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on all Seeds
for 3 years 

Handing on 

our Heritage

Wild Native
seed, plants 
seed mixtures, 
25 years+

Seed Growers Pledge

Conservation Section,  Design By Nature - Handing on our Heritage. DBN (IRE) are Irish Wildflower Growers and we produce native wildflowers in Ireland collected from native Irish species.

  • Plant highest quality seed available of the variety from a reliable source
  • Plant seed with reliable identification
  • Plant on clean land to prevent contamination from noxious weed seed, pollen or seed from other varieties of the same species, and seed-borne diseases
  • Grow seed crops with adequate isolation from my own crops and those of my neighbours to prevent unintentional cross-pollination of varieties
  • Grow seed with a plant population large enough to maintain the unique characteristics of the variety, vigour, and to prevent genetic bottlenecking
  • Rogue (remove) diseased plants and off type plants with characteristics different from those of the variety
  • Harvest seed from early and late maturing plants
  • Process seed to remove impurities such as weed seed, dirt, plant material and non-viable seed
  • Permit germination tests to ensure that it meets required minimums
  • Allow 3rd party site-visits to ensure compliance with the Seed Grower's Pledge
  • To enable source identification, individuals who collect plants from the wild or in cultivation should make and maintain accurate records concerning
    • the place and date of collection
    • the species and type of plant matter taken.

See also DBN Seed Growers Declaration

Annex I

Recording details about the place of collection and the flora collected

1 Collections from the wild

Basic records about a collection site shall include:

  • a six-figure grid reference (or four or two-figure grid reference will normally suffice for remote and homogeneous areas, such as extensive seminatural vegetation in the uplands)

  • approximate altitude (to the nearest 50m, or 100m for uplands above 1000m)

  • place name (site name, nearest town, administrative region)

  • description of the type of site (e.g. road verge, ancient semi-natural woodland, scattered trees in deer park)

  • for trees and shrubs: the Forestry Commission local seed zone reference number.

2 Collections from planted stands

  • Name and location of the nursery or seed orchard and contact details for the operation
  • Type of stand/stock from which the collection was made (e.g. a seed orchard or wildflower crop)
  • Reference to the data identifying the original wild source (this is necessary to source identify material which can be described as being of native origin and/or local provenance)
  • Other data as required by EC or UK law (e.g. for forest reproductive material).

3 Recording other details about the collection

These must include:

  • name of species (subspecies and varity where known), using nomenclature according to Stace [hybrid material must be properly named using accepted nomenclature standards]
  • the registered name for any modified, ornamental or agricultural variety.
  • approximate quantity of seed or number of plants taken (for material collected directly from the wild)
  • name and contact details for the collector
  • date of the collection
  • a description of the type of material that was collected (e.g. seed)
  • any other requirements required by EC and national law.

For collections from the wild, further details that will be useful to collect include:

  • name and contact details of the site owner
  • approximate number of plants from which material was collected from (e.g. if cuttings or seed was collected)
  • a description of the plant community from which the material was collected from (this might be the National Vegetation Classification plant community, the habitat type or just a list of associated species)
  • the name of the local "natural character" zone where this information is available (e.g. English Natural Area, Scottish Natural Heritage Zone)
  • information about soils and drainage (e.g. acid poorly-drained clay, pH 4.5)
  • geology and physiographic information (e.g. steep south-facing slope on chalk, gravel plateau)
  • any other information that describes the condition of the site (e.g. heavily sheep-grazed)
  • photographs of the collection site or stand (e.g. of ancient wild trees from which seed was collected)
  • any additional information that may verify the material as being of native origin (e.g. reference to research or analyses that may confirm the origin of any timber trees)
  • any other information that may assist re-locating the site in the future!

4 Forestry Commission guidance on the identification of tree and shrub seedlots collected from the wild

The following extract is taken from the Forestry Commission's Practice Note Using Local Stock for Planting Native Trees and Shrubs (Published August 1999).

