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Seeds of Success USA: Native Plant Materials for Conservation and Restoration

The purpose of this project is to coordinate seed collection of native plant populations in the United States for conservation of native plant species and for habitat restoration.

Coast of San Diego County, California, from where MSB seed collections have been made

Seeds of Success USA was established by RBG Kew and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2001 to coordinate seed collection of native plant populations in the United States for conservation of native plant species and for habitat restoration. Seed collecting has been undertaken by a range of staff, students and volunteers from federal and non-governmental organisations.

The project aims have been met through the following actions:

  • Overall coordination of project by BLM in cooperation with the Plant Conservation Alliance (PCA);
  • Seed collection, herbarium specimen and field data quality assurance by RBG Kew through training of seed collectors and analysis of collection quality (12,800 germination tests carried out and 2,700 herbarium vouchers checked);
  • Seed collecting, processing and associated research undertaken by BLM and other regional partners, including Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (LBJWC), Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG), Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD), North Carolina Botanic Garden (NCBG) and New England Wildflower Society (NEWFS);
  • Long-term storage of seed in local, national and international seed banks (3,000 USA native species stored at MSB), and provision of data and duplicate herbarium specimens to participating herbaria;
  • Providing samples of seed to native plant nurseries, for research and further seed production. Seed samples processed by Kew have been provided to USDA western plant introduction station for this purpose;
  • Co-supervision and support of a postgraduate student from Chicago Botanic Garden investigating the spatial and temporal effects of seed harvesting.

Project partners and collaborators

USA
  • Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG)
  • New England Wildflower Society (NEWFS)
  • North Carolina Botanic Garden (NCBG)
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (LBJWC)
  • Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD)
  • New York Department of Parks & Recreation

Project funders

USA
  • BP plc
  • National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF)
  • Philecology Trust
  • US Federal Interagency Fire Budget
  • William C Bannerman Foundation

Annex material

Way, M & Wenham, J (2008) Safeguarding plant collections from the wild and from the garden. Public Garden: Issue Three-Four pp19-22. American Public Garden Association.