Native Cultivars - Native? - Knowledgebase Question

Lexington, MA
Question by vxx
December 31, 2001
I'm interested in planting native shrubs and trees in my yard, but I'm finding most of what is available in local
nurseries are native 'cultivars'. In what sense is a cultivar a native plant? Is it an engineered variant , a native
plant selected for certain characteristics, or what?


Image
Answer from NGA
December 31, 2001

0

the plant as well as personal preference.

I hope this answers your question. Since you are considering using natives in your yard, you might want to concentrate on those that are specifically suited to your microclimate and soil as well as being locally adapted, meaning with a provenance close to home.

When you select the plant, you will want to use the same guidelines as ever meaning the growing conditions need to be suitable to that particular plant's needs in terms of things like available space, amount of sunlight, wind exposure, soil type and moisture, and so on.

Many natives are native to a very broad geographic region, eg "the eastern United States" and as such localized populations may have developed certain tolerances for certain climate and/or soil conditions. For this reason, for example, a redbud tree from a northern source would probably have better cold tolerance but lesser heat tolerance than a redbud tree grown from seeds collected in the warmer southern areas. Hence locally collected seed or locally selected plants would be more likely to do the best in your locale.

Also, in my opinion, it is generally a good idea to purchase only nursery-propagated plants rather than those collected in the wild at the expense of a native population. This can be of significance especially in the wildflower trade.

Good luck with your project, I'm sure you will enjoy your native plants. the plant as well as personal preference.

I hope this answers your question. Since you are considering using natives in your yard, you might want to concentrate on those that are specifically suited to your microclimate and soil as well as being locally adapted, meaning with a provenance close to home.

When you select the plant, you will want to use the same guidelines as ever meaning the growing conditions need to be suitable to that particular plant's needs in terms of things like available space, amount of sunlight, wind exposure, soil type and moisture, and so on.

Many natives are native to a very broad geographic region, eg "the eastern United States" and as such localized populations may have developed certain tolerances for certain climate and/or soil conditions. For this reason, for example, a redbud tree from a northern source would probably have better cold tolerance but lesser heat tolerance than a redbud tree grown from seeds collected in the warmer southern areas. Hence locally collected seed or locally selected plants would be more likely to do the best in your locale.

Also, in my opinion, it is generally a good idea to purchase only nursery-propagated plants rather than those collected in the wild at the expense of a native population. This can be of significance especially in the wildflower trade.

Good luck with your project, I'm sure you will enjoy your native plants.

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