Xerces Society Contract Grow

Field of Wingstem in bloom benefitting native pollinators

Cardno assisted a nonprofit with its mission by growing, harvesting and assisting in the planting of two native plant species.

Cardno assisted a nonprofit with its mission by growing, harvesting and assisting in the planting of two native plant species.

The Cardno Native Plant Nursery was contracted by The Xerces Society – a nonprofit organization committed to protecting wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat – to grow two midwestern native plant species, Field Thistle (Cirsium discolor) and Wingstem (Verbesina alternifolia), for the benefit of native pollinators, like bees, insects, and birds.

Field Thistle being pollinated by a bee

Cardno staff verified a local plant community where the seed could be harvested. Staff then collected, documented, dried, and cleaned the seed. Then the seed was sent to the nursery’s plant production team for stratification before it was sown into 72-count plant plugs and grown out.

Cardno then prepared the planting beds for plug planting. The following spring staff planted the plant plugs in rows for seed production. Some of the Wingstem bloomed and produced viable seed the first season. Both species flowered the following year. As Cardno completed the contract, both species provided ample quantities of seed which was all sold to various projects throughout the Midwest.