Want an Easy Way to help our Natural Areas?
Collect and Donate Seed from your own Native Gardens!

Ask to Join the Seed Collection Mailing List to get more updates like this to know what seeds are ready and how to collect them!
Every year The Land Conservancy of McHenry County adds as much native seed as we can to our sites, either making whole new prairies out of nothing or adding more diversity to our preserves. 

Native seed can be expensive, but it's free if you collect it from your own natural areas!

We'll take any native seed and no amount is too little! Please be sure it is the native form and not a cultivated variety. It helps if each species is collected separately and placed in its own bag and labelled. Seeds can be dropped off at our office in Woodstock. If you have questions send us an email. 

If you are new to seed collecting and would like to help but not sure where to get started, see the below list for directions on how to collect these 5 common species!
Pale Purple Coneflower
Photo from Illinoiswildflowers.info

Cut the whole seed head off when it is dry and blackish, and the stem is beginning to turn brown under the flower head. The seeds are large and white and fairly hard to remove from the flower head. 

We are especially seeking Pale Purple Coneflower, rather than Purple Coneflower, so please keep these species separate if collecting seed for us!

Click here for more info.
Ohio Spiderwort
Each flower on spiderwort blooms for only one day, and each plant has a long blloming period. This means that some of the seed has matured while other flowers are still blooming. Either shake each seed head vigorously to remove the seed without damaging the flowers, or cut the seed head off when half is gray and half is green. The seeds are gray, oval shaped, and have distrinct ridges on them. Dry thoroughly or it will mold.

  Photo from IllinoisWildflowers.info
Golden Alexanders
  Photo from Illinoiswildflowers.info

The yellow blooms are replaced with reddish or brownish crescent moon or oval shaped seeds. Cut the heads off when the stems and seeds are beginning to dry out and turn brown.
Yellow Coneflower
The seed heads will look like a gray oval when ripe, and the seed should easily fall off the stem into your hand when crushed or pulled on. These seeds have a distinctive and pleasant smell when fully ripe. The whole stalks can be clipped and bagged or the seeds pulled off the seed heads and bagged. 
Photo from Illinoiswildflowers.info
Bottle Brush Grass
  Photo from Illinoiswildflowers.info

This woodland grass doesn't look much different when in flower or seed, but when ripe the seeds will be brown and easily fall off the stalk when touched. The whole seed head can be clipped and bagged, or individual seeds can be pulled off the stalk. 

The Land Conservancy of McHenry County | mgrycan@conservemc.org |
815-337-9502 | www.ConserveMC.org