Its official! After many years of hard work by the staff and students of the Herbarium the Vascular Flora of the University of the South, has been published in the September issue of the journal Castanea. The University has secured the right for the paper to be freely accessible online.
The Flora documents the presence of 1118 taxa for vascular plants on the Domain. To put this in perspective, that number represents 39% of the total vascular plant taxa for the entire state of Tennessee! Sewanee has the highest documented plant species diversity of any college campus in the United States. This flora contains six new state records (Agrimonia microcarpa, Carex rugosperma, Rubus longii, and Viburnum alabamense), 74 new Franklin County records, and two potential new species! Eighteen taxa on the Domain are listed as protected either at the state or federal level, including the federally listed endangered Clematis morefieldii and state listed endangered Diamorpha smallii, Silphium brachiatum, and Symphyotrichum pretense.
The high plant diversity on the Domain reflects the broad range of habitats that can be found on our 13,000 acres. The Flora is the first publication to describe the plant communities of the Domain and will now serve as a reference for all future scientific research and management conducted on University land. The Flora would not have been possible without the many years of collecting by our Herbarium curators: Mary Priestley and Yolande Gottfried. Special thanks goes to co-author Callie Oldfield, our Herbarium Post-Baccalaureate Fellow this past year, who put in countless hours formatting the 31 page paper and conducting many of the floristic analyses. My colleague, Dwayne Estes at Austin Peay University was extremely helpful as another set of eyes to confirm our voucher specimens. We have already found three new species for the Domain since the Flora was submitted, so stay tuned for an “additions to the Domain flora” paper!
Evans, J.P., C.A. Oldfield, M.P. Priestley, Y.M. Gottfried, L.D. Estes, A. Sidik, and G.S. Ramseur. 2016. The vascular flora of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee. Castanea 81: 206-236