Kansas Native Plant Definition

Definition of a Plant

Plants include annuals, biennials, and perennials. They include herbaceous plants that die to the ground each year as well as include woody vines, shrubs, and trees. If its green and photosynthesizes, its a plant. Even mosses are plants.

Definition of a Native Plant

Any plant indigenous to a geographic area. All plants are native to somewhere. So when you are talking about native plants, you must qualify where they are native. In America, most people consider plants to be native if they are native to North America. It is better to qualify native to a local region. Some use their state as a qualifier, but I think its better to think of native to a region of a state. The rainfall, temperature, and soil varies across most states, especially in Kansas. Therefore, one region of the state will have different native plants than another region of the state.

Northeast Kansas Native Plants

I specifically focus on plants native to Northeast Kansas, roughly the northern half of the eastern quarter of the state. This area is made up of the following Geophysical areas of Kansas: Glaciated Region, Osage Cuestas, and Flint Hills. See a map of the Geophysical areas of Kansas.

Definition of an Introduced Plant

If a plant species is native to one geographic area but has been introduced to another geographic area by people, it is considered an introduced, alien, or exotic species in the introduced area. A plant that has been introduced to an area and is now reproducing on its own is known as a naturalized species. It may grow in the wild, but it is not native to the area. All of these species were imported accidentally or intentionally. Where conditions were favorable, they spread to the wild. All of our most invasive species of plant are not native to North America.

Examples of Plants Introduced to Kansas

Oxeye daisy - Leucanthemum vulgare is native to Europe , but has naturalized itself in North America. Therefore it is considered native to Europe but introduced to North America. It is now naturaized across North America.

Osage orange - Maclura pomifera is considered to be a native to an area along the Oklahoma/Texas border, but is considered introduced to Kansas. It is now reproducing on its own and is now naturalized across Kansas. Therefore, the Osage Orange is native to the Texas but it is not native to Kansas.