Make the most on the trail this Fall. Discover the Alabama Plant and Butterfly Atlases (photos)

Alabama Streak Sorus Fern – Stegnogramma burksiorum. Named after the founders of the Alabama Conservancy, Bob and Mary Burks. Photo from the Alabama Plant Atlas

Have you ever hiked on a trail and saw a flowering plant that you wanted to identify? Or  experienced a butterfly fluttering past you, to its next destination in a forest? If you are curious about plants and butterflies, the state of Alabama has two of the most comprehensive guides/inventories on the internet – the Alabama Plant Atlas and the Alabama Butterfly Atlas.

Alabama Plant Atlas

A joint effort by the Alabama Herbarium Consortium (AHC) and The University of West Alabama, the Alabama Plant Atlas provides users with a comprehensive searchable database of plants that occur in the state of Alabama.

According to the Plant Atlas, Alabama ranks  ninth nationally as the most floristically diverse state with over 3000 species of native lycopytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and flowering plants. The Alabama Plant Atlas provides a source of information for each species including the distribution within the state using historical and recent data.

Here are some of our favorite  entries.

Alabama Streak Sorus Fern – Stegnogramma burksiorum 
*Named after Bob and Mary Burks, founders of the Alabama Conservancy

Alabama Streak Sorus Fern – Stegnogramma burksiorum. Named after the founders of the Alabama Conservancy, Bob and Mary Burks. Photo from the Alabama Plant Atlas

Common butterfly milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa

Common butterfly milkweed – Asclepias tuberosa. Photo from the Alabama Plant Atlas

Purple passion flower, Maypops – Passiflora incarnata

Purple passion flower, Maypops – Passiflora incarnata. Photo from the Alabama Plant Atlas

Learn how to use and participate in the Alabama Plant Atlas – HERE.

Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Organized by  “Butterflies of Alabama: Glimpses into Their Lives” authors Sara Bright and Paulette Haywood Ogard, and a steering committee that included Mike Howell, Vitaly Charny, Grant Gentry  and Andrew Rindsberg,  the Alabama Butterfly Atlas had over 50 photographers contributing images and over 4000+ species sightings in its first year.

Citizen scientists of all ages are encouraged to share their sightings and observations at AlButterflyAtlas@gmail.com.

Here are some of our favorites photos.

Birmingham Alabama
Diana Fritillary- photo by Sara Bright
Birmingham
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail – photo from the Alabama Butterfly Atlas
Birmingham
Spicebush Swallowtail – from the Alabama Butterfly Atlas

Learn how you can participate in the Alabama Butterfly Atlas – HERE.

Once you hopes websites, you may never leave them. Along with the details about each and every plant and butterfly are in most cases beautiful photographs.

Check out each site.  Make this year’s Fall hike, one of discovery!

 

Author: Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.