Plant Materials

Supporting a diverse native seed market

The Plant Materials Program of the Tallgrass Prairie Center supports a native seed supply for roadsides and other restorations that is diverse, regionally appropriate, source-identified, and affordable. We work toward this goal by developing Iowa Source-Identified stock seed for native seed growers, facilitating stakeholder communication, and sharing technical information. Support from Iowa's Living Roadway Trust Fund and UNI makes this work possible.


Purchasing Native Seed or Plants

Please note that the TPC supplies seed to native seed growers but does not sell seed directly to the public. If you need seed or plants for your project, please consult the following links:


History and Impact

For over 30 years, TPC Plant Materials has collected seed from remnant prairies, managed seed production fields, and provided Iowa source-identified stock seed to 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.

logo for Natural Selections: species that belong, seeds that thrive

One hundred sixty-two regional ecotypes of 89 Iowa prairie and wetland species have been provided to native seed growers for use in establishing commercial production. These include species in several plant functional groups: warm-season grasses, cool-season grasses, sedges, legumes, other forbs (wildflowers), and woody plants. An average of over 150,000 pounds of Source-Identified ("yellow tag") Natural Selections seed was produced by commercial growers per year from 2007–2015.


A selection of plants and seeds produced by the TPC Plant Materials Program


At all stages of production, we seek to avoid both intentional and unintentional selection in order to preserve the genetic diversity and local adaptations present in the original remnant populations. Our work helps ensure that regionally appropriate, genetically diverse seed is available for Iowa Roadside Management and other prairie restorations.

Contact Us / Learn More

For questions and information regarding the Plant Materials program, please reach out to: