Here are my favorite “Whereas” statements in the new, bipartisan Resolution that just days ago declared April to be “National Native Plant Month:”
“Whereas native plants provide shelter as well as nectar, pollen, and seeds that serve as food for native butterflies, insects, birds, and other wildlife in ways that non-native plants cannot;
Whereas more than 200 of the native plant species in the United States are estimated to have been lost since the early 19th century;
Whereas habitat loss and degradation, extreme weather events, and invasive species have contributed to the decline of native plants in the United States;
and Whereas native plants are essential components of resilient ecosystems and our natural heritage:
Now, therefore, be it Resolved,
That the Senate designates April 2021 as ‘National Native Plant Month.'”
Let the hikes and rambles and dichotomous keys and lists of faunal associations begin!
Find a flower.
Admire that flower.
Find out if it is native.*
Find out why it matters if it is native.**
Want to name the native blooms I collaged above? All are starting to bloom now or will be blooming in April.
Answers are below the Bio.
*To I.D.: Use a field guide like the Tennessee Native Plant Society’s “Wildflowers of Tennessee,” or a free app like iNaturalist or Seek. Or take a guided walk at a park or nature center or natural area nearby. Join a Wild Ones chapter or native plant society, too.
If you are local, join us at the Middle Tennessee Chapter of Wild Ones. The Wild Ones motto is “Healing the Earth One Yard at a Time.”
**Why native matters: Refer to all Whereas statements above.
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Joanna Brichetto is a naturalist and writer in Nashville, the hackberry-tree capital of the world.
She writes about everyday natural wonders amid every habitat loss, and her essays have appeared in Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, Hippocampus, The Hopper, Flyway, The Common, City Creatures, The Fourth River and other journals.
Dogwood (Cornus florida), Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), Pawpaw tree (Asimina triloba), Violet wood sorrel (Oxalis violacea), Annual fleabane (Erigeron annuus), Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata).