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.
News from the Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance
Are you a rubbernecking botanist?
The Tennessee Plant Conservation Alliance is asking. "If you’re the kind of person who looks for wildflowers out of your car window when you’re driving down the road, have we got the project for you! The TPCA is partnering with the Southeastern Grasslands Initiative to survey grassland remnants on Tennessee’s roads and highways. This project will involve surveying thousands of miles of roadsides and will undoubtedly uncover previously unknown grassland remnants and new rare species occurrences. We’ll be relying on the help of citizen scientists to help us complete this project, and we’re planning training sessions across the state to equip them with the tools needed to help out. This will include, among other things, instructions on how to recognize potential grassland habitats and how to identify key grassland indicator species." If you’re interested in helping out, contact Cooper Breeden.
Mary Priestly Receives Award
Congratulations to Mary Priestly, a winner of the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, as presented by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation last summer. Mary is a past-president of the Tennessee Native Plant Society and long-time member.
From TDEC: "Priestly has spent the majority of her life in the mountains near South Cumberland State Park. For more than 20 years, Priestly has supported the park as a volunteer and most recently, as director of the Friends group and chair of the Education and Outreach Committee. She recently worked to obtain funds to expand the park’s resources for outdoor youth education, including the transformation of the park’s visitors center into a hands-on museum.
Priestly currently serves as an Associate Curator of the Sewanee Herbarium at the University of the South," where she is editor and illustrator for the Sewanee Plant Press. Details.
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. Specimens have been digitized and progress is being made on the database and website. Stay posted!
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.