Plants, fungi, and other organisms have different distribution patterns and ranges. In a particular place, such as the Chicago Region, the life that occurs there can be placed in several categories based on origin and lifestyle:

are those that we believe naturally occurred in an area for a long time before European settlers arrived. They have evolved with their surrounding ecosystem. Learn more

or alien species are those that are originally from somewhere outside the area, and have been introduced by humans either purposely or accidentally. There are many examples of non-native plants, animals, and pathogens introduced to various parts of the world. These introductions can be very dangerous because they can often spread widely since they lack natural predators in the new area, and they also can modify the area in such a way as to decrease the survival efficiency of native species. Learn more

are non-native, aggressive species that out-compete native species for space and resources. Invasive species are incredibly threatening to natural communities because they usually spread quickly, modify the environment to their advantage (and the detriment of native species), and drive out native species while depleting ecosystems of their natural resources. Learn more

Blue flowers

The tall bellflower, Campanula americana is one of the 1650 native plants in the region.

Information provided on this page applies to the Chicago Region and may not be relevant or complete for other regions.