This includes plants that have developed, occur naturally, or existed for many years in an area (e.g. trees, flowers, grasses, and other plants). In North America a plant is often deemed native if it was present before colonization.
Some native plants have adapted to very limited, unusual environments or very harsh climates or exceptional soil conditions. Although some types of plants for these reasons exist only within a very limited range (endemism), others can live in diverse areas or by adaptation to different surroundings.
Research has found that insects depend on native plants.
An ecosystem consists of interactions of plants, animals, and microorganisms with their physical (e.g., soil conditions and processes) and climatic conditions.
Native plants form a part of a cooperative environment, or plant community, where several species or environments have developed to support them. This could be a case where a plant exists because a certain animal pollinates the plant and that animal exists because it relies on the pollen as a source of food. Some native plants rely on natural conditions, such as occasional wildfires, to release their seeds or to provide a fertile environment where their seedlings can become established.
Invasive and native plants
As societies move plants to new locations for cultivation as crops or ornamentals (or transport them by accident), some of them may become invasive species, damaging native plant communities. Besides ecological damage, these species can also damage agriculture, infrastructure, and cultural assets. Government agencies and environmental groups are directing increasing resources to addressing these species and their potential interactions with climate change. Non-native species can have profound effects on ecosystems by changing ecosystem structure, function, species abundance, and community composition.
Humans, migratory birds, ocean currents, etc. can introduce species that have never met in their evolutionary history, on varying time scales ranging from days to decades (Long, 1981; Vermeij, 1991). Humans are moving species across the globe at an unprecedented rate. Those working to address invasive species view this as an increased risk.
Native plant movement
Native plant proponents, such as Sara Stein, and native plant organizations, such as Wild Ones, the Native Plant Society of Oregon, the New England Wildflower Society, the North American Native Plant Society,  the California Native Plant Society , and Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center  also encourage gardeners to use earth-friendly gardening practices, especially in public spaces. The identification of local plant communities provides a basis for their work.
- California native plants (examples)
- Community ecology
- Exotic plants
- Genetic evolution
- Introduced species
- Invasive species
- Landscape ecology
- Native Woodland Survey of Scotland
- Natural environment
- Natural landscaping
- Plant community
- Restoration ecology
- Sustainable agriculture
- Tallamy, Douglas (2007). Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Timber Press.
- "Point Reyes National Seashore, Drakes Estero, A Sheltered Wilderness Estuary", National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior, p. 16.
- Stein, Sara (1993). Noah's Garden: Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards. Houghton-Mifflin.
- "North American Native Plant Society". nanps.org. Retrieved 2013-06-09.
- California Native Plant Society
- "Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center". Wildflower.org. Retrieved 2012-07-09.
- Mary M. Walker, "Native Plant Societies of the United States and Canada". On line.
- Long, John L. 1981. Introduced birds of the world: The worldwide history, distribution and influence of birds introduced to new environments. New York, Universe Books, New York City; Sydney, Reed ISBN 0-589-50260-3
- Vermeij, Geerat J. 1991. When biotas meet: Understanding biotic interchange. Science, 253:1099-1104 (6 September 1991)
- "About Native Plants", from the Dorothy King Chapter of the California Native Plant Society