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Adapted by Christiane Anderson from Contributions from the University of Michigan Herbarium 24: 189–225. 2005.


Listed alphabetically with county assignments are over 500 Michigan localities from which herbarium specimens have been seen but for which the labels lack county designations. Sites included usually (1) are not readily located in standard indexes to Michigan place names, (2) can be confused with other localities bearing the same names, and/or (3) have undergone a change in name. Documentation often cites published references, specific collectors, or dates.

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This listing presents some ambiguous, controversial, or obscure Michigan localities, mostly from which actual herbarium specimens have been seen. It is intended largely to supplement (or in a few cases correct) entries in Romig’s 1972 Michigan Place Names and the indexes prepared ca. 1917–1918 by Rand-McNally & Company for their indexed pocket map of Michigan and their much larger Commercial Atlas of America. (These two indexes are essentially identical.) My purpose is primarily to help users assign specimens to the correct county, since the county is widely used as the basic unit for filing records and mapping distributions. Often, however, more detailed information can be provided to enable a narrower designation of sites. Sometimes the same person collected at more than one site bearing identical names. Sometimes different collectors gathered specimens at sites with the same names. When I have been able to clarify such situations, clues appear here, in hopes that persons mapping distributions may avoid jumping to erroneous conclusions.

For 50 years I have been gathering this information, as the necessity was presented periodically to determine the localities (especially counties) where herbarium specimens—mostly older ones—with very scant data had been gathered. Others have often asked for help with fragmentary localities in (or thought to be in) Michigan, and it would appear useful to make this eclectic catalog more widely available despite the varying and inconsistent level of detail (and of citation) as items accumulated over the years without any intention of eventual publication.

If your favorite obscure site is not included here, that may not be an oversight. Remember that this list consists primarily of places (1) where plant collectors actually gathered specimens but generally failed to indicate the county; and/or (2) names that are repeated and often better known elsewhere in the state (sometimes even in the same county). Changes of place names and difficulty of locating sites on county maps are other criteria for listing.

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Sometimes a collector’s occasional label has an indication of county when other labels do not. Sometimes a particular collector (with year or date) needs to be cited to clarify a locality or the collector(s) who visited it. Initials as listed below indicate the more frequently cited of these persons (as well as authors). More information about those who flourished in the 19th century—and where their collections may be found—is in Voss (1978). Other indications rarely given in capitals after citation of specimens or other data are the internationally recognized symbols for herbaria [Index Herbariorum] where specimens are found (more often given here for out-of-state institutions), e.g., MO = Missouri Botanical Garden; GH = Gray Herbarium of Harvard University; BLH = Cranbrook Institute of Science; MSC = Michigan State University. Names of species and dates of collecting at a site are intended only as examples and are not necessarily exhaustive. The field notes, rough and crude though they are, of Oliver A. Farwell have sometimes been very helpful (they are now housed in the University of Michigan Herbarium).

CWB = Clayton W. Bazuin (1893–1968)

WJB = William J. Beal (1833–1924)

EAB = Ernst A. Bessey (1877–1957)

CB = Cecil Billington (1876–1950)

EJC = Emma J. Cole (1845–1910)

DC = Dennis Cooley (1787–1860)

HTD = Henry T. Darlington (1875–1964)

CAD = Charles A. Davis (1861–1916)

CKD = Charles K. Dodge (1844–1918)

CWF = Charles W. Fallass (1854–1942)

OAF = Oliver A. Farwell (1867–1944)

CRH = Clarence R. Hanes (1874–1956)

FJH = Frederick J. Hermann (1906–1987)

EJH = Ellsworth J. Hill (1833–1917)

CFW = Charles F. Wheeler (1842–1910)

UMBS = University of Michigan Biological Station (meaning any of numerous collectors who used local names for area sites, most of which are in Nelson 1956)

First Survey = First Geological Survey of Michigan (cf. McVaugh 1970)

