||There is a growing interest from public and private sectors to utilize locally adapted native plant materials for restoration and revegetation projects in Louisiana. Conservationists have experienced inconsistent results when establishing native species ranging from success to complete stand failure. The lack of commercially available cultivars that are adapted across the state of Louisiana is the largest contributing factor to stand failures. Cultivars that are not
adapted to the state exhibit signs of summer stress and are less vigorous with lower biomass yields than local ecotypes of the same species. Performance may also be affected by changes in
flowering date, seed set, dormancy initiation, and precipitation. Commercially available sources of locally adapted plant materials have the potential to provide substantial ecological and
economic benefits for Louisiana. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed April 22, 2004, between McNeese State University, U.S. Geological Survey National Wetlands Research Center, Coastal Plain Conservancy, and Natural Resources Conservation Service. This
MOU will formalize a partnership to develop a comprehensive plant materials program to collect, increase, and release locally adapted ecotypes of native grasses, forbs, and legumes. The Louisiana Native Plant Initiative will utilize the NRCS Plant Materials Program model for all releases. Native plants currently in production include little bluestem (Schyzachrium scoparium), big bluestem (Andropogon geradii), indiangrass (Sorghastrum nutans), rattlesnake master
(Eryngium yuccifolium), cluster bushmint (Hyptis alata), Texas coneflower (Rudbeckia texana), black wand root (Pterocaulon virgatum), and wooly rose mallow (Hibiscus lasiocarpos).