You’ve probably heard about native plants … ones that have evolved in an ecosystem in a specific area. They can be defined as plants that have been growing in a particular habitat and region for hundreds or years, or longer. Also called indigenous, they are well adapted to the climate, light, and soil conditions that characterize their ecosystem. A native range can vary from a narrow definition (e.g., a specific county) to a broader definition for a region (e.g., a particular hardiness zone, the Northeast, or the United States).
Non-native plants, also referred to as exotic or alien, are plants that have been introduced to an area from their native range, either purposefully or accidentally. The term non-native usually refers to plants from other countries, regions, or continents. A non-native plant is not necessarily ‘bad’. Many have nicely been incorporated into the landscape, while others are considered invasive (e.g., burning bush, bush honeysuckle, multiflora rose, etc.). due to their damaging impacts on the natural environment.
Native cultivars or nativars are cultivars (a cultivated variety) of native plants. Most nativars are intentional crosses between wild, native plant species or between other nativars . These nativars are selected for a specific characteristic including flower colors or forms, size, insect or disease resistance, tolerance of certain environmental conditions, and more.
Eli Joseph-Hunter and Brianna Davis (Greene Bee Greenhouse in Cornwallville, NY) join Nature Calls: Conversations from the Hudson Valley to talk about the differences between native plants, non-natives, and nativars and how these plants can be used and grown responsibly in a landscape. Echinecea, hydrangea, hellebore, and redbud are among the plants that are discussed.
Learn more about the value of native plants in your Hudson Valley landscapes while understanding the wide range of varieties that are now available.
Hosts: Tim Kennelty and Jean Thomas
Guests: Brianna Davis and Eli Joseph-Hunter
Photo by: Teresa Golden
Production Support: Linda Aydlett, Teresa Golden and Annie Scibienski
Last updated May 11, 2023