- Positively identify the plants before collecting seeds or cuttings.
- know which taxa/flora are rare or endangered (locally or on a broader scale) and avoid their collection (see references below)
- if you encounter a plant with which you are not familiar, assume it is rare and refrain from collecting, consult a botanist for correct identification.
- Use caution when collecting seeds or taking cuttings of native plants in natural areas as any collection is potentially damaging to native plant communities and habitats.
- avoid creating disturbance at the collection site
- ensure that understorey plants are not trampled
- take precautions to minimize the spread of weeds and pathogens
- Collecting must never endanger a plant population.
- collect seeds or cuttings, never whole plants
- whole plants should never be dug up from natural areas, except when salvage becomes a last resort
- remove only as much seed or plant material as required
- Collecting should be done as inconspicuously as possible to discourage indiscriminate collecting by other people (refer to guidelines for collecting below).
- Keep accurate records of all collections (for more details see Collector’s Guidelines, item 4, below).
- Seeds or cuttings should be used to propagate native plants for sale (wholesale/retail), for restoration or for research purposes. The public should be encouraged to buy native plants only if they are obtained or grown according to these guidelines.
- Nurseries growing plants for use in ecological restoration projects should keep accurate records of propagule sources and nursery performance of these sources to improve the reliability of their stock.
COLLECTING SEEDS OR TAKING CUTTINGS
- Obtain written permission for collection of seeds and/or cuttings from landowners before beginning any collection. Note: It is illegal to collect in any national, provincial, regional or local park (except by permit).
- Do not collect intensively from the same area year after year, and avoid collecting from small, isolated populations.Where possible, seeds should be collected at several times during the ripening season to ensure that maximal diversity for the site is captured. Collections should be spread over several years, but keep seeds/propagules separated by source and collection year.
- To ensure sufficient parent plant materials are left in place to allow natural propagation, and to provide food and habitat for insects, birds and small mammals, collect no more than 5% of the fruit, seeds or cuttings from any one plant. To maintain genetic diversity, collect seeds and/or cuttings from many plants of large populations (e.g. from at least 10 widely spaced plants).
- At a minimum, keep records of collection date, precise location, number of parent plants collected from, and other plant species present. Ensure that collected materials are stored properly and labeled.
GARDENING AND HORTICULTURAL LANDSCAPING
- Select plants that are native to your ecological zone (ecoregion, bioregion).
- Choose plants that will be adapted to grow well in the different microclimates and soil conditions in your garden. This will preserve the natural heritage of your area and will also give a greater probability of successfully establishing your native plant garden.
- When purchasing native plants from nurseries, ensure that the plants are nursery-propagated (not collected from the wild).
- Select healthy plants that are vigorous, free of diseases and insect pests, and have good quality and colour of foliage (if still present).
- In coastal regions, planting is best done when the fall rains have commenced in October, and planting may continue throughout the winter if the weather is mild, but should be completed by mid-March. Planting can continue until May if irrigation is available.
- Once the soil has dried out to a depth of 10 cm during the first growing season, the plantings should receive an occasional deep watering (once or twice per week or as required).
- When landscaping for ecological purposes (e.g. habitat restoration, revegetation) first encourage natural regeneration of local ecotypes by actively managing against introduced weeds and exotics.
- If natural revegetation from surrounding areas, or the native soil seedbank, is not adequate, plant propagules should be grown from locally collected material. Gayton (2001) further recommends that plant propagules should be taken from adjacent sites with similar ecological conditions to those of the restoration site. At this time, there are no standardized, scientifically-based, protocols for the selection of seed or cutting sources. The following are some guidelines that may be considered when selecting seed or cutting sources: The California Native Plant Society (CNPS) suggests collecting seeds, cuttings or divisions firstly from the project site, secondly from adjacent or nearby sites, such as from the same watershed at the same approximate elevation and aspect as the project site. The FloraBank website suggests to “collect seed as locally as possible from natural populations for use in revegetation and rehabilitation planting” and that “the matching of environmental conditions at the planting site with those of the collection location” as the most important consideration in establishing the collection range.
- When large numbers of plants are required for restoration of a site, small amounts of seeds or cuttings should be used in a nursery to raise a reservoir of stock from which further seeds or cuttings can be collected.
- It must be emphasized that repeated use of the same seeds or cuttings collection may decrease the genetic diversity of the restored site.
As already stated (see Basic Guidelines, item 7) nurseries involved with ecological restoration and supervisors of these projects should keep accurate records of seed or cutting sources. In doing so, they will increase propagation knowledge and add to the understanding of the performance of the species grown. As well, they could share this information with other institutions to actively promote and protect native plants. Please contact us if you’d like to contribute to our Native Plant Propagation Guidelines.
- California Native Plant Society. CNPS. Guidelines for Chapters to Reduce Impacts to Native Plants. Adopted September 1993. [Cited November 11, 2003].
- Douglas, G.W., Meidinger D. and J. Penny. 2002. Rare Native Vascular Plants of British Columbia, 2nd edition. Province of British Columbia, Victoria, BC.
- FloraBank. 2000. Guidelines 10: Seed Collection Ranges for Revegetation. FloraBank partners: Greening Australia, CSIRO Forestry and Forest Products, Australian National Botanic Gardens. [Cited December 29, 2003].
- Gayton, D.W. 2001. Ground Work: Basic Concepts of Ecological Restoration in British Columbia. Southern Interior Forest Extension and Research Partnership, Kamloops, BC SIFERP Series 3.
- Alberta Native Plant Council. ANPC. Guidelines for the Collection & Use of Native Plants. Updated September 12, 2003. [Cited January 3, 2004].
- British Columbia Ministry of Forests. Forest Practices Code: Seed and Vegetative Material Guidebook. Tree Improvement Branch. [Cited January 3, 2004].
- Guerrant, E.O., Jr. 1992. Genetic and Demographic Considerations in the Sampling and Reintroduction of Rare Plants. In Conservation Biology — the theory and practice of nature conservation preservation and management.
- Fiedler, P.L. and Jain, S.K. (editors). Chapman and Hall, New York and London.
- Native Plant Society of Oregon. NPSO. Conservation guidelines & ethical code. [Cited November 24, 2003].
- Native Plant Society of Saskatchewan. NPSS. Recommendations for the Collection and Use of Native Plants. [Cited December 29, 2003].
- United States Environmental Protection Agency. Landscaping With Native Plants. Last update March 18, 2003. [Cited January 3, 2004] Washington Native Plant Society. WNPS. Policy on Collection and Sale of Native Plants [online]. Revised December 18, 2003. [Cited January 3, 2004].