My question is - what are your opinions about the environmental effects of using non-native ornamental plants? This question was been keyed by a recent article read in a publication named Wild Ones (@wildones.org).
Basic premise: That the use of non-native plant material is really man's displacement of native ecosystems.
New term gaining traction: "Nativars."
Definition of the term by Wild Ones publication: "'Nativar' is one term for a cultivar of a native species. Like all cultivars, nativars are the result of artificial selections made by humans from the natural variation found in a species. Nativars are almost always propagated vegetatively to preserve their selected trait. This means they no longer participate in natural reproduction patterns (like, for instance, open pollination) that would maintain genetic diversity."
Their definition of "native":
"A native plant species is one that occurs naturally in a particular region, ecosystem and/or habitat and was present prior to European settlement."
The article quoted is lengthy. It is quoted here because to read the entire article one would have to subscribe to the publication. The intent of this thread is to get opinions and discussion in reference to this concept. The following is a brief portion of the entire article in their publication. It could be posted in many forums, but for now in only two.
Beginning: "Nativars: Where do they fit in?
What are the pros and cons of using nativars?
Nativars are selected and perpetuated for many alleged reasons: atypical colors or forms of flowers, compact size, insect or disease resistance, tolerance of certain challenging environmental conditions, and many other reasons � all of which, if true, may be valuable in themselves and for home gardeners.
However, there are a number of important concerns regarding the use of nativars.
The premise behind the use of nativars is to isolate a single genetic sliver from the diversity of the natural gene pool of a native species. Therefore, the use of nativars inherently excludes as much genetic diversity as possible, resulting in nursery stock that is almost always genetically identical to the original selection. The diversity of genes in straight native species gives species more flexibility (and adaptability) when confronting stress such as disease or climate change.
A small percentage of nativars in the nursery and landscape trades may not be a concern. However, the pervasive scale of mass-production, promotion and use of nativars is of concern to ecologists and environmentally-focused native plant professionals. The longer we rely on nativars - clones - that are not cross pollinating in natural populations to produce their offspring, the greater the risk that we are left with only diminished selections of native plants - the nativars instead of straight species."
The article continues at length.
Thoughts and comments?