I began this field study project for the plants of West Tennessee in May of 2013 after moving to the area from Fort Worth, Texas. While working with the Vanderbilt University herbarium collection at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, I’d suspected this area was in need of further study. Only a few collecting trips here in West Tennessee made it evident I had taken on a huge project, as every outing resulted in new county records for even the most common species. With so much work to be done, I decided to build this website to present my findings, share the information I’ve gathered about the area, and to encourage others to join the effort.


This site uses the classifications of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III system. Based mostly on molecular data, this system is becoming widely adopted by botanical institutions as the standard for taxonomic organization. Fern classifications comply with Smith et al. (2006, 2008), which is based on both morphological and molecular data from phylogenetic studies. Species’ names generally follow the accepted names assembled by The Plant List. Names there are given a confidence level based on the agreements of plant taxonomists. Many names are in flux, so synonymy is provided where it seems helpful.


Of course I try to be as careful as possible with the information I compile here, but as with any large project, mistakes do slip in. If you spot an error, please take a moment to let me know so I can make the correction.

If you have information you think should be added to the site, or if you disagree with something I've presented here, I'd really like to hear from you.

The Data

I rely on the herbarium at the University of Tennessee (TENN) for most of the species list data. TENN is the official repository for species collected in the state, so it’s the most complete collection of Tennessee flora and is well documented. Additionally, I am using the SERNEC (Southeast Regional Network of Expertise and Collections) portal of the Symbiota software platform, which includes about 140 herbaria from the Americas (listed below). SERNEC itself is a consortium of about 230 herbaria in the Southeastern region of the US, including the University of Memphis Herbarium. Many of these herbaria are now in the process of putting their collections online. Over time, I’ll be making regular updates to species lists as more and more collections are added to the databases. Of note, the collections of the Vanderbilt University herbarium are rapidly being digitized, so we’ll see much more Tennessee data soon.



A. Michael Powell Herbarium (SRSC)
Ada Hayden Herbarium (Iowa State University) (ISC)
Albion College (ALBC)
Appalachian State University, I. W. Carpenter, Jr. Herbarium (BOON)
Archbold Biological Station (ARCH-herbarium)
Arizona State University Fruit and Seed Collection (ASU-Seeds)
Arizona State University Pollen Collection (ASU-Pollen)
Arizona State University Vascular Plant Herbarium (ASU-Plants)
Arkansas State University (STAR)
Arkansas Tech University Herbarium (APCR)
Auburn University, John D. Freeman Herbarium (AUA)
Austin Peay State University Herbarium (APSC)
Bandelier National Monument (NPS-BAND)
Benedictine College Herbarium (HWBA)
Bitterroot National Forest herbarium (BNF)
Black Hills State University (BHSC)
Brigham Young University, S. L. Welsh Herbarium (BRY-V)
Calvin College (CALVIN)
Central Michigan University (CMC)
Chicago Botanic Garden (CHIC)
Clemson University Herbarium (CLEMS)
Cochise County Herbarium (CCH)
Coconino National Forest Herbarium (COC-AZ)
College of William and Mary Herbarium (WILLI)
Colorado Mesa University, Walter A. Kelly Herbarium (MESA)
Colorado State University – Pueblo (PUSC)
Colorado State University Herbarium (CS)
Cornell College Herbarium (MOVC)
Deaver Herbarium (Northern Arizona University) (ASC)
Delta State University (DSC)
Desert Botanical Garden Herbarium Collection (DES)
Devils Tower National Monument (NPS-DETO)
Dickinson State University Herbarium (DSUND)
Duke University (DUKE)
Eastern Kentucky University, Ronald L. Jones Herbarium (EKY)
Eastern Nevada Landscape Coalition (ENLC)
ENMU Natural History Collection Herbarium (ENMU)
Field Museum of Natural History (F-Botany)
Florida State University, Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium (FSU)
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (FLFO)
Fort Hays State University Herbarium (FHKSC)
Fort Laramie National Historic Site (NPS-FOLA)
Fort Lewis College Herbarium (FLD)
Friesner Herbarium (BUT)
Furman University, Ives Herbarium (FUGR)
Garrett Herbarium, Natural History Museum of Utah (UT)
George Mason University, Ted R. Bradley Herbarium (GMUF-Plants)
Georgia Southwestern State University Herbarium (GSW)
Gila Center for Natural History (WNMU) Herbarium (SNM)
Gila National Forest Herbarium (GILA)
Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP)
Grand Valley State University (GVSC)
Grant Herbarium (ISTC)
Herbario de la Universidad de Sonora (USON)
Hillsdale College Herbarium (HLSD)
Hope College (HCHM)
Howard Payne University Herbarium (HPC)
Huntington Botanical Gardens Herbarium (HNT)
Illinois Natural History Survey (ILLS)
Institute for Botanical Exploration (IBE)
Intermountain Herbarium (Utah State University) (UTC)
J. F. Bell Museum of Natural History Herbarium (MIN)
Jemez Mountain Herbarium (JEMEZ)
Jewell and Arline Moss Settle Herbarium at SUNY Oneonta (SUCO)
Kaibab National Forest Herbarium (KAIB)
Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium (DBG-KHD)
Longwood University, Harvill-Stevens Herbarium (FARM)
Louisiana State University (LSU)
Luther College (LCDI)
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Herbarium (SEL)
Marshall University (MUHW)
Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Herbarium (UNCC)

Mesa Verde National Park (MEVE)
Michigan State University (MSC)
Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU-MTSU)
Minot State University (MISU)
Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Herbarium (MMNS)
Mississippi State University (MISSA)
Missouri Botanical Garden (MO)
Montana State University – Billings (MSUB)
Morehead State University Herbarium (MDKY)
Morton Arboretum (MOR)
Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA)
Navajo Nation Herbarium (NAVA)
Nevada Operations Office, Department of Energy (NTS)
New Mexico State University Herbarium (NMC)
New York Botanical Garden (NY)
NMSU Center for Natural History Collections Range Science (NMCR)
North Carolina State University Vascular Plant Herbarium (NCSC)
North Carolina Zoological Park (NCZP)
Northern Illinois University Herbarium (DEK)
Northern Kentucky University, John W. Thieret Herbarium (KNK)
Ohio State University Herbarium (OS)
Pacific Union College Hebarium (PUA)
Pringle Herbarium, University of Vermont (VT)
R.M. Myers Herbarium (MWI)
Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory (RMBL)
Rocky Mountain Herbarium (RM)
Sagehen Herbarium (SCFS)
San Diego State University (SDSU)
San Juan College Herbarium (SJNM)
Shrub Science Laboratory, Rocky Mountain Research Station (SSLP)
Snow College Herbarium (EPHR)
South Dakota State University Herbarium (SDC)
Southern Utah University (SUU)
Southwestern Research Station (SWRS)
St. Andrews University (SAPCL)
Stover-Ebinger Herbarium (Eastern Illinois University) (EIU)
Swaner Preserve and EcoCenter (SWANER)
Tall Timbers Research Station (TTRS)
Tarleton State University Herbarium (TAC)
Theodore M. Sperry Herbarium (KSP)
Trinidad State Junior College (TSJC)
U.C. Davis Herbarium (DAV)
University of Arizona Herbarium (ARIZ)
University of Arkansas Herbarium (UARK)
University of California, Riverside Plant Herbarium (UCR)
University of Central Florida Herbarium (FTU)
University of Illinois Herbarium (ILL)
University of Memphis Herbarium (MEM) ⬅︎
University of Michigan Herbarium (MICH)
University of Mississippi, Thomas M. Pullen Herbarium (MISS)
University of Nebraska at Kearney Herbarium (NEBK)
University of Nevada Herbarium (RENO-V)
University of New Mexico Herbarium (UNM)
University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU)
University of North Carolina, Asheville (UNCA)
University of South Carolina, A. C. Moore Herbarium (USCH)
University of Southern Mississippi Herbarium (USMS)
University of West Florida (UWF)
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM)
US Forest Service Southwestern Region (TEUI)
USU-Eastern (PRI)
Utah State University Uintah Basin (USUUB)
Utah Valley University Herbarium (UVSC)
Vanderbilt University Herbarium (VDB) (now housed at BRIT)
Virginia State University Herbarium (VSUH)
Washburn University (WASH)
Western Carolina University Herbarium (WCUH)
Western State Colorado University (WSC)
Willard Sherman Turrell Herbarium, Miami University (MU)
William Jewell College Herbarium (WJC)
Wisconsin State Herbarium at UW-Madison (WIS)



Chester, Edward W., et al.. A Fifth Checklist of Tennessee Vascular Plants. Fort Worth: BRIT Press, 2009. Print.

Diggs, George M., and Barney L. Lipscomb. The Ferns and Lycophytes of Texas. Fort Worth: BRIT Press, 2013. Print.

Diggs, George M., Barney L. Lipscomb, Bob O’Kennon, William F. Mahler, and Lloyd H. Shinners. Shinners & Mahler’s Illustrated Flora of North Central Texas. Fort Worth: BRIT Press, 1999. Print.

Diggs, George M., and Robert J. George. Illustrated Flora of East Texas. Fort Worth: BRIT Press, 2006. Print.

Horn, Dennis, David Duhl, and Tavia Cathcart. Wildflowers of Tennessee, the Ohio Valley, and the Southern Appalachians: The Official Field Guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society. Edmonton: Lone Pine Pub, 2013. Print.

Shaver, Jesse M.. Ferns of Tennessee: With the Fern Allies Excluded. Nashville: Bureau of Publications, George Peabody College for Teachers, 1954. Print.

Smith, A.R., Pryer, K.M., Schuettpelz, E., Korall, P., Schneider, H., & Wolf, P.G. (2006) A classification for extant ferns. Taxon 55: 705–731.

Smith, A.R., Pryer, K.M., Schuettpelz, E., Korall, P., Schneider, H., & Wolf, P.G. (2008) Fern classification, pp. 417–467 in: Ranker, T.A., & Haufler, C.H. (eds.), Biology and Evolution of Ferns and Lycophytes. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Tennessee Natural Heritage Program Rare Plant List. Nashville: Tennessee Natural Heritage Program, Division of Natural Heritage, Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation, 2001. Print.

Underwood, J K. “The Genus Carex in Tennessee.” American Midland Naturalist. 33.3 (1945): 613. Print.