International Carnivorous Plant Society

Wild Seed Collecting

Follow all local, national, and international laws when collecting seed. Many areas have special protection status and prohibit collecting seeds without collection permits. It is the collector’s responsibility to be sure all laws are being observed. The ICPS can not provide an interpretation of the various laws and does not authorize members to collect on behalf of the ICPS. 

The reason for the laws and this ICPS policy is to help assure carnivorous plants will continue to exist in natural environments. Carnivorous plants are often in small populations. The removal of seed can reduce the genetic diversity of a site and impair the long-term viability of native plant populations. Even plants that once existed in large, landscape-level stands are being reduced to small, fragmented populations because of human pressures. 

Wild Seed Collection Etiquette: 

1. Gather only enough seed to establish the plant in your own and a colleague’s collection. Use the collected seed as parental stock to produce seed for the ICPS seed bank. 

2. Minimize your collection impacts by removing only a small percentage of the total seeds available from a site. A good rule of thumb is to collect seeds from only 1 in 50 fruiting plants; do not collect if less than a total of 50 plants occur in a site. It is particularly important not to over-collect seed from plants that reproduce primarily by seed. Small amounts of seed from several plants is better than a large amount of seed from one plant, since the genetic diversity in the collection will be higher, and is more likely to result in capturing a plant most amenable to cultivation.

3. When collecting, proceed slowly and cautiously through the site to minimize your trampling and disturbance of plants or their habitat. Take care to correctly label all the seeds you collect, and do not confuse collections of separate species. 

4. Do not collect seeds if you cannot distinguish between mature and immature seed. Maintain collected seed in appropriate containers and environmental conditions. 

5. We encourage you to provide accurate location information for all seed bank donations of seed collections and subsequent offspring. The ICPS will only publish seed provenance information to county (or equivalent) resolution. 

6. The ICPS maintains an “Imperiled Carnivorous Plant Species List” of plants considered particularly at risk. The list is included below. The ICPS seed bank will not accept field collected seed of listed plants. Seeds from cultivated plants on this list will be accepted to the seed bank if they are donated in accordance with all relevant laws. 

7. Anonymous donations of species listed on the Imperiled Carnivorous Plant Species List will not be distributed by the ICPS seed bank.


The ICPS recognizes and appreciates the comments provided by staff of the US Fish & Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, and Natural Heritage Programs in developing these guidelines. 

Appendix: Imperiled Carnivorous Plant Species List 

Dionaea muscipula Soland. ex Ellis: Note B
Drosera regia Stephens: Note B
Nepenthes aristolochioides Jebb & Cheek: Note A
Nepenthes bellii Kondo: Note A
Nepenthes boschiana Korth.: Note A
Nepenthes burbidgeae Hook.f. ex Burb.: Note A
Nepenthes campanulata Kurata: Note C
Nepenthes clipeata Danser: Note A
Nepenthes dubia Danser: Note A
Nepenthes gracillima Ridl.: Note A
Nepenthes lavicola Wistuba & Rischer: Note A
Nepenthes macrophylla (Marabini) Jebb & Cheek: Note A
Nepenthes masoalensis Schmid-Hollinger: Note A
Nepenthes murudensis Culham ex M. Jebb & M. Cheek: Note A 
Nepenthes paniculata Danser: Note A
Nepenthes pilosa Danser: Note A
Nepenthes rajah Hook. f.: Note A
Nepenthes talangensis J. Nerz & A. Wistuba: Note A
Nepenthes truncata Macfarlane: Note A
Pinguicula ionantha Godfr.: Note B,D
Sarracenia alabamensis Case & Case (=Sarracenia rubra subsp. alabamensis (Case & Case) Schnell): Note B,D
Sarracenia jonesii Wherry (=Sarracenia rubra subsp. jonesii (Wherry) Wherry): Note B,D
Sarracenia oreophila (Kearney) Wherry: Note A,D
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea f. heterophylla (Eaton) Fern.: Note B
Sarracenia purpurea subsp. venosa var. montana Schnell & Determann: Note B
Sarracenia rubra subsp. gulfensis Schnell: Note B 

Listing justifications: 

Note A:
Listed on the IUCN Red List as “Critically Endangered“ or “Endangered.”

Note B: Not listed on the IUCN Red List as “Critically Endangered“ or “Endangered”, but included at the discretion of the ICPS Conservation Program.

Note C: Listed on the IUCN Red List as “Extinct,” this species has been rediscovered in the wild.

Note D: This taxon falls under protection by CITES (Appendix 1) and/or the
USA Endangered Species Act. 

Wild Seed Guidelines and Appendix: Authored by Barry Rice, ICPS Director of
Conservation, March 2003.