What is a native plant? There are a multitude of answers but the most commonly accepted is a native plant which has naturally existed in an area for an extended period of time and is not there as a result of direct or indirect human influence. Why such a rising interest in native plants? A major motivation for this movement is in reaction to the nonnative invasive plants that have displaced both plant and animal species. There are numerous plant introductions that are ‘well behaved’ but Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera mackii), native to China, is an example of a plant introduction that is causing major problems in many natural areas in our local region. Why use native plants? Native plants are adapted to our climate and soils and should therefore, do well in the garden. Most importantly, native plants provide food sources for our native wildlife including butterflies, insects, birds and numerous other animals. The recently renovated wildflower garden at the Passenger Pigeon Memorial and plantings at Wolf Woods are great examples of native plants for the landscape. In addition, there are numerous native plants throughout the Zoo. Native Plant Program What we are doing at the Zoo to promote conservation and education of local native plants. Learn more about our Native Plant Program (PDF). Native Perennials Learn more about the Zoo’s picks for Native Sun Perennials (PDF). Learn more about the Zoo’s picks for Native Shade Perennials (PDF). Native Trees and Shrubs Learn more about the Zoo’s picks for Native Trees and Shrubs (PDF).