Contact Us Host an Event Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - September 21, 2010

From: Blue Ridge, NC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Seed and Plant Sources
Title: Wildflower Seed Collection Along Public Road in Blue Ridge, North Carolina
Answered by: Marilyn Kircus

QUESTION:

I live in North Carolina and would like to plant native wildflowers on a steep bank in my yard. I live on a rural dirt road and most of the plants I want grow wild on the side of the road. Can I legally harvest seeds from the native, non-threatened/endangered/protected wildflowers during my daily walks? I hate to buy non-native versions of these plants and risk having one self-seed and displace the natives. I don't want to harvest the plants or venture off the roadway onto someone's property.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants is not a lawyer so can't give you legal advice.  You can  look up the laws for your state. But you can probably gather seed without getting arrested. In Texas, I have helped to gather grass seed along a railroad to replant native prairies. And if it is legal for you to collect seeds in your state, be sure to leave some to replant the collection area.

Some of native plant seeds need to be chilled before they will sprout. It may be easier to just buy the seeds from a native seed store than to find out how to treat each species of seed.  But you can sow the seeds this fall and they will continue to sprout over the next few years.

You might also want to check to see if your local chapter of the Native Plant Society has sales or seed/plant swaps. Click here to see the web page for the state. I see they sponser plant rescues.  If you help with a plant rescue, you usually donate some of the plants you rescue and get to keep the rest.  I've had enjoyable times rescuing grasses, shrubs and trees this way but some of the perennial wildflowers, like prairie verbena, can also be dug and moved to your slope. You can also collect seeds if the plants have them.

Click here to see a list of nurseries and seed suppliers from North Carolina.

 

More Seed and Plant Sources Questions

Source for mulberry trees from Bryan TX
February 24, 2013 - I am looking for suggestions for nurseries from which I could purchase Red Mulberry or Texas Mulberry Tree.
view the full question and answer

Number of seeds per pound for Curvepod fumewort from Bridger MT
June 17, 2010 - Do you know or where can I find the number of seeds per pound for Corydalis curvisiliqua-scrambled eggs?
view the full question and answer

Purchase source for Jamaica Sawgrass
November 09, 2008 - Any idea where to find this plant? Does the center sell them? Cladium mariscus ssp. jamaicense (Crantz) Kükenth. Jamaica swamp sawgrass, Jamaican Saw-grass, Saw-grass Cyperaceae (Sedge Family) ...
view the full question and answer

Source for wildflower seeds of milkweed family (Asclepiadaceae)
February 14, 2008 - I am a lifelong amateur botanist/horticulturist and am trying to find a source for wild flower seeds of the milkweed family (Asclepiadacea). Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Resources for wildlife garden in Maryland
September 10, 2007 - I've recently bought a home in Cambridge in Dorchester County on Maryland's Eastern Shore. I want my small garden to have native plants that will sustain birds, butterflies and visiting wildlife. ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.