There are a great number of plants that are native to Florida, including sweet acacia, giant leather fern, Everglades palm, fringed bluestar, black mangrove and devil's walkingstick. Other native Florida plants include pawpaw, Carolina aster, century plant, river birch and groundsel tree.
According to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Science Extension, there are numerous, often conflicting definitions of what constitutes a "native plant." The U.S. Federal Government, the National Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service generally use the definition that a native plant is any plant that has previously or currently naturally occurred within an ecosystem. On the other hand, the State of Florida's statute relating to native plants is slightly more specific, defining a native plant as any plant species that is thought to have been present in Florida prior to European contact.
This second definition makes it quite hard to actually determine whether or not many plant species are actually native to Florida. Therefore, in cases where there is not enough scientific or historical evidence to decisively conclude whether or not a plant is native, the plant is automatically assumed to be non-native. Another issue in determining which plants are native to Florida is that the original boundaries of the state used to extend into Louisiana, making it hard to distinguish between species that originated in these areas only and not within the state's modern-day boundaries.