The end of summer and throughout fall is a great time for collecting seeds from your favorite plants. While it is tempting to snag every seed in sight, we want to make sure we are harvesting seeds in a manner that will not harm wild plant populations.
Where can I collect seeds?
If you want seeds from plants in your yard, feel free to harvest away! If you are thinking of harvesting seeds from wild areas, be mindful of some regulations. The first step is to know if you are on private property or not. Avoid harvesting from private land unless you have permission from the landowner.
On land owned by the BLM, it is OK to harvest small amounts of seed from healthy plant populations for recreational use. A permit is needed for commercial use. To learn more about the details of harvesting seed on BLM property click here for a resource from the BLM..
How do I collect seeds?
Before you pick up our pruners and buckets to snip some seedheads you must first assess which plant species it is and the health of the population. Seeds from endangered plants must never be harvested in the wild. Click here for a resource to determine if a plant is endangered or threatened.
Plants with low population numbers should be left to reseed the land. There is no one rule for what counts as a low plant population. It is better to err on the side of caution. Make sure there are multiple distinct groupings of the plant present before harvesting seeds. For long term sustainable harvest of wild plant seeds, it is recommended to take no more than 10% of seeds in a population. This helps ensure other animals have seed for food and future generations of the plant will germinate.
If you are on appropriate land, the plant is not endangered or threatened, and the plant has a healthy population you can collect seeds! It is easiest to snip off seedheads into a bag or bucket labelled with the plant species name so you don’t get confused about what you harvested. Cleaning and processing the seeds can be done at home.
Happy harvesting and remember to be a responsible nature enthusiast!