Dr. Paul Manos, Duke University

July 23, 2024 – August 4, 2024

Section 1: Introduction to the flora of the Highlands Plateau

Section 2: Exploring the flora of the Blue Ridge

Course description and goals: The course is designed for students of all sorts, professional biologists, and amateur enthusiasts. Session 1 will emphasize the local flora of the Highlands Plateau while serving as both an introduction and refresher on how to study vascular plant diversity. Session 2 will build on the basics through field trips to explore additional plant communities in the Blue Ridge. The main learning goal is to introduce plant diversity with a community-based approach through field observations of the flora of the Blue Ridge with the following objectives: 1) to emphasize basic distinguishing features among lycophytes, ferns and seed plants; 2) to focus on field characteristics of common and rare species and their habitats; 3) to use keys to identify species; and 4) to better understand the ecology of the major plant communities of the region and the biogeography of the species.

Daily schedule and expectations: Lectures and workshop activities starting @ 9:00, including field trips often with moderate to strenuous hiking; lab activities include workshops on plant diversity, keying out species, including discussions on plants as often as possible; group activities and occasional lectures on mountain flora, plant communities, and plant interactions. Students are expected to learn in the field and lab through activities and additional materials.

Prerequisites and prior training: One course in Introductory biology or ecology, training in natural history or permission of instructor.

Field Guides and web sites:

1) Native trees of the Southeast by LK Kirkman, CL Brown and DJ Leopold, Timber Press, ISBN-13-978-0-88192-828-0. (recommended).

2) Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the southern Appalachian Mountains & Piedmont by TP Spira, The University of North Carolina Press, ISBN 978-0-8078-7172-0 (recommended).

3) Flora of the Southeastern United States by AS Weakley and the Southeastern Flora Team, 2023 – pdf will be made available

4) Name that Plant. A storehouse of information about native and naturalized plants of the Carolinas and Georgia – compiled by JK Marlow;

Other sources: Copies will be provided in the lab

  • Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas by AE Radford, HE Ahles and CR Bell. The University of Carolina Press (not required);
  • Flowering Plant Families by WB Zomlefer. The University of Carolina Press (not required);

Required supplies:

1) One small notebook for taking field notes, preferably one that is rain proof.

(Example: “Rite-in-the-Rain”)

2) A notebook for organizing course material, drawings, etc.  

3) One hand-lens for making field observations, e.g., Bausch & Lomb 10X Hastings triplet hand lens magnifier (to be purchased before coming to HBS), or something like it.

4) A laptop will be useful for using the Weakley keys during exercises and management of species lists and other course materials.