How to spot native plants in Richmond, VA

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Juniperus virginiana, aka Eastern Redcedar, is native to our region. | Photo by RICtoday

Spring hasn’t quite sprung — but we’re seeing hints of it on Richmond’s streets. Here’s a quick guide to spotting which plants are native to Central Virginia.

Native plants are plants which occur naturally in a particular region without human introduction. According to the National Wildlife Federation, these kinds of plants require less supplemental watering and assist in managing rainwater runoff. They’re already primed to thrive in the region — no chemicals required.

The Plant RVA Native Campaign made a guide to VA Capital Region Natives. Here are some common friendly flora:

  • Perennials: Common Yarrow, Purple False Foxglove, Eastern Red Columbine, Jack-in-the-pulpit, Common Milkweed, Mistflower, Virginia Blue Flag Iris, Coneflowers
  • Ferns: Southern Lady Fern, Royal Fern, Sensitive Fern, Southern Bracken Fern
  • Shrubs: Wild Hydrangea, Witch Hazel, Winterberry, Mountain Laurel
  • Trees: Red Maple, River Birch, Mockernut Hickory, Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Redcedar, Sweetbay Magnolia, Sassafras

If you want to buy native plants to add to your garden, the Virginia Native Plant Society has a list of nurseries which sell primarily native plants and do not sell invasive species. You can also ask the experts at your favorite plant shop to see what’s local.

Since we’ve got so many River City natives, let’s have some flora-inspired fun. Have you spotted any of these shrubs on a walk recently? Do you have some growing in your gardenon purpose or by happenstance? Send us a picture so we can spread the local leafy love.

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