New Herbarium Expeditions: Plants from Arkansas U.S.A.

The U.S. State of Arkansas is joining the Notes from Nature herbarium expeditions. They are hitting the ground running with a set of three expeditions that all launched today.

These specimen images can be found in their new project called, “Plants of Arkansas: Discovery and Dissemination.” Within the project you can currently choose one of three expeditions to transcribe specimen labels. Rolling out today are, “Plants of Arkansas: Discovering Dogwoods,” “Hear them Ring: Bellflowers of Arkansas,” and “Plants of Arkansas: The Delta and Crowley’s Ridge Flora.”

The first two expeditions are taxonomic in their focus (focused on specific plant groups). The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is a charismatic understory tree, but Arkansas has five other species of lesser-known dogwoods and three species of gums and tupelos in this family (Cornaceae). You will likely learn a lot more about these plants, their distributions, and habitat preferences as you transcribe the specimen labels.

Bellflowers are in the Campanulaceae family and they represent a colorful herbaceous element to the native flora of Arkansas. Though most species in this family have blue or purple flowers, cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) is a bright red, fall-flowering beauty documented from nearly every county in the state. Aggregating this specific locality data will provide information on the level of habitat specificity or generality of these bellflower family members.

Finally, there is a regional project focused on the Arkansas Delta Region and Crowley’s Ridge. Botanically, this is the least explored region of the state. The Delta has undergone massive conversion from bottomland hardwood forest to row crop agriculture in the last 100 years, and the distribution of native and introduced species is not yet well understood. Moreover, this region in great need of improved conservation strategies, could greatly benefit by identifying species rich habitat remnants. We look forward to you engaging with the new “Plants of Arkansas: Discovery and Dissemination”. Let us know what you think about about these expeditions in the Talk forum.

Happy transcribing and as always thanks for your efforts!!!

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