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 Gardeners, Plant NoVa Natives, and the Virginia Native Plant Society are great resources for learning more.
Over 6000 plants are grown each year from locally collected seed.
See what plants call Arlington home.
Native plants deserve a place in our gardens for many reasons.
Native Plant of the Month
North America's largest indigenous fruit is the Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, each attaining 3-6 inches in length when ripe. They are in the Custard-apple family Annonaceae, this genus being the Northern most members of this mostly tropical family. Like the Annonas and Cherimoyas I've eaten in Latin America, these too are quite edible. Learn more here.