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What are Michigan native plants?

Plant species that occurred in Michigan prior to European settlement. The University of Michigan Herbarium plant database, michiganflora.net can be used to determine if a species is native or not.

Why native plants?

Native plants have several characteristics that make them appealing as garden and landscaping plants:

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  • They are naturally adapted to the soils and weather conditions of the area, so they need little care once they've become established.  If they're planted in the proper location, they do not need fertilization, irrigation, or winter protection.  When used in place of lawn, they decrease the time and expense required for repeated mowing.
     

  • They provide food and cover for wildlife.  Native plants attract butterflies, dragonflies, birds, and a host of other creatures that provide movement and interest to a garden.  Landscapes containing native plants can help offset the dramatic loss of habitat resultingalternate text from rapid development.
     

  • They improve the quality of the environment by slowing stormwater runoff, preventing erosion, and enriching the soil.  The deep roots of native plants provide a path for water to seep into the ground, thereby preventing runoff from speeding overland, taking soil with it.  Also, the use of native plants in landscapes can reduce the air and noise pollution created by mowers and other yard equipment, the water pollution caused by fertilizers and pesticides, and the loss of natural areas by invasions of alien plants that have escaped from traditional gardens.

Native plants can be found for every type of environment, from dry and sunny to soggy and shady.  With their variety of colors, heights, foliage, and bloom times, they can add beauty and interest to any landscape.