After many years of hard work by the staff and students of the Sewanee Herbarium, the Vascular Flora of the University of the South has been officially published in the September issue of the journal Castanea. The University has secured the right for the paper to be freely accessible online. The publication documents the presence of 1,118 taxa of vascular plants on the Domain. To put this in perspective, that number represents 39 percent 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, 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 peer-reviewed 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 project was lead by Professor and Herbarium Director, Jon Evans who was assisted by Herbarium curators: Mary Priestley and Yolande Gottfried. The project built upon the work conducted by George Ramseur (Professor Emeritus) during his tenure in the Biology Department. Recent Herbarium Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, Callie Oldfield (Biology ’15), put in countless hours formatting the 31-page paper and helped conduct many of the floristic analyses. The Herbarium has already found five new species for the Domain since the Flora was submitted. So, stay tuned for an “additions to the Domain flora” paper!