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Published and unpublished sources for information about a site (its location and/or history) are very incomplete in this list, but some are indicated as follows when they may be helpful in interpreting sites. Citing of illustrative specimen labels is especially frequent for monocots, the first group to be written up for Michigan Flora, as I usually did not bother to record additional supporting citations. Years of collections are generally preceded by “in”; years of publication or other sources of information are not. For obscure localities not included here, one should try consulting appropriate published works, such as those listed below and/or papers and published reports by the collector in question, for example, Cole (1901), Walpole (1924), Hanes (1947). The Haneses’ 1947 Flora of Kalamazoo County, Michigan often includes clues in text or introduction concerning their collecting sites, so only a few troublesome ones are included here. Sometimes collectors provide a clue in their numbers, such as prefixing them with codes; e.g., for collections from counties other than Kalamazoo, Mr. Hanes often preceded a collection-number with an indication of the county, such as V.B. for Van Buren Co. or S.J. for St. Joseph Co. [An assistant recording data for me many years ago, upon seeing a label reading “C. R. Hanes S.J. 171” declared “I didn’t know that Mr. Hanes was a Jesuit!” There is no end to the confusion that unusual or cryptic label styles can induce.]

Section numbers interpreted in certain townships for collections of Dennis Cooley are in brackets if they come from later printed plat maps rather than from some contemporaneous label of his. (Facsimile reprints of 1859 and 1875 Macomb Co. plats, with detailed indexes, were published in 1983 under the sponsorship of the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission.)


Beacon, The. 1986–. Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. Vol. 12 + [continues Great Lakes Review].

Ceasar, Ford Stevens. 1978. Forgotten Communities of Central Michigan. 3rd ed. Wellman Press, Lansing. 83 pp. [Clinton, Ingham, and Gratiot counties; thoroughly indexed.]

Chronicle. 1963–1993 [all published]. Historical Society of Michigan. Vol. 1–27. [NOTE: In 2002, the Society resurrected the name “Chronicle” but applied it to its previous “Newsletter” and continued the latter’s numbering (as “Chronicle & Newsletter”) with Vol. 24 No. 1, creating an overlap in numbering that can produce bibliographical confusion.]

Cole, Emma J. 1901. Grand Rapids Flora. Van Dort, Grand Rapids. xxii + 170 pp. + map.

Crispin, Susan R. 1980. Nature Preserves in Michigan, 1920–1979. Michigan Bot. 19: 99–242. [A well-indexed directory with details on over 150 tracts with explicitly protected status as of the date of preparation.]

Farmer, Silas. 1890. History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan. 3rd ed. Silas Farmer & Co., Detroit. xlvi + 1028 pp. [Facsimile reprint, 1969, by Gale Research Co., Detroit.]

Farwell, Oliver A. 1943. “Notes on the Michigan Flora X. Michigan species of Carex in my herbarium.” [Unpublished 66-page typewritten manuscript, in which Farwell assigned all of his Carex collections to county—a great help for old interurban stops and other obscure localities on his labels.]

Foster, J. W., and J. D. Whitney. 1850. Report on the Geology and Topography of a Portion of the Lake Superior Land District in the State of Michigan: Part I. Copper Lands. 224 pp. + plates & maps. House Ex. Doc. No. 69, 31st Congress, 1st Session.

Foster, Theodore G. 1942. Place Names of Ingham County. Mich. History 26: 480–517.

Hanes, Clarence R., and Florence N. Hanes. 1947. Flora of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. [Authors], Schoolcraft, Michigan. xii + 295 pp.

Humphrys, C. R., et al. 1965. Michigan Lakes and Ponds. Michigan Agric. Exper. Sta., Dep. Resource Developm., Water Bull. 15 + 16 + 17 + Lake Inventory Bull. 1–83 + Water Bull. 12 + 13. [285] pp. [A tremendous catalog of over 35,000 lakes and ponds, giving exact location, size, and other information, indexed by name (if any), with summary tables and other statistics by county and statewide. This will tell you where over 300 Mud Lakes are located (as well as thousands of unnamed ones)—but not who collected there.]

Mason, Philip P. 1958. Schoolcraft’s Expedition to Lake Itasca. Michigan State Univ. Press, East Lansing. xxvi + 390 pp.

