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Seeds of Success

The Seeds of Success (SOS) program is part of the Federal interagency Native Plant Materials Development Program.  It supports and coordinates seed collection of native plant populations in the United States to increase the number of species and the amount of native seed that is available for use to stablize, rehabilitate, and restore lands in the United States by partnering with the seed producing industry.

The program begain in 2001 through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for collections on public lands in the West.  The need for geographically and ecologically diverse collections from across the United States led to partnerships with eight additional institutions.  Seed collecting partners share data and coordinate their collections with the Plant Conservation Alliance.  Materials are in long-term storage at both the Millennium Seed Bank at West Sussex, England, and the USDA National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation at Fort Collins, Colorado.

Thus far, over 3,000 collections have been made.  All collections adhere to the genetic sampling standard found in the Seeds of Sucess Technical Protocol.  The seeds are cleaned, taxonomically verified, and have their viability tested.  Afterward, they are distributed into working research collections and/or placed into long-term storage.  Each collection contains over 20,000 seeds, enough for germination testing every 10 years for over 200 years.

With each collection, data is gathered about the population from which the seed was collected.  Voucher specimens are collected to verify the species identification and are being stored in herbaria across the country.  After the seed has been processed, germination testing is done at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and the findings are recorded.  This set of data is a wealth of information that is critical for the development of new native plant materials.  Seeds of Success plans to share the information with growers, researchers, and federal agencies.

If you have any questions about Seeds of Sucess or any Botany program, please contact Montana/Dakotas State Office Botanist Wendy Velman at (406) 896-5032 or
Seed Collecting in the Pryor MountainsRough mule-ears, Wyethia scabra

Pasqueflower, Pulsatilla patens