Native plants are vital to native ecosystems. Because they provide optimal food and shelter for indigenous insects and songbirds, they are important for maintaining biodiversity in the animal kingdom – not just among plants.
Local public gardens – Scott Arboretum (Swarthmore), Tyler Arboretum (Media) and the Mount Cuba Center (Hockessin, DE), for example - provide examples of native plant horticulture that you can apply at home.
There are also plenty of online resources for exploring the world of native plants:
- The Biota of North America Program has a comprehensive, searchable plant database; http://www.bonap.org/
- The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) encourages landscaping with native plants and has an online database to help you identify plants to suit your specific needs. http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/plants/nativeplants/
- The National Audubon Society’s online plant database lets you search for plants that will benefit specific birds in your area, by entering your zip code. https://www.audubon.org/native-plants