Piedmont Chapter: In-person meeting, first since Covid!

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Charles Horn

Charles Horn, Professor of Biology, Newberry College: “Wild Azaleas and Rhododendron of South Carolina”

This is exciting, folks! Over his career (thus far), Dr. Horn has, among much else, described two new species of native American aquatic plants, segregates of a group Horn elevated to species-level more than 30 years ago. (Wanna geek out? Read the details at the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.)

Horn’s ongoing research includes the presence and distribution of native and rare species of azaleas of the southern Appalachians. Since 2000, he has focused on the rare May-white azalea, first described as a species in 1999. The flower is found only in South Carolina, with 65 populations in 13 counties, mostly found in the Broad/Congaree Watershed within Laurens, Newberry and Union counties.

In 1986, Horn established the Newberry College Herbarium, a collection of over 25,000 dried and documented plant specimens from the piedmont regions of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, along with collections from the Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, and Guyana. Existing specimens from the Newberry College Herbarium assisted in determining where the May-white azalea could be found. He has since returned to his research to determine how this species has changed over the last decade.

“You never know what you’re going to find as you’re out there walking around, and it’s always a puzzle,” he said. “As knowledge moves forward, instead of having everything figured out, we now have more questions, so that’s the fun, that’s the challenge as we look at education, and in my case, at the biology of plants.”

Refreshments & socializing at 6 pm at the Carole Ray Dowling Room, USC-Lancaster, 509 Hubbard Dr., Lancaster, SC 29720; the presentation will begin at 7 pm.

For additional information, email scnps.piedmont@gmail.com.

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