Seeking Silphium Seed for Seed Bank

From David Van Tassel, Ph.D., The Land Institute…

Can you collect native silphium seed for us? We need your help.

After the drought years of 2011 and 2012 we decided to fast-track our silphium (Silphium integrifolium, “whole-leaf rosinweed”) breeding program because of the legendary drought and heat tolerance of this native prairie species. In 2013 we solicited your help finding wild silphium to expand the genetic base of our breeding population. 

The response was wonderful; we ended up with over 70 new seed accessions from many states. Several thousand plants from these seeds are still growing in my “green gene bank”. I have made numerous crosses between these accessions and our most advanced materials, and I am taking steps to ensure that the collections remain healthy indefinitely–I’m thinking of the needs of breeders in 100 years!

Since 2013 many exciting things have happened with our domestication programs and we’re thrilled to have scientific colleagues from several states and countries working on this fascinating and valuable plant. With Ph.D. students and genomic tools now involved, Dr. Yaniv Brandvain at the University of Minnesota has decided to re-collect wild germplasm (a) gathering more precise data about the location and identity of the plants, and (b) expanding the number and range of collections. He has asked for our help.

If you know where some native rosinweed (Silphium integrifolium) is located, would you be willing to share your knowledge? That information will save lots of time and fuel during our collecting trips.  Email me at

If you are willing to collect seeds, that would be a huge bonus. If you sent me seed in 2013, please consider recollecting the same populations (and any new ones you’ve found) using the new procedures.

For instructions, please visit this website:


Thank you for your help!

Perennially yours,

David Van Tassel, Ph.D.
The Land Institute


    Wendy Ford wrote on October 24, 2016

    Deb, perhaps Dr. Van Tassel knows something about this pest. It would be great if you could share seeds with him.

    Deborah Corn wrote on October 17, 2016

    I have a large silphium integrifolium from which I would love to share it's seeds next year. This year it's flowers were attacked by what I believe to be a stem borer. The flowers were hardly opened when they turned brown and fell over. If you can advise me on how to control this pest I would to happy to collect seeds in the future.

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