Wild flowers

As the name implies, wild flowers grow wild. In other words they were not planted intentionally but are plants that have grown and developed naturally in an area over many years and are neither hybrids nor cultivars. Botanists tend to avoid the term “wild flowers” as they consider it too vague and prefer the use of more defining terms such as native species, introduced species or invasive species. Native species are plants that occur and develop naturally and have adapted to living within a specific environment, e.g. an extremely harsh climate or unusual soil conditions. Some plants are thus restricted to certain areas, whilst others can survive in various surroundings. A variety of unique species peculiar to certain areas is spread throughout the world, existing because of natural barriers such as deserts, mountains, oceans or large rivers. However, plant species can sometimes even cross these barriers with the aid of human travel, migratory birds, ocean currents, etc.

Introduced species, sometimes called non-indigenous, alien or exotic species, are plants growing in areas outside their normal native range and have been brought in by humans. Introduced species can sometimes upset the natural environment into which they are brought by having an adverse effect on agriculture or even the health of humans and animals. These plants are then called invasive species. However, native species that become over-abundant in a certain habitat are also considered invasive. In botanical terms, the word “naturalisation” refers to the natural spread of non-indigenous plants into the wild, where they multiply. These too may become invasive if they become over-abundant and have an adverse effect on native plant species.

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