Wild Seed Collecting

Believe it or not, it’s time to start seed collecting. Collection requires observation and timing, seed must ripe to be viable, but if we wait too long they’ll be eaten or scattered


Sophora secundiflora
Sophora secundiflora


Seeds have to maintain the population and feed wildlife so how much should be collected? A good rule is to always collect less than 10% of any population and never collect seeds from plants that number fewer  than 10 in a population in a given area. In the US, it’s against the law under the Endangered Species Act to collect from protected or endangered species.


Yucca elata
Yucca elata


Be sure you know what the seeds and seed pods you want look like. Do your research before you go collecting. Keep in mind that not all plants reproduce successfully from seed! Again, a little research on your part will go a long way to ensure your success.

Bouteloua eriopoda
Are these seeds?


Fallugia paradoxa
Or are these seeds?

Always ask permission before collecting on private land and check local regulations before collecting along roadsides. If you do collect along the road, wear brightly colored clothing or a safety vest. You can purchase one for just a few dollars and it will last your lifetime, which it will help to prolong. As an additional safety measure don’t go seed collecting on your own, take along a friend.

Little River Basin Texas Master Gardeners-Millenium Seed Bank
Little River Basin Texas Master Gardeners gathering seed for the Millenium Seed Bank project

Store your collected seeds in a paper bag or envelope until they’re completely cleaned and dried. Don’t use plastic bags.  Remember to label them with the species, the collection date and location. After cleaning and drying, store the seeds in labeled glass jars in a dry, cool, dark place, but not the freezer. Since labels on the outside of containers can get ruined, write the collection info on a slip of paper and put it inside the jar with the seeds as a backup. You can also store dry seed in plastic bags but be sure rodents won’t find them.





Posted by Sylvia Hacker, Dona Ana Co. New Mexico Master Gardener

Desert Pollinators


Bee on the wing and prickly pear
Bee on the wing and prickly pear



Gray hairstreak on Desert willow
Gray hairstreak on Desert willow




Tiger swallowtail on penstemon
Tiger swallowtail on penstemon


Female Carpenter bee and ocotillo
Female Carpenter bee and Ocotillo


Pepsis wasp on sotol
Pepsis wasp on Sotol


Photos by Benny Pol

Posted by Sylvia Hacker, Dona Ana County Master Gardener, New Mexico




Almost Wordless Wednesday: Excited about Phenology and Citizen Science

Dogwood flower taken in Raleigh 4-12-2014 (photo credit Cheryl Perry)
Dogwood flower taken in Raleigh, NC 4-12-2014 (photo credit Cheryl Perry)

This coming week we celebrate both Earth Day (22nd) and Arbor Day (25th). When I think about focusing on the earth and trees, I think of phenology. The definition of phenology (literally the “science of appearance) is the study of how seasonal events, like migrations, are impacted by climate and other plant, insect and animal life, such as the first plants to bloom in the spring or when robins build their nests. Since the dogwoods are blooming where I live in North Carolina and since I recently signed up for the Cloned Dogwood phenology project, I thought what could be better than a look at dogwood flowers and the National Phenology Network’s flowering dogwoods project. Visit their site and learn more about this project and others!

Dogwood flower (photo credit Cheryl Perry
Dogwood flower North Carolina (photo credit Cheryl Perry)

Connie Schultz, Master Gardener/Composter (’95 Cornell Extension) now volunteering in Johnston County, NC