( b. 18 April 1957 )
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU) curates at least 443 vascular plant specimens collected by Edwin L. Bridges. Without doubt we will find more as we continue to catalog our collections.
Edwin Lynn Bridges was born in western Burke County, North Carolina on April 18, 1957, on a farm in the foothills of the South Mountains which had been in his family for over 150 years. He attended Glen Alpine schools until entering Appalachian State University at age 15, later transferring to North Carolina State University. Having been an avid amateur naturalist, he mostly pursued the physical sciences until eventually realizing that he would be much happier as a biologist and ecologist, so after one semester as a Botany major received his B.S. in 1977. He attended graduate school at North Carolina State University but devoted a full semester to Dr. Albert Radford’s Ecosystematics course at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which was the most formative influence on his early professional development.
After a break for a rural, collective-living lifestyle, he was Botanist/Ecologist for the Tennessee Natural Heritage Program (1983-1984) and the Arkansas Nature Conservancy (1984-1986). He then moved to Austin, and was a botanical consultant and Research Associate at the University of Texas at Austin (TEX) from 1986-1990. Moving to Tallahassee, Florida, he became Chief Wetland Ecologist for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection from 1990-1993. After teaching several very popular workshops in grass and sedge identification there, he was Plant Systematist and Herbarium Curator at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden (FTG) from 1993-1997. In early 1997 he relocated to the Seattle area and resumed a very busy career as a Botanical and Ecological Consultant, which has continued to this day. In addition to his Washington office, he maintains a field office in Sebring, Florida, and works throughout the United States, with an emphasis on the southeastern United States.
His most active collecting years were from 1984-1996, during which he averaged over 2,000 specimen numbers per year, with most of these being from Arkansas, Texas, and Florida. Many of these specimens are deposited at the University of Texas (TEX), University of South Florida (USF), University of Florida (FLAS), Florida State University (FSU), and Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden (FTG). However, he has distributed thousands of duplicates to other herbaria, including The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (NCU), North Carolina State University (NCSC), Duke University (DUKE), The University of Georgia (GA), the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (SMU – BRIT), Texas A & M University (TAMU, TAES), Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), the New York Botanical Garden (NY), among many others. He continues to collect targeted genera, but also photo-documents thousands of sight records per year, and maintains databases of hundreds of thousands of site-specific and date-specific distribution records.
Edwin has described several new species and made many new combinations, starting in 1987 with Astragalus bibullatus, a now Federally listed endemic species of the limestone glades of middle Tennessee. His other new species and combinations have mostly been in the order Poales (including species of Cyperaceae, Poaceae, Juncaceae, Xyridaceae, and Eriocaulaceae), in addition to new species and combinations in Asteraceae and Euphorbiaceae. He is a member of the Southeastern Flora Team, the authors of the Flora of the Southeastern United States.
In addition to his specimen collections, ecological research in community ecology and fire responses of the southeastern flora, and new species descriptions, Edwin is also very active in the development of citizen science through online platforms such as Facebook and iNaturalist. His primary Facebook group, Florida Flora and Ecosystematics, has 12,000 members, nearly 100,000 plant photos, and hundreds of views and comments every day. In addition to Southern Appalachian Flora and Ecosystematics, which he also founded, it has resulted in several spin-off groups with the similar goal of serious discussion about native plants and their ecology. He is also a Curator on iNaturalist and has provided over 25,000 identifications of observations by other naturalists.
Orzell, Steve L., Edwin L. Bridges, and S. Lance Peacock. 1985. Additions and noteworthy vascular plants from Arkansas, with some ecological notes. Sida 11 (2): 226-231. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27007057
Barneby, R. C. and E. L. Bridges. 1987. A new species of Astragalus (Fabaceae) from Tennessee’s Central Basin. Brittonia 39:358-363.
Orzell, S. L. and E. L. Bridges. 1987. Further additions and noteworthy collections in the flora of Arkansas, with historical, ecological, and phytogeographical notes. Phytologia 64:81-144
Bridges, E.L., and S.L. Orzell. 1987. A new species of Xyris (sect. Xyris) from the Gulf Coastal Plain. Phytologia 64: 56-61.
Orzell, S. L. and E. L. Bridges. 1989. Noteworthy Carex L. (Cyperaceae: Section Stellulatae) collections from Missouri. Sida 13:380-383.
Bridges, E. L. and S. L. Orzell. 1989. Evolvulus sericeus Sw. (Convolvulaceae) in Georgia, with floristic and ecological notes. Sida 13:509-512.
