Range Maps

Partial range of turtlehead, Chelone glabra. Map from USDA PLANTS Database: USDA, NRCS. 2020. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 10 November 2020). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

Range maps show the geographic distribution of plants and plant communities. Below are links to maps supported by substantial databases. Ranges for individual species may differ among them because of differences in their records and the timing of updates. This is especially true for invasive species, whose ranges can change quickly as they are introduced to new areas or eradicated from existing ones. 

Recommendations for other mapping systems are welcome through the contact form at right. 


This database has all kinds of information about native and introduced vascular plants (those that conduct water and nutrients) as well as mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens. Range maps show distributions of plant species in North America and U.S. territories and protectorates. For many species, zooming in on U.S. maps will show county-level distribution.

Biota of North America Program (BONAP)

BONAP is a function of the North Carolina Botanical Garden at the University of North Carolina. Distribution maps of species, genera and families of wild vascular plants are available through BONAP’s North American Plant Atlas or its Taxonomic Data Center. Check the lower left corners of the maps for the dates they were generated.


The Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System, or EDDMapS, was developed by the Center for Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health at the University of Georgia. It compiles data from organizations and volunteers to create range maps for invasive (introduced and harmful) plants, animals and pathogens in North America. Maps can be viewed by state, county, or point of occurrence. Range predictions based on climate change can be accessed through county-level data.

Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA)

This program of the U.S. Forest Service annually samples public and private lands to determine the condition of the nation’s forests and rangelands. The link above goes to the website for the Northern Research Station FIA unit, which covers the northeast quarter of the U.S., including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin. The home page has links to several map choices (species distribution maps, for example) and a link to Data and Tools, which also offers maps..

Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas

The Bell Museum at the University of Minnesota maintains a large, merged database of plants, animals and fungi to provide an overall view of the state’s biodiversity. Maps show point locations of collected specimens, some dating back to the 1800s. Clicking on a point opens a record showing details such as collection date, location and habitat.

Minnesota Natural Resource Atlas

The Interactive Map at this site can be customized to show layers for biota and other natural resources categories. Within the biota category, maps are available for about 20 different layers, including native plant communities, native prairies, pre-settlement vegetation, and areas of biodiversity significance.

What is a rhizome?

Mayapple ( Podophyllum peltatum ) spreads by rhizomes. The two whitish nubs at the node in the middle are the beginning of shoots. Clusters ...