PHOTOS: Four New Natural Landmarks Named

PHOTOS: Four New Natural Landmarks Named
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Fame flower (top left), whorled milkweed (bottom left), and grasslands dotted with pitch pine (right) are among the plant species unique to serpentine barrens--ecosystems adapted to soils with unusually high levels of toxic metals.

In early 2009 the U.S. National Park Service added the Nottingham Park Serpentine Barrens in Pennsylvania to its list of National Natural Landmarks. The site was chosen in part because it has one of the state's largest stands of pitch pine, a tree that can sprout new trunks after fires, giving some a stunted, gnarled appearance.

Abandoned mining sites in the barrens also provide windows into the region's geologic past and offer habitat for wildlife.

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—Photographs courtesy Katharina AM Engelhardt
 
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