Native vs. Exotic Plants in North Carolina

Native vs. Exotic Plants in North Carolina

Native plants are considered “native” if they grow naturally in your area. Native plants are important because these plant species provide nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds and other animals. Once established, native plants save time and money by reducing and sometimes eliminating, the need for fertilizers, pesticides, water and lawn maintenance equipment.

North Carolina is one of the most ecologically diverse states with over 4000 native species of plants. Unfortunately, due to changes in their natural ecosystem (i.e., draining of wet-lands) or development of their habitat (i.e., to make room for houses and buildings) one out of seven plant species in North Carolina is considered “rare.” 162 of those plant species are considered threatened or endangered, meaning, those plant species are in danger of becoming extinct. Once they are gone, they are gone.

Introduced, or exotic, plants are those plants that are not native to our area. Some exotic plants are also invasive. Those are the plants that are vigorous growers and are displacing native plants and animals in our area.

One of the most invasive plants is English Ivy. You have seen this rapidly growing vine almost every where. If you take the time to look at it, you can see it is clearly smothering all the plants and trees it is attached to. When English Ivy grows on the ground, it smothers the plants beneath it, when it climbs a tree, it not only kills the tree, but will also produce seeds, which are then spread, planting even more English Ivy.

English Ivy

How You Can Help

Learn the difference between “native” and “exotic” plants. Do not plant invasive exotic plants. Pull invasive exotic plants from your yard and keep pulling them until they no longer return.

Recommended Native Plants

This is just a small list of recommended native plants.

native plants

For more information visit:

This article was originally published in the July/August issue of City Unwrapped.

Leave a Reply


CommentLuv badge