awareness of the benefits of landscaping and gardening with native plants have resulted in nurseries producing native plants for the public to grow. Landscaping and gardening with native plants has many benefits including the creation of habitat for many different animals; from pollinators to birds, to small mammals. Many folks are now planting butterfly gardens that benefit these beautiful animals and bring enjoyment and joy to the gardener.
Unfortunately, the Forest Service is experiencing increased poaching of native wildflowers; even some that are listed as endangered species. Many people desire species that are not available commercially because these plants are difficult to grow or take too many years to reach maturity; and some people desire the rarest of the rare bringing those precious jewels ever closer to extinction. Consequently, some people are illegally removing wildflowers and other native plants from their natural habitats. In some cases entire populations of a species have been stolen.
There are legal ways to collect native plants from national forests and grasslands that will allow their use but still sustain them for future generations.
Remember, respect and protect wildflowers and their habitats, leave only footprints, and take only memories and photos so that future generations may enjoy our precious natural heritage.
Story courtesy of U.S. Forest Service