South Carolina Plant Atlas

The purpose of this Atlas is to show, on a county by county basis, the distribution of all native and naturalized ferns, fern allies, gymnosperms, and angiosperms of South Carolina.

Information in the Atlas

All distributional information is based on the presence of at least one verified herbarium specimen; non-vouchered records have not been used. The presence of a species in a county is indicated by a dot, and the dot is positioned at the centroid of that county; the maps in this Atlas suggest no other geographical distribution.

Nomenclature in this Atlas generally follows that of John Kartesz' A Synonymized Checklist of the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland (1994, 2nd edition, 2 vols., Timber Press: Portland).


Approximately 3000 vascular plant species are listed in the Atlas, with a county dot map for each. Species are listed alphabetically by scientific name. Click on a letter to begin:


History and Development of the Atlas

Plant distributions were provided in Radford, Ahles, and Bell's Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas (1968, UNC Press: Chapel Hill), and these have been maintained in the current Atlas. After the publication of the Manual, a surge of botanical work in the 1970s led to the accumulation of a significant number of new records for the state. The resulting need for an updated distributional checklist gave rise to this Atlas.

From its onset in the late 1970s, this project was largely carried out by Professor Douglas Rayner, Wofford College (then of the Nongame and Heritage Trust section of the South Carolina Department of Wildlife and Marine Resources) and Cynthia Aulbach Smith (then curator of the A.C. Moore Herbarium at USC-Columbia), who undertook the responsibility of state-wide coordination of data, including development of electronic files of plant names and location data. In 1994 the first version of the Atlas went online. The current Atlas is a major update of the 1994 version, representing additional collection data and nomenclaturial changes through calendar year 2000. Major contributors include John Townsend and Patrick McMillan (former and present curators of the Clemson University Herbarium, respectively) with additional contributions from Katherine Boyle, Albert Pittman, Ph.D., and James Sorrow of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Linda Lee of the A.C. Moore Herbarium, and Professor Timothy Mousseau of the USC Department of Biological Sciences.

Vouchered records of the data used in the development of this Atlas were accumulated from nearly all the herbaria in South Carolina, including the collections at the Charleston Museum (CHARL), the Citadel (CIT), Clemson University (CLEMS), Coastal Carolina University, Erskine College, Francis Marion University, Furman University, Savannah River Ecology Lab, the University of South Carolina-Aiken, USC-Columbia (USCH), USC-Spartanburg (USCS), and USC-Sumter. Also, recent additions to collections of rare and endangered species were examined at the U.S. National Herbarium (US), the New York Botanical Garden (NY), the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (NCU), Duke University (DUKE), and Florida State University (FSU). Development of this project would have been impossible without the kind cooperation and valuable service provided by the curators and staff of these herbaria.

Data updates, as well as comments on format and nomenclature may be addressed to:

This website is maintained by Dr. T.A.Mousseau, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208. Send comments to