Washington State Native Plants
Washington State, renowned for its diverse landscapes, hosts an impressive variety of native plants, all uniquely adapted to their specific environments.
- In the coastal regions, Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) are prominent. The Western Red Alder (Alnus rubra) thrives here too, along with understory shrubs like Salal (Gaultheria shallon). The state flower, Pacific Rhododendron (Rhododendron macrophyllum), lends vibrant color to these areas.
- The Olympic rainforest, a unique temperate rainforest, harbors a lush understory, including Western Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum) and Lady Fern (Athyrium filix-femina).
- In the higher elevations of the Cascades and other mountains, you’ll find Subalpine Fir (Abies lasiocarpa), Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana), and Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax). The Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja miniata) dots these regions with color.
- Eastern plains, drier and more arid, are home to Sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata), Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus), and bunchgrasses like Bluebunch Wheatgrass (Pseudoroegneria spicata). The Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) enlivens these landscapes in the spring.
- Wetland and riparian areas support species like the Black Cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and Red-Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea). These species play a critical role in maintaining soil integrity along waterways.
These native plants contribute significantly to Washington’s ecosystems, offering food and habitat for wildlife. Incorporating these species in your garden not only supports the state’s biodiversity but also reduces water usage and maintenance needs, thanks to their adaptation to local conditions.