Why use indigenous plants in your garden?

When referring to indigenous flora, we mean the plant species that occurs naturally within that area. The term indigenous plant differs from the terms native or native plants, which usually refers to plants or a species of plant that have originated in Australia. All indigenous plants are native, but native plants are not necessary indigenous to your area. Local plants is another term used to refer to indigenous plants.

When looking at Elster Creek catchment area natural history, we see that over many thousands of years the plants and animals that lived in this region had evolved into their natural communities. These plant communities, along with the fauna had adapted to local conditions such as soil types, soil fertility, drainage conditions, shade or full sunshine, higher salinity near the bay, and frequent or less frequent fire regimes, and of course the availability of food resources for the fauna.

These prevailing conditions and others too numerous to mention, led to small but important variations within species in all regions. For example, a plant species that had evolved in one region may have slight genetic differences or variations to the same species in other localities. These differences within species play important roles in overall biodiversity of that species. These differences can be minor, for example a variation in flower or foliage colour, the size of the plant or size of the flowers, width or size of leaves etc.

It means there are localised gene pools across the range of all species, and these differences or variations bring a distinctive character to local flora & fauna. Small evolutionary differences are important to the long term survival of all species, because the more widespread & varied a species is, the more likely it can adapt to change.

Indigenous plants are adapted to the conditions in your area. This is why it is important to use indigenous/local plants propagated from local remnants in your region. By doing this you will help to preserve important local gene pools and strengthen regional biodiversity.