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Past Issues Of Wildflower Magazine

Wildflower is published quarterly by the Wildflower Center. Its content is national in scope with articles about the conservation and use of native plants as well as news from the Wildflower Center. A subscription is provided to Wildflower Center members as a benefit of membership.

Letter from the Director - Spring 2005

The lack of easily available information about native plants has made it more difficult for people to appreciate, use, and conserve them. This is why one of the Wildflower Center's founding goals was to "disseminate information that will encourage the cultivation, conservation, and preservation of wildflowers and other native flora throughout North America."

For more than 20 years, the Center has served as a clearinghouse for native plant information - from propagation techniques for different wildflowers to design ideas for native plant gardens - by dispersing regionalized native plant resources to the nation.

Originally, this information was shared with a few thousand native plant enthusiasts each year through newsletters, fact sheets, and phone calls. By 2000, however, it became clear that the Internet - with its capacity to deliver large amounts of customized information to a vast audience at any time and any place - would be a better way to share this information and help fulfill our mission to educate the nation about native plants. Since then, the Wildflower Center's Clearinghouse has been transformed into the Internet-based Native Plant Information Network, or NPIN.

NPIN is rapidly becoming the public's first choice for finding a wide array of native plant resources. Unlike most other plant information resources, NPIN is uniquely designed for use by homeowners, wildflower enthusiasts, and gardeners, as well as professional botanists, land managers, and government experts. In the last year alone, more than 75,000 people went to NPIN and accessed more than 1.3 million pages of information.

By going to www.wildflower.org, and clicking on Explore Plants, you'll find:

  • The Native Plants Database
    With horticultural and botanical information on more than 5,200 species, the Native Plants Database is the largest plant database of its kind in North America. Visitors can easily find plants by name, flower period, distribution, growing conditions, growth form, or a combination of traits.
  • The Image Gallery
    The Image Gallery has grown to include nearly17,000 digital images. In 2004, over 2,000 images were distributed for use in books, magazines, brochures, and other Web sites.
  • Native Plant Support
    In many areas, it can be hard to find a commercial source of native plants or landscapers who work with natives. NPIN's National Suppliers Directory identifies more than 2,700 businesses that sell native plants or seeds or provide professional landscape services. The National Organizations Directory connects people with like-minded, plant-related organizations in their area by providing information on more than 520 native plant societies, conservation groups, garden clubs, and botanical gardens across North America. The National Events Calendar tracks plant-related events across North America
  • Offshoots
    The Ask the Expert feature allows visitors to submit questions or review a list of frequently asked questions about native plants. NPIN also provides an interactive Botanical Glossary and a searchable Native Plant Bibliography.

While extensive, the Wildflower Center's Native Plant Information Network is still a work in progress. We are continually working with experts from across North America to expand the plant database and eventually hope to feature all of the estimated 11,000 natives having horticultural value. Building the image gallery and our directory of suppliers and landscapers are other priorities.

Most importantly, the Wildflower Center hopes to expand NPIN as a true network that brings people together to share information about North America's native plant heritage. You can help the network grow by spreading the word to your friends or submitting an item about it to your garden or conservation organization's newsletter. We invite you to explore plants on-line, and we hope that you'll let us know how we can improve NPIN and build the community of native plant enthusiasts.

Susan Rieff

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