Seed germination trials of native species commonly used in revegetation seed mixes and potential native winners in the Colorado Plateau

Project Description

This project aimed to determine optimal germination conditions for species currently used in restoration in the Colorado Plateau, as well as other priority forb species that may be beneficial to include in future restoration efforts. Specifically, we tested dormancy and germination patterns for 18 seed lots representing 14 species used by the BLM’s Grand Junction Field Office to aerially seed the 2012 Pine Ridge burn area (“broad seed mix”), as well as 14 seed lots of 13 potential “native winner” species that were sown in study plots at the burn area in fall 2012. For this study, seeds wer...

Project Map

Publicly Accessible: Yes
County: Cook County, IL

Project Sites

  • Chicago Botanic Garden - Plant Conservation Science Center

Goals and Targets

Primary Motivations:

  • Conservation Mission
    What conditions are required to break dormancy for native species in the Colorado Plateau? This information can be used to ensure that the timing of seed application for revegetation will allow a maximum number of seeds to germinate. We included native species that are commonly used in revegetation as well as many forb species that are a priority for increased use in restoration efforts.

Targeted Habitats:

  • Shrublands and Grasslands

Targeted Species:

  • Aspen Fleabane Erigeron speciosus
  • Bottlebrush Squirrel-tail Elymus elymoides
  • Common Sunflower Helianthus annuus
  • Curly Bluegrass Poa secunda
  • Dusty Beardtongue Penstemon comarrhenus
  • Four-wing Saltbush Atriplex canescens
  • Hairy False Goldenaster Heterotheca villosa
  • Heliotrope Phacelia Phacelia crenulata
  • Hoary Tansy-aster Machaeranthera canescens
  • Indian Mountain-ricegrass Achnatherum hymenoides
  • Pinnate Tansy-mustard Descurainia pinnata
  • Prairie Flax Linum lewisii
  • Red Globemallow Sphaeralcea coccinea
  • Sand Dropseed Sporobolus cryptandrus
  • Slender Wild Rye Elymus trachycaulus
  • Sulphur-flower Wild Buckwheat Eriogonum umbellatum
  • Western Wheatgrass Pascopyrum smithii
  • Western Yarrow Achillea millefolium var. occidentalis
  • White-stem Stickleaf Mentzelia albicaulis
  • Woolly Plantain Plantago patagonica
  • Yellow Spiderflower Cleome lutea

Conservation Actions

Action Status Start Year End Year
Research Completed 2013 2014
Seed germination trials


Is the success of this project's actions being monitored? No/Unknown

Lessons Learned and/or Suggestions for Similar Activities
In general, most species included in the study germinated to the highest percentage after receiving a 12 week cold stratification period, suggesting that seeding for revegetation in late fall or early winter months will support the greatest germination in the spring. Some species may have been able to germinate with a "winter" period of fewer than 12 weeks (not tested), and some species were able to germinate without a winter treatment as long as night temperatures were near freezing.


Andrea T Kramer and Alicia Foxx. 2014. unpublished seed germination data, also available at Chicago Botanic Garden. Supported by the Bureau of Land Management Plant Conservation Program.

Quick Facts

Owning Organization


Managing Organization

Colorado Plateau Native Plant Program (CPNPP)
(Non-Governmental Organization)

Contact Information

Andrea Kramer (Conservation Scientist)
Chicago Botanic Garden

General Information

Project #: 247716
Last Updated: December 13, 2016

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