What is a Michigan Native Plant?

Native Michigan Genotype.
 
A Michigan native plant is one that occurred naturally in a particular region or ecosystem without human introductions.  These plants were growing in Michigan before the settlers arrived.

Benefits of Michigan Native Plants.

Within the region or ecosystem these plants originate these plants are much more adaptable to the soils, moisture, and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. As a result of their historic adaptation, they require less watering, fertilizing, and overall maintenance.

 The Rest of the Story.

 These are the plants our ecosystem depends on for its survival.   No matter where in the circular ecosystem you find joy, native plants provide an integral niche.  If you are a birder, native plants provide the food and shelter birds require for survival.   Native plants support the insects that are needed to support chicks. With 96% of all North American terrestrial bird species feeding insects to their young, planting exotic plants which are nonpalatable to insects and their larvae deprive birds and their young of valuable food.

We are all aware of the dwindling numbers of Monarch butterfly.   This butterfly larvae (caterpillar) require native milkweed to survive.   There are other butterflies and moths that are specialists and target plants are required as larvae hosts. Native plants also provide the nectar for the adults to continue to breed and lay their eggs. Even Lepidoptera who are generalists require native plants for nectar and larva hosts.

Native bees have been getting a lot of attention due to their declining numbers.  Michigan hosts over 450 kinds of bees.   Wild bees (not the European honeybee) are also beneficial pollinators of crops and the most important pollinators of wildflowers. Many bees specialize on flower species.  Their survival is tied to a particular host (s) plants and its habitat.  Other bees are generalist, and they can thrive in a variety of environments but still require native plants and environments for their food, shelter, and successive generations.

Our Plants

GGPN flowers and grasses are grown from seed onsite. Seed is hand collected from our “wild site” in Mecosta County, in own garden from plants with a known Michigan genotype and private land with owner permission.  If wild seed is not available, pure seed is purchased from reputable seed only companies and every effort is made to secure Michigan genotypes.

 Shrubs and trees are grown from hand collected seed whenever possible.   Certain species are purchased as plants from licensed Michigan vendors.  Most of these plants are a Michigan genotype. A few species will be native to Michigan, but their seed source is Great Lakes. Information concerning individual species is available on request.