University of Arkansas Herbarium
Biota of North America Program
Texas A&M University Bioinformatics Working Group
Arkansas Biodiversity - Vascular Plants
from the Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas (1988): (see hardcopy for references)


The flora of the state of Arkansas, more than a century after the establishment of the UARK Herbarium, remains rather poorly known. Publications on the Arkansas flora were generally few in number until very recently (Dale 1963) and most such publications were limited in scope. The first significant attempt to catalog the flora of the state was by Brarmer & Coville (1891); numerous additions to their list were made by Buchholz & Palmer (1926). A more recent and more complete catalog of the Arkansas flora was that of Demaree (1943), but that list contains a considerable number of errors of both omission and commission. Some of the earlier work on the plants of Arkansas was of a broad scope (Moore 1940, 1941, 1961), and some of the recent work has been of that nature (Moore 1972; Lang 1966; Smith 1973c; Tucker 1976; Taylor 1976, 1984; Clark 1981; Hunter 1984; Sherif 1983; Hornberger 1987; Orzell & Bridges 1987). But the state has never had a manual for the identification of its flora. The area was included in Small's Manual of the Southeastern United States (1913). but the nomenclature of that publication is sadly out of date. Nearly all earlier lists of the state's flora failed to cite voucher specimens, which means that reports that are questionable cannot be adequately checked for accuracy in most cases.

This is the second edition of the Atlas and Annotated List of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas, the first edition having been published in 1978. 1 hope and believe that this 2nd edition is the most accurate list available for the state, The first edition was the first list that included synonymy, citation of voucher specimens, common names, chromosome numbers, and distribution by county. This second edition follows that format, and includes a substantial number of new additions to our flora since 1978.

This 2nd edition of the Atlas is being presented for the same reasons as was the first edition:

First, it is an attempt to update our knowledge of the vascular plants of Arkansas. A considerable number of new state records have been discovered in the last ten years, and many hundreds of new county distribution records have been added.

Second, I hope that the presentation of the distributions by county maps will encourage botanists of the state (and elsewhere) to seek particular species in their geographic areas that might reasonably be expected there on the basis of the maps, This will, hopefully, stimulate collecting in the state in the many counties that are inadequately collected. There does seem to have been a small increase (not enough) in collecting in the state in the last decade, so perhaps the Atlas has succeeded somewhat in this respect. I would welcome new distributional records for the state, particularly those accompanied by voucher specimens sent or loaned to UARK.

Third, this and the first edition of the Atlas involves preliminary work which I hope will culminate at some time in the future in a Manual of the Vascular Plants of Arkansas (should sufficient funds and time be found to bring that endeavor to fruition).

Demaree's 1943 catalog was used as a basis for beginning this study. I relied considerably on Steyermark (1963), Correll & Johnston (1970), Fernald (1950), Radford et al. (1968). and Flora of the Great Plains (1986) during the study and to a lesser extent on Waterfall (1969), Small (1913, 1933), and Barkley (1968). Where differences of opinion occurred in nomenclature, I generally followed Flora of the Great Plains (1986). I was fortunate to have help from Tucker (1976) on the woody plants, Taylor (1976, 1984) on the ferns and fern allies, Lipscomb (1976) on the sedges, Sherif (1983) on the grasses, and Cronquist (1980) an the Compositae. Moore (1961) was a good source on the grasses. I was also helped considerably by the series of articles on plants of the southeastern U.S. (including Arkansas) published in the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum (cf. Literature Cited). I also made an admittedly incomplete literature search for articles relevant to the flora of Arkansas.

The holdings at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville Herbarium (UARK) - presently about 78,000 specimens (excluding bryophyte specimens) - were examined for preliminary distribution map construction. During a leave of absence during the spring, 1977 semester, I visited regional herbaria to add distributional information (both state and county records) to the maps. Visits were made to Southern Methodist University, Arkansas Tech University, Arkansas State University, Southwest Missouri State University, Northeast Louisiana University, Louisiana Tech University, Henderson State University, and Hendrix College. Limited time and travel funds did not allow more extensive visits that would doubtless have been profitable. In addition, SMU and the Missouri Botanical Garden kindly made loans to me of particular groups for additional study. In preparation of this 2nd edition of the Atlas, I visited the UAM Herbarium in the summer of 1987. My thanks to all the curators of these herbaria for their cordial reception and help during my visits.

Voucher material from some studies has not been available for my study. For example, I was unable to obtain the loan of significant voucher material in support of the studies of Johnson (1971) and of Wilcox (1973). Doubtful reports from such studies have been excluded from the Arkansas flora. Without getting specific, loan requests that I have made to two Arkansas and one out-of-state institutions have so far been ignored. This makes it difficult or impossible to check doubtful reports and, hence, keep the Atlas current and correct.

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