Fiddleneck Going Gangbusters? Here’s what to do with it…

Common Fiddleneck (Amsinkia menziesii) is a fun yellow flower with a long, gradually unfurling bloom that resembles the top of a fiddle. Although it is native all across the western US and is good at colonizing dry, disturbed areas, we don’t see it too often here in the Rogue Valley! That’s too bad because it’s classified as a valuable resource for pollinators by the Xerces Society, and it’s a self-seeder and easy to grow.

Photo by Tracy Bandy: https://www.inaturalist.org/people/tracybandy

2021 seems to have been an extra-great year for Amsinkia. RNPP member Michelle wrote us this spring to say “The bloom is off the charts this year!”

Do you have Amsinkia growing nearby that you’d like to harvest? The seeds of this wildflower are abundant and easy to collect. Just as the blooming flowers progress up the stem (starting at the bottom), so do the ripening seeds. At this point in the year, the seeds from the bottom will have already dropped off, ensuring regeneration of this annual plant next year. Now’s the time to come by and collect the rest of the seeds for sowing elsewhere!

Here are more tips for harvesting Fiddleneck seeds:

  • Amsinkia produces 4 nutlets per flower (see photo).
  • Harvest the nutlets when they are ripe – brown in color and not easily dented with a thumbnail.
  • Be sure to leave some seeds on the plant to ensure that the patch will regenerate next year!
  • To harvest the most possible seed from individual plants, cut or snap the plants off at the base when about half of the nutlets are ripe. (Remember to leave the majority of plants where you find them so that they can do their thing!)
  • Lay the plants out on a tarp in the sun for a few days to let the rest of the seeds ripen.
  • Once the plants are pretty dry, grab a handful of stems (with gloves to avoid the sharp hairs) and bang the bundle against the inside of a large rubber storage tub to break loose the seeds.

A Guide to the Native Milkweeds of Oregon

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2012

Five species of milkweed are native to Oregon. This guide includes profiles of the four most common species, all of which are used as a larval host plant by the monarch butterfly.

Asclepias cordifolia (purple milkweed, heartleaf milkweed)
Asclepias cryptoceras ssp. davisii (Davis’ milkweed)
Asclepias fascicularis (narrow-leaved milkweed)
Asclepias speciosa (showy milkweed)

A profile of each of these species includes descriptions of flowers, leaves, and seed pods, accompanied by photos and distribution maps. Supporting these profiles is a simple guide to identifying milkweeds based on their distinctive flowers and fruits.

Techniques to Determine Total Viability in Native Seed

Author: Vivrette, N.

The deep dormancy exhibited by seeds of many native plants can lead to the under estimation of total viability in laboratory tests. Pre-treatment of dormant seeds with gibberellic acid to break dormancy prior to testing for germination or total viability can give a more accurate assessment of seed quality.

Download (PDF): Techniques to Determine Total Viability in Native Seed (93KB)

Native Plant Network Propagation Protocols

Author: Native Plant Network (various authors)

The Native Plant Network is devoted to the sharing of information on how to propagate native plants of North America (US, Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Islands). Search the database for extensive details on how to propagate different plants, or scroll through alphabetically.

Visit (website): Native Plant Network Propagation Protocols

Milkweeds: a Conservation Practitioner’s Guide

Author: The Xerces Society Date: 2014

The information in Milkweeds: A Conservation Practitioner’s Guide is gathered from interviews with native plant nurseries and seed producers, gained firsthand through Project Milkweed, and synthesized from scientific literature. It provides conservation professionals with information about optimizing milkweed seed production methods, offers guidance on incorporating milkweeds into restoration and revegetation efforts, and highlights milkweeds’ unique characteristics and value to wildlife. Native seed producers, restoration practitioners, land managers, monarch conservationists, gardeners, and landowners will all find this guide valuable.

Download (PDF): Milkweeds: a Conservation Practitioner’s Guide (6MB)

Seeding Rates and Methods

Author: Linda Boyer, Heritage Seedlings Inc. Date: 02-20-2018

Detailed information on calculating seeding rates for single and mixed species, different broadcasting methods, and cutting agents. Developed for those working with native seed in the Willamette Valley, but details techniques that are useful in a variety of contexts.

Download (PDF): Seeding Rates and Methods (1.2MB)

Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest

Author: Corvallis PMC & Amy Bartow Date: 2015

The Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest contains detailed, species-specific information for 17 grasses, 60 forbs, and 7 sedges and rushes found throughout the Western regions of Oregon and Washington. It also contains information on all aspects of seed production, from establishment and weed control to harvesting and seed processing. The back section features an equipment overview, which explains the various types of equipment used at the Corvallis Plant Materials Center.

Download (PDF): Native Seed Production Manual for the Pacific Northwest (31.6MB)