This guide is an introduction to some of the more common native plants found within Essex County. You will find photos and identification tips to help you identify locally common native plants at all stages of their lifecycles, from newly emerged plant, to flower to seed stage. Included, is helpful information on plant height and bloom period to help you plan your garden. Scientific names listed at the top of each page so that you can be certain you are buying the true native variety of the species from your local nursery, rather than a selectively bred variant.
Native plants are species that have been growing in a region since before European settlement, have evolved with our climate and are well adapted to survive throughout the year, from intensely hot, dry summer months to cold winter months. There is a huge variety of native plant species to suit any type of conditions. They range from shade tolerant to sun-loving and from drought resistant to species that thrive in wet conditions. Once established, they require less maintenance and watering than non-native ornamental plants. They are long-lived and readily re-seed themselves, coming back year after year.
With a good mix of native species, your garden will have colour throughout the growing season, with species that start blooming in the early spring and others that bloom well into October - attracting pollinators all season long!
Essex Region Conservation Authority
Note: Article has been updated with link to the latest fact sheet from ERCA