18 December 1933 – 9 February 2016
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) has cataloged about 750 vascular specimens for which he was the primary collector. He recorded his name in various ways on labels — S. B. Jones, Samuel B. Jones, and Samuel B. Jones, Jr. — are all common at NCU. His spouse, Carleen A. Jones was a frequent co-collector. Without doubt many more specimens collected by Jones will be found as we continue to catalog our collections.
“Sam Jones made many collections in Mississippi was when he was faculty at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM),” notes Dr. Lucile M. McCook, Curator of the University of Mississippi Herbarium (MISS).1 “The Herbarium (USMS) of the University of Southern Mississippi was established in 1963. At that time, the University hired Dr. Samuel B. Jones, Jr., as assistant professor. He and colleagues from the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University began an NSF-funded project to produce a Flora of Mississippi. Despite extensive collections throughout the state and a number of vital publications, however, this project was never completed. Because the University was principally a teachers’ college at that time, Dr. Jones decided that the majority of the collections prepared for the flora project should be distributed to larger research institutions. The project’s collections were mainly distributed to the University of Mississippi (MISS), the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (NCU), and the University of Georgia (GA). Thus, the collections at the University of Southern Mississippi remained small, principally for teaching and limited comparison. In 1967, Dr. Jones left the University and returned to the University of Georgia, where he had earned his Ph.D.”2
Jones’ specimens are widely distributed across herbaria in North America, including Academy of Natural Sciences (PH), Emory University (GEO), Georgia Southern University (GAS), Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW), Louisiana State University (LSU), James F. Matthews Center for Biodiversity Studies (UNCC), Mississippi Museum of Natural Science (MMNS), Mississippi State University (MISSA), North Carolina State University (NCSC), Florida Museum of Natural History (FLAS), University of Georgia (GA), University of Southern Alabama (USAM), University of South Carolina (USCH), University of Tennessee, Knoxville (TENN), Vanderbilt University / Botanical Research Institute of Texas (VDB / BRIT), and University of West Virginia (WVA).
“[Jones] received his B.S. degree in Ornamental Horticulture from Alabama Polytechnic Institute (now Auburn University) in 1955, where he also met his future wife Carleen. He was in Army ROTC [Reserve Officer Training Corps] at Auburn, earning a commission as a Second Lieutenant, Armor, and was designated a distinguished Military Graduate. After training at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, he joined the 510th Tank Battalion in Mannheim, Germany, and served there 2 yr. After active service he joined the U.S. Army Reserves and retired at the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Following active military duty, Sam completed his M.S. in Botany (1961) at Auburn University, followed by his Ph.D. in Botany at the University of Georgia (1964) under Wilbur Duncan. He was an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern Mississippi (1964-67). He started his career as a faculty member in the University of Georgia Botany Department in 1967, remaining there until his retirement in 1991…
Sam had an active research program in taxonomy and floristics, published 110 peer-reviewed scientific and symposium chapters during his long career, and supervised 12 M.S. and 11 Ph.D. students at the University of Georgia. He focused on the systematics of subtribe Vernonieae of the Asteraceae… with extensive field work in Brazil, Peru, and Mexico with his students…His plant taxonomy book, Plant Systematics (Jones and Luchsinger 1979), was a popular introductory text that went through multiple editions and was translated into Spanish and Arabic. He also was coauthor of two popular botanical books, Shrubs and Woody Vines of the Southeastern United States (Foote and Jones 1989) and Gardening with Native Wild Flowers (Jones and Foote 1991). Sam taught a variety of courses, such as Environmental Biology, Plant Taxonomy, Principles of Botany, Plant Communities of the Southeast, Principles of Plant Systematics, and Variation and Evolution in Plants. Students from many departments especially enjoyed his Aquatic Plants course, which involved several 3- to 4-[day] field trips to wetlands, swamps, and coastal islands — out with “snakes and Gators” for a memorable experience on airboats and knee-deep wading.
During his tenure at the University of Georgia, Jones was Director of the Georgia Herbarium (GA)… Sam was also Director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia for half of his University of Georgia appointment for nearly 3 yr (1981-84). During that time, he was responsible for the planning and construction of the Visitor Center/Conservatory building, a capital campaign funding drive, and installation of the Dunson Memorial Wildflower Garden…
Sam and his wife Carleen founded Piccadilly Farm Nursery and Gardens in the early 1980s, which became the focus of his life after his retirement. The nursery became one of the largest producers of hellebores (Helleborus, Lenten Roses) in the United States… Sam and Carleen were awarded the Perennial Plant Association Award of Merit (2005), and Piccadilly Farm received an Award of Merit from the American Conifer Society, Southeast Region (2015). His daughter and son-in-law, Valerie and Bill Hinesley, joined Sam in the operation of Piccadilly Farm in 2011, and Sam continued working in the business up until the time of his death.”3
According to his obituary, “Dr. Jones was fondly called “Chief” by his graduate students and grandchildren. Sam enjoyed his family, students, gardening, plants, his cats, reading, and his John Deere tractors.”4
PUBLICATIONS (incomplete list):
Jones, S. B. and L. E. Foote. 1991. Gardening with native wild flowers. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
Foote, L. E. and S. B. Jones. 1989. Shrubs and woody vines of the southeastern United States. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
Coile, N. C. and S. B. Jones. 1988. Checklist of the vascular flora of St. Caterines Island, Georgia. Amer. Mus. Novitiates 2920: 1-14.
