New York City native plants include mosses, ferns, grasses, sedges and rushes, wildflowers, trees, shrubs and woody vines. Over thousands of years, this flora has adapted to the climate, soils and environmental conditions of the five boroughs. This site-specific evolution is reflected in their genetic makeup. Sculpted by nature, the plants found here have become perfectly suited to New York City living. They are an integral part of our ecosystems, and the building blocks of our local biodiversity.
New York City has already lost more than 30% of its native plants, due to urban development and other human activities. You can help save the ones that are left.
What can you do to help
New York City’s native plants?
Take a walk.
Head outdoors with a field guide and a friend to learn about the botanical jewels in your neck of the woods. Preservation comes to those places that are loved by people. Suggestions for plant places and field guides.
Removing native plants from the wild depletes natural populations. Never take plants from parks or other open spaces. Take photos instead.
Join a botanical society.
New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut all have native plant societies. These groups lead tours through local fields and forests and always welcome new plant people. See our Resources page to learn more.
Be civically active.
Development of natural areas is the #1 cause of native plant destruction. Make note of open space slated for a strip mall or housing complex or active recreation area. Attend community board meetings. Voice your dissent.
Legal protection for plants.
New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut all have something in common – none of these states have laws safeguarding native flora or legal protections for rare plants. At the Federal level, most of the money from the Endangered Species Act goes towards animal protection. Let your legislators know that your flora should have rights. Flower power!
Let's Work Together
NYC Wildflower Week is an open, collaborative effort that celebrates the work being done in support of wildflowers and nature. If you are interested in being involved, contact us down below!