Practicalities of Collecting Wild Plants in North America: Insights from the United States

  • Laura F. Marek


Successful collection of wild plant germplasm requires careful preparation. Based on the author’s experiences in the United States, this chapter describes the process of preparing and executing explorations to collect wild plant germplasm in North America. An outline is provided, followed by more detailed descriptions of the steps of setting up an exploration framework, obtaining permits and permissions, and developing trip logistics. Establishing an exploration framework involves locating populations of the target species through compilation of herbarium voucher data and additional resources and through contacts with plant experts and other knowledgeable people. Most places in North America require permission or permits for any vegetation disturbance activities. Neither the United States nor Canada has an overarching national level permit; every landowner needs to be contacted. Mexico requires a national collection permit although the national permit does not grant access; therefore, every landowner needs to be contacted. The process of obtaining permits can take several months or longer. Travel logistics involve coordination and development of an efficient route based on population locations, the preparation of suitable maps, and the acquisition of appropriate devices and support equipment.


Exploration framework Permit Permission Logistics Herbarium voucher record 



Laura Fredrick Marek is supported by the Hatch Multistate Project NC-7.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agronomy/North Central Regional Plant Introduction StationIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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