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Why plant/encourage/protect natives?

10 years ago

* Posted by: Sam_MD z7 MD (My Page) on Sat, Jun 22, 02

Native species are a part of our floral heritage. When new world botanists came to Colonial America they found a treasure-trove of diversity. This diversity in one county of Maryland where I live is greater than all of the native flora of the European Continent.
Introduced alien species have been brought to the US with good intentions but often with disastrous consenquences. Following is field-data collected with some results that the average enthusiast may not be aware of:
-many exotics significantly elevate soil pH.
-nitrification rates are higher under exotics.
-leaf litter decomposes more quickly under exotics.
-once established, some exotics exhibit alelopathy, they can prohibit establishment of natives.
-only native species can serve as larval food source for butterflies & moths.
-lipid & carbohydrate content of exotic, berry-producing shrubs is inferior to native shrubs.
-rate of nest predation of robin & thrush species is higher in exotic shrubs vs natives.
This is but a smattering of findings of field data.

* Posted by: Glen_Cdn_Prairies_z3 3a/2b on Fri, Jun 21, 02
Another reason to protect natives is the botanical diversity they represent - a gift from Mother Nature that we don't yet completely understand their medicinal or nutriional value. We lose these native plants, we lose the potential unknown value these plants can provide to mankind.

Posted by: Doctorant 6-MO on Sat, Jun 22, 02
reduced water use, reduced chemical use, increasingly low maintenance as the native plantings mature, naturalistic attractiveness, habitat for of birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, crickets and lots of other small wildlife, fitting in to an eco-regional sense of place.

* Posted by: JMLehrer z6-7 NY/CT on Wed, Jun 19, 02
if you treasure your personal environment (meaning the plant and animal communities naturally found in this country), than you'll turn to natives. If you're trying to avoid plants that will take over in your garden AND locally in the unmanaged environment, you'll probably turn to natives. You can also make an argument on patriotic grounds, namely that the plants we have in the U.S. have traditionally been ignored, but we should be proud of what we have here and cultivate these gems.

* Posted by: bruceNH z5NH on Wed, Jun 19, 02
I live in the country, natives blend with the natural landscape. I feel that blending with the natural landscape makes for a relaxing enviornment. Not all my plants are native, but all the plants blend nicely with the natives and the natural landscape


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