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Native Plants of Ontario

By Denise Stern ; Updated September 21, 2017

Ontario is in the eastern portion of Canada below the Great Hudson Bay and the above the Great Lakes region. The region offers a variety of climates, from humid and warm summers to cold, snow-laden winters. Native plants have the best chance of surviving the varying weather conditions in the region, and require less maintenance by gardeners. Choose trees and shrubs native to Ontario and you will have hardy plants that maintain the natural beauty of the region.

Ash Trees

Ash trees native to the Ontario area include but are not limited to varieties such as the green, blue, prickly, white, black and pumpkin ash, according to OntarioTrees.com. One of the most common is the white ash, which features narrow, triangular leaves. Naturally found in fields and woods, the trees make good windbreaks.

Birch Trees

Birch trees are a common site in the Ontario region, from the European white birch to the dwarf and cherry birch. The distinguishing feature of the birch is its white to gray peeling bark, used by native people to build shelter and canoes. Birch trees, once established, require very little care or maintenance, and offer nearly year-round bright green leaves in a pointed triangle with a wide leaf base extending to a narrow point.


Chokeberry shrub varieties such as red or black chokeberry, are native to the Ontario region and produce berries in the fall. These shrubs like sunshine and moist soils, perfect for deep woods or growing along backyard ponds or water structures. The shrub produces clusters of small white flowers and very tart berries.

Sweet Grass

Sweet grass is a common plant throughout Ontario. Long used by native tribes to produce baskets or as a component to ceremonies when burned, as well as for its medicinal properties when infused in tea. Sweet grass is also known as Indian grass and flowers in the springtime. A primary benefit of sweet grass is that it will take root in many different climates and soils, though it prefers damp areas. The plant requires very little care or watering after it is established and propagates by self seeding.


About the Author


Denise Stern is an experienced freelance writer and editor. She has written professionally for more than seven years. Stern regularly provides content for health-related and elder-care websites and has an associate and specialized business degree in health information management and technology.