The germinable seeds in the soil of a relict Ohio prairie were investigated to determine the composition and density of dicots of potential value in restoration. Soil samples were collected from three areas of the prairie with distinctive species compositions: swale, north upland, and south upland. Seed density and species composition were based on seedling emergence over 90 days. North upland and south upland samples yielded similar total seedling densities (5,902 and 5,109 m·2 ) while that of the swale was greater ( 15,262 m·2 ). Thirteen introduced and 18 native dicot species were present; seven of the latter were common in pre-settlement prairies. Sixty percent of the dicot seedlings were of native species. Swale samples contained fewer prairie species and were less diverse than those from the upland areas. Six species common in pre-settlement prairies had greater frequencies of germinable seeds than the vegetation; however, no seeds of prairie species were found that were not in the vegetation. This indicates that the seed pool may be useful in increasing densities of species already present but not in reestablishing species absent in the above-ground vegetation.
Meiners, Scott and Gorchov, David, "The Soil Seed Pool of Huffman Prairie, a Degraded Ohio Prairie, and its Potential in Restoration" (1994). Faculty Research & Creative Activity. 430.