Keystone Native Plants


Keystone plants are native plants that are critical to the food web and necessary for many wildlife species to complete their life cycle. Without keystone plants in the landscape, butterflies, native bees, and birds will not thrive. 96% of our terrestrial birds rely on insects supported by keystone plants.


Native plants have tight relationships with wildlife, formed over many thousands of years, providing natural sources of food, cover, and places to raise young. Without healthy native plant communities, wildlife cannot survive. Every ecoregion has different native plant communities.

There are two types of Keystone plants:

  • Host plants that feed approximately 90% of butterfly and moth caterpillars (Lepidoptera).
  • Plants that feed specialist bees who only eat pollen from specific plants. Keystone plants for native bees feed both specialist and generalist bees.


For more information about keystone native plants for your ecoregion, please visit, Garden For Wildlife.