Native plants are those that occur naturally (and historically) within a region in which they evolved. They are the ecological foundation in which other species, that co-evolved with these plants, depend on for survival. All of our restoration projects, from forests, rivers, stream banks, to pastures, and backyards, utilize native plants to benefit both you and your land.
What Benefits Do Native Plants Have?
Low maintenance: Once established, native plants generally require little maintenance.
Beauty: Many native plants offer beautiful flowers and abundant fruits and seeds
Less Fertilizer and Water: Because native plants are adapted to the soil and weather conditions in your area, they need little to no fertilizer to thrive, and use far less water.
Wildlife: Native plants provide homes and food, in forms of nectar, seeds, and fruit, for numerous species of mammals, birds, and insects.
One hundred-fifty years ago, the Palouse was carpeted by a mosaic of perennial fescue, blue-bunch wheatgrass, and prairie June grass intermingled with many different kinds of wildflowers, snowberry bushes, wild roses, mosses, and lichens. These roots could grow as deep as 15 feet,contributing organic matter to the rich, loamy soil, and stabilizing the iconic rolling hills. In spring and early summer, the grasses and flowers gave the appearance of a colorful, lush meadow, or Palouse Prairie. This mixture of plants provided homes for countless birds, small mammals, gophers, squirrels, grouse, hawks, owls, deer, and elk.
"Its beauty was wild and untrammeled and the undulating hills were covered with luxuriant grasses."
~ Moscow homesteader, 1880s
Because of the naturally fertile soil, less than 1% of the Palouse Prairie remains today. People were so impressed with the productivity of the region that by the year 1900, 90% of the Prairie had already been converted to agriculture. However, all of this change has taken a toll on the soil, causing nutrient depletion and heavy erosion. Reestablishing ecologically viable Palouse Prairie patches is just one small step to creating a healthier community.