View Full Version : need name of nonnative garden plant & its native replace

01-27-2004, 08:51 AM
I am writing a short story in which one character is a gardener obsessed with eradicating "non-native" plants from the garden. Are there any flowers that may be the source of such a problem in California gardens(specifically in the L.A. region)?(I got the idea for the character from reading about such a program in Germany in the 40's where they were trying to eradicate a "foreign" impatiens and replace it with a "native" impatiens.)

01-27-2004, 09:02 PM
California native plants are so rarely found in home gardens that virtually every plant in a typical landscape is non-native. Maybe you could say they were replacing Mexican sage with a native Cleveland sage (or purple sage, which grows in LA). Or Shirley poppies with California poppies. I don't know - just about anything you could think of in a typical garden is exotic! Maybe a prairie coreopsis with a native coreopsis. Good luck.

01-28-2004, 05:44 AM
Thanks for those ideas!


01-29-2004, 11:06 AM
Peg - It is not clear from your posting what the "message" of your story would be. Does your character want to have an all-native garden in order to show off California's flora? If someone wanted to get rid of non-natives, one reason might be that the non-natives were invasive and could get out into the wild, where they would replicate without becoming a part of the food chain. However, there are not that many non-native garden plants that are really invasive. If you need a list of those, let us know.

Does your character think, "natives good, non-natives bad"? I worry that such a story could give a very wrong impression of the native plant movement. Many of us believe that planting a native plant from another part of California is similiar in effect to planting a non-native. Probably ecologically neutral. To get a real sense of place, one would plant local natives, which might also be in communication with nearby wild lands, if there were any.

In other words, there isn't much ecological benefit to planting CA natives per se, other than the fact that a few non-natives have evolved with different animals, and might contain substances that aren't too good for our wild animals (e.g., some Eucalyptus have nectar that is too thick and gums up the beaks of our birds), or the plants might be lacking in particular chemicals that some wild animal here needs.

CNPS is about celebrating native plants, not about eradicating "foreigners".


Lori Hubbart

02-02-2004, 06:23 PM
The Nazi purity comparison is not a fair one. While it might have worked for them, people are a lot more adaptable than ecosystems. Also the issue of invasiveness is more important than nativeness, especially in a city. It's just not worth getting into the human comparison, that's quite a different issue.

Devotion to natives in an urban setting can help attract native wildlife and enhance our appeciation for natives but it does't have anything real direct to do with invasive problems that destroy wild ecosystems. The story might make more sense for a rural gardener planting French Broom perhaps. Maybe the gardener takes a trip to France and sees how the Broom fits into the ecosystem there and how some California species are pests there.

Hmmm... how about Pampass Grass, that's a popular invasive ornamental that can escape along coastal bluffs doing lots of damage on the central coast though I don't know about LA.

02-03-2004, 09:18 PM
Oh, and the replacement would be Deer Grass or California Fescue!

Hmmm... how about Pampass Grass, that's a popular invasive ornamental that can escape along coastal bluffs doing lots of damage on the central coast though I don't know about LA.