Located in the heart of the arboretum, the Nancy Larrick Crosby native plant trail is a half-mile gravel path that winds through three different gardens and habitats featuring plants that are native to Virginia. Enjoy Virginia’s diverse native trees and spring wildflowers in our woodland garden, stroll through the tall grasses of our 24-acre meadow, and look for birds, turtles, and frogs along the boardwalks in our wetland.
Seasonal exhibit: Summer in the native plant trail this year is all about wildlife! Discover how wildlife use our native plants in the temporary exhibit: Native Plants, Nature's Home. Featuring about 40 interpretive signs describing unique plants found throughout the trail, you'll learn how native plants support thousands of wildlife species from caterpillars to songbirds!
History and Mission of the Trail
Completed in 1998 thanks to a generous donation from Nancy Larrick Crosby, the native plant trail was built to showcase the beauty and diversity of Virginia’s native plants and features hundreds of wildflowers, grasses and trees. The trail also serves to educate visitors about our native plants – from their importance in our local ecosystems to identification tips and the benefits they offer humans, interpretive signage and seasonal interactive exhibits appear throughout the trail to help visitors find a deeper connection to the flora and landscapes of Virginia.
Native plants are plants that have existed in a particular area for thousands of years and developed close ecological relationships with other plants and animals in that area. In Virginia, native plants are those that grew in the commonwealth prior to European settlement. Native plants provide essential habitat for wide variety of insects, birds, and other animals, and form the backbone of all our local ecosystems. They are also beautiful, living examples Virginia’s natural history.