Collectors of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium
Henry Roland Totten
Henry Roland Totten was born in Matthews,
North Carolina on November 6, 1892. He graduated from the Yadkin Collegiate
Institute in 1909 and received his A.B. degree from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1913. The title of his Masters
thesis (1914) was “I. Development of the seed in Mayaca aubleti; II. Developemnt of
the seed in the cleistogamic flower of Specularia perfoliata.” Totten studied fungi for his Doctoral
thesis (1923), “Description, life history, and mycorrhizal character of Rhizopogon parasiticus
Coker & Totten n. sp.” Upon completed his graduate work under Dr.
William Chambers Coker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Totten promptly joined the Botany Department as a faculty member, teaching
general botany, dendrology, pharmacognosy, and
His name is especially associated for
most people with the woody flora of the southeastern United States, and his
book on this topic (co-authored with Dr. Coker) is still an excellent guide
to the trees in our area.
Dr. Totten also wrote the section on the Fagaceae (the oak and beech family) for the Manual
of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas, a challenging job in our
A hybrid oak, Quercus
was named in his honor by Lionel Melvin; a specimen currently grows
near the front entrance to the Totten Center at the North Carolina Botanical
Garden. Dr. Totten was instrumental in founding the garden and also served as
director of the Coker Arboretum. He died in Chapel Hill on February 9, 1974,
only three weeks after the death of his wife, Addie.
Quercus x totteni Melvin
Photograph by Arleigh Birchler, 2014
Two samples of Dr. Totten's handwriting are
below. One is a letter from Dr. Totten to Alma Holland Beers, a research
assistant in the Botany department. The other sample is a page from one of
Totten's field notebooks, noting collections of some trees from UNC campus.
Both may be clicked upon to view a larger image.
The manuscript materials on this page are from the
archives of the Herbarium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
and are used with permission.
Further materials are located in the Coker papers in the Southern
Historical Collection, Manuscript Department, Wilson Library, and
in the papers of the UNC Botany Department.
of Totten's theses and publications has been assembled by Rhonda Teague
Rogers and emended by William R. Burk. The best published source of
biographical information on Totten is a memorial piece which appeared in the Journal
of the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, vol. 89, pp. 262-263.
This page was constructed by Ron Gilmour with the
assistance of Mr. Bill Burk, Mrs. Mary Felton,
Dr. Jim Massey, and Mr. Jim Murphy.
of North Carolina Chapel Hill Herbarium (NCU)
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
Updated: 2 April 2019