Oceanspray in bloom (Holodiscus discolor)
The Need for Native Plant Genetic Source Information

Large-scale natural and human-caused ecosystem disturbances generate a voluminous demand for native plant reproductive materials (most commonly seed) intended for restoration, revegetation, and stabilization of natural communities. This demand is enhanced by an increasing interest in establishing populations of native wildflowers, grasses, trees, and shrubs in parks, wildlife refuges, roadsides, tree farms and orchards, and residential landscapes.

The reproductive materials required to satisfy these planting needs have some special constraints. Most plant species consist of more or less continuous genotypic arrays reflective differential adaptation to variation in soils, climates, and disturbance regimes across a species' range of distribution. Long-term success in restoring a species to a given site is dependent upon obtaining adapted plant materials. Adapted plant materials are most likely to originate from the same site or nearby sites with similar physical and biological environments, unless the species' population is known to be broadly adapted or particular accessions have proven to be widely adapted within the species' range of distribution.

For some broadly adapted species characterized by copious seed production, wildland collection can supply a significant seed volume for direct plantings. For most species, however, accessions consisting of limited quantities of seed obtained from defined wildland stands must be increased in fields or nurseries. Unfortunately, accurate documentation of collection site and/or cultivated production has often been unavailable to those seeking site-appropriate native plant materials. This situation led to the expansion of AOSCA third-party inspection and labeling programs to specifically address the needs of the native seed and plant industry.


Find out more about the OSCS Native Seed Certification program on the Native and Naturalized Plant Species page.