J. L. Harden
Demand for wildflower seed has increased in recent years. Native wildflower seed mixed with grass and shrub seed is useful in the restoration of rangelands and other communities of the Intermountain West where native vegetation has been lost. By restoring native species to areas where they have been lost, habitat for wildlife can be restored and reclaimed.
One difficulty in restoring rangelands is that commercial sources of wildflower seeds are extremely limited. Desirable types of wildflower seeds are not readily available, so growers sometimes have to locate plants and gather the seeds themselves. Although wildflowers grow naturally, populations have been diminished by forest fires and other environmental disasters, which make it nearly impossible for seed growers to gather seeds that they need. The U.S. Forest Service and BLM have been prioritizing wildflower species according to their importance for rangeland restoration. They often collect seed and determine which seed lots merit increase for rangeland restoration projects.
Once growers have seed, it may require very specific treatment methods prior to planting to make germination possible. Examples of these practices are artificial scarification and vernalization. All of this has to be completed before planting the seeds. For more information regarding wildflower species and seed production, see Station Native Wildflower Seed Production.