Ken E. Rogers

(ca. 1936 – 2017)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged over 1,000 vascular plant specimens collected by Kenneth Edward Rogers.  He usually used “Ken E. Rogers” on herbarium labels, and his wife, Louise, was a frequent co-collector.  Without doubt we will continue to find specimens collected by Rogers as we continue to catalog our holdings.

Ken E. Rogers also collected bryophytes; these are deposited at FLAS (ca. 770 specimens), TENN (ca. 160 specimens) and BRIT (ca. 40), with DUKE, MO, NY, and COLO having a dozen or fewer specimens each.

Botanists collecting in Tennessee in the early 1960’s, from left to right: Sy Sohmer, R. Dale Thomas, Ken E. Rogers, Wayne Chester. Photograph courtesy of Patricia Cox & B. Eugene Wofford, University of Tennessee Herbarium (TENN)

Rogers earned his Ph.D. from University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1969.  The title of his thesis was “A taxonomic study of the genus Ichnanthus (Gramineae), section Foveolata Pilger.”

In 1970 Rogers described Calamovilfa arcuata.  “In the fall of 1968, on a plant collecting trip with other botanists [Aaron J. Sharp, Claudio Delgadillo Moya, and Willem Meijer] to the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, I collected a grass which was initially thought to be either a Panicum or some unfamiliar grass.  Perhaps intuitively, enough material was collected for several herbarium specimens… Dr. Thomas R. Soderstrom, Curator of Grasses at the United States National Museum, after examining my material and a single specimen essentially identical to it from southeast Oklahoma [Pushmataha County], suggested that I describe the grass as a new species.”  The holotype of Calamovilfa arcuata is at US, with isotypes deposited in ISC, LAF, TAES, TENN and US.3 Since 1968, Calamovilfa arcuata has been documented from Alabama (Blount County), Arkansas (Scott and Howard Counties), Georgia (Walker County), and Kentucky (McCreary County).  It has also been documented from additional counties in Tennessee (Morgan and Scott) and in Oklahoma (Atoka and McCurtain).4

Rogers was hired by the University of Southern Mississippi Herbarium (USMS) in 1968.  “Dr. Rogers had a keen eye for plants and was a prolific collector. He helped convince the administration of the importance of the Ragland Hills near Hattiesburg, and a prominent supporter of the University, Dr. M. M. Roberts, and his wife donated a sizeable portion of that botanically rich area to the University in 1981.”1  Dr. Rogers chose to deposit the specimens he collected in Ragland Hills to NCU, and duplicate specimens (when available) were distributed to various herbaria including GH, MISSA, MO, NY, SMU (now part of BRIT), US, TENN, and VDB (now part of BRIT).2  “Dr. Rogers left the University [of Southern Mississippi] in 1973.  He was later convicted for marijuana-related offenses and received 15 years in prison, from which he escaped. After a time at the University of Tehran (Iran), he returned to the U.S. under a pseudonym and died in 2017.””1

Rogers’ professional affiliation on his 1977 paper on the Ragland Hills flora is listed as Department of Horticulture, University of Maryland in College Park, MD.

According to relatives Dr. Rogers died in 2017.5


Rogers, Ken E.  (1977)  Vascular flora of the Ragland Hills area of Forrest and Perry Counties, Mississippi.  Sida 7(1):  51-79.
Rogers, Ken E. and Dana G. Griffin III (1974)  Notes on Mississippi bryophytes I.  Castanea 39(3):  239-262.
Rogers, Ken E. and Frank D. Bowers (1973)  Notes on Tennessee plants III.  Castanea 38(4):  335-339.
Rogers, Ken E. (1973)  Notes on plants of Mississippi I.  Castanea 38(2):  199-203.
Rogers, Ken E. (1971)  Notes of Tennessee plants II.  Castanea 36(3):  191-194.
Rogers, Ken E. and Frank D. Bowers (1969)  Notes on Tennessee plants.  Castanea 34(4):  394-397.
Rogers, Ken E.  (1970)  A new species of Calamovilfa (Gramineae) from North America.  Rhodoroa 72(789):  72-79, f. 1-2.
Rogers, Kenneth Edward (1969)  A taxonomic study of the genus Ichnanthus (Gramineae), section Foleolata Pilger.  Ph.D. Thesis, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN.
Rogers, Ken E. (1968)  A new species of Ichnanthus (Gramineae) from southeast Asia.  Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 95(5):  423-424.
Rogers, Ken E. and J.K. Underwood (1968)  Some noteworthy Tennessee plants.  Castanea 33(3):  260-261.


1. accessed on 19 May 2021.

2.       Rogers, Ken E. (1977)  Vascular flora of the Ragland Hills area of Forrest and Perry Counties, Mississippi.  Sida 7(1):  51-79; page 53.

3.       Rogers, Ken E.  (1970)  A new species of Calamovilfa (Gramineae) from North America.  Rhodora 72(789):  72-79, f.1-2.

4.       Search for “Calamovilfa arcuata” in accessed on 3 July 2018.

5.       Pers. comm.  Dwayne Estes to McCormick.  July 2, 2018.