Native Plants in Canada

Adolescent Cardinal on American Bittersweet, Summer 2016
Juvenile Cardinal on American Bittersweet, Summer 2016

One of the learning curves associated with attracting and supporting wildlife in Canada involves knowing which plants and animals are native to your particular area. What is native to eastern Ontario is not necessarily native to northern or southern Ontario, and what is native to Manitoba is not necessarily native to Saskatchewan, even though they are both considered Prairie Provinces. Furthermore, a particular hardiness zone does not necessarily mean that all the same plants will be native to that zone.  Conversely, in many cases, what is native to certain areas in one province may also be native in areas of one or more other provinces. These areas may not necessarily share a hardiness zone.  To determine what flora and fauna is native to a particular area in Canada, rather than using the provinces, territories and hardiness zones as a guide, there is a more accurate mapping category referred to as eco-zones.

To encourage native plants on our property we have left some areas of our lawn unmown. In those spots, we have noticed that wildflowers and grasses have taken root. Those include violetsblack-eyed Susans, blue-eyed grass, daisies, asters, dogbane, fleabane, Canada Mayflower and wild strawberries. We have also had to pull out the invasive buckthorn sprouts, which is very easily done when they are small.

In addition, we have encouraged the growth of native woodland plants by leaving the fallen leaves in place under the trees and shrubs in our yard in the fall. We were delighted to find that this resulted in the appearance of little serviceberry sproutspagoda dogwood, red trillium, more Canada Mayflower, trout lily, columbine, meadow rue, false Solomon’s seal, violets, foamflower, royal fern, sensitive fern, lady fern, and Canadian wild ginger.

CWF has a native plant encyclopedia for Canada if you’re interested in finding out about native plants in your area

Other excellent links to info about native Canadian flora and fauna listed below:

Plants Native to Canada by Province

Evergreen: Native Plant Database – Canada

Eco zones of Canada: Flora and Fauna

Environment Canada

More info on native plants in Canada

The role of native plants and their cultivars (phlox)