U.S. Department of Agriculture: Agricultural Research Service, Lincoln, Nebraska


Date of this Version



Published in PRAIRIE INVADERS: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 20TH NORTH AMERICAN PRAIRIE CONFERENCE, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA AT KEARNEY, July 23–26, 2006, edited by Joseph T. Springer and Elaine C. Springer. Kearney, Nebraska : University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2006. Pages 177-186.


The ability to maintain viability in seeds of native forbs for long periods of time is important to the seed industry and prairie restoration efforts. Seeds stored in eastern Kansas in an uncontrolled environment, subjected to wide fluctuations in ambient temperature and humidity, are known to experience reduced longevity. We examined seeds of 7 prairie forbs native to the Central Great Plains that were stored under two different storage environments in Manhattan, Kansas, to determine what effect the two storage conditions had on the longevity of seed viability. Three of the species stored in a controlled environment (low temperature, relative humidity, rodent and insect free) remained viable after 26 yr of storage. The longevity of seeds stored in an uncontrolled environment varied from 2 to 10 yr. Of all the species tested, seeds of native legumes maintained the greatest level of viability under both storage conditions.