Here's what I mean!
- A native plant is a plant that has existed in an area for hundreds of years, before outside settlement. In West Virginia, some beloved native garden plants are: Lilly of the Valley, Virginia Blue Bells, and Trillium.
- Some wild plants are non-native, naturalized. This means that the plant did not originate in that ecosystem, but have existed there a long time and do not presented a serious threat to native flora. You may be surprised that Dandelions (from Europe) Indian Strawberry (from India) and Daffodils (Europe, again) make the list! If these grow in your yard, there is no environmental reason to eradicate them, but they do not truly reflect the original American landscape.
- Some plants are non-native, non invasive. They aren't from here, they don't grow here in the wild. But we like to plant them and overall, that's OK! Where I live in West Virginia, I love to plant Zinnias (from Mexico) and Lantana (from the tropics). They are beneficial to birds and butterflies but because they are an annual in Zone 6, they don't survive the winter to spread profusely.
- Then, you have the invasives. Invasive plants are like alien invaders. They come from another place far far away and the number 1 goal in their existence is to wipe out the life on your planet, - er, yard, for the purpose of totally annihilating the local population for the purposes of colonization. The thing is - sometimes they are sort of pretty. And even though the federal government spends thousands of $$ a year to eradicate these plants (like Paulownia Tree from China or Autumn Olive from Russia) they are not illegal to sell, purchase, or plant. ...So, take a look out your window...could one of your beloved shrubs be an alien invader?? BAH BAH BAAAH!!! I sure hope not.