The established means of recording for a seedlot commonly used in Britain is:

Species/Crop year [using last two digits of the year]/Place of collection [e.g. Forestry Commission Seed Zone, seed stand number];

The species may be referred to by its common name, Latin name, or by a recognised abbreviation;

Example: Midland Hawthorn 99(402) [Midland Hawthorn collected in 1999 from seed collection zone 402].

The FC Seed Collection Zone should only be used when the guidance "Making Seed Collections" given in the Practice Note, has been followed.

Collectors and suppliers of native tree or shrub seed wishing to apply for Certificates of Local Provenance may need to provide advance notice of their wish to collect seed and should contact the Forestry Commission for details.


Annex II: Protocols for wild seed collection

Protocols on wild seed collection are still under development. However some guidance is provided below.

1. First generation seed (or other plant matter) should only be collected from sites which have not knowingly been influenced by historic plantings of native species, e.g. ancient species-rich grasslands, lowland heath, moorland and semi-natural wetlands.

2. Care should be taken over collection of tree or shrub seed from woodlands and hedgerows, as either may have been influenced by planting. Farm or estate records should be consulted where there may be doubt over this.

3. Places where seed collection should generally be avoided:

  • Post-1960 gravel pits and mine restorations
  • Re-seeded grassland
  • Verges of new highways, or highways that have been upgraded within the past 30 years
  • Broadleaved plantations and other woodlands which show evidence of recent felling and planting
  • Semi-natural woodlands with regularly-spaced semi-mature or mature timber trees (however, only the main timber trees may be planted - the other shrubs and less valuable trees are very likely to be native to the site or the locality)
  • Post-enclosure hedgerows
  • Pre-enclosure hedgerows which have recently been "gapped up" with trees and shrubs of undocumented origin.

4.  Further guidance on collecting seed from trees and shrubs

  • Characteristics of native woodland which indicate that the seed source is likely to be indigenous include: evidence of coppicing, absence of organised planting patterns and wide age-class distribution.
  • Recommended sites for seed collection include ancient semi-natural woodlands, ancient (pre-enclosure) hedgerows and stands of mature scrub - such as mature scrub on calcareous grassland, sallow scrub in streamside woods.
  • Where possible, the land owner’s or historical estate records should be checked to see if there is any documentation about trees having been previously purchased or planted on the site. Such records may reveal that oak trees were imported, e.g. from France, and planted for forestry or amenity purposes.
  • In collecting seed, homogeneity and uniformity should be avoided. Choose a varied population, i.e. an identifiable group or assembly of individuals of the species in question – preferably between 20 and 30 individuals from which equal amounts of seed should be collected. Try not to collect from a single, isolated tree, unless there is no alternative, and do not select trees for particular characteristics. Trees should be sampled to reflect visible variations in the population.
  • Parent trees from which seed is collected should, if possible, be isolated from the immediate influence of non-native trees of the same species, so that potential for cross-pollination by exotics and cultivars is minimised.
  • In natural stands, it is also important to collect seed from well-separated trees to ensure that seed collection is not confined to a parent and its progeny. A minimum of 50 metres separation between parent trees is recommended.
  • The resulting seed collected should be well mixed before being sown. This ensures that seed of individual parent trees is evenly distributed.

5 Harvesting seed from species-rich meadows

A seed harvesting protocol for species-rich grasslands is described in Section 6 of the Lowland Grassland Management Handbook published by English Nature. For information on seed harvesting machinery see the Practical Solutions Manual published by English Nature (tel: 1733 455101).


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Sandro's Famous Wildflower Seeds - Handing On Our Heritage

Hand picked quality perennials    Great Irish Horticulture 

Mr. Sandro Cafolla t/a   Design By Nature (Ire) 

Monavea, Carlow, Ireland. Eircode R93 T289

DBN is a Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, (DAFM) :

Registered Native Sourced Irish Wildflower Seed Grower, Harvester, 

Supplier, Processor, Mixer and Packer DAFM Registered No: IECS152

Vat No : IE 3656298P | Business Reg: 109182

EU Plant Health Pass: EUPP/IRL/DAFF/2684.

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