Tallgrass Prairie Center


History and Impact of TPC Plant Materials Program

For nearly 30 years, TPC Plant Materials has collected seed from remnant prairies, increased seed in our production fields, and provided Iowa source-identified foundation seed for the native seed industry.

We have worked with local, state, federal, nonprofit, and commercial partners.

Over time, the program has been known by the names Iowa Ecotype Project and Natural Selections.

80 Iowa prairie species, of 145 ecotypes, have been released to native seed growers for use in establishing commercial production.

  • At all stages of production, we seek to avoid both intentional and unintentional selection in order to preserve the genetic diversity present in the original remnant populations.
  • Natural Selections ecotypes include species in several plant functional groups: warm season grasses, cool season grasses, sedges, legumes, other forbs (wildflowers), and woody plants.

Variety of prairie species of different plant functional groups and at different stages of production

An average of over 150,000 pounds of Yellow Tag Natural Selections seed was produced by commercial growers per year from 2007-2015.

Our work helps ensure that Iowa source-identified seed is available for Iowa Roadside Management and other prairie restorations.

Logo with text "natural SELECTIONS - species that belong, seeds that thrive" on background of the state of Iowa


Plant Materials Home