Ladies and Gentlemen, Your New Flora!
The Flora of Virginia was unveiled in December and has been very well received. The good reception began at three Flora Premieres, held December 9 and 10, at which leadership donors received their complimentary copy, and everyone was snapping them up at the sales tables, sometimes eight at a time. Authors Alan Weakley, Chris Ludwig, and Johnny Townsend were busy till the end, autographing copies. As of February 1, half of the copies printed had been sold.
Our first flora since 1762's Flora Virginica, it's a state-of-the-art guide to nearly 3,200 plant species native to or naturalized in the commonwealth. The product of an 11-year effort, it contains innovative keys for identification, cutting-edge taxonomy, detailed habitat and status information, and an exhaustive description of each plant. As a further aid to identification, 1,400 of the plants are accompanied by an original illustration depicting key features.
The cost of the Flora is only $79.99, plus shipping and handling. Click the red button to order from our publisher, BRIT Press. The Flora's also available on Amazon.com.
With a second printing already on the horizon, the Flora of Virginia Project is looking forward to the next phase, connecting people with this important resource. The Premieres were the first step, and a surprise feature at those events was the appearance by Colonial Virginia botanist John Clayton (1695-1773), on whose collections and writings Flora Virginica was based. The Flora Project was able to commission creation of the character by historian and historical actor Richard Cheatham via a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The result is an entertaining, costumed presentation that makes startling connections between botany then and botany now.
The Flora is going digital. The Virginia Environmental Endowment is funding transformation of Flora content into a digital database that will be the foundation of an app for tablet computers and smartphones. The goal is a flexible, customizable product that will connect data from the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora and the Virginia Natural Heritage Program's plots database, putting a huge amount of plant distribution and physical information into the hands of the Flora user.
The Flora is taking to the road with a series of Flora Talks and art exhibits around the state, with new support from the Richard Gwathmey and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust. The fanfare around the Flora will culminate in March 2014 with the opening of an exhibition at the Library of Virginia titled "The Flora of Virginia." This is an exciting opportunity for the citizens of Virginia to learn more about their plants and environment. It will run for six months.
And the Flora's on TV! The Flora Project was recently featured on Virginia Currents, an award-winning program of Richmond's Community Idea Stations. For an intimate look at the origins of this book and why it's important, watch the program online. The Flora's the first segment.
The Flora Project's success is the gift of many people and groups. Especially vital are our partners: the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, which provides essential personnel and logistic support through its Division of Natural Heritage; Virginia Botanical Associates, which provides maps and data for our use and whose Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora we're electroncally linking with the plant descriptions in the Flora; Richmond's Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, which generously made available its Herbarium Virginicum (operated jointly with Virginia Commonwealth University) for study of specimens used in verifying plant measurements for the Flora and provides rooms for our board meetings; the Virginia Academy of Science, which had sustained a dream of a modern Virginia flora virtually since its founding in 1923 and whose ongoing support, especially of illustrations, has proved invaluable to the Flora Project; and the Virginia Native Plant Society,
which not only represents a key audience of the Flora of Virginia but also has lent expertise and unflaggingly given financial support, at state, chapter, and individual levels.