Seed to Flower

The last three months of my internship has been focused on Seeds of Success and a plethora of other seed related activities!

My team was able to collect 43 species and had a great time scouting, keying plants, taking herbarium vouchers and processing the collections. The Medford, OR district BLM has been involved with the program since the founding of the program in 2010 and has one of the largest number of collections, currently at 1068! This posed some difficulty for us but also lead to opportunities to find unique collections such as a succulent and riparian species.

We were also able to work in two Areas of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). French Flat and King Mountain and collected seeds of two federally listed species Hackelia bella (Greater showy stick seed) and Sidalcea hickmanii ssp. petraea (Neil Rock sidalcea – We hiked up to the only know endemic population!) One of the collections I really enjoyed was Xerophyllum tenax (Bear grass), here is the plant and one of my favorite pictures I took this summer.

Xerophyllum tenax at King Mountain Area of Critical Environmental Concern

Hackelia bella (Greater showy stick seed) collected from the Cascade Siskiyou Monument. Vouchers can be so beautiful!

Along with SOS, we participated in various other seed activities.  For a few days we filled seed orders for fire remediation and restoration projects. We would go into huge seeds coolers to search for the seed lot then weigh, mix and packaged seeds. We mixed orders up to 950 lbs in a kiddy pool! (Deschampsia cespitosa seeds are one of the softest materials I have ever felt!)

I also attended a Nature Conservancy restoration volunteer day at the Agate Desert preserve. In the spring they did a control burn across the property and have been spreading seed in vernal pool communities this fall. The day I helped we spread 19 lbs of federally-listed endangered Lomatium cooki (Cook’s desert parsley). I hope to stay around the area and see how this bare land blossoms in the coming year.

Federally-listed endangered Lomatium cooki (Cook’s desert parsley) at The Nature Conservancy’s Agate Desert Preserve.

I also had the chance to help out this week at the USFS J. Herbert Stone Nursery. The nursery is 311 acres, including 240 acres of native plant production! We helped package one-year old tress to be sent out around the Pacific Northwest and got a great tour of the facilities. Many of the seeds collected through the SOS program are grown out here for seed increase to be used in a variety of projects from restoration to fire remediation.

Another cycle is coming to an end, for me and the seeds. Cant wait to see how we blossom next season!

Pseudotsuga menziesii saplings at Stone Nursery

The creation of a thousand forests is in one acorn. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Sienna M. Grants Pass, OR – BLM

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