About DCR
State Parks
Soil and Water
Dam Safety and

Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping

What are native plants?

Native species are those that occur in the region in which they evolved. Plants evolve over geologic time in response to physical and biotic processes characteristic of a region: the climate, soils, timing of rainfall, drought, and frost; and interactions with the other species inhabiting the local community. Thus native plants possess certain traits that make them uniquely adapted to local conditions, providing a practical and ecologically valuable alternative for landscaping, conservation and restoration projects, and as livestock forage. In addition, native plants can match the finest cultivated plants in beauty, while often surpassing non-natives in ruggedness and resistance to drought, insects and disease.

Dodecatheon meadia (Eastern shooting star)
Dodecatheon meadia
(Eastern shooting star)

About the Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration, and Landscaping Project

This project is the result of a collaboration between the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Native Plant Society, and was made possible by a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Department of Environmental Quality's VA Coastal Program. Funds were also contributed by the Virginia Nurserymen's Association, the Virginia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects, and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

Woodwardia virginica (Virginia chain fern)
Woodwardia virginica
(Virginia chain fern)

In addition to those three organizations, the sponsors extend their considerable appreciation to the other collaborators who provided valuable advice and assistance throughout the life of the project:

  • The Nature Conservancy -- Virginia Chapter
  • Virginia Polytechnic and State University, Department of Horticulture
  • Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
  • Virginia Department of Forestry
  • Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
  • Virginia Department of Transportation

Project participants share a commitment to protect native plant habitats, especially those that support rare, threatened, or endangered species. The use of native plant species--especially plants propagated from local populations--in land management, conservation, restoration, and horticultural projects will help maintain the ecological integrity of natural areas and preserve native biodiversity.

Native Plants for Conservation, Restoration and Landscaping Brochures

Coastal Plain Native Plants
Piedmont Native Plants
Grasslands Native Plants
Mountain Native Plants
Riparian Native Plants
Amelanchier laevis (Serviceberry)
Amelanchier laevis

Printed copies of the native plant brochures by physiographic region listed above are also available on good quality 70# paper with colored ink For more information please contact:

Project Review Coordinator
Rene Hypes
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Division of Natural Heritage
600 E. Main St., 24th Floor
Richmond, VA 23219

For more information

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation
Natural Heritage Program
Native Plants for Conservation and Landscaping pages:

For a list of nurseries that propagate native species, visit:
Virginia Native Plant Society

For a list of nurseries in a particular region of Virginia, visit:
To search for species in the VNLA member catalogs, visit:

Kalmia latifolia (Mountain laurel)
Kalmia latifolia
(Mountain laurel)

Even more information

Digital Atlas of the Flora of Virginia provides range maps for plant species in Virginia:

The Wildflower Center offers a database of native species with photographs, garden requirements, and more:

The United States Department of Agriculture maintains an extensive plant database: