The Herbarium of
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga - UCHT
Joey Shaw, Ph.D.
Molecular systematics; floristics; exotic invasive plant species
J. Hill Craddock, D.R.
Chestnut Breeding; chestnut blight; Mycology
The University of Tennessee Herbarium (UCHT) will strive to support basic and applied
research in the plant sciences, particularly systematics and taxonomy, environmental
science, plant geography, and studies of species of special concern. It will continue
to grow as an important botanical resource for southeast Tennessee, northwest Georgia,
northeast Alabama, and broader scientific community. We will strive to lead Tennessee
in digitizing Tennessee's herbarium collections and making the data available to the
Prof. McGilliard Dr. Van Horn
The collection of plants at UCHT is comprised of approximately 45,000 specimens of
macroalgae, seedless and seed-bearing plant specimens primarily from southeastern
Tennessee, northwest Georgia, and northeast Alabama. However, UCHT houses specimens
from all across North America, Africa, and Asia.
The UTC Herbarium, UCHT, is the oldest herbarium in Tennessee and was established
in 1886 (Index Herbariorum). UCHT is the third largest herbarium in TN, behind TENN
and APSC (Austin Peay State University herbarium). As a collection, UCHT gained a
solid foundation with early, important, southeast Tennessee collections by Eleanor
McGilliard and her students from the 1920s-1960s. During that time, UCHT grew to about
3000 specimens. Because McGilliard was an excellent botanist, the specimens collected
at that time were scientific and historic; e.g., she collected Hart’s-tongue fern,
one of the rarest ferns in the U.S., in Tennessee from “the only southern station”
and before the population was corrupted in 1935 with spores from a population from
Owen Sound, Ontario. She and her students collected the first specimen of Clematis fremontii, Ranunculaceae, from Tennessee, although she misidentified it at the time and later
Horn and Shaw determined it to be C. fremontii and a new species for Tennessee and only one of two populations east of the Mississippi
River. Following McGilliard, from 1965-1971, several UTC faculty with tangential interest
in plants contributed several hundred specimens from the Southeast Coastal Plain from
Louisiana and Mississippi to Florida and the Carolinas. The next long term curator
of UCHT was Gene Van Horn, a plant ecologist, who was hired in 1971 (-2005). In 1974
he estimated UCHT consisted of 5400 specimens. Van Horn made considerable collections
from southeast TN and northwest Georgia. With the addition of the M.S. graduate program
in the mid-1990s, ~2000 higher-quality collections were added to UCHT under Van Horn’s
supervision and through the collection effort of John Beck. In 2005, when PI Shaw
was hired, UCHT was ~7500 specimens in nine cabinets. Under his curation, UCHT has
grown to 57 cabinets and ~45,000 specimens.
UCHT has grown in specimen number through Shaw’s personal collections from across
the U.S., six regional floristic M.S. projects in Tennessee and Georgia (e.g., Huskins
and Shaw, 2010; Blyveis and Shaw, 2012; Prater and Shaw, submitted), five undergraduate
floristic projects, exchange programs with TENN, APSC, BALT, USMS, VSC, NCU, and GA,
and a trade of 5000 Robert Kral duplicates from BRIT in exchange for work at BRIT.
Bringing the Herbarium into the 21st Century
UCHT is the lead institution for the Tennessee effort to digitize our state’s herbarium
collections and make their data available to researchers, educators, conservationists,
policy makers, and hobbyists. We’re working toward the future goal of linking to all
of the other herbaria in the southeast in the Southeastern Regional Network of Expertise
and Collections, or SERNEC. Tennessee is home to approximately 900,000 specimens in 13 separate herbaria and
UTC, along with Middle Tennessee State University, and Austin Peay State University
are leading this work. Press releases from our partners and collaborators at UT Martin and Tennessee Technological University highlight aspects of our collaborative.
If you want to know more, or how you can help, please contact Joey Shaw, Curator of
the UTC Herbarium.