Native plants are a life-source of the Everglades.

The Everglades is an oasis of tropical flora unlike any other place in the world. Orchids. Bromeliads. Succulents. Wildflowers. And, of course, the sawgrass that inspires the nickname “River of Grass.”

The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States provides a perfect habitat for hundreds of diverse plant species that play a crucial role in the ecosystem. They provide habitat and food for birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals. Native plants also filter and purify water in the Everglades, helping to maintain the balance of the freshwater system and soil stability, preventing erosion and facilitating water absorption. 

Plant species (from left) poisonwood, ghost orchid, air plant. 

Unfortunately, over 160 native Everglades plant species are threatened, endangered, or commercially exploited. But with your help, we can restore the Everglades we dream of — and ensure a future where these species thrive and multiply, increasing the overall health of the ecosystem. By contributing to Friends of the Everglades’ advocacy and policy work today, we can protect these native plants together.

Everglades photographer Luis Garcia Falcon’s images have inspired us to reflect on the Everglades flora we’re working to protect.