University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Officially Verifies Native Botanical Data
One of the coolest things about living in Arkansas is the sheer diversity of plant life. It seems every time I turn around, there’s some new plant I’ve never seen before. Since we introduce 52 local plants in our Herbal Medicine Course, I wanted to know exactly how many plant species are native to Arkansas.
I scoured the internet for hours but found no answer. I ended up calling three different nonprofits focused on Arkansas plant life. Only one of the orgs responded. An agent with the Agricultural Cooperative Extension at the University of Arkansas returned my call a couple hours later. Colin Massey at The Extension’s Washington County office had already pulled out UofA’s 724-page Atlas of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas and crunched the numbers for me:
“Basically take the total (2,892) and subtract the introduced  and invasive  numbers to get 2,111. Keep in mind, this number has been and is fluid across time as new species are found or introduced.”
So there you have it: Arkansas is home to at least 2,111 native botanical species.