Choosing Local Genotype Native Plants

Significance of your choice

“The Linnean classification system of genus and species limits our view of life to think of plants and animals as scientific bionomial names. The Linnean system can give us a false confidence that as long as you know the species, you don't need to look further, and it restricts our ability to conserve and protect biodiversity in plant communities. We need the ability to express ecological adaptations of a species to a particular habitat. Grinnell & Miller (1944) were able to accomplish this with birds when they related bird subspecies to life zones and ecological formations. Their Screech owl and Song sparrow subspecies are the equivalent of bird ecotypes. The conservation of biodiversity needs attention below the species level, to the ecological level, to the ecotype level.

Study of native grass ecotypes will renew Clements, Turesson, Gregor and Lawrence's idea of creating a new taxonomic language relating the species and its ecotypes to the habitat that created them. Frederic Clements, America's first major ecotype researcher, wrote in 1908 that species have a connection to their environment. Clements' contribution changed the concept of species. No longer would a species just be an assemblage of morphological structures. Through ecotypes, he reconnected species to their habitats.”

The Regal Fritillary's Story

The Regal Fritillary (Speyeria idalia) inhabited 14 states on the East Coast until the close of the 20th Century.

Two Male Regal Fritillaries on Milkweed

Male Fritillaries on Common Milkweed

Regal and Great Spangled Fritillaries

Regals and their sister species, the Great Spangled Fritillary.

The Regal's Demise

Painted Lady Butterfly on Liatris

The host plants for Regal Fritillary larva are the Violets of sun-drenched fields and grasslands. Viola sagittata and Viola pedata.

Regals have lived in Grassland habitats in the East for thousands of years. In the closing decades of the 20th Century, they disappeared from their East Coast habitat except in Pennsylvania. 17,000 acres of suitable habitat there sustain the last remaining population on the East Coast.