The Southern Appalachian Botanical Society and the editorial board at Castanea announced today that our paper: "The Vascular Flora of the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee” has won the 2017 Richard and Minnie Windler award for systematics. The award was established in 1990 at the annual meeting of the SABS by Dr. Donald R. Windler of Towson University as a memorial to his parents.
The Flora paper 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. Alfire Sidik also contributed greatly to this work when she was a student. My colleague, Dwayne Estes at Austin Peay University was extremely helpful as another set of eyes to confirm our voucher specimens. Finally, we are grateful to Nick Hollingshead for his database management expertise over the years and his help in making the Sewanee Herbarium one of the first fully databased herbaria in the southeast.
We have already found eight new species for the Domain since the Flora was submitted, so stay tuned for an “additions to the Domain flora” paper!