Wild Willow Farm is excited to welcome you to our self-guided tour! Follow the signs around the farm and learn about each landmark along the way. Thank you to local Chula Vista High School students for helping to create content for each QR code!
What makes a plant native?
A plant is considered to be native if it had sprouted naturally in a particular region, ecosystem, or habitat without human introduction. California alone homes approximately 6,500 species and subspecies of plants. Most of which are unique to California alone, not to be seen anywhere else in the world. Have you ever looked at a plant and thought about where it came from? It might have originated from the very ground you stand on or maybe even a couple of miles away. If so, then it is considered a native plant, and it should be conserved because they provide us with valuable renewable materials and other benefits.
Benefits of native plants...
Native plants provide numerous benefits to people and wildlife while bestowing greatly healthy soil and water in rural and urban conditions. They help with neglecting the need for overuse of fertilizers, excess fertilization can run off into lakes which can cause extensive algae growth which can damage aquatic life in those regions. The use of gas-powered lawnmowers and garden tools can produce up to 11 times more air pollution compared to a car. As known plants give us the gift of oxygen, and native plants keep the air around you cleaner due to sequestration of carbon in the surrounding air. Alongside native plants, we also have native wildlife in California and native plants offer shelter and food for wildlife. They even attract tons of pollinators and without them, nature wouldn’t continue to prosper. A small tip for people who want a nice backyard or front yard but money isn’t swimming in, native plants even help you save money. One study by Applied Ecological Services estimates that over a 20 year period, the overall cost of maintaining a native environment is $3,000 per acre versus $20,000 per acre for non-native turf grasses.
Natives are becoming popular as evidenced by neighbors who rip out their lawns and replace them with natives. This is partially due to growing concerns about water supply, and time maintenance. It isn’t as easy as just sticking natives into the ground, it's a little more complicated; the creation of successful native landscapes emphasizes observation, restraint, and thoughtful plant selection. A good way to realize native plant relationships is seeing it out in nature on a hike or even at a local farm to see what works and what doesn’t. Weeds can be very damaging and invasive to our Californian plants. They steal moisture and nutrition from plants and can corrupt ecology in areas where it affects them. However, more native plants can help to eliminate the competitive weeds and give a win to the cooperative natives.
Some natives in California are currently in danger of extinction, around 222 species and subspecies are designated as rare, threatened, or endangered according to the efforts done to map and conserve these plants by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. There are laws in place to protect our native plants and it is prohibited to obtain possession or the killing of any natives on the list.
Some of California's most famous natives are:
California Wild Rose
Coastal Prickly Pear
and much more!
If you don’t feel you have seen any of these breathtaking plants and flowers, give them a quick google and let your eyes feast upon California’s beauty.