Flora of all types have been imported to and exported from this country since colonial times. Today we recognize that flora imported without the birds, insects and mammals that keep its existence in balance can run wild and displace native stock. Removing such stock is a never-ending battle. An alternative to the fight is continuing replenishment of native flora.
Any interest in growing plants long-native to the area would require a good deal of research on their origin, something well beyond the interest of most. There is, however, a reasonably good shortcut to that research.
Looking into historical records of area flora, then observing whether common insects, birds, and animals of the same area favor a particular plant of interest tells an observer whether the plant is, or has become, native.
For Marblehead, an historical record of area flora that can be quite helpful is “Studies of the Essex Flora – A Complete Enumeration of all plants Found Growing Naturally Within the Limits of Lynn, Mass. and the Towns Adjoining” authored by C.M. Tracy and published in 1858. The text is descriptive and interesting, but, for those preferring a quick check on a particular plant, the index at the back of the book lists all the flora along with page numbers for more detail.
The date of this text is particularly important as several of the alien invasive plants of concern today (knotweed, multiflora rose, oriental bittersweet, Japanese barberry) were first imported in the second half of the nineteenth century.
To download a copy of the PDF (27MB), click here
Another text of interest is “The Great Woods of Lynn and Other Parks of the City in 1905 – The Seventeenth Annual Report of Lynn Park Commissioners”. The report lists fauna (birds and Mammals) as well as flora and identifies introduced species found in Lynn Woods.
To download a copy of the PDF (64MB), click here