P&PDL Picture of the Week for
August 30, 2010

Blurring of Native and Exotic

Mike Dana, Professor of Horticulture & Landscape Architecture, Purdue University

Native and exotic plants are usually thought of as different, but in this planting of Midwest North American native prairie flora observed by Purdue Master Gardeners on a recent International Garden Study Program, they are not.  This prairie planting is located at the Royal Horticultural Society’s garden at Wisley near London, England.  Are these natives or exotics?  The definition is dependent on the human observer.  For the Master Gardeners these plants are both exotic and familiar natives.

Perhaps it is reasonable to expect that as the world continues to functionally shrink with modern means of human travel, so our biological context will move, too.
Prominent in the picture are Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida), Butterfly Milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), and Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum).

Click image to enlarge


Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service