Prof. James Lauritz Reveal - In Memoriam




Photo courtesy of Dolly Baker.

James L. Reveal passed away January 9, 2015 in Ithaca, NY at the age of 73. Jim was on faculty in the Botany Department at University of Maryland from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He was also Director of the Norton-Brown Herbarium from 1979-1999. After retirement, Jim became an Honorary Curator of the New York Botanical Garden (2003-2015) and Adjunct Professor at Cornell University (2007-2015).
Jim was an important figure in the botanical community and was best known for his work on systematics at the level of family and above. He developed the Reveal System (1999) before joining the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. Jim was also an authority on the history of American botany, particularly the Lewis and Clark Expedition, about which he wrote several books and articles. During his long career, Jim made more than 500 published contributions to botany. He also collected more than 9,000 plant specimens from North America, Central America and China.

Photo courtesy of Dolly Baker.

Those who worked with Jim, will always remember his passion for the flora of North America and his enthusiasm for botanical history. Throughout his life, he worked on the American flora and made major contributions to the systematics of Polygonaceae subfamily Eriogonoideae and other families. For his many contributions to botany, seven species and one genus have been named in his honor: Castilleja revealii N. H. Holmgren (Orobanchaceae); Eriogonum revealianum S. L. Welsh (=E. corymbosum var. revealianum (S. L. Welsh) Reveal)(Polygonaceae); Montanoa revealii H. Rob. (Asteraceae), Rumfordia reveallii H. Rob. (Asteraceae), Koanophyllon revealii Turner (Asteraceae), Cupressus revealiana (Silba) Bisbee (Cupressaceae), Oreocarya revealii W. A. Weber & R. C. Witmann (Boraginaceae) and Revealia R. M. King & H. Rob. (Asteraceae).
Jim supervised many graduate students during his 30 years at UMD and introduced hundreds of students to botany through his courses at UMD and Cornell. As a colleague, Jim could be counted on as an authority on nomenclature, botanical history and, of course, Eriogonum.
Jim's influence can be observed throughout the collection at the Norton-Brown Herbarium (MARY). Through his tireless research, he amassed one of the greatest collections of Polygonaceae subfam. Eriogonoideae in the world. His interests and reputation brought fascinating specimens from Central and South America on exchange to the herbarium. With colleagues and students, he helped document the flora of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic and published the first checklist of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plant Species in Maryland (Broome et al. 1979).
Jim was a gifted story-teller and he enjoyed sharing his experiences with friends and colleagues. He also wrote several engaging books about botany and botanical history. Jim's many contributions, awards and honors are best documented by his own hand here.