Native Plant Definition
A "Florida native plant" refers to a species occurring within the state boundaries prior to European contact, according to the best available scientific and historical documentation. Florida native plants include those species understood as indigenous, occurring in natural associations in habitats that existed prior to significant human impacts and alterations of the landscape."
Other Terms to Know
The term "naturalized plant" refers to a non-native species that is growing on its own in nature.
It differs from "native plant" in that it may have originated as a garden escape, an agricultural escape, or an accidentally introduced weed.
All "alien invasive plants" or "non-native invasive species" are naturalized. However they got to Florida, they now grow on their own in nature and interfere with native species and natural ecosystem processes.
Becoming naturalized does not make an introduced species native.
Non-Native, Alien, Introduced or Exotic --
- A plant whose natural range does not include Florida. These species may have been introduced intentionally or accidentally
A plant that grows so profusely that it takes over. Usually not native, though there are some natives (for example, cattails) which can take over in areas that have been altered (for cattail, areas with stabilized water levels and excess nutrients).
Being non-native does not mean that a plant is invasive. Of the more than 20,000 plants that have been introduced to Florida, fewer than 300 are generally considered to be invasive
A plant that is not valued where it is growing. It usually fast spreading and is usually of vigorous growth.
Weeds can be native or non-native.
The term is also used to describe a group of plants characterized by a life-style pattern that includes growing rapidly, reproducing rapidly, and typically being adapted to open, high light, conditions. Many people refer to the typical wildflower as a "weed" and many wildflowers have the word "weed" as part of their names (for example: mildweed and porterweed) and the term is not derogatory we used in this sense.
- Florida-Friendly Landscaping is a term used by several Florida agencies. It is an expansion of the Xeriscape concept. A Florida-friendly yard goes beyond Xeriscape, which was started in Colorado, to better fit Florida's environment. It includes best management practices supporting water conservation, sensible use of fertilizer, planting plants appropriate to the sites they are being grown in, and avoidance of invasive species. It does NOT mean "native."
- A plant whose natural range is restricted to Florida.