McVaugh, Rogers, Stanley A. Cain, and Dale J. Hagenah. 1953. Farwelliana: An Account of the Life and Botanical Work of Oliver Atkins Farwell, 1867–1944. Cranbrook Inst. Sci. Bull. 34. 101 pp.

McVaugh, Rogers. 1970. Botanical Results of the Michigan Geological Survey under the Direction of Douglass Houghton, 1837–1840. Michigan Bot. 9: 213–243. [Includes tables of dates and localities as well as a gazetteer.]

Michigan Botanist, The. 1962–. Michigan Botanical Club. Vol. 1 +

Michigan History. 1917–. Michigan Historical Commission (later, the Michigan Historical Center ), Lansing. Vol. 1 +

Michigan Manual. Official Directory and Legislative Manual 1887– [biennial]. Secretary of State, Lansing. [All volumes include lists of Post Offices and through 1921 they include stops (with mileages) on all railroads (including interurban lines).]

Nelson, Theodora. 1956. The History of Ornithology at the University of Michigan Biological Station 1909–1955. Burgess Publ. Co., Minneapolis. xvi + 106 pp. + 2 maps. [The Gazeteer [sic], pp. 91–97, lists many sites (sometimes with locally used names) visited by persons at the University of Michigan Biological Station. An updated edition under the title “Ornithology at the University of Michigan Biological Station” by Olin Sewall Pettingill, Jr., was issued in 1974 by the Kalama-zoo Nature Center as Spec. Publ. No. 1. 118 pp. The Gazetteer, pp. 109–111, includes a few additions but omits a great many of the sites in Nelson’s original work.]

Parratt, Smitty, and Doug Welker. 1999. The Place Names of Isle Royale. Isle Royale Natural History Association, Houghton. viii + 85 pp. + folded map.

Romig, Walter. [1972]. Michigan Place Names. Walter Romig Publ., Grosse Pointe. 673 pp. [Facsimile reprint, 1986, by Wayne State Univ. Press, Detroit.]

Voss, Edward G. 1955. Charles W. Fallass (1854–1942), a Pioneer Michigan Botanist. Asa Gray Bull. n.s. 3: 77–96.

Voss, Edward G., and Garrett E. Crow. 1976. Across Michigan by Covered Wagon: A Botanical Expedition in 1888. Michigan Bot. 15: 3–70.

Voss, Edward G. 1978. Botanical Beachcombers and Explorers: Pioneers of the 19th Century in the Upper Great Lakes. Contrib. Univ. Michigan Herb. 13. viii + 100 pp.

Walpole, Branson A. 1924. Flora of Washtenaw County Michigan. Mich. State Normal College, Ypsilanti. 80 pp.

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Many place names (not only of lakes) are duplicated within the state and one should never assume that all collections by all collectors from a place bearing a name listed below are necessarily from the same site. It should also be noted that many 19th century collectors used the name of an organized township without specifying “township” and did not necessarily mean a community of the same name within that township or elsewhere, e.g., Washington or Shelby [townships] in Macomb County and Paris [township] in Kent County. Sometimes a collector’s name can be confused with a locality. Douglass Houghton, Michigan’s first State Geologist (appointed in 1837), traveled over much more of Michigan than most of his contemporaries and furthermore was a good botanist (a former student of Amos Eaton). A collection sent out by him on exchange or for identification might have been labeled by the recipient merely (without date) “Houghton” and could now be misinterpreted as having come from the city or county of Houghton, later named for him.

Another caution that cannot be repeated too often is to distinguish between a collecting locality and the collector’s address. C. K. Dodge almost invariably accompanied his name with “Port Huron, Michigan,” which is where he lived, not necessarily where the specimen came from. In fact, a collection from “near Port Huron” might have come from the other side of the river, in Canada, where he also collected extensively. Such “near” localities may often mislead, for “near” is a vague term and another county or even country could be involved. Furthermore, some 19th century collectors had their home town (e.g., “Ann Arbor”) printed at the bottom of their blank labels no matter where the specimens were obtained. Many erroneous citations in the literature result from such deplorable labels.

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