A history of floristics in the Douglas Lake region (Emmet and Cheboygan Counties), Michigan, with an account of rejected records

TitleA history of floristics in the Douglas Lake region (Emmet and Cheboygan Counties), Michigan, with an account of rejected records
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1956
AuthorsVoss EG
JournalDenison University Bulletin, Journal of the Scientific Laboratories

The literature of floristic botany abounds in papers reporting one or more species as new to the previously known flora of a particular region. The total number of published records for a given locality may thus accumulate to a considerable size through a period of years and with the contributions of many workers whose taxonomic philosophy and seriousness of interest may vary considerably. However, when an up-to-date treatment of the flora of a region is published, seldom is there a thorough effort to account for all previously published records which, in the light of modern standards, cannot for one reason or another be accepted. The list of 707 "Excluded Species" occupying 98 pages of Deam's Flora of Indiana is perhaps the most notable attempt to dispose of spurious records in an adequate manner. If one does not prepare such a list, future workers may continue to attribute to the local flora species the records for which have been discredited. More important reasons for presenting such a list, however, are the assistance it may be in interpreting older floristic and ecological work when restudies are made of an area, the help it may provide to those outside the area who are compiling distributional data for certain species, and the encouragement it may give to the search for particular plants in the area once it is made clear that previous records for them are unreliable. The University of Michigan Biological Station was established in 1909 on the shores of Douglas Lake, in Cheboygan County. Since that time, the two counties, Emmet and Cheboygan, which share the northern tip of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, have become one of the regions best known biologically in the country. In the early years, field work was largely confined to the immediate vicinity of the Station, but as transportation methods improved, it became convenient to consider the two counties in their entirety as the "Douglas Lake region." (Political boundaries provide precise, even if arbitrary, limits to an area.) In 1925, Gates and Ehlers published their annotated list of the higher plants of the region; this was supplemented in 1928, 1931, and 1948. It remains the only list of comparable thoroughness for northern Michigan, and is widely known and quoted as authoritative for that region--in a state for which recent floristic lists are unfortunately scarce.