File this one under "It's About Time!" As recently as a few months ago, the USDA's PLANTS database called a plant species "native" if it was considered native in any part of the US or its territories. This was particularly frustrating in cases, for example, of tropical species that have been recorded only in Puerto Rico, or for species native to the mainland US but considered introduced in Hawaii. I am happy to report that the PLANTS database now acknowledges that being native to a political part of the USA is not the same as being native to the entire American landscape:
Note the red box I've drawn on the screengrab above - the database now clearly separates native/introduced data for each plant species into the following categories:
- The "Lower 48" states (every state but Alaska and Hawaii)
- Puerto Rico
- The US Virgin Islands
- Canada! No, really!
- The Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon (A French territory off the Atlantic coast of Canada!)