Native Plants

In response to underlying geology and hydrology, native plant communities emerge.  Our native plants provide beauty, biodiversity, storm-water control, cleaner and cooler air, and habitat and food for local wildlife.

The majority of natural lands in Arlington occur as mature hardwood forests. Trees in these forests – and throughout the rest of the county – are perhaps our most valued natural resource.   Arlington County is striving to increase our tree canopy on private property and to maintain it in our parks. Native wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and ferns are also important components of our plant communities.

Historically, an impressive 28% of the species in Virginia (40,767 sq miles) were found within the boundaries of Arlington County (26 sq miles). While an estimated 200 extirpated species are no longer present, over 600 native plant species are still found here today. Of those 600 species, a third are present at a single location or in a few small colonies, including fourteen state rare species.  Many of these rarer plants are found in Natural Resource Conservation Areas, and all are mapped and protected by buffer zones.

Arlington’s Nature Centers, the Master GardenersPlant NoVa Natives, and the Virginia Native Plant Society are great resources for learning more.





Arlington's Native Plant Nursery

Over 6000 plants are grown each year from locally collected seed.

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Native plants




Flora of Arlington

See what plants call Arlington home.

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Native plants




Why Plant Native Plants?

Native plants deserve a place in our gardens for many reasons.

Consider planting native plants on your own property as part of a Conservation Landscape.

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Native Plant of the Month

Rosebay Rhododendron - Great Laurel

Rhododendron maximum


Rhododendron maximum goes by a variety of names: Rosebay, White Rosebay, Rosebay Rhododendron, Great Rhododendron, Great Laurel, and Mountain Laurel (though this last name is more closely associated with another native shrub Kalmia latifolia) to name a few. It is an evergreen shrub with twisted trunks. The maximum part of its name can refer to the big 4-10 inch leaves, large white to light pink flowers, and/or may be due it being one of the largest of our native rhododendrons. Read more.