Floristic survey of vascular plants in Crawford and Cherokee Counties in southeastern Kansas, U.S.A.
This study documented the vascular flora of Crawford and Cherokee counties in southeastern Kansas. Each county experienced limited collecting in recent decades. A Pittsburg State University (PSU) student (Earl Sam Gibson) summarized the flora for Crawford County in 1963, but an extensive survey had never been done for Cherokee County. Fieldwork for the present study occurred mostly in 2014 and 2015. Based on approximately 6450 newly collected specimens, vouchers at PSU (including those of Gibson), and taxa documented by Biota of North America (BONAP) (Kartesz 2019), a total of 1420 unique taxa (species, subspecies and varieties) are reported for both counties combined, including 148 families, 591 genera, and 111 non-nominal infraspecific taxa. Of these, 1177 (82.9%) are native and 243 (17.1%) are non-native. A total of 44 state and 233 county records are documented. Included were 15 species of hybrid origin and 22 that are adventive from other parts of North America. Significant among the state records is the first published adventive occurrence of the genus Pinus in Kansas. Cherokee County has 1281 taxa (including 81 county records), whereas Crawford County includes 1139 taxa (and 152 county records). An important finding of our study, along with those of other recent floristic studies, is that vascular plant distributions at the state and county levels in the U.S.A. are less well documented than probably assumed. This is especially true for weedy taxa occurring in highly agricultural and industrial counties, as well as taxa with small, inconspicuous flowers and inflorescences, and counties relatively distant from universities. Undocumented occurrences of such taxa may adversely affect interpretations and distribution patterns of abundance, as for example when modeling plant distributions.
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