Plant Lists

Finding out what is native and what isn’t native is a bit harder than it should be. In 2024, NPSNJ hopes to make this a lot easier for everyone in our state, but this is a work in progress.

This page aims to collect information about what plants are appropriate to plant in New Jersey and what plants are native to New Jersey. We are actively developing it and will be updating it periodically. Specifically, we hope to replace the USDA lists with lists from BONAP (see the difference between these resources below) and to also provide ecoregion-specific guides. Ultimately, the Native Plant Society of New Jersey hopes to be involved in drawing up lists of what is and what isn’t native in our state.

The page is organized around a series of guides for recommended plants for gardeners and landscapers, followed by lists of native plants. The list of invasive plants has moved to the page with information on invasive plants and insects.


Going Native Guides

These downloadable guides are excellent places to start and can be obtained in print from most NPSNJ chapters at events.

Going Native: A Guide to Landscaping with Native Plants in the Barnegat Bay Watershed
The original brochure from the Barnegat Bay Partnership and Jersey Friendly Yards.

Going Native Northern NJ
The Northern New Jersey Edition is based on the original brochure created by the Barnegat Bay Partnership for the Barnegat Bay watershed. Friends of Foote’s Pond Wood, together with the Society, modified the original to create the Northern New Jersey edition.

Lists of Native Trees and Tall Shrubs by County

These lists can serve as a guide for selecting trees for your area. They were compiled from the USDA PLANTS Database.

In each Excel file, first tab (sheet) lists all the plants. Subsequent tabs each give plants only in the specified county. Each sheet gives the scientific name, common name, and list of all counties the plant is found in.

Counties – Atlantic to Essex 
Counties – Gloucester to Morris 
Counties – Ocean to Warren

Recommended Trees Native to New Jersey

We have had many requests for native trees for landscaping. Here are some resources to help start your search.

Small native trees for landscaping

Large and small native trees for landscaping

Street Trees for NJ outside the Pine Barrens

Lists of All Native Vascular Plants by New Jersey County

New Jersey is a big state, with many diverse ecosystems displaying a wide variety of native flora. To help you navigate this vast array of plants, select the appropriate link below to find native plants for your New Jersey county. These lists are based on the USDA PLANTS database.

Vascular plants are like the trees, flowers, and grasses you see around—these are the ones with a system inside them, kind of like our veins, which helps move water and food from one part to another. Nonvascular plants, on the other hand, are simpler plants like mosses and liverworts that don’t have these internal tubes; they rely more directly on their surroundings to get water and nutrients. It is entirly possible to plant nonvascular plants. We will update this page with information on the nonvascular plants of New Jersey in the future.

Bergen County 
Burlington County 
Camden County 
Cape May County 
Cumberland County 
Essex County 
Gloucester County 
Hudson County 
Hunterdon County 
Mercer County 
Middlesex County 
Monmouth County 
Morris County 
Ocean County 
Passaic County 
Salem County 
Somerset County 
Sussex County 
Union County 
Warren County

NJDEP Natural Lands Trust and Natural Heritage Program Lists

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s Natural Lands Trust and Natural Heritage Program has created a list of 1519 native plants in PDF and Excel form. Here is a guide to these documents.

  • Scientific Name: Identifies each plant’s official scientific nomenclature. There are no common names listed on this spreadsheet. 
  • Do Not Plant: This column highlights species that, while they may be familiar and even popular among gardeners, are not recommended for planting in certain contexts, particularly in efforts aimed at conservation and natural land management. Some plants are on this list because they are globally endangered and thus should never be planted while there are other plants that are abundant in nearby states, widely propagated and sold, and are at the edge of their natural range. As this list is aimed at natural areas, it does not make that distinction. There is potential that planting these plants in areas near wild populations will have a negative impact on the wild population. If you decide to plant these, always aim to find outlets that sell local ecotypes.    
  • NWPL National Wetland Indicator Status: Uses abbreviations like FAC (Facultative), UPL (Upland), and OBL (Obligate Wetland) to indicate a plant’s wetland association, which is crucial for understanding its natural habitat preferences. Facultative plants can grow in wet or non-wet areas, showing adaptability. Obligate plants are almost always found in wetlands, requiring moist conditions to thrive. Upland, or non-wetland plants, prefer dry environments and are rarely found in wet areas. 
  • Distribution by Ecoregion: Shows which plants are found in specific New Jersey ecoregions, the Northern Highlands, Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain, Northern Piedmont, Ridge and Valley, and Atlantic Coast Pine Barrens. Match the plant to your region. See this map. (not included in this email). 
  • FQA Coefficient of Conservatism (CoC) and NJ CoC Statewide: The Floristic Quality Assessment (FQA) Coefficient of Conservatism (CoC) rates plants on a scale, reflecting their tendency to occur in less disturbed, more natural environments. Higher CoC values indicate plants less tolerant of disturbance and that need well-preserved habitats to thrive. For gardening and restoration efforts, understanding CoC can help in choosing plants that contribute to a more native, ecologically stable garden. Although plants with high CoC values have great importance in the ecosystem, they are likely to thrive in conditions that mimic their natural, undisturbed habitats and may not survive in cultivation.
  • Growth Form: Describes the plant’s general physical form, which can help gardeners in planning their landscapes In the document, plants are categorized by their growth forms which include forbs/herbs, graminoids, shrubs, trees, and subshrubs. Forbs/herbs are broad-leaved, non-woody plants. Graminoids are grass-like plants including grasses, sedges, and rushes. Shrubs are smaller, woody plants usually with multiple stems. Trees are large, woody plants typically with a single main stem or trunk. Subshrubs are low-growing, woody plants that may die back to the ground in winter, distinguishing them from full shrubs. These categories also help in understanding plant habits and their roles in ecosystems.

