RI Native Plant Guide

Cooperative Extension


How to Use:

1. Using the drop down fields, select the desired attributes.
2. Click on specific plant for additional information, photos, and to see where plants are available locally for purchase.
3. To search for a plant, enter their common or Latin name.
4. The Glossary contains explanations of each attribute.

Background and Purpose

The RI Native Plant Guide was developed by the University of Rhode Island (URI) Cooperative Extension and the Rhode Island Natural History Survey (RINHS) with funding from a Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant. The guide is intended to serve as a reference for individuals involved in:

  • Native plant propagation and cultivation;
  • Planning, design, and management of habitat restoration projects; and
  • Landscape design and management of commercial and residential landscapes.

The plants featured in this guide were selected from 1,300 species of plants native to Rhode Island listed in the Vascular Flora of Rhode Island, a publication of the RINHS. Plants listedas ‘native’ in the Vascular Flora were designated as such based on documentation in scientific literature published prior to 1997, and on herbarium records and field data for plants believed to have been here prior to European movement to the area, which began in the 15th century. A complete list of plants native to Rhode Island, taken from the 1998 edition of Vascular Flora of Rhode Island, can be viewed here. Vascular Flora of Rhode Island can be purchased by contacting RINHS.

A team of reviewers were consulted to select the RI Native Plant Guide’s subset of plants. The reviewers included professionals in the horticulture industry: landscape architects and designers, landscape ecologists, propagators and botanists. The review team selected the species for this guide based ornamental value, potential for use in restoration and ease of propagation.

Many of the plants on this list are well-known and currently in production, while others can be difficult to source through local growers and distributors. We hope that the use of this list will increase demand for native plants and encourage their growth and distribution in Rhode Island.


Hope Leeson

RI Natural History Survey

Vanessa Venturini, Kate Venturini & Graham Gardner

University of Rhode Island Outreach Center

Think Big We Do

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