I recently attended the WBCI (Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative) annual conference “Protecting Birds through Action & Art” in Rothschild, Wisconsin. One of the speakers was John Rowden, Director of Conservation for national Audubon. He introduced attendees to a new program called Native Plants Database. It’s easy to use. Just put in your e-mail address and zip code and a number of tabs pop up which show lists of native plants, what they host, local resources for native plants and next steps. I haven’t been through all the lists, but I love the reference to butterflies, caterpillars and birds. John would like to hear from you about how helpful the program is and also if you find any problems, i.e., invasives, non-natives, etc or if you can add resources.
Other programs which provide similar, but different information include NWF’s (National Wildlife Federation) new Native Plant Finder program based on Doug Tallamy‘s research on which trees host which caterpillars. Here you also put in your zip code and it brings up appropriate native plants and butterflies and creates a list for you. If you find any errors in this listing, please let me know and I will pass them along to the NWF programmer.
An older program is TNC’s (The Nature Conservancy) Grow Wild. Here you pick a region and a series of icons pop up to help you describe your site which then produces suggested plants. Or, you can simply scroll further down the page and select plants based on your plant hardiness zone. If you find any errors in this listing, please let me know and I will pass them along to the TNC programmer.
A still older program is the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center‘s Native Plants. This program asks for your state and a variety of site characteristics (habitat type, light, soil moisture, etc) and then brings up a list of suitable plants. This program also includes a comprehensive database of native plants which includes a variety of information from description of blooms and leaves and growing conditions to benefits and distribution in the USA and Canada. It also has really great photos.