Jones, S. B. and N. C. Coile. 1988. The distribution of the vascular plants of Georgia. Published by the authors, Athens, Georgia. 230 pp.
Smith, G. L. and S. B. Jones. 1987. Cytotaxonomic studies of Piptocarpha subgenus Hypericoides (Compositae: Vernonieae). Rodora 89: 35-40.
Jones, S. B. 1983. Director’s report. Newsletter, University of Georgia, The Friends of the Botanical Garden 12(1): 3-6.
Jones, S. B. 1982. Director’s report. Newsletter, University of Georgia, The Friends of the Botanical Garden 11(3): 4-5.
Jones, S. B. 1982. The genera of Vernonieae (Compositae) in the southestern United States. J. Arnold Arbor. 63: 489-507.
Jones, S. B. 1981. Director’s report. Newsletter, University of Georgia, The Friends of theBotanical Garden 10(4): 5-7.
Jones, S. B. and J. G. Stutts. 1981. Three new species of Vernonia (Compositae: Vernonieae) from Mexico. Brittonia 33: 544-456.
Coile, Nancy C. and Samuel B. Jones. 1981. Lychnophora (Compositae: Vernoniae), a genus endemic to the Brazilian Planalto. Brittonia 33: 528-542.
Jones, Samuel B., Jr. 1981. Synoptic classification and pollen morphology of Vernonia (Compositae: Vernonieae) in the Old World. Rhodora 83(833): 59-75. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23314050
Bruce, J. G., S. B. Jones, and N.C. Coile. 1980. The pteridophytes of Georgia. Castanea 45: 185-193.
Jones, S. B. and A. E. Luchsinger. 1979. Plant systematics. McGraw-Hill, New York, New York.
Keeley, Sterling C. and Samuel B. Jones, Jr. 1979. Distribution of pollen types in Vernonia (Vernonieae: Compositae). Systematic Botany 4(3): 195-202. https://www.jstor.org/stable/2418418
Jones, Samuel B., Jr. 1979. Synopsis and pollen morphology of Vernonia (Compositae: Vernonieae) in the New World. Rhodora 81(828) 425-477. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23314119
Jones, Samuel B., Jr. 1979. Chromosome numbers of Vernonieae (Compositae). Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 106(2): 79-84. https://doi.org/10.2307/2484281
Jones, S. B. 1978. Vernonieae — systematic review. p. 503-521 In: Haywood, V. H. (ed.) The biology and chemistry of the Compositae. Academic Press, London, England.
Burnett, W. C., S. B. Jones, and T. J. Mabry. 1977. Evolutionary implications of herbivory on Vernonia (Compositae). Pl. Syst. Evol. 128: 277-286.
Keeley, Sterling C. and Samuel B. Jones, Jr. 1977. Taxonomic implications of external pollen morphology to Vernonia (Compositae) in the West Indies. American Journal of Botany 64(5): 576-584.
Jones, S. B. 1976. Cytogenetics and affinities of Vernonia (Compositae) from the Mexican highlands and eastern North America. Evolution 30: 455-462.
King, B. L. and S. B. Jones. 1975. The Vernonia lindheimeri complex (Compositae). Brittonia 27: 74-86.
Mabry, Tom J., Zeinab Abdel-Baset, William G. Padolina, and Samuel B. Jones, Jr. 1975. Systematic implications of flavonoids and sesquiterpene lactones in species of Vernonia. Biochemical Systematics & Ecology 2(3-4): 185-192. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23314050
1. Personal communication, McCook to McCormick via email 2021-04-30.
2. Herbarium — About Us. https://www.usm.edu/biological-environmental-earth-sciences/herbarium-about-us.php accessed on 19 May 2021.
3. Giannasi, David E. and Wendy B. Zomlefer. 2016. In Memoriam: Dr. Samuel B. Jones, Jr. (1933-2016), Castanea 81(3): 161-163. DOI: 10.2179/16/IM0002
4. Samuel B. Jones obituary, published in Athens Banner-Herald on Feb. 11, 2016. https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/onlineathens/obituary.aspx?n=samuel-b-jones&pid=177691674&fhid=3633 accessed on 30 April 2021.