TN native wildflower, the passion flower


Rhododendron cumberlandense, Cumberland Azalea
Rhododendron cumberlandense, Cumberland Azalea

Tennessee Native Plant Society

From the Appalachian Mountains to the flood plains of the Mississippi, Tennessee’s native plant communities make this one of the most botanically diverse and interesting states in the nation. Remnant alpine and prairie plants also contribute to the variety of plant communities and give wildflower enthusiasts a chance to see plants that are rare or endangered, both nationally and regionally. The beauty and habits of Tennessee’s plants fascinate professional botanists and amateurs alike.

Since its founding in 1978, the Tennessee Native Plant Society has helped nurture the growing interest in wildflowers and other native flora while also working to protect Tennessee’s native plant heritage and preserve it for future generations.

The society’s objectives include the education of the public about native plants and the support of efforts to protect wild plant communities. We believe that a public educated about wildflowers of the state will help to ensure the conservation of this irreplaceable resource.

Members include wildflower enthusiasts from all over the state who share common interests in the areas of plant identification and folklore, growing native plants from seeds and cuttings for use in naturalized landscapes, and preserving natural areas to protect plants. Our members range from professional and amateur botanists to individuals simply interested in learning about Tennessee's diverse array of flora and unique environments.

TNPS members meet frequently at various locations all over the state for field trips. For these trips we rely on local amateurs and professionals who know the plants in a given area. Members learn of the time and place of these events and other news of the society through our TNPS newsletter.

Tennessee Plant Atlas

The botany community in Tennessee is developing an online Tennessee Plant Atlas in conjunction with Kentucky. This joint site will feature distribution maps, descriptions, detailed photos, digitized herbarium specimens, and other data for all plant taxa found in the two states. As the site is being built, work to digitize 900,000 plant specimens in Tennessee is also taking place. High resolution images of each specimen only include species, state, and county information. Other data from the specimen labels must be entered by hand at a later date. Help is needed to append this additional label data to each image, and the work can be done from home using a personal computer. Special plant knowledge is not required, only the ability to read and type!

This is a great opportunity for volunteers to make an important contribution. Please consider helping with this worthwhile effort. If you would like to participate, follow these directions.

UPDATE: Reaching out to Tennessee here... please help to digitize Tennessee's biodiversity data! Go to the website: NotesFromNature ( Create a log in. Then select Tennessee Ferns part 2 – these are specimens from Tennessee Tech, UT Chattanooga, UT Knoxville, and Rhodes College. In the next round, we’ll be adding Austin Peay and MTSU. After a 2-minute tutorial, you can start to enter label data. With your log in, it will keep up with your statistics (e.g., specimens done). If you don’t create a log in, then it won’t track your stats. You DO NOT have to be a licensed botanist or be able to diagnose species, only someone who can read and type! And, you'll learn some fern species!

The Gatlinburg, Tennessee Fires

In response to concerns raised about the environmental damage caused by the Gatlinburg area fire in the fall of 2016, the Tennessee Invasive Plant Council has produced a brochure which answers many questions. Unwanted invasive plants are presented alongside suitable beautiful natives. Please plant responsibly.

Gatlinburg Post-fire Planting Brochure