2016 Kentucky Plant Exploration Trip
The Daniel Boone National Forest in eastern Kentucky provides diverse forest habitats for thousands of plant species1, such as Stewartia ovata, for which locating and collecting from northern populations was a primary objective of this collaborative expedition. In addition, this region is home to a selection of species from the desiderata of the Campaign for the Living Collections, such as Itea virginica, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Malus angustifolia. Equipped with a target list of Campaign species that could be found in Kentucky and for which we had a permit to collect, our multi-institution team assembled and explored these forests in mid-September 2016.
Members of the expedition hailing from the northeastern US include Tim Boland (Executive Director, Polly Hill Arboretum), Catherine Meholic (Plant Recorder, Mt Cuba Center), and Jenna Zukswert (Living Collections Fellow, Arnold Arboretum). They were joined by local arboretum representatives Phillip Douglas (Director of Horticulture, Gainesway Farm), Todd Rounsaville (Curator, The Arboretum, State Botanical Gardens of Kentucky) and his three colleagues Laura Baird, Robert Castlen, and Michael Patton, as well as Kentucky botanist Julian Campbell and Georgia naturalist Jack Johnston.
In search of Stewartia ovata and the Campaign species, the team explored moist cove forests and the banks of the Cumberland River, among other forest habitats, and were granted permission to collect on private property as well.
The trip yielded 44 accessions, 43 from which we obtained seed and 18 of which were Stewartia ovata. These accessions consisted of 21 taxa in total, 11 of which were listed in the desiderata for the Campaign for the Living Collections, for which we collected seed from 10.