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Collection Days Benefit Native Seed Program

Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Arkansas Native Seed Program is off to a successful start. During five events in October and November, ANHC and Audubon Arkansas staff worked with volunteers to collect seed from native prairie plants at Downs Prairie Natural Area, Railroad Prairie Natural Area, and areas nearby. Over 168 pounds of bulk, uncleaned seed were collected.

Three species of native prairie grasses and 13 species of wildflowers were targeted for collection. By far the most bulk seed collected, 63 pounds, was from big bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardii). Big bluestem is a dominant grass species in the Grand Prairie, adapted to the extremes of wetness and drought that characterize the region. The highest collection among the wildflowers was from compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), totaling 38 pounds of bulk seed. Other targeted plants included pale purple coneflower (Echinacea pallida), rattlesnake-master (Eryngium yuccifolium), prairie gayfeather (Liatris pycnostachya), wild quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), and rough coneflower (Rudbeckia grandiflora).

The seeds collected will ultimately help enhance and restore Arkansas’s Grand Prairie ecosystem and thereby benefit pollinators, birds, and as well as game species like quail and wild turkey. ANHC plans to schedule more seed collection days in the next calendar year – be on the lookout for announcements about this in the coming months.

 

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