Did you know that April 13 is International Plant Appreciation Day? We always appreciate plants around here, especially our native plants. Native plants bring benefits to Northwest land and water resources, wildlife, and people. Northwest fish and wildlife depend on native plants for food, shelter, and cover.
Here are just seven reasons to use native plants. They
- don’t need pesticides or fertilizers.
- need less water.
- don’t need mowing.
- attract native wildlife – more birds and butterflies!
- can be less expensive than non-native plants.
- help control erosion and reduce runoff, keeping sediments and pollutants out of our waterways.
- reduce problems with weed species.
Can you think of other reasons?
Once established, native plants in the right place require little maintenance. To find native plants for your yard, check out King County’s online Native Plant Guide and browse photos of local native plants. Volunteers in King County’s Native Plant Salvage Program can get some plants for free.
Here are a few fun facts about native plants that are also edible:
Salal is an evergreen shrub with dark green leaves. It can grow where almost nothing else will, in deep understory forest groves, moist or dry soils, in full sun or deep shade. It has edible, dark purple berries that ripen in late summer.
This shrub has small, light green leaves and somewhat squared stems. It has delicious, bright red berries that ripen in the summer.
This is our native blackberry! It likes to spread but doesn’t form self-supported brambles. Instead it rambles about the landscape as a ground cover. Its leaves come in groups of three.
Although this plant is primarily known for its painful sting and aggressive spreading, it should be recognized for being a great food plant for butterfly larvae. We can also cook and eat the leaves, if handled properly! Learn to recognize nettle by its distinctive, opposite leaf pattern up the stem.
A native landscape is healthy for kids, pets, and our environment. Your yard or garden makes a difference!