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Appalachian Plant Materials Center

Appalachian Plant Materials Center

Alderson, West Virginia

Appalachian Plant Materials Center products are
helping people help the land
through better plants and science.

Who We Are

The Appalachian Plant Materials Center (PMC), located in Alderson, West Virginia, serves the Appalachian Region. The National Plant Materials Program, a network of 26 Plant Materials Centers (PMC) located throughout the United States. The Appalachian Plant Materials Center (PMC), located in Alderson, West Virginia, serves the Appalachian Region.

The Appalachian PMC is operated by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), in cooperation with the USDA-Agriculture Research Service, U.S. Forest Service and the Agriculture Experiment Stations of West Virginia University, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, University of Tennessee, and the University of Kentucky.

The Appalachian PMC program emphasizes:

  • improving forage production on hillside pastures,
  • address problems associated with concentrated livestock,
  • reclamation of mined lands,
  • streambank stabilization,
  • agro-forestry,
  • wildlife habitat improvement,
  • utilization of economic and culturally valuable plants.

What We Do

The Appalachian Plant Materials Center (PMC) serves a wide variety of land users in the Appalachian Region by evaluating plants for their ability to solve specific conservation problems related to

  • climate,
  • rugged topography,
  • soil limitations,
  • various land uses,
  • fish and wildlife needs,
  • desires of the landowners.

The PMC assembles plants from the entire service area with similar soils and climate, evaluates the plants, develops management techniques, and provides seed and plants for planting to test performance throughout the area.

The PMC provides a place for conducting systematic observations and evaluations of plants needed to protect our natural resources. New techniques are developed for the propagation, establishment, management, and use for new or improved species of grasses, legumes, shrubs and trees.

Plants are an important tool for conservation. The PMC program is devoted to promoting and providing plant materials and technology for conservation.

Active Projects

These projects involve one or more species of native plants and have diversified our partnerships with Native Americans, federal agencies and private conservation groups.

Giant Cane Rapid Propagation Study
photo of giant cane Arundinaria gigantea, giant cane or bamboo is our largest native grass. Giant cane historically covered extensive areas of the southeastern United States. Canebrakes disappeared rapidly following settlement. NRCS has developed an interest in rapidly propagating giant cane for use as a streambank erosion control plant and other conservation uses. Plants will be evaluated with regard to survival, rate of spread, and ability to produce new plants from division of rhizomes.


Ramp, Allium tricoccum, Propagation & Cultivation Techniques for the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation
Photo of Ramp The PMC is assisting the Cherokee to bring this culturally significant wild plant into cultivation. The goal is to develop a dependable supply of ramps for the Cherokee, while limiting further depletion of the wild population within the Great Smokey Mountains National Park.
Saving West Virginia’s Balsam Fir
photo of balsam fir Abies balsamea, balsam fir is native to high elevation areas in West Virginia. However, balsam fir numbers are declining due to a serious infestation of the balsam wooly adelgid. Volunteers harvested balsam fir seed and shipped it to the PMC for seed banking. The PMC is also responsible for producing seedlings for reintroduction to the natural areas where the seed was harvested.
U. S. Department of the Interior-National Park Service Stones River National Battlefield Native Plant Restoration
Photo of field work Introduced and exotic plant species have encroached onto many areas of the battlefield. Park managers have identified restoration of native plant communities as a high priority for maintenance of the park’s circa 1862 authenticity. The PMC has agreed to work with the National Park Service at Stones River National Battlefield (Tennessee) to collect seed, develop propagation techniques, and produce seedling plants and/or seed of the targeted species for plant community restoration within the park.
‘Quickstand’ Bermudagrass Forage Production Demonstration Project
photo of no till sprig planter ‘Quickstand’ bermudagrass is incredibly cold hardy. It not only survives, but thrives at 3,000 feet in elevation in West Virginia! New stands must be established by transplanting live plants through a process called “sprigging”. Equipment unavailability was a problem with use bermudagrass as forage and the PMC purchased a no-till sprig planter for use in establishing demonstration plantings.

For more about plants and the Appalachian Plant Materials Center visit:

Appalachian Plant Materials Center
Old Prison Farm Road
P. O. Box 390
Alderson, WV 24910
Tel. 304-445-3005
Fax. 304-445-7049

Tours Available

Visitors are welcome to tour the PMC. The Center is open Monday through Friday. Please call to schedule your visit.