Any flowering plant that grows without intentional human aid. Wildflowers are the source of all cultivated garden varieties of flowers. A wildflower growing where it is unwanted is considered a weed. Thousands of the approximately 250,000 species of flowering plants are wildflowers. Wildflowers can be divided into three categories by location: those found in the tropics and subtropics, those in temperate regions, and those that grow on the summits of mountain chains and in the Arctic and Antarctic.
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A wildflower (or wild flower) is a flower that grows wild, meaning it was not intentionally seeded or planted. Yet "wildflower" meadows of a few mixed species are sold in seed packets. The term "wildflower" has been made vague by commercial seedsmen who are interested in selling more flowers or seeds more expensively than when labeled with only its name and/or origin. The term implies that the plant probably is neither a hybrid nor a selected cultivar that is in any way different from the way it appears in the wild as a native plant, even if it is growing where it would not naturally.
Scientists do not refer to wildflowers and generally try to discourage people from using the term altogether. Terms like native species (naturally occurring in the area, see Flora (plants)), exotic or, better, introduced species (not naturally occurring in the area), of which some are labelled invasive species (that out-compete other plants – whether native or not), imported (introduced to an area whether deliberately or accidentally) and naturalized (introduced to an area, but now considered by the public as native) are much more accurate.
In the United Kingdom, an organisation Plantlife International instituted in 2002 the County Flowers scheme whereby members of the public nominated and voted for a wild flower emblem for their county. The aim was to spread awareness of the heritage of native species and about the need for conservation, as some of these species are endangered. For example, Somerset has adopted the Cheddar Pink (Dianthus gratianopolitanus), London the Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) and Denbighshire/Sir Ddinbych in Wales the rare Limestone Woundwort (Stachys alpina).