The Variety of Vegetation Types in US States

State Similarity Index rubric, Geography category, vegetation type

The State Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar states are to each other relative to other states. The index is a statistically-based way to measure this. 20% of the index is based on geography. 12.5% of a state’s geography score (2.5% of the overall State Similarity Index score) is allocated for the typical types of vegetation found in each state. The following factors were included in the calculation:

Typical Crops

The three most common crops across the country are corn, soybean, and wheat. Corn and soybeans dominate the farmlands in the Eastern portion of the country. Wheat is predominantly grown in the western states, as it requires less water than corn or soybeans. Cotton is grown in the southern states, particularly Georgia and Texas. Barley is mainly grown in the northern parts of the country, including Idaho and Montana. This is because it thrives in cooler temperatures and has a shorter growing season than other crops.

The Most Common Crops per State

United States Department of Agriculture

States were categorized by percentage of agricultural land area with each crop:
Barley, Berry, Canola, Corn, Cotton, Hay, Lentil, Oat, Orchard, Peanut, Rice, Sorghum, Soybean, Sugarcane, Vegetable, Wheat

Habitat Types

There are also a variety of natural habitat types found in the United States. These habitat types largely mirror climatic regions. The taiga is found in Alaska and is characterized by coniferous trees and long, cold winters. Temperate broadleaf forests are dominate in the Eastern portion of the country, while grasslands are found primarily in the Great Plains. In addition, the country has many deserts, especially in the Southwest region, including Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. Tropical broadleaf habitats can be found in both Florida and Hawaii.

World Wide Fund for Nature

States were categorized by percentage land area with each habitat type:
Desert, Flooded grassland, Mediterranean Forest, Taiga, Temperate Broadleaf, Temperate Coniferous Forest, Temperate Grassland, Tropical Broadleaf, Tropical Grassland, Tundra

Floristic Areas

Floristic regions are geographic areas characterized by distinctive plant communities that have evolved together over time. Most of the flora in the United States is part of the Holarctic Kingdom. These kingdoms are further subdivided into smaller regions. The Arctic floristic area is only found in Alaska. The Vancouverian floristic area is found in the Pacific Northwest, covering parts of Washington and Oregon. The Appalachian and Atlantic & Gulf Coastal areas cover most of the Eastern portion of the United States. The North American Prairies region covers most of the Great Plains. The Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Mojavean are three distinctive desert areas found in the country. However, the flora in Hawaii and South Florida is far different, since these two tropical areas are not even in the same floristic kingdom as the rest of the United States.

Missouri Botanical Garden Press

States were categorized by percentage land area with each floristic region:
Arctic, Appalachian, Atlantic & Gulf Coastal, Californian, Canadian, Chihuahuan, Great Basin, Mojavean, Neotropical, North American Prairies, Palaeotropical, Rocky Mountain, Sonoran, Tamaulipan, Vancouverian

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