Proven plants for conserving our natural resources

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Plant Materials Centers have a long and successful history of selecting and releasing conservation plants to support soil stabilization, improve pollinator and wildlife habitat, provide livestock forage, and increase the diversity in plantings.

All PMC plant releases support NRCS natural resource conservation activities on private lands as well as the National Seed Strategy, a federal interagency effort to select appropriate plants for restoration and conservation on both public and private lands. This year, the Plant Materials Program announces the release of six new conservation plants to the public. They join the 572 active and commercially available conservation plant releases developed by the Plant Materials Program over the past 80 years.

West Bay Germplasm gulf cordgrass (Spartina spartinae) was released by the West Bay Germplasm Gulf cordgrass fieldGolden Meadow PMC (Galliano, Louisiana). West Bay Germplasm is a native, perennial grass recommended for use in coastal stabilization and restoration projects in coastal marshes and coastal saline prairies of the north central Gulf of Mexico basin.

Tober Germplasm Virginia wildrye (Elymus virginicus) was released by the Bismarck PMC (North Dakota). Tober Germplasm is a native, cool-season, perennial bunchgrass recommended for conservation cover, pasture and hayland, wildlife habitat, prairie revegetation, riparian plantings, and rangeland seeding throughout North Dakota, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

Fuego Germplasm Indian blanket (Gaillardia pulchella) was released by the Kika de la Garza PMC (Kingsville, Texas) in cooperation with the Texas Natives Seeds program of Texas A&M University-Kingsville. Fuego Germplasm is a native wildflower recommended for pollinator habitat plantings, upland wildlife plantings, highway right-of-way revegetation, reclamation plantings, and for inclusion in range seeding mixes in the southern and coastal plains of Texas.

Guadalupe Germplasm white tridens (Tridens albescens) and Menard Germplasm purple threeawn (Aristida purpurea) were released by the James E. ‘Bud’ Smith PMC (Knox City, Texas) in cooperation with the Texas Natives Seeds program of Texas A&M University-Kingsville and other partners. Guadalupe Germplasm is a warm season perennial grass recommended for critical area revegetation, erosion control, rights-of-way plantings, inclusion in range seed mixes, and wildlife plantings throughout the southern, coastal plain, and central Texas and into west Texas and southern New Mexico. Menard Germplasm is a perennial bunchgrass recommended for upland wildlife plantings, critical site revegetation, right-of-way plantings, and inclusion in range seeding mixes throughout the southern, coastal plain, and central Texas.

Pineywoods Germplasm thickspike gayfeather (Liatris pycnostachya) was Pineywoods Germplasm Thickspike gayfeather foundation seed production fieldreleased by the East Texas PMC (Nacogdoches, Texas). Pineywoods Germplasm is a native, long lived perennial wildflower recommended for wildlife and pollinator habitat and other native plantings in eastern Texas, northern Louisiana, and southern Arkansas.

For additional information on specific species of plants mentioned, please see the USDA PLANTS database. Technical information and guidance on the use of conservation plants to address resource concerns can be found on the Plant Materials Program website or contact the nearest Plant Materials Center or plant materials specialist.