696 names of gymnosperms in PLANTS. Gymnosperms include conifers like pines, firs, and cypress, Ginkgo, Ephedra, and cycads. The team reviewed all gymnosperm names published since 2005. Attached is a comma-delimited text file showing the 31 new accepted gymnosperm names with comments on each one. The review also added over 70 new synonyms (names that are not accepted) to the database.

  Associated Files: newacgymnosperms.csv  


10-20-2011 - PLANTS recommended as a GIS standard.

A recently published article has recommended using PLANTS as a standard to make GIS forestry databases more mutually compatible. Clark, T. 2011. Standardizing species codes using the NRCS PLANTS database. The Forestry Source 16: 14--16.


02-15-2011 - New PLANTS Team Members

PLANTS welcomes three new botanists to the National Plant Data Team (NPDT): Gerry Moore (Team Lead), Doug Goldman, and Mark Garland. Data updates to PLANTS have begun and will be a high priority of the team in the coming months.


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