James Rex Baird

James Rex Baird
(b. 22 September 1932)

Photograph of Dr. James Rex Baird (on left) with Dr. Alan S. Weakley, Director of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium, taken at the North Carolina Botanical Garden in June, 2016.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium has cataloged about 100 specimens for which “Rex” Baird was the primary collector, and another approximately 100 specimens for which he was a co-collector with Harry E. Ahles or with John R. Bozeman.  As only a small fraction of the collection is completely cataloged, without doubt we will find many more specimens collected by Dr. Baird.

Other herbaria which curate Baird’s specimens include Austin Peay State University (APSC), The College of William & Mary (WILLI, Valdosta State University (VSC), and the University of Wisconsin at Madison (WIS).

James Rex Baird was born in Morganton, Burke County, North Carolina, the son of Carrie Lee Burns and Clyde McDowell Baird.  He earned his Bachelor degree from Appalachian State Teacher College (now Appalachian State University) in Boone, North Carolina in 1957.  His doctoral mentor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was Dr. Al Radford.  Baird completed his thesis, “A taxonomic revision of the plant family Myricaceae of North American, north of Mexico,” in 1969.

Dr. Baird was a member of the faculty in the Department of Natural Sciences at the University  of Virginia at Wise and co-chaired the Flora Committee of the Virginia Academy of Sciences.  He was an advisor to the Flora of Virginia Project which culminated with the 2012 publication of Flora of Virginia by Alan S. Weakley, J. Christopher Ludwig and John F. Townsend.

Dr. Baird currently lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.