Description: Oxydendrum arboreum leaves

The University of North Carolina
A Department of the North Carolina Botanical Garden


Internships at the University of North Carolina Herbarium


2012 Charles T. Mohr Interns

Description: Mary McKee Felton Internship
Christine Gang


Description: Charles T. Mohr Internship
Daniel Adams


Christine Gang
2012 Charles T. Mohr Intern

          Christine Gang is one of the Charles T. Mohr Interns in the University of North Carolina Herbarium this summer.  She is from Burlington, North Carolina and is a rising senior at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in Biology. 


         For her internship Christine is studying Blue Curls, Trichostema L., in the Mint Family.  There are about 18 species in the genus Trichostema, and all are native to temperate North America.  Some are shrubs, some perennial herbs, and some are annual herbs.  While Trichostema is especially diverse in Western North America, there is a second center of diversity here in the Southeastern United States.



Trichostema dichotomum L. “Common Blue Curls”
Photo by Thomas G. Barnes; used with permission


          Christine is examining three southeastern species, T. dichotomum L. (Common Blue Curls), T. setaceum Houtt. (Narrowleaf Blue Curls), and T. suffrutescens Kearney (Scrub Blue Curls).  She is also studying two new species that have been tentatively named T. nesophilum ined. (Dune Blue Curls) and T. floridanum ined. (Florida Blue Curls) by Dr.  Alan Weakley, Curator of the University of North Carolina Herbarium.  


           Christine’s internship project is to study and compare the morphology of the southeastern Blue Curls.  These morphological measurements will be used to describe the two new species when they are officially published.  The morphological characters that she uses include leaf size (ration of length to width), length of the hairs that are found in the flowering portion of the plant (“inflorescence”), and branching pattern.  In addition, both new species have geographic, flower color differences, and habit differences supporting the notion that they are distinct from currently known species of Trichostema. 

          Where do these new, unpublished species of Trichostema grow?  The proposed common name and scientific name of each plant gives us a clue.  Trichostema floridana, Florida Blue Curls, has been found in maritime dunes, grasslands and coastal shrub from eastern Georgia, all the way around the Florida peninsula and westward to southern Mississippi and in the Bahamas.  Trichostema nesophilum (“island-loving”), Dune Blue Curls or Carolina Blue Curls, has a much more restricted range:  it is endemic to dunes and openings in maritime scrub on barrier islands in North and South Carolina.  Even without an official name, Dune Blue Curls is already being monitored by the North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.  It is listed as a SR-L (Significantly Rare -- Limited) species, “the range of the species is limited to North Carolina and adjacent states (endemic or near endemic)…the preponderance of [its] distribution is in North Carolina and [its] fate depends largely on conservation here.”1

Trichostema nesophilum (1).jpg

1.         Franklin, Misty A. and John T. Finnegan.  2006.  Natural Heritage Program List of Rare Plant Species of North Carolina 2006.  Raleigh, NC:  North Carolina Natural Heritage Program.











Description: Curriculum in Ecology                 Description: North Carolina Botanical Garden               Description: Biology Department
Curriculum                               North Carolina                                 UNC

   In Ecology                              Botanical Garden                   Biology Department

University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
fax: (919) 962-6930

Last Updated: 6 February 2013