The term “native” can be confusing. For practical purposes, native depends on the soil, climate and overall growing conditions in a specific neighborhood. Plants from other areas can become naturalized if they adapt well and do not have special growing or maintenance requirements. Some true natives, on the other hand, do not perform well in a garden setting.
Collecting seeds in-the wild is perhaps the most important method of propagating local species. The following tips will help you get off to a successful start:
- Flag plants from which you wish to collect seed.
- Determine collection time. A change in seed size or color or drying of the stem, usually indicates maturity.
- Cover seeds close to maturity with a paper bag or net to prevent their dispersal by wind or birds.
- Break the seed and check for an embryo before collecting.
- Place the sheet between sheets of damp paper towel. If the seed does not increase in size in one to two days, it may require some type of pre-treatment
Geneva Thomas, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service