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Tucson Plant Materials Center (AZPMC)
Serving areas in the States of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah

Established: 1934
Size: 43.95 acres
PMC Operation: NRCS
Land Ownership: NRCS

A view of the Tucson PMC fields of green native grasses with desert palm trees and the Catalina Mountains in the background.In 1934, one of the first Plant Materials Centers was established in Tucson, Arizona, under the direction of F. J. Crider. During this time, the primary mission of the Tucson Plant Materials Center was the production of nursery stock and the collection of large quantities of seeds for use on the Navajo, Gila, and Rio Grande regional demonstration projects.  The Center’s mission has evolved to address conservation needs such as erosion, drought, pollinator conservation, water quality, wildlife habitat, energy demands and wildfire damage.

The Tucson Plant Materials Center works in the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts in areas of Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.  Major land uses in this area include irrigated farmland, rangeland, and mine lands. The Center develops and evaluates adapted plant materials and technologies to address resource concerns across the region.

The Center’s conservation plant releases include a variety of conservation grasses such as, ‘Loetta’ Arizona cottontop, Cochise Germplasm spike dropseed, Pima Germplasm Pima pappusgrass, and Vegas Germplasm alkali sacaton. Many of these releases were developed in collaboration with partners such as the Bureau of Land Management, University of Arizona and the Agricultural Research Service.
In 1997, the Tucson Plant Materials Center was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.



Conserve and enhance soil resources with plant science technology

  • Planting methodologies are developed to ensure survival and persistence of native species used in the revegetation of abandoned croplands, invasive species dominated lands, and wildfire affected areas.
  • Evaluation of the adaptation of various warm and cool season cover crops to find appropriate species for crop rotations in the arid Southwest.  
  • On disturbed land, retired cropland or areas where water is limited, "Seco" barley (Hordeum vulgare), released by the Tucson Plant Materials Center and/or other suitable cover crops species can aid in establishing vegetation and reducing soil erosion.


Improve habitat for fish and wildlife species


Promote the commercial production of NRCS developed plants

  • Promote the production of native seed by providing foundation seed and technical assistance for the establishment of native plant production fields.
  • The publication, Native Seed Production, provides guidelines for producers interested in establishing native plant seed production fields.
  • Develop native plant species and maintain foundation seed stocks for use in the implementation of Farm Bill programs.

Tucson Plant Materials Center
3241 North Romero Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85705-9223
Phone: (520) 292-2999
Fax: (855) 844-9178