Restoring species diversity: Assessing capacity in the US native plant industry

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Of the approximately 25,000 vascular plant taxa native to the United States, 26% are sold commercially, with growth form, conservation status, distribution, and taxonomy significantly predicting availability. In contrast, only 0.07% of approximately 3,000 native nonvascular taxa are sold commercially. We also investigated how demand for germplasm to support high‐quality restoration efforts is met by vendors in the Midwestern tallgrass prairie region, which has been targeted extensively by restoration efforts for decades. In this well‐developed native plant market, 74% of more than 1,000 target species are commercially available, often from vendors that advertise genetically diverse, locally sourced germplasm. We make recommendations to build on the successes of regional markets like the tallgrass prairie region, and to fill identified gaps, including investing in research to support production, ensuring more consistent and clear demand, and fostering regional collaboration.

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