The Native Species Seed program is not based upon genetic standards. Instead it provides a method for seed growers to certify the seed’s collection source for the assurance of the consumer. This assurance is important to consumers since many native plants and seeds on the market do not have a guarantee of their place of origin. When a consumer purchases seed labeled with a Source Identified class yellow label or Selected class green label, they can be confident of its geographic origin and area of adaptation.
The program was established in 1994 and is coordinated through the Iowa Crop Improvement Association. Organizations that have contributed significantly to the development and direction of the program include:
Tallgrass Prairie Center, University of Northern Iowa
Living Roadway Trust Fund, Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT)
USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Iowa office
USDA-NRCS Elsberry Plant Materials Center
Certification of native seeds is not a unique program to ICIA. As a member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies(AOSCA), ICIA joins many other states who offer the certification of native grasses, forbs, and woody plants under a common set of guidelines and requirements set by AOSCA. As an alternative to formal variety release, AOSCA offers three Pre-Variety Germplasm categories of Tested, Selected, and Source Identified class which are defined below:
Source Identified—Class of propagating materials collected from natural stands, seed production areas, seed fields, or orchards where no selection or testing of the parent population has been conducted.
Selected—Class of propagating materials that shall be the progeny of phenotypically selected plants of untested parentage that have promise but no proof of genetic superiority or distinctive traits.
Tested—Class of propagating materials that shall be the progeny of plants whose parentage has been test and has proven genetic superiority or possesses distinctive traits for which the heritability is stable, as defined by the certifying agency but for which a variety has not been named or released. This seed must be produced so as to assure genetic purity and identity.
For a current listing of certified seed production for Native Species.