Native and Non-Native Stewartia Trees that Fare Well in New England Gardens

Stewartia Trees that Fare Well in New England Gardens

Native and Non-Native Stewartia Trees Suitable for New England

Many may be familiar with the stately looking sycamore trees with eye-catching exfoliating bark.  Just take a slow drive down Memorial Drive at Harvard University and you will be convinced of the timeless elegance of this (exfoliating bark) characteristic.

However, there is group of native and non-native Stewartia trees that turn heads even quicker, and these are now readily available for your home garden (but not at box stores yet).  Be warned, Stewartia trees are not for the gardener who strives for instant glory.  These trees, unlike the aformentioned Sycamore, are very slow growing.  They also carry a larger price tag.  I would recommend purchasing something bigger than a twig if you want something impressive in your lifetime;  a 1o’ specimen goes for around $200. Continue reading Native and Non-Native Stewartia Trees that Fare Well in New England Gardens

Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle in Lake Champlain, Vermont

Vermont’s state-threatened Eastern spiny softshell turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera) is not a new arrival to the Lake Champlain Region.  It is  dissimilar looking from typical aquatic turtle species found within New England, and  this species has been around since the days of the Champlain Sea going back approximately 10,000 years to the end of the last glaciation period.  According to the 2009 Vermont Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle Recovery Plan, the estimated population is only 200-300 individuals.

Lake Champlain’s spiny softshell turtle population is believed to be disjunct from other populations found in the Great Lakes and drainage areas of the Mississippi River.  This species is also found due north in the St. Lawrence River, which is Champlain’s northern drainage route via the Richelieu River.  Two (possible) distinct sub-populations within Lake Champlain are found at the lower Lamoille River and Missisquoi Bay, and a historic Winooski River sub-population has been documented. Continue reading Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle in Lake Champlain, Vermont

Complete List of Heartleaf Brunnera (aka Siberian Bugloss) Types: A Wide Variety of Amazing Cultivars

Complete List of Heartleaf Brunnera (aka Siberian Bugloss) Types:

A Wide Variety of Amazing Cultivars

Heartleaf Brunnera – Brunnera macrophylla (aka Siberian Bugloss) is an amazing, shade-tolerant perennial that has become deservingly popular in New England.  We highly recommend using one or many (in combination) of the available cultivars (listed below) to put some color in your shade garden.  This plant is perfect for garden edges, and couples well with ferns and/or bleeding hearts (if you choose to go with a heart-themed garden).  A contrasting dark chocolate/maroon foliage, which is readily available in Heuchera and Ligularia, looks amazing standing over the shorter Brunnera.  This is a must-have for all New England / Atlantic Canada gardeners, and we dare you to stop at one selection.  Cultivars that are commonly found in most New England garden centers include the following: ‘Jack Frost’; ‘Looking Glass’; ‘Silver Wings’; ‘Variegata’.  Brunnera seem to be the first plants to sell out at local plant sales – the secret is out. 

This serves as the most comprehensive list of Brunnera varieties available online (to date).  Please send comments if a cultivar has been missed.  We are always excited to learn of new cultivars!    

1. Agnes Amez

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Agnes Amez’ Continue reading Complete List of Heartleaf Brunnera (aka Siberian Bugloss) Types: A Wide Variety of Amazing Cultivars

How Turtles Survive the Winter in New England and Canada

North American turtles are limited in their Northern range expansion, with only nine species of turtles having Northern range limits extending across the US-Canadian border that lies predominately on the 49th parallel (Table 1) (6).  The northern range limit for all turtle species is roughly 50°N, with the painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) being found at the highest latitude in North America (7), followed closely by the snapping turtle. This commonality suggests that there is a factor associated with latitude that determines the Northern range limit for all turtle species. Continue reading How Turtles Survive the Winter in New England and Canada

Best Way to tell apart a Monarch Butterfly and a Viceroy Butterfly

How to Tell Apart a Monarch Butterfly and a Viceroy Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly vs. Viceroy Butterfly

So you’ve seen a Monarch Butterfly, and were maybe lucky enough to snap a picture.  Is it really a Monarch?  Maybe you remember in biology learning that the Viceroy butterfly looks deceptively similar.  In a clever twist of survival of the fittest it became a mimic of the Monarch Butterfly.  The predators that remembered the awful taste of the Monarch also spared the Viceroy Butterflies.   This evolution of the Viceroy left a few field marks to help us discern which butterfly we’ve observed.   The easiest way is to look for the black line in the picture below.  If you see it, then you have a Viceroy Butterfly.  To compare this with a Monarch side by side, please follow this link or visit the Monarch page of

Viceroy Butterfly
Viceroy Butterfly

New England and Atlantic Canada focuses on flora and fauna of New England and Atlantic Canada.  Browse through our photographs and descriptions to help you identify a species that you observed, then share your own observations in our comment section.    This is becoming a guide to the most common and easy to find flora and fauna on the Northeast, so take us with you on your mobile device and look here first when you’re enjoying nature.

We only include species that we actually find, can identify taxonomically, and photograph.   Our goal is to educate others on what they should look for to properly ID these species for themselves, and to provide an online space for people to share in their excitement of finding out more about a part of nature that they enjoyed themselves.


Find out about this Hummingbird Moth and other local species to New England and Atlantic Canada in the links above.

The first post ever….

My Species List

Welcome to This website is – or is going to be – what it sounds like: my species list.  It is a photographic record of species I have encountered.  Okay,okay…the word “my” isn’t really fair of me because my husband is always with me, and is often the one who spots something first.   (I think he has a special brain region that the rest of us don’t have for spotting and catching reptiles. )

My intention is to post pictures, identify the scientific names of our finds, describe how it can be identified, and provide some research and cool facts.   Eventually, it may serve as a field guide that you can take with you on a tablet on a hike if you happen to visit the same geographical areas that I do.  If you do use to help you identify your own finds, please leave a comment on the part of the website that was most helpful, and tell us about how you encountered the same organism.




Biodiversity Exposed