Inadvertant Selection in the Propagation of Native Plants – a cautionary note

A series of interacting steps resulted in the use of the wrong species in a prairie restoration. Contributing factors included misidentifying species of fescue, combining seeds from nearby sites, favoring the collection of seeds from one species over another in the wild as well as in the nursery, and compounding the preferential selection of a species when increasing limited seed supplies for commercial production. Avoiding shortcuts and exercising caution not to compromise protocols designed to ensure the integrity of materials used in native plant restoration are important but may not be entirely sufficient to prevent costly mistakes.