Continental climates are found inland or on the eastern side of a continent, and are characterized by cold winters and warm summers with an average yearly precipitation between 24 to 48 inches, according to Maps of the World. These conditions encourage the growth of diverse plant life, and many varieties of plants live in continental climates--from trees to perennials and ground covers. Parts of the United States, from the eastern seaboard to North and South Dakota, have a humid continental climate. Much of Europe from France up into the Netherlands has a continental climate.
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Growing throughout the continental climate in the United States, the silver maple is a large tree, reaching up to 100 feet tall. The leaves are lobed and serrated, changing from green to yellow and burgundy in the autumn before falling from the tree. Red flowers appear in winter and bloom in the early spring. This tree grows in diverse conditions from full shade to full sun. It prefers rich, moist soils that are slightly acidic, according to the University of Texas. This tree also tolerates poor soils, making it a good choice for those areas where other trees won’t grow.
Native to the northeastern and southeastern United States, Carolina lupine grows to 5 feet tall and 3 feet wide. Stalks of small yellow flowers bloom in summer in full sun. This herbaceous perennial is a low maintenance plant that requires only a little additional water during the summer months. It’s hardy from USDA hardiness zones 4 through 9. This plant is ideal for wildflower and cutting gardens, according to Monrovia.
The maidenhair fern thrives in the filtered shade of the woodlands found in the continental climate of the United States. It prefers moist soils rich in lime, and reaches a height of 18 inches tall with delicate fronds that grow on thin, black stems. An herbaceous perennial, maidenhair ferns spread slowly by underground roots or rhizomes, making them noninvasive.
A short bushy herb, lavender has been used for generations in herbal remedies to treat insomnia and depression. This perennial herb is also known for its fragrance, and is often used in soaps, shampoos and sachets. Some of the finest lavender comes from France’s Provence region, which boasts a continental climate. The flowers are generally purple, and bloom throughout the summer and into fall. Lavender grows in full sun and well-drained soil throughout USDA hardiness zones 5 through 10, which includes the continental climate of the United States.