Flowering and Seed Yield in Three Species of Prairie Plants

in HortTechnology
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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108.

Production of native seeds and seedlings for landscaping and restoration is an expanding horticultural industry in Minnesota, but seed yields of many species from wild stands are often small and vary widely in quality. In this work, we document phenological development and seed yield in cultivated and prairie-grown plants for Tradescantia ohiensis Raf. (Ohio spiderwort), Dalea purpurea Vent. (purple prairie clover), and Spartina pectinata Link (prairie cordgrass) at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. For T. ohiensis, seed yield under cultivation was significantly greater than in the prairie both seasons, with 2.5 g of seed recovered per plant in 1993. Under cultivation, seed yield of established D. purpurea was triple that of the prairie, yielding 34 seeds per inflorescence. S. pectinata grown under cultivation from seedlings or rhizome divisions produced seed in the first and second seasons, respectively, while plants in the prairie remained vegetative. Two-year-old seedlings produced 38 seeds per spike. Field cultivation of these native plant species resulted in increased seed yield and improved growth, while allowing phenological monitoring and the use of species-specific harvest practices.

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