Ottawa is fortunate to have a broad diversity of natural habitats, which support equally diverse communities of plants (and animals). Located in the Mixedwood Plains ecological region of southern and eastern Ontario, near the boundary with the northern Ontario Shield region, the City is home to a variety of species from both regions.
An updated list of vascular plants in the City of Ottawa was published in 2005 as part of the Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study. The list includes 1569 types (species, subspecies and hybrids) of trees, shrubs, grasses, ferns and other green leafy plants, of which 1014 are considered native to this area. The others are non-native species which have been introduced, whether accidentally or on purpose. Some are invasive species which could threaten our native biodiversity.
This list does not include non-vascular plants such as mosses and lichens. It also does not include things like mushrooms, which are fungi rather than plants. While not as commonly recognised as the vascular plants, these lesser-known organisms are numerous and widespread, adding substantially to our local biodiversity.
An electronic copy of the list of vascular plants in Ottawa can be obtained by contacting Amy MacPherson at 613-580-2424 ext. 14873.
For more information about plants, please consult the following links:
Natural Heritage Information Centre (Ministry of Natural Resources) – including list of Ontario species
Lawn and Garden – information and tips about how to care for your own plants in the City of Ottawa
Invasive species – including a list of common garden plants to avoid
Native species – try planting these instead!
Species at risk – information about species at risk in Ottawa