This summer we have had a pretty long drought in the Tampa area. Many species of native plants, including trees and shrubs, wildflowers, and some ground covers are resistant to drought. Some do well in either a drought or a flood, so you don't have to worry about the rainy season if you use many of the native plants in your yard. If a plant is drought tolerant, you may still need to water it during a drought, but just not as much as garden variety plants. Check your local botanical garden to see if you can buy native plants for xeriscaping your yard. Also, there are seed distribution centers and a few nurseries that cultivate native species. You will be doing a service to the community if you xeriscape, because you will reduce water use while providing habitat for native animal and insect species and preserving some of the native plants. Some native plants are threatened or endangered, mostly because of landscaping practices around businesses and homes. It is important to preserve the natural history of an area, and make sure that these various species endure. Just think, there may be an undiscovered cure for cancer or another disease in the compounds of certain native plants.
Native plants often attract local birds, butterflies and other fauna and may have medicinal uses or food uses. If using a native plant medicinally or for food, it is important to know which part of the plant to use and how to prepare it for use. Sometimes plants are poisonous in one part and medicinal or edible in another part. For example, the berries might be poisonous while the roots might be medicinal or the reverse. Also, sometimes plants have poisons in them that must be processed out of the plant in order to make it usable. It is advisable to leave the processing to someone who knows how to do it, like someone whose family has a tradition of using the plant in question, or else to learn how to process the plant from that person.