highlighted a historical botanical survey of Cincinnati that the University of Cincinnati is conducting this year in the footsteps of famed UC botanist E. Lucy Braun nearly a century ago.
UC biologists Denis Conover and Eric Tepe are surveying the botanical diversity of Cincinnati in many of the same places Braun examined in 1934. Likewise, her study of the city’s botanical riches came 100 years after Cincinnati botanist Thomas Lea identified 714 species around the Queen City in 1834.
“We’re trying to document conditions and the plants we have now,” said Conover, a professor of biological sciences in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences. “And 100 years from now, things might be very different, with climate change and further human development. It will be good for future generations to have a record to compare.”
WVXU accompanied Conover on a recent survey at Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum. Braun, an influential botanist of her time, is buried at the cemetery near a white oak tree that dates back to 1620.
The botanists hope their examination will illuminate how the city’s plant communities have changed or persevered over the past 200 years.
“In Thomas Lea’s time, that was bogs, ponds – a number of kinds of wetlands and all the associated flora that is completely gone from Cincinnati now,” Tepe told WVXU.
Tepe is director of UC’s Margaret H. Fulford Herbarium, which is home to many of the plant specimens collected by Braun.
Featured image at top: UC biologist Denis Conover studies Oriental bittersweet, one of many nonnative, invasive species he has documented so far during UC’s plant survey of Cincinnati. Photo/Lisa Ventre/UC Creative + Brand