Maryland Native Plants
Any avid gardener knows what flora they enjoy, but how many pay attention to whether the plants they work with are native? All of them should, according to Karyn Molines, co-founder of the Maryland Native Plant Society.
Through the Maryland Native Plant Society, Molines educates residents about the importance of the state’s indigenous plant life. Identification workshops and habitat field trips are just two of the ways she pursues this goal. From mountain laurels, to paw paws, to dogwoods, Molines shows students how to assess species characteristics and context, forming a personal relationship with the plants they encounter.
According to Molines, regional habitat health is dependent on plant diversity. Non-native or invasive species can easily become dominant in a given location, creating what she refers to as a monoculture, and disrupting ecosystem function. Therefore, Molines says, native plants are important to recognize, understand, and protect.