At the University of West Alabama, we take pride in the fact that our faculty works hard to continuously make strides and advancements in their respective fields of study. This happened recently, when one University of West Alabama professor made headlines for his discovery of two new species of mint in Alabama.
As reported by The Meridian Star, Brian R. Keener, professor of biology at UWA, along with Samford University Professor Lawrence J. Davenport, recently discovered and named two rare species of hedge nettles—a large group of plants in the mint family. The two new species were named Alabama Hedge-Nettle (Stachys alabamica) and Nelson’s Hedge-Nettle (Stachys nelsonii), after hedge-nettle expert John Nelson of the University of South Carolina.
These apparently rare species exist only in the Talladega Mountains in east central Alabama and the Talladega National Forest. The Alabama Hedge-Nettle appears in the sandy area of a half mile stretch of Cheaha Creek in Clay County, while Nelson’s Hedge-Nettle occurs in a single population on Horn Mountain in Talladega County.
The discovery of the two new species of mint in Alabama by Keener and Davenport and their research on the new species has been published in the Journal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, where Keener is also a research associate. Representative specimens of the two new species of mint will be curated in the UWA Herbarium. In addition, images and data will be available on the Alabama Plant Atlas—a joint effort by the Alabama Herbarium Consortium and UWA to provide users access to searchable plant database.
“Alabama’s biodiversity is full of surprises,” Keener said. “Not just in plants, but new, never-before-named species among unrelated groups continue to be discovered. It is amazing what is still out there just waiting to be found.”
UWA Online would like to congratulate Keener and Davenport on their accomplishments in discovering two new species of mint in Alabama!
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