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Native Plants

A plant is considered native if it has occurred naturally in a particular region, ecosystem or habitat without human introduction. Native plants help the environment the most when planted in places that match their growing requirements. Chautauqua County native plants will thrive in the soils, moisture, and weather of this region. When planted in our landscapes, they do not need to be mowed and require less watering and fertilizers. Because they have evolved with our local insects, they have fewer pest problems and require less pesticides and herbicides to grow and thrive. Native plants also assist in managing stormwater runoff and maintain healthy soil as their root systems are long and strong and keep soil from being compacted.


Why Plant Natives? 
  • Wildlife: Native plants provide food and shelter for our native birds, butterflies, bees, and other local wildlife.

  • Low Maintenance: Once established, native plants generally require little maintenance.

  • Healthy Places: Native plants do not need fertilizers or chemical pesticides and herbicides. 

  • Helping the Climate: Native plants do not need to be mowed, which decreases lawnmower noise and carbon exhaust. Our native oaks and maples are great at storing carbon dioxide and cleaning the air.

  • Conserving Water: Native plants are adapted to local soil and weather and need far less water, which saves time, money, and our most valuable natural resource – water!

Our top five native tree, shrub and perennial recommendations for the Chautauqua region are:

  • White Oak

  • Sugar Maple

  • Eastern White Pine

  • River Birch

  • Tulip Tree

  • Blueberry

  • Serviceberry

  • Winterberry Holly

  • Black Willow

  • Bayberry

  • Woodland Sunflower

  • Swamp Milkweed

  • Butterflyweed

  • Black-eyed Susan

  • Aster

Sample Landscape Designs:


Native plants raingarden design:

Native plants lake-shore or stream-side buffer design:

Additional Resources for Local and Regional Native Plants:


  • For a list of native plants from the New York Flora Atlas, click here and select Chautauqua County.

  • For a native plant database (with notes on the birds they will help to attract), click here and enter your ZIP code.

  • For a list of native plants suitable for LakeScapes rain gardens, click here.

  • For a list of native plants suitable for LakeScapes buffers and bioswales, click here.

  • For a list of a deer-resistant native plants, click here

  • For a list of New York State native plant species, click here.

  • For a list of local and regional nurseries that carry native plants, click here.

  • For help with choosing your native plants or designing your garden, contact our conservationist, Carol Markham, at 716-664-2166 x 2005 or

Webinars for Additional Info:

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