How to use this website:
The Native Plant Swap allows Portland-area folks to access free native plants from the gardens and yards of other community members.
Post your extra native plants.
View Posts and send a message if you are interested in someone else's post.
Why Native Plants?
Plants are considered native to an area if they evolved in that ecosystem and grew without introduction or propagation. However, this doesn't mean that the plants had no contact with humans. In fact, around the world, indigenous populations have long cared for and depended on native plant populations, which benefitted from these relationships.
Native plants are beneficial for their ecosystem because they have formed long histories and relationships with other native plants, wildlife and/or human populations. This process is called co-evolution. By planting native plants, you are supporting native wildlife such as bird and insect pollinators.
Exotic, or introduced, plants are native to a different part of the world, and they often require human intervention to keep them growing. In our area, these plants were usually brought by European colonizers and required tending. A few of these introduced plants even became invasive and took over, such as English Ivy. Native plants, however, are adapted to the moisture, soil, and climate conditions of their region, and require less supplemental watering and pesticides.
They also assist in managing stormwater, because their roots are deep and help water move through the soil, rather than compacting soil and limiting infiltration.
How do I know if it's native?
People vary in how they use the word "native" to describe native plants. Some folks use it broadly, referring to all plants that grow in the Willamette Valley ecoregion. Others have a higher bar for the word "native", meaning only plants that are native to Portland and the immediately surrounding areas. Still others include a few plants that grow on the Oregon Coast within their definition of native. The WRC encourages you to seek out further resources on the question, starting with the excellent resources below. If you're not sure, it's best to check a few sources.
More questions? Connect with us!