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NRCS Plant Guides Help Landowners With Their Planting Projects

Example plant guide for Northern Bayberry, Morella pensylvanica.The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) through the PLANTS Database provides conservation plant information to conservation planners, researchers, and others using plants in their natural resource conservation projects.  The development of Plant Guides are a cooperative effort between the NRCS National Plant Data Team and the NRCS Plant Materials Program.  Plant Materials Centers and specialists contributes many of the Plant Guides to the database that consolidate pertinent information on conservation plants for use by NRCS field office staff and other conservation planners.

These Plant Guides provide detailed overviews of plant species in a standardized format.  Common and scientific names are followed by a botanical description of the plant.  The range of occurrence and zones within the range where the species occurs are described, along with other species that occur in the same area.  A Uses section describes how the plant is used for conservation.  This Uses section includes subcategories such as wildlife habitat, Example plant guide for Desert Globemallow, Sphaeralcea ambigua.pollinator habitat, livestock grazing, landscape restoration, conservation practices, and ornamental applications.  Detailed information is available for conservation planners on the establishment and management of the species in vegetative plantings.  Ethnobotanical information may be included and covered in depth for culturally significant plants.  Other information includes threatened or endangered status, wetland status, environmental concerns, and named varieties and their availability.  For commercial seed growers or nursery operators there is information about production of seed or plants.

There are over 500 Plant Guides available including grasses, legumes, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.  Whether you are a conservation planner or homeowner they provide information to assist with your planting projects.