Seasonal observations of the Master Gardeners
- Author: Trisha E Rose
Published on: May 17, 2018
I am not a “native plant” specialist, although when choosing plants for my garden I will lean towards plants listed as natives. In the last couple of years, I have run across the terms “endemic” and “native” in the same conversation. Initially I thought the terms were meant to be interchangeable but then most recently read something contrary to that thinking. So I thought its time to look them up and try to understand which plants are what.
My research found that a plant is considered “endemic” if it exists naturally only in one geographic place. The place can be as small as an island or as large as a continent. The definition of a plant being considered “native” is a little less rigid. A plant species is considered “native” if it has developed, occurs naturally, or exists in a location, and it can appear in various locations on the planet. There appears to be debate on this definition as to when an introduced species should be classied as native. For my purposes I will accept what current literature defines as a native plant.
A group of plants I tend to favor are known as those native to the Mediterranean as they tend to be more drought tolerant and compatible to our local climates.
A useful database has been created by the Audubon Society, audubon.org>nativeplants. The website offers a customized native plant list by zip code that you can review, customize and have emailed to you.
The local chapter of the California Native Plant Society can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Forrest Deaner Native Plant Garden is a volunteer project of the Willis Linn Jepson cnps. and is located in the Benicia State Park along the Carquinez Strait.