Native Plant Materials

man looking at rows of blue wildrye plants in a nursery.
A genetic study to develop seed zones for blue wildrye, an important native grass restoration species in the western United States. Seed zones help land managers make informed decisions in selecting plant materials that will be adapted to local climates and planting site conditions.

orange poppies in a native California poppy seed production area.
Native California poppy seed production area. Native plant species are increasing being utilized on federal lands to restore native ecosystems and mitigate the effects of wildfire and other types of disturbances. Photo by Shelley Ellis, Bureau of Land Management.

Native plants are valued for their economic, ecological, genetic, and aesthetic benefits in addition to their intrinsic value as living species. The use of native plant material (seeds, cuttings, plants) in vegetation projects plays an important role in the maintenance and restoration of native plant gene pools, communities, and ecosystems, and can help reverse the trend of species loss in North America.

The Forest Service and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Finalize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the Conservation and Management of Native Plants

North American Orchid Conservation Center logo.

On December 9, 2014, The Director of the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and the Chief of the Forest Service finalized a new service-wide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU recognizes the mutual interest in the conservation and management of native plants, especially native orchids. The Smithsonian, through its North American Orchid Conservation Center (NAOCC), leads a coalition of organizations dedicated to conserving the diverse orchid heritage of the U.S. and Canada. The initial groups of public and private organizations that support NAOCC have joined forces with a common goal: to ensure the survival of native orchids for future generations. To this end, the NAOCC’s collaborators are working to preserve habitats; create and maintain national collections of seeds and orchid mycorrhizal fungi; and support research on orchid ecology, conservation, and restoration.