A Cavalcade of Field Botanists in Oklahoma - Contributors to Our Knowledge of the Flora of Oklahoma

Ronald J. Tyrl, Paula A. Shryock


(First two paragraphs of an amazing article.)

As members of the Oklahoma Native Plant Society (ONPS) well know, Oklahoma has a tremendous diversity of vascular plants—174 families, 854 genera, and approximately 2,600 species—that reflects the ecogeographic diversity present within the state’s borders (Tyrl et al. 2008). Our knowledge of this flora is the result of contributions by numerous individuals for more than 450 years. Some simply recorded their observations of the state’s flora as they passed through; whereas, others made systematic surveys and documented their work by actually collecting plants for voucher specimens to be deposited in herbaria.

These individuals and the contributions that they have made to our knowledge of the plants and vegetation of Oklahoma are the subject of this essay. Its title and concept are rooted in a presidential address given by H.I. Featherly in 1942 to the Oklahoma Academy of Science and a master’s thesis by Wanona Henson, one of his graduate students (Henson 1941; Featherly 1943). We have unabashedly adopted their approach and excerpted some of their thoughts about the state’s first field botanists in our synopses. As they did, we present our individuals more or less chronologically. Each synopsis comprises a brief biographical sketch and the botanical contribution(s) they made. When specific plants are cited, currently accepted scientific names are used unless otherwise noted. Common names are taken from Taylor and Taylor (1994), Tyrl and coworkers (2008), Folley (2011), and USDA, NRCS (2013).



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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22488/okstate.17.100099

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