WindStar Wildlife Institute
Today, native plants are recognized for their
value not only for wildlife, but also for the beauty
and hardiness that they bring to the home
garden, their economic potential, and their
unique spot in the ecology of our environment.
For many years, native plants in
this country were considered little
better than undesirable weeds.
Farmers cleared them from the
land to plant crops. Gardeners
pulled them up relentlessly to
make room for "designer" plants
which may have started as
natives, but had been manipulated
by breeders to reflect current
standards of floral beauty.
Early European immigrants tried
to reproduce the lush gardens of
their homelands, regardless of the
differences in climate and soil
conditions in this new world.
Then, as the pendulum swung
back, "native plants" became a
catch phrase, a rallying cry for
about the loss of habitat for
What exactly is a native plant.
The answer to this question isn't
as easy as you might think. All
plants (unless they are the
product of human manipulation)
are natives of somewhere.
What people today term
"wildflowers" frequently include
"exotic" species which have come
from other countries and have
become so well-established that
we see them growing everywhere in
the wild, often at the expense of
the true native plants that they
Common examples of these
invasives would be Japanese
honeysuckle, multiflora rose, and
The problem has become so
severe that the federal
government has finally written
laws and established committees
to help find ways to eradicate
some of the most aggressive
In addition, federal regulations
now call for the use of native
plants in landscaping projects on
federal and public property.
Most current definitions of
native plants require that the
species was present in this
country before Columbus arrived in