Emeritus Board and Contributors

Co-Authors and Founding Board Members

J. Christopher Ludwig

J. Christopher Ludwig was president of the Flora Board from the Project’s formation in 2001 through June 2022. He retired in March 2019 as chief biologist with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Natural Heritage, a position he had held since 1998. In that position, in addition to studying the vascular plants and the animals of Virginia, he managed a multidisciplinary team of biologists who identify rare species and significant plant communities throughout the state. He served as Natural Heritage botanist from 1988 to 1998.

Flora work includes: ♦ Management of project-wide work flow ♦ Editing of taxonomic descriptions ♦ Incorporation of information on plant status and habitat ♦ Serving as executive director of the Flora Project Foundation (2001–2014).

Alan Weakley

Alan Weakley

Alan Weakley, Ph.D., is the curator of the University of North Carolina Herbarium (a department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden) and an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A native of Virginia, he was formerly chief ecologist with NatureServe in Arlington; southeastern regional ecologist for The Nature Conservancy; and botanist with the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program. Since 1992, Weakley has been developing a guide to the flora of the southeastern states and throughout his career has been active in plant systematics, plant ecology, and conservation in the Southeast.

Flora work includes: ♦ Ongoing taxonomic research to ensure that the Flora reflects the most current names, phylogenetic relationships, and synonymies ♦ Development of keys for families, genera, and species ♦ Inclusion of phenology, habitat, and identification information for taxa.

John Townsend

John Townsend is staff botanist with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Division of Natural Heritage. His work as part of the division’s inventory team has focused primarily on rare vascular plants and their conservation. He was previously curator of the herbarium at Clemson University.

Flora work includes: ♦ Editing of taxonomic descriptions ♦ Editing of illustrations, ensuring that they accurately and truly depict key characters ♦ Provision of Virginia-specific information on status and habitat.

Gary Fleming

Gary P. Fleming

Gary P. Fleming was a vegetation ecologist with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation DCR Division of Natural Heritage for 30 years prior to his retirement in 2021. He is a past president of Virginia Botanical Associates, a nonprofit organization that has been devoted to mapping the distribution of all vascular plants in Virginia for the past 30 years and that manages the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora.

Flora work includes: ♦ Authored chapters “The Nature of the Virginia Flora” and “Learning the Virginia Flora: 50 Sites for Productive Field Botany” ♦ Took all photographs used in those chapters ♦ Wrote habitat and status information ♦ Provided many of the comments aiding in identification and understanding.

Marion Lobstein

Marion Lobstein is a founding board member of the Flora of Virginia Project and served on the board for 20 years. Her Flora work includes contributing to taxonomic descriptions and leading the Education team in creating guides to the use of the App. Marion taught Field Botany at the Blandy Experimental Farm and continues to lead field trips and classes on using the Flora. Marion is also a founding Board and Life Member of the Virginia Native Plant Society; Professor Emeritus at Northern Virginia Community College, and; botany chair for the Prince William Wildflower Society. For over 25 years Marion conducted tours and taught classes for the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program, is co-author of  Finding Wildflowers in the Washington-Baltimore Area and is a life member of the Foundation of the State Arboretum. Since 1977, Marion has been an active member of the Virginia Academy of Science and is a Fellow.

Bland Crowder

Bland Crowder was executive director of the Flora Project from July 2014 through October 2021, having been on staff since 2007 and associate director since 2009. He served on the Board during 2014–2021. He managed operations of the Project, headed its development and marketing and Flora App committees, and was a member of its finance and audit committee. He translated envisioned projects of Flora Project committees into grant proposals for funding and managed public relations and publications. He processed and acknowledged donations and ran the Flora Project’s website and Facebook page. He has worked for university environmental programs and nonprofits in Virginia and Texas and in the national media in New York City. He was publications chair of the board of the Virginia Native Plant Society for 10 years.

Contributing Writers

Nancy Ross Hugo

Nancy Ross Hugo

Nancy Ross Hugo co-wrote the chapter of the Flora titled “Plant Discovery and Documentation in Virginia: A Historical Perspective,” on the history of botanical exploration in Virginia. She served on the board of the Flora Project from nearly the beginning to mid-2013Among other books, Hugo wrote Seeing Trees and, with Jeff Kirwan, Remarkable Trees of Virginia.

Donna M.E. Ware, Ph.D

Donna M.E. Ware

Donna M.E. Ware, Ph.D., wrote the treatment of the genera Valeriana and Valerianella (now in the Caprifoliaceae, formerly in the Valerianaceae) and co-wrote the chapter on the history of botanical exploration in Virginia. Ware is a co-author of the Atlas of the Virginia Flora (now online as the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora) and curator emerita of the William and Mary Herbarium, and served on the Flora Project board through mid-2013.

Tom Wiebolt

Tom Wieboldt

Tom Wieboldt wrote the treatment of the family Isoetaceae and, with Ron Lance, that of the genus Crataegus. Wieboldt is curator emeritus of vascular plants at the Massey Herbarium at Virginia Tech and is vice president of Virginia Botanical Associates, which maintains the Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora.


Laura Call Gastinger

Lara Call Gastinger

Lara Call Gastingerlead illustrator, drew the dicots and, other than the graminoids, the monocots, for the Flora. She has a B.A. degree in biology from the University of Virginia and an M.S. degree in plant ecology from Virginia Tech. She also has participated in the field ecology and drawing program of the Rhode Island School of Design and in a biological illustration program of Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire. Gastinger has exhibited her work widely, including at the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Horticultural Society of New York’s Ninth Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition (2006).

Michael Terry

Michael Terry

Michael Terry illustrated the graminoids (grasses, sedges, and rushes) for the FloraHis paper, “A Flora of Powhatan County, Virginia,” appeared in the September 2007 issue of Castanea. His Flora work also included research using herbarium specimens to verify that plant descriptions written for the Flora accurately portrayed Virginia plants.

Asplenium trudellii

Roy Fuller

Roy Fuller illustrated, as a volunteer, the ferns and fern allies for the Flora. He also illustrated a new species of Rhododendron for Novon, but he is more likely to be creating abstract art than botanicals. With a business background, in 1993 he began doctoral research at Wake Forest University on the molecular systematics of two neotropical genera of blueberries. He now operates a microbiology lab that performs EPA-required bacteriological testing of public water systems.

Other Contributors

The following, many of them volunteers, compiled taxonomic descriptions for the Flora based on the literature: Alan Belden, Bland Crowder, Doug DeBerry (especially sedges of the genus Carex), Tom Dierauf, John Dodge (especially grasses), Ruth Douglas, Irene Frentz, Kevin Heffernan, Mike Leahy, Greg Plunkett, Rosalind Rowe, and Allison Weakley.