Ah, very good points regarding how we humans chose to define native as our own personal styles of gardening emerge and evolve over time. NEWisc and MaineDesigner, you are truly invaluable contributors here at THG.
Best for me to do as others are doing. Follow the Feds definition of native-
A native plant species is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, state, ecosystem, and habitat without direct or indirect human actions.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve posted these links before but felt it best to post them again-
For my own personal style of gardening, to the above I would add the cut-off in the time line as being prior to European colonization. Yes, I realize there are those who go back considerably farther.
If one uses the above definition provided by the Feds, one will find that invasives are almost always an introduced species.
To really throw a fly in the ointment, please consider the following-
No plant is an island: each exists in a context and community of trees and toads, rocks and rotifers, birds and bugs. Like human communities, this network of individual needs is supported by complex communication and mutualisms that we hardly understand.
I like the idea of using State's lists but...
let's not forget terrestrial and aquatic ecoregions of North America and our individual micro regions.
Basic overview here-
We North Americans are all sharing the same beaker.
In North America, we share vital natural resources, including air, oceans and rivers, mountains and forests. Together, these natural resources are the basis of a rich network of ecosystems, which sustain our livelihoods and well-being. If they are to continue being a source of future life and prosperity, these resources must be protected. This stewardship of the North American environment is a responsibility shared by Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Although it is true that when Dr. Suess wrote his book we didn't know nearly as much as what we know today, we simply must give the man credit for spotting that something was seriously amiss. To this I must add that I see it to be virtually impossible to garden conscientiously and responsibly these days without expanding the nutshell! After all, our land was irreversibly altered to enable these subdivisions to rise up out of the dirt so as humans we can only do our best. Acting as individuals, each of us can be a small but meaningful force to improve things. In the collective, we can be a tremendous force. The very power we have to damage the environment is what compels us to act as its stewards. Please don't abdicate this responsibility because you think it's hopeless- It's not. Or because you think you can't make a difference- You can. Or because you think the world will survive without our stewardship- It may, but it will be a poorer and meaner place. The issue of preserving biodiversity is extremely complex but there are some simple tools we can use to preserve what we can. One is to find out what terrestrial and aquatic-dependent species are native to our areas and enhance those populations in and around our properties as opposed to introducing new ones.
Expanding upon this concept that something is seriously amiss, I conscientiously choose not to knowingly plant any species that is identified as being a noxious weed, an invasive species, or as being a non-native species that has naturalized. I know my lifestyle well enough to realize that we take off quite a bit. I could also die on the road tomorrow and who would be here to contain and deadhead any species purposefully planted that isn't exactly environmentally responsible let alone even be able to identify which ones should be contained and deadheaded should I ever be removed from the equation? Good question and one we should all be doing a little bit of soul searching on to ask ourselves. I don't want to see the world that some look forward to with great mirth where the wonderfully diverse native flora and fauna of various ecoregions is replaced by a few ubiquitous "super-fit" species. Where English house sparrows and European starlings, Carp and Tilapia, Cuban treefrogs and cats rule a world covered with Kudzu, Saltcedar, and water hyacinth.
Although I agree invasive species should continue to be discussed in each particular forum, just as roses and herbs and vegetables are.... Invasive Species, should be deserving of their own forum. Might as well get in a plug for Sustainable Practices too as that's most definitely deserving of its own forum at a "green site" also.
The best time to begin managing, controlling, and eradicating noxious weeds, invasive species, and non-native species that are naturalizing was 50 years ago... the next best time is right now.
And now it is time for me to take a break from THG in favor of going back to the ListServe.