Native or Not?  

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Just because the plant tag says “native” doesn’t mean it’s native to Southeast Wisconsin.  If you aren’t that picky or if you’re planting with climate change in mind, a few plants from Illinois or Ohio aren’t a big deal.  But, if you are aiming for a truly native garden or are just curious, there are some resources to verify a plants native status down to the county level.  

Online Virtual Flora of Wisconsin – This is the ultimate authority for all Wisconsin vegetation. Just search for a plant and the entry will tell you if it’s native and where it was found.  Here’s the entry for Malus ioensis “prairie crabapple.”  The “Conservation Status” field lists it as Native and the map shows where it has been found.   From there, you can drill down to more detailed information.

USDA PLANTS Database – The PLANTS Database provides standardized information about all vegetation in the U.S. and its territories.  Use the drop down menu to select your search type. Here’s the record for “prairie crabapple.”  The “Native Status” field has an N, indicating native.  At first glance it appears to be native to all of Wisconsin, but if you zoom in it will show county level information.