Dr. Jessica Lubell argues the pros and cons of using seed propagated native plants or horticultural selections.
(2013) Nursery Management magazine. An article by Dr. Jessica Lubell, University of Connecticut, in which she argues the pros and cons of using natives from seed vs. horticultural selections.
It can be rather difficult to define what a native plant is and many definitions exist. Perhaps one accurate definition would identify native plants as those that have evolved and adapted to a specific location (naturally occurring) and have remained genetically unaltered by humans. Often though, plants are described as being native to a country, or native to a large geographic region or native to a state. This is where difficulties can arise.
The use of native plants by horticulturists and by ecologists can be quite different. Ecologists are generally concerned with using plants that are genetically similar to the area they are to be planted in and have been reproduced by sexual methods, rather than vegetative methods. The goal is to utilize varied genotypes that will function well in the target ecosystem. Horticulturists often choose to use selected genotypes (cultivars) that exhibit superior ornamental traits.