Bridges, E. L., S. L. Orzell, and L. C. Anderson. 1989. Carex microdonta Torr. & Hook. (Cyperaceae) new to Florida. Sida 13:378-380.
Bridges, E. L. and S. L. Orzell. 1989. Syngonanthus flavidulus (Eriocaulaceae) new to Mississippi. Sida 13:512-515.
Bridges, E. L. and S. L. Orzell. 1989. Longleaf pine communities of the West Gulf Coastal Plain. Natural Areas Journal 9:246-263.
Bridges, E. L. and S. L. Orzell. 1989. Carex walteriana (Cyperaceae) and Euphorbia inundata (Euphorbiaceae) new to Mississippi. Phytologia 67:217-219.
Bridges, E. L. and S. L. Orzell. 1989. Lindera subcoriacea (Lauraceae) new to Alabama. Phytologia 67:214-216.
Bridges, E. L. and S. L. Orzell. 1989. A new species of Carex (Sect. Oligocarpae) from the Edwards Plateau of Texas. Phytologia 67:148-154.
Bridges, E.L., and S.L. Orzell. 1990. Xyris chapmanii, a new species from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the southern United States. Phytologia 68: 382-389.
Orzell, Steve L. and Edwin L. Bridges. 2002. Notes on Carphephorus odoratissimus (Asteraceae) in peninsular Florida, U.S.A. Sida 20(2): 559-569. https://www.jstor.org/stable/41968071
Bridges, Edwin L. and Steve L. Orzell. 2003. Two new species and a new combination in southeastern United States Xyris (Xyridaceae) from Florida. Novon 13 (1):16-25. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3393559
Bridges, Edwin L. and Steve L. Orzell. 2008. A new Juncus Sect. Ozophyllum (Juncaceae) from peninsular Florida, U.S.A. Novon 18(3): 294-297. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20406301
Moyer, Robert D. and Edwin L. Bridges. 2015. Xyris chapmanii, an overlooked Xyris species of the New Jersey Pine Barrens. Bartonia 67: 58-74. https://www.jstor.org/stable/43233853
Weakley, Alan S., Derick B. Poindexter, Richard J. LeBlond, Bruce A. Sorrie, Cassandra H. Karlsson, Parker J. Williams, Steve L. Orzell, Andrea Weeks, Maria Flores-Cruz, George D. Gann, Edwin L. Bridges, Brian R. Keener, Richard D. Noyes, James T. Diggs, and Aaron J. Floden. 2017. New combinations, rank changes, and nomenclatural and taxonomic comments in the vascular flora of the southeastern United States: II. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 11 (2): 291-325.
Pace, Matthew C., Steve L. Orzell, Edwin L. Bridges, and Kenneth M. Cameron. 2017. Spiranthes igniorchis (Orchidaceae), a new and rare cryptic species from the south-central Florida subtropical grasslands. Brittonia 69(3): 323-339. https://www.jstor.org/stable/45173896
Weakley, Alan S., Derick B. Poindexter, Richard J. LeBlond, Bruce A. Sorrie, Edwin L. Bridges, Steve L. Orzell, Alan R. Franck, Melanie Schori, Brian R. Keener, Alvin R. Diamond, Jr., Aaron J. Floden, and Richard D. Noyes. 2018. New combinations, rank changes, and nomenclatural and taxonomic comments in the vascular flora of the southeastern United States: III. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 12 (1): 27-67. https://www.jstor.org/stable/44858905
Pyne, Milo, Steve L. Orzell, and Edwin L. Bridges. 2019. Physalis macrophysa (Solanaceae: Physalinae: subgenus Rydbergis), its taxonomic disposition and relation to other material with large inflated fruiting calyces. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 13(1): 51–61. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26783958
Pyne, Milo, Steve L. Orzell, Edwin L. Bridges, and Derick Poindexter. 2019. Physalis macrosperma (SOLANACEAE: Physalinae), a new psammophyte endemic to the West Gulf Coastal Plain of the southeastern U.S.A., a global biodiversity hotspot. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 13 (1); 31-50. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26783957
Weakley, Alan S., Derick B. Poindexter, Hannah C. Medford, Bruce A. Sorrie, Carol Ann McCormick, Edwin L. Bridges, Steve L. Orzell, Keith A. Bradley, Harvey E. Ballard, Jr., Remington N. Burwell, Samuel L. Lockhart, and Alan R. Franck. 2020. Studies in the vascular flora of the southeastern United States: VI. Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 14 (2):199-239. https://www.jstor.org/stable/27007057