The following is a list of sites compiled by NPSNJ chapters and board members. It will give you a start in exploring our state to see what native plants look like in the wild
Remember, it is both unethical and illegal to gather plants from any of these places (unless you are buying them at the Bowman’s Hill Nursery) no matter how many you see. Take no plants and leave no trace.
Dr. Benjamin Burton, founder of Restore Native Plants sponsored the creation of these two gardens at Teaneck Creek Conservancy.
The central portion of the site consists of a native red maple swamp that is being restored. There is also a native pitch pine remnant, also being restored.
3.6 miles of trails, extensive oak-hickory forest, native habitat gardens
400 wooded acres, with hiking trails and extensive education programs for children and adults
The Musconetcong Gorge Preserve is a 523-acre nature reserve nestled in the scenic Musconetcong River Valley in Hunterdon County, New Jersey. With its rich topography featuring steep and forested ridges, a gushing river, and the picturesque gorge from which it derives its name, the preserve is known for its diverse wildlife and plant species. Home to hardwood forests, meadows, wetlands, and rugged hiking trails that offer both serene walks and challenging hikes. Excellent for spring wildflowers along a narrow, hilly path.
Established in 1961 by the Rockaway Valley Garden Club under the direction of botanist Emilie K. Hammond, this trail features approximately 250 plant and flower species native to New Jersey, each denoted by a label. The area is protected from deer. Best viewed in late April through mid-May for spring ephemerals. A very informative brochure is here.
4 native plant demonstration gardens for different conditions (sunny, shady, dry and wet); Pinelands vegetation on miles of trails; nature center about Pinelands ecology. There is a brochure with a map here.
Cattus Island County Park is located on Barnegat Bay with miles of trails to view saltwater and freshwater wetland plants and upland forest. The nature center has exhibits about coastal habitats and wildlife.
Island Beach State Park has outstanding examples of plant communities such as primary dunes, thickets, freshwater wetlands, maritime forest, and tidal marshes. Houses the Emily DeCamp Herbarium, a collection of approximately 400 plants that have been classified and preserved, giving the public an opportunity to learn about the nine plant communities at Island Beach State Park. One of the main attractions of this herbarium is that the visiting public and scientists are able to handle and examine individual plants placed in protective mounts that also give historical and factual information about the plant.
Laurelwood Arboretum has a self-guided native tree tour, new wetlands garden, and a 6000 sq. ft. native plant demonstration garden.
Ringwood State Park, home to the New Jersey Botanical Garden has many mature native trees; oaks, a huge tulip tree, a Franklinia tree; and a wildflower garden with many non-natives interspersed.
Native plant butterfly garden, hiking trails.
5000+ acres, wetlands, rare bog turtle, excellent birding, native plant garden at Visitor Center.
Muckshaw Ponds Preserve is a 201-acre nature reserve located in Fredon and Andover Townships in New Jersey. The preserve is home to three large, interconnected limestone sinkhole ponds that host several rare and endangered species. The area’s bedrock, which underlies the ponds and the surrounding ridges, has dissolved over millions of years, leading to mineral-rich groundwater and highly alkaline soil. This process creates cavities in the limestone, resulting in sunken streams, caves, and sinkholes. The unusual geology of the area supports several plant species that are rare in New Jersey, making the preserve one of the best remaining spots for these plant communities.
High Point State Park (White Cedar Swamp Trail)
2-mile loop route through a mountain bog marked with purple blaze. Easy, mostly flat, partly paved, with a boardwalk. Atlantic white cedar bog; vernal pool. Wild Calla Lily/Water Arums (Calla palustris) bloom in early June. Carnivorous plants, ferns, high bush blueberry, huckleberry, mountain laurel, sweet bay; mature red oak and black birch, tupelo, and hemlock. Bear in the vicinity. A detailed brochure is here.
Duke Farms is a 2,740-acre estate located in Hillsborough, New Jersey. It is an environmental conservation center and a place of research and education dedicated to demonstrating stewardship of natural resources.
The property was originally owned by tobacco and electric power tycoon James Buchanan Duke, and it was later managed by his daughter, Doris Duke, who established the Duke Farms Foundation to manage the estate. After her death, the property was opened to the public in 2012 as a center for environmental conservation, and a large area was set aside as a native meadow. Duke Farms is excellent in the late summer and fall when the meadow is at its height.
Sussex & Warren Counties
700 acres, Mud pond, limestone wetlands, hiking trails (some steep incline trails)
Native plant open field, hiking trails, fishing, kayaking lake, Marlworks, Lime Kiln. Best viewing in April/May and September (fringed Gentian is a highlight).
Bucks County, PA
Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve is an enchanting haven dedicated to native plants of the Delaware Valley region. Spanning 134 acres, the preserve hosts more than 800 species of native flora in various habitats, including meadows, forests, ponds, and wetlands. With its beautiful landscapes, peaceful walking trails, and rich biodiversity, the preserve serves as an essential educational resource, emphasizing the significance of environmental conservation and the critical role of native plants in maintaining healthy ecosystems.
Purchase tickets online before visiting. There is an excellent shop with books for sale as well as a large nursery of native plants for sale throughout the season.
Nestled on the steep slopes of Bougher Hill, Mariton offers stunning panoramic views of the Delaware River and is known for its diverse 200-acre ecosystem that includes forests, meadows, and a unique collection of wildflowers. It has 4 miles of hiking trails. Managed by the Natural Lands Trust.
Bronx County, NY
The Native Plant Garden at the New York Botanical Garden is a 3.5-acre garden that celebrates the beauty of plants native to northeastern North America. Designed by Sheila Brady of the renowned landscape architecture firm Oehme van Sweden, the garden is home to nearly 100,000 native trees, shrubs, wildflowers, ferns, and grasses arranged in a carefully planned contemporary design that harmonizes with the natural landscape. The garden also serves as a refuge for wildlife, attracting squirrels, chipmunks, frogs, and a colorful array of birds and butterflies. At the center of the garden, a serene pool, fed by recycled stormwater and purified by aquatic plants and a sophisticated filtration system, flows over a series of stone weirs.
New Castle County, DE
Mount Cuba Center is a renowned public garden sitting on nearly 600 acres of beautiful naturalistic landscapes and formal gardens. The center’s primary focus is on the conservation of native plants and their habitats and promoting their significance through education, research, and landscape stewardship.