Wild Land and Seed Collection
Annual seed collection is necessary to maintain an active seed bank, to replenish seed from annual propagation activities and to ensure high quality genetically diverse seed. Seed collection occurs on sites where there has been no restoration with cultivated plants or seed. LINPI collections occur on parklands, preserves and private lands. In all cases, permission is obtained from the landowner. Harvested seed is used to establish founder plots or for the production of plants.
Once harvested, seed is dried to reduce decay and disease and to increase viability. Since many seeds are harvested on stem, additional processing is required and this
takes place at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Materials Center in Cape May, New Jersey. Although seed cleaning is a laborious process, it is critical to ensure high quality seed for storage and subsequent use.
Regional Seed Banking
A seed bank is a central repository of harvested seed from select plant species. Seed banking is critical to LINPI activities because the bank provides ready access to high quality viable seed from each collection site for future seed propagation. LINPI seed collections are stored at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center’s Regional Seed Bank in Staten Island in a climate controlled environment to ensure a constant supply of genetically diverse and high quality seed.
Herbaceous and woody plants are propagated at the Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus for subsequent use in founder plots or sale. Some seed are first scarified and stratified to break dormancy and then placed into seeding trays.
Small plantlets are then transplanted in to larger trays which are then eventually moved to an outside yard so that the plants can acclimate. Greenhouse space and care are provided by Suffolk County Community College Eastern Campus and LINPI volunteers.
Once ecotypic plants have been propagated in containers, they are transplanted in to a founder plot that is used to produce modest quantities of seed for subsequent commercial scale production. The use of founder plots results in the the controlled and satisfactory yield of weed-free seed which is the genetically pure representation for the seed production. LINPI currently cooperates with Ernst Conservation Seed of Meadville, PA to produce commercial quantities of ecotypic seed for Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Little Bluestem (Schizachryrium scoparium), Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans), and Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum). Future activities focus on expanding the selection of ecotypic plants.
Native Plant Sale
Native plant sales are conducted annually at the Suffolk County Community College’s Eastern Campus in Riverhead to provide a source of plant materials for nursery propagation, landscaping activities and restoration projects. Over 30 ecotypic species of grasses, flowering perennials, trees and shrubs are available produced from seed collected directly from the wild on Long and Staten Islands. All proceeds directly benefit the continued activities of LINPI. Please contact the LINPI office for list of available plant species or check the website.
Fostering Public Demand
LINPI continues to promote and strengthen market demand for native, ecotypic plants through outreach, media coverage, the establishment of native plant gardens, presentations at industry and scientific conferences, as well as local organizational meetings, festivals and events.
LINPI advocates and supports the propagation of native plants through propagation trainings and symposiums, like the Long Island Native Plant Symposium. Please contact us if you would like us to give a presentation or participate in an event.