Wade Thomas Batson, Jr.

A photograph of Wade T. Batson, Jr.


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged about 150 vascular plant specimens collected by Batson, who usually signed his herbarium labels “W. T. Batson”.  Without doubt more specimens will be found as we continue to catalog our collections.  Most of Batson’s specimens at NCU were collected in South Carolina; many were collected to document the flora of the Savannah River Operations Area for the Atomic Energy Commission.

Wade T. Batson, Jr. (center, in rocking chair) celebrates his 100th birthday in 2013 surrounded by many of his students. Photo by Bonnie Dutton (1)

“Dr. Wade Batson passed away on February 14, 2015. Dr. Batson was a former South Carolina Academy of Science President, USC [University of South Carolina] faculty member, and department head, member of the SC Hall of Science and Technology, and beloved biology professor and mentor to hundreds of practicing scientists and teachers.

Dr. Batson was the son of the late William Thomas and Mary Lenora Hendricks Batson of Marietta. He was educated at Mars Hill College, the University of Tennessee, and Furman University. Dr. Batson entered the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1948 he entered Duke University, receiving a M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Botany. Dr. Batson taught botany and other biology courses at the University of South Carolina for thirty years and he was Chairman of the Biology Department from 1958-1959. He authored
twelve books featuring flowering plant taxonomy to include Wildflowers in South Carolina, Genera of Southeastern Plants, Genera of the Eastern Plants, Genera of the Western Plants, Landscape Plants for the Southeast, and Wildflowers in the Carolinas and he wrote over forty articles in popular magazines and scientific journals.

Dr. Batson, known by his students as “Dr. B:, received many awards and honors during his lifetime: 1966, voted one of three Outstanding Professors by University of South Carolina students; 1968, Meritorious Teaching Award by the Association of Southeastern Biologists; 1968, Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award; 1976, Education Conservationist of the Year by South Carolina Wildlife Federation; 1982, Order of the Palmetto Award presented by Governor Richard Riley who hosted his Retirement Party at the Governor’s Mansion; 1994, Inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame; 1995, inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Science and Technology; 1995, Honorary Doctor of Science Award by the Medical University of South Carolina; 2004 Honorary Life Member of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association; 2011 Legends of Conservation Award by the South Carolina Wildlife Federation. Three endowments have been made in his honor at the University of South Carolina: 2000, The Wade T. Batson Professorship Endowment; 2000, W.T.B. Fellowship in Botany Endowment; and the W.T.B. Endowment for the A C. Moore Herbarium.

At the celebration of his 100th birthday, Senator Mike Fair presented a Resolution from the South Carolina General Assembly to honor the distinguished career of this great South Carolinian. Furman University established a wildflower garden on the Swamp Rabbit Trail in his honor. The South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism presented him the State Park Award, one of three ever presented. Dr. Batson is survived by his daughter, Marietta Lenora Moore, his son, Wade Thomas Batson, III, nine grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.

Excerpted from information prepared by John M. Herr, Jr. Department of Biological Sciences, University of South Carolina with additional information from South Carolina General Assembly resolution 2011-2012 Bill 1507; May 3, 2012.” (2)

(L-R) Douglas A Rayner, Wade T. Batson, Jr., Richard D. Porcher, and Albert Pittman in 2015. Porcher is holding a copy of “A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina,” authored by Porcher & Rayner, published in 2001 by University of South Carolina Press.



  1. Holleman, Joey.  2015.  Botany professor Batson taught life lessons at USC for 30 years.  The State [newspaper], 1 April 2015.  Columbia, South Carolina.  https://www.thestate.com/living/article17183867.html accessed on 13 January 2021.  Photo by Bonnie Dutton.
  2. Herr, John M., Jr. 2012.  In Memoriam:  Dr. Wade Batson 1912-2015.  http://faculty.uscupstate.edu/dkferris/SCAS/2015/Batson.pdf  accessed on 15 January 2021.