Enthusiasm for native plants continues growing each year as we become increasingly aware of and concerned about the deleterious impacts humans have on the natural world. These impacts, which include habitat loss, climate change, and insecticide use, have certainly intensified over time. This can inspire motivation to take action, often beginning in one’s garden.
At the same time, a familiar scene typically plays out at local nurseries across the United States when customers arrive to purchase ecologically friendly plants for their gardens. Seldom seen are the native, unmodified, “straight species” originally emanating from nature. Instead, customers find a veritable collage of native plant cultivars featuring qualities such as larger flowers, compact sizes, improved disease resistance, alternative leaf coloration, and other attributes deemed “garden worthy.” These cultivars are sometimes the result of years of concerted breeding efforts, which are then maintained through asexual propagation techniques.
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