NJDEP LIST of Endangered and Threatened Plants

New Jersey’s Natural Heritage Program tracks the status of 800 plant species of concern, 356 of which are listed as endangered in the state.
The Heritage Program’s Biotics Database has lists of plants, including lists broken down by county.

Plant Databases

There are a number of competing databases of plants native to the United States. Botanists typically recommend BONAP, although it can be difficult to learn and you do need to learn the scientific (latin) names for plants, but NPSNJ always recommends using scientific names as they are standards accepted worldwide. The USDA PLANTS Database is less accurate, but easier to use. Bplant is a new project that classifies plants based on ecoregions, not on arbitrary political boundaries.

The Biota of North America (BONAP)

BONAP ( focuses on recording the distribution of all plants in North America, offering the most detailed and accurate range maps for plants in the USA through its North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). BONAP excels in addressing specific shortcomings of other databases like the USDA’s maps by including additional plant populations and distinguishing between native and introduced plants. BONAP also communicates with State Natural Heritage Programs (NHP), state-specific initiatives designed to inventory, monitor, and manage ecologically significant habitats and endangered species within that state.

The search interface and color-coding system can be daunting for beginners, but is worth learning.

BONAP’s Taxonomic Data Center (search by scientific name) 

BONAP search by genus–>county level maps 

BONAP search by genus–>state level maps 

BONAP Map Color Key (warning: BONAP maps can be difficult for individuals with color blindness).

The USDA PLANTS Database

The USDA PLANTS Database is an extensive online resource managed by the United States Department of Agriculture. It provides standardized information about a wide range of plants found across the U.S. and its territories, covering vascular plants, mosses, liverworts, hornworts, and lichens. The database is designed to serve a broad audience, offering access to data on plant names, characteristics, distribution maps, images, and ecological information.

A significant feature of the USDA PLANTS Database is its distribution maps, which are valuable for understanding the geographical spread of plant species within the United States. These maps, however, are based on BONAP but have not been renewed in some years and are critiqued for sometimes lacking the finer details provided by specialized databases such as BONAP’s North American Plant Atlas.

For convenience, lists from the USDA database have been compiled into Excel files which can be download from here.

Lists of All New Jersey Vascular Plants 
both Native and Introduced. 

All the plants are listed by:

  • Scientific name
  • Common name
  • Native – Introduced Status
  • Family
  • Category
  • National Wetland Indicator Status

The Excel files below are sortable/searchable/filterable.

NJ plants – sorted by Scientific Names(Excel .xlsx)

NJ plants – sorted by Common Names (Excel .xlsx)

bplant aims to serve as a comprehensive resource for understanding plant distribution and ecology, emphasizing ecological boundaries over political ones. It provides links and comparisons with other databases like the Flora of North America (FNA) and NatureServe Explorer, acknowledging the strengths and limitations of these resources. offers a unique perspective by integrating various sources and attempting to fill gaps in the available data, especially regarding plant range and distribution​.

NatureServe Explorer

NatureServe Explorer is primarily focused on conservation, providing detailed conservation status, taxonomy, distribution, and life history information for a vast array of species, including plants. It’s known for its color-coded maps denoting the conservation status of species in each region, which is a unique feature. The platform stands out for offering extensive species coverage. It also provides historical notes on taxonomic changes and discovery of new plant populations, alongside habitat, abundance, threats, and conservation strategies. However, NatureServe Explorer’s main limitation is the incompleteness of its data, especially at finer spatial resolutions. While it offers state- and province-level data consistently, more detailed geospatial data on plant occurrences is not always available or complete​.

NatureServe: Search

NatureServe: Conservation Status Ranks

NatueServe: About the data

The Flora of North America

The Flora of North America (FNA) project aims to describe all native and naturalized plants in North America north of Mexico, covering both bryophytes and vascular plants. It is intended as a comprehensive source, expected to fill 30 volumes, detailing the plants’ names, taxonomic relationships, continent-wide distributions, and morphological characteristics. FNA is recognized for its extensive coverage and the quality of its botanical treatments, which allow for examination of taxonomic and geographical traits across the continent.