Native plants are perfectly suited for our environment. After thousands of years, they have adapted themselves to survive high winds and heavy rains such as experienced during hurricanes and summer storms. At the same time, they also tolerate severe drought conditions. Native plants are able to thrive in our sandy, nutrient poor soil and need very little care once established. Native plants flower and bear fruit providing food for wildlife during the time of year when it is needed most. Butterflies, birds and other wildlife will naturally seek out native plants as they have for centuries. They must have them to survive!
According to the Florida Native Plant Society, a "Florida native plant refers to a species occurring within the state boundaries prior to European contact, according to the best available scientific and historical documentation. Florida native plants include those species understood as indigenous, occurring in natural associations in habitats that existed prior to significant human impacts and alterations of the landscape."
Non-Native, Alien, Introduced or Exotic Plant:
A plant whose natural range does not include Florida. These species may have been introduced intentionally or accidentally
A plant that grows so profusely that it takes over. Usually not native, though there are some natives (for example, cattails) which can take over in areas that have been altered (for cattail, areas with stabilized water levels and excess nutrients).
Being non-native does not mean that a plant is invasive. Of the more than 20,000 plants that have been introduced to Florida, fewer than 300 are generally considered to be invasive.Weed:
A plant that is not valued where it is growing. It usually and is usually of vigorous growth. Weeds can be native or non-native.
The term is also used to describe a group of plants characterized by a life-style pattern that includes growing rapidly, reproducing rapidly, and typically being adapted to open, high light, conditions. Many people refer to the typical wildflower as a "weed" and many wildflowers have the word "weed" as part of their names (for example: mildweed and porterweed) and the term is not derogatory we used in this sense.
Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ is a term used by several Florida agencies. It is an expansion of the Xeriscape concept. A Florida-friendly yard goes beyond Xeriscape, which was started in Colorado, to better fit Florida's environment. It includes best management practices supporting water conservation, sensible use of fertilizer, planting plants appropriate to the sites they are being grown in, and avoidance of invasive species. It does NOT mean "native".
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