About Native Plants

About Native Plants photo

What is a native plant?

A native plant species is indigenous to a given region or ecosystem. A native plant species has coevolved over time with other plant and animal species. In the Metro Vancouver region, there are a wide variety of native trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs.


Native Plant Resources

Check out the following online resources to learn more about identifying and caring for native plants.


Diversity by Design (South Coast Conservation Program): Science-based resource guides for restoring wetland, forest, and riparian habitats. 

Gardening with Native Plants (Habitat Acquisition Trust): Useful brochure with plant table highlighting characteristics, uses, and suggested combinations for gardens in the Capital Regional District.

Gardening with Native Plants in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley (Fraser Valley Conservancy): Based on the above guide by HAT, but with region specific information for the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. 

Grow Me Instead (Plantwise): This pamphlet profiles 26 of BC’s most unwanted horticulture plants along with their alternatives. 

Indigenous Plant Guide (Museum of Vancouver): This pamphlet spotlights a few of the native plants, found around the Museum of Vancouver, in hən̓ q̓ əmin̓ əm̓ and Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh sníchim, the languages spoken by the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh communities

Native Plant Brochure (BC Nature): Get to know native plants in our Coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, including trees, shrubs, flowers and herbs.

Nature Brochures (Delta Naturalist Society):  Free brochures created by the Birds and Biodiversity Conservation Strategy Team, who are members of the Delta Naturalists Society.


Plant Lists

Edible Plants of the West Coast (Free the Fern Stewardship Society): List of native and naturalised edible plants found in South East Vancouver.

Grow Me Instead (Invasive Species Council of Metro Vancouver): Provides a list of native and exotic plants to replace invasive plants with.

Indigenous Plant Names (Museum of Vancouver): Features lists of plant names with clickable audio recordings in Squamish and hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ languages. 

Native and Invasive Plant List (Free the Fern Stewardship Society): List of native & invasive plants found in South East Vancouver.

Naturescape table (Langley Environmental Partners Society) – List of plants broken down into those best for sunny spots, partial shade, and woodland habitats. 

Tree Species Compendium Index (Government of BC): list of native trees of BC.


Searchable Databases

E-Flora BC (UBC): This electronic atlas of flora is a tool for identifying vascular plants of BC (native or naturalized).  

Pick a Plant (Grow Green Guide): searchable gallery of non-invasive, eco-friendly plants ideal for Metro Vancouver gardens.

Plant Encyclopedia (Phoenix Perennials): Scroll to the bottom and click on “BC Native Plants” to do a specialised search of over 100 BC native plants. 

Plant Search (Nat’s Nursery): Interactive catalogue of native perennials, bulbs, ground covers, grasses, shrubs and trees available for sale through Nats Nursery. 


Resources for Purchase

Field Guides, Keys, & Cards (HCTF Education): These resources are printed on laminated or waterproof paper so they are durable and ready to use out in the great outdoors. 

Nature & Ecosystem Guides (The Outdoor Learning Store): plant guides & cards for all ages

Pacific Northwest Plant Knowledge Cards (Strong Nations): 72 edible and medicinal laminated plant cards, divided into categories: Tree, Berry, Flower, Shrub, and Plant.