What is a native plant?
Basically, a native plant is one that occurs naturally in an area, without human introduction. For more information, and definitions of what a native plant is, here is an answer from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, one of the leading authorities on native wildflower and plant species. CLICK HERE
Why is it important to plant native plant species?
Native plants are just better! No, seriously, I'm going to reference a well written article from another nature authority, the Audubon Society. CLICK HERE
What is a cultivar?
Cultivar is short for cultivated variety. Cultivars have been selectively bred for certain traits such as color, petal shape, and plant size. Basically, they are genetically altered versions of plants, some natives. However, it's thought that in this process of selective breeding that important traits such as bloom time and flower shape will have a detrimental effect on the pollinators and wildlife that rely on plants for a food source. How do you know if it's a cultivar? Look for catchy names. The International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP) rules state that a cultivar must first have the botanical Latin form of the name followed by the cultivar name enclosed within apostrophes, for example Echinacea "Double Scoop Cranberry." So, while you think you are buying a native, Echinacea, the catchy name indicates that it's a cultivar. Here's a great article, recommended by Choose Natives as to why not to buy cultivars. CLICK HERE