Native plants are among the most popular plants for American gardens, yet they have been growing in North American prairies, woods, and deserts for hundreds of years.
However, the term native is often misunderstood and misused because all plants are native to some region of the world. The term is used here to identify a plant that was growing naturally in what we now call the United States, Canada, and Mexico before European settlement. A plant that was originally discovered growing in southern Florida is native even though it doesn’t grow in Minnesota or California. Other plants, often referred to as exotics or aliens, were originally brought here from another part of the world, but have become established as part of a local environment. They are not native but often have become naturalized.