Carroll Emory Wood, Jr.

(13 January 1921 – 15 March 2009)

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates at least 160 vascular plant specimens collected by C. E. Wood, Jr.  Without doubt more will be found as we continue to catalog our collections.  Other herbaria curating sizable numbers of his specimens include Gray Herbarium (GH) and the Academy of Natural Sciences (PH).

“Born in Roanoke, Virginia, on January 13, 1921, Carroll Wood was the eldest of three sons of Carroll Emory Wood senior and Virginia (Jennie) Powers Shaw Wood.  Carroll’s father, a pharmacist, held a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Maryland, and his mother, a graduate of Peace College in Raleigh, North Carolina, was a substitute teacher in the Salem, Virginia school system.”2

Carroll Emory Wood, Jr. earned Bachelor of Science degree from Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia in 1941.1 “During college Carroll had a strong interest in the taxonomy and distribution of butterflies.”2  He earned Master of Science degree in 1943 from the University of Pennsylvania with his thesis, “The Flora of Roanoke County:  the first thousand”.  After a hiatus serving in the United States Army 695th Armored Field Artillery Battalion in Europe during World War II, he returned to Harvard to earn his Master of Arts in 1947.  He continued his studies at Harvard and earned his Ph.D. 1949 with his thesis,”The American barbistyled species of Tephrosia.”1

“Carroll remained at Harvard as Instructor in Biology until 1951 when he was hired by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor of Botany (and later promoted to Associate Professor) … At Chapel Hill, Raymond Louis Wyatt earned a master’s degree under his direction for an investigation of the biology and embryology of four species of Asarum (Aristolochiaceae)… In September 1954 Carroll returned to Harvard to begin an appointment as Associate Curator of the Arnold Arboretum, followed by promotions to Curator (1970) and Professor of Biology (1972).  He remained at Harvard until his retirement in 1988 as Professor and Curator, and received an emeritus professorial appointment that year.”2

Carroll Emory Wood, Jr. died on 15 March, 2009 at his home in the South End of Boston at the age of 88.3

According to Norton Miller, “Carroll’s professional interests in botany ranged widely.  He described himself as a naturalist, by which he meant he enjoyed field observation and botanical puzzles, particularly those involving his specialties, taxonomy, plant diversity, and species biology.  He as erudite, scholarly, modest, approachable, and an enthusiastic, skilled, and admired teacher… Carroll maintained a strong professional interest in plant biogeography.  Utilizing morphological data, his investigations of floristic connections between the southern Appalachians and western North America and of the floristic similarities in different parts of the Northern Hemisphere revealed at the time of publication new insights that have since been expanded by others.  Carroll founded the Generic Flora of the Southeastern United States (GFSEUS), which for many years was a major research project at the Harvard Herbaria in Cambridge Massachusetts.”

There are several vascular plants named in honor of Carroll Emory Wood, Jr.:   Achimenes woodii C. V. Morton (Gesneriaceae), Columnea x woodii H. E. Moore (Gesneriaceae), and Tephrosia woodii O. Tellez (Fabaceae).  1,2

For a complete list of Carroll Emory Wood, Jr.’s publications see pages 205-208 of Miller, Norton G.  2010.  Carroll Emory Wood, Jr. (1921-2009):  A Tribute.  Rhodora 112 (950): 191-208.



1.  Wood, Carroll Emory.  Index of Botanists.  Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries. .  Accessed on 14 October 2022.

2.  Miller, Norton G.  2010.  Carroll Emory Wood, Jr. (1921-2009):  A Tribute.  Rhodora 112 (950): 191-208.

3.  Carroll Emory Woods Jr. passes away at the age of 88.  The Harvard Gazette, 19 March, 2009.  accessed on 14 October 2022.