Vascular Flora of Arkansas

Pelton's rose-gentian, Sabatia arkansana (Gentianaceae).

Pelton’s rose-gentian, Sabatia arkansana (Gentianaceae). Photograph courtesy of John Pelton.

The Vascular Flora of Arkansas Project is a cooperative effort among botanists, both within and outside of Arkansas.  The goal is to produce a comprehensive Flora of the State’s vascular plants.  The Flora will include keys to taxa, descriptions, range maps, pertinent synonymy, and illustrations.  Supporting information on the State’s botanical history, physiography, geology, soils, climate and vegetation will also be included.

The Committee has met informally several times to lay the groundwork for the Flora.  Additionally, we have met with a “Users Group” consisting of individuals from State and Federal agencies and the private sector.  This meeting had two goals:  to let potential users of the Flora know what we were doing; and, to determine what users would find most helpful.  A Flora Conference was held in May  in Fayetteville, AR, to formally announce our project.

Three Sub-Committees have been formed to develop outlines for:  an Atlas of plant distributions based on specimens in herbaria both within and outside of the State; the Content and the Format of the Flora; and, the Flora Conference  The members of the Committee and the structures of the Sub-Committees are presented below:

Atlas Sub-Committee:

  • Jim Peck (University of Arkansas at Little Rock)-Chair
  • Eric Sundell (University of Arkansas-Monticello)
  • Joyce Hardin (Hendrix College)
  • Ron Doran (Harding University)
  • Dale Thomas (University of Louisiana at Monroe)

Flora Content/Format Sub-Committee:

  • George Johnson (Arkansas Tech University)-Chair
  • Staria Vanderpool (Arkansas State University)
  • Gary Tucker (FTN Associates)
  • Jim Peck (University of Arkansas-Little Rock)

Flora Conference Sub-Committee:

  • Johnnie Gentry (University of Arkansas-Fayetteville)-Chair
  • Jim Peck (University of Arkansas-Little Rock)
  • Edith Hudson (University of Arkansas-Fayetteville)
  • Linda Clark (University of Central Arkansas)

Additional Members:

  • Phil Hyatt (U.S. Forest Service)
  • Dan Marsh (Henderson State University)
  • Don Culwell (University of Central Arkansas)

The Coordinator for the Flora Project is Johnnie Gentry, UARK.  Contact him at:

Coordinating Office
University of Arkansas Herbarium
The University Museum
University of Arkansas
Museum Building 202
Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701
(502)575-8766 fax

Project History

On May 19, 2000, ANPS member Dr. Johnnie Gentry hosted a “coming out party” – the official kick-off of the Arkansas Vascular Flora Project. The Flora Project is a compilation of information on all the native vascular species of our state – including confirmed ranges, identification keys, and illustrations and/or photographs of typical plants or specific features of a plant to assist in identification. Over the expected eight to ten years for completion of the project, teams will also be in the field collecting herbarium specimens.

Dr. Gentry has assembled an impressive committee of botanists from colleges and universities across the state and even into Louisiana. On the above date, Dr. Gentry and his committee members heard presentations by other botanists who had worked on similar projects in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas. A “User’s Panel” of representatives from the ANPS, Arkansas Nature Conservancy, and the Department of Natural Heritage discussed ideas on how the Flora could be developed for maximal benefit as well as thoughts on what the different user groups could offer as assistance in furthering the program. The final presentation was from botanists at the Missouri Botanical Garden who discussed the massive project directed there – The Vascular Flora of North America. Dr. Gentry closed the day giving a charge to each participant, guest, and observer to tell at least twenty people about the project and what it will mean to us in the future.

John Simpson, our past president, says, “I’m pleased to have been asked to represent the ANPS there – and pleased to have been able to report to the committee that we remain committed in spirit to the project and will probably to continue our financial support as our means will allow (not to neglect other worthy applicants for our scholarships and awards). This is a great project to celebrate here on the twentieth anniversary of our founding. More on the Vascular Project will be discussed at the fall meeting late in September at Heber Springs.”

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