Native Plant Materials Development
Protecting native plants and natural areas has always been at the heart of our work at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. We are expanding that work thanks to recent funding to begin developing plant and seed resources for the restoration and rehabilitation of native plant communities. The use of locally sourced native plants and seeds is important because it provides plant material that is more likely to become established, compete better with local populations, be more genetically diverse and is better adapted to the site.
Our native plant materials development program will identify important species that are not widely available in nurseries and collect seeds from multiple wild populations to ensure genetic diversity. Our team will store most of the wild collected seed in our seed bank and we will also propagate a portion of these species and made available to conservation groups. The propagation will take place at Mason Farm Biological Reserve, where we will create single species beds for seed increase and harvest to increase the available supply. Developing these ecotypes – forms of a species specialized for a particular place or habitat – improves the success of restoration and will provide an important resource to land managers and project partners.
We’ll use the plants and seeds we propagate here on our own NCBG nature preserves, and we’ll also look beyond our boundaries to our partners in the conservation community. We hope this program will be an important resource in the long-term protection and health of our natural areas.