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Native Plant Societies of the U.S.A. Research Guides

The New York Botanical Garden’s Research Guides on Native Plant Societies of the United States lists over 50 societies and their chapters that are located throughout their state. The general purpose of these native plant societies is to promote the appreciation, protection, and conservation of native plants. Many societies pursue legislation and offer grants for the study of native species. Many societies hold lectures, talks, and maintain blogs and newsletters. They are welcoming to anyone who is interested in native plants.

Elizabeth Gertrude Britton, with the support of the Torrey Botanical Club, took the lead in advocating the establishment of a botanical garden in New York. Her efforts led to the incorporation of the New York Botanical Garden in 1891. Her husband, Nathaniel Lord Britton, became the first director of the 250-acre establishment in Bronx Park in 1896.

In 1902, she founded the Wild Flower Preservation Society of America. Through the society and various publications, she led movements that succeeded in saving numerous endangered wildflower species around the country. Britton remained a driving force behind the organization until the mid-nineteen twenties. In 1933 the organization officially dissolved, as it was determined that the society's mission was being carried on effectively by the Garden Club of America, various state federations of garden clubs, and by the Wild Flower Preservation Society which had been established in 1925 in Washington, D.C.

What is a native plant? A plant that is a part of the balance of nature that has developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem. Note: The word native should always be used with a geographic qualifier (that is, native to New England [for example]). Only plants found in this country before European settlement are considered to be native to the United States. For more information on Native, Invasive and Other Plant Related Definitions see the United States Department of Agriculture website.

What is an endemic plant? An endemic plant is a native plant found only in a particular area because they are highly adapted to a particular niche.

Why plant native? Native plants generally require little maintenance since they have already adapted to your area’s changing seasons and climate. There are many varieties of native plants that reward us with beautiful flowers, seasonal color changes, and the production of fruits and seeds that can help sustain native wildlife.

In addition to providing vital habitat for birds, many other species of wildlife benefits as well. The colorful array of butterflies and moths, including the iconic monarch, the swallowtails, tortoiseshells, and beautiful blues, are all dependent on very specific native plant species. Native plants provide nectar for pollinators including hummingbirds, native bees, butterflies, moths, and bats. They provide protective shelter for many mammals. The native nuts, seeds, and fruits produced by these plants offer essential foods for all forms of wildlife.

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