Step 1: Native Seed Collection

Wildland native seed collections are the foundation for native plant materials development. Native seed collections made by Seeds of Success (SOS) capture the genetic diversity within the species. A portion of each collection goes into long-term conservation storage. The remainder is available for research and restoration.

Close-up of hedgehog pricklypoppy (Argemone squarrosa ssp. squarrosa) on Otero Mesa in south-central NM, SOS collection NM930-096. Photo by Mike Howard, BLM-NM.
Close-up of hedgehog pricklypoppy (Argemone squarrosa ssp. squarrosa) on Otero Mesa in south-central New Mexico. Photo by Mike Howard, BLM.

Seeds of Success

Seeds of Success (SOS) is the national native seed collection program, led by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in partnership with a variety of federal agencies and non-federal organizations. SOS’s mission is to collect wildland native seed for research, development, germplasm conservation, and ecosystem restoration. The long-term conservation outcome of the SOS program is to support BLM's Native Plant Materials Development Program, whose mission is to increase the quality and quantity of native plant materials available for restoring and supporting resilient ecosystems. Healthy ecosystems provide the essential ecological services upon which all life depends, including our own. Native plant communities provide the foundation for fish and wildlife habitat such as the sage grouse.

SOS was established in 2001 by the BLM in partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Millennium Seed Bank (MSB) to collect, conserve, and develop native plant materials for stabilizing, rehabilitating and restoring lands in the United States. The initial partnership between BLM and MSB quickly grew to include many additional partners, such as botanic gardens, arboreta, zoos, and municipalities. These SOS teams share a common protocol and coordinate seed collecting and species targeting efforts. SOS is a vital part of the Native Plant Materials Development Program.

In June of 2008, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Bureau of Land Management, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, New England Wild Flower Society, New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, North Carolina Botanical Garden, and the Zoological Society of San Diego. The MOU ratifies Seeds of Success as a national native seed collection program in the United States coordinated by BLM.

To date, SOS has over 18,000 native seed collections in its National Collection. This material is being used for research such as germination trials, common garden studies, and protocol establishment. Portions of each collection are also being held in long-term storage facilities for conservation.

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