What are Michigan native plants?
Plant species that occurred in Michigan prior to European
settlement. The University of Michigan Herbarium plant database,
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:
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 resulting
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
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.