Discovering Schweinitz's Sunflower

Aug 3, 2019

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The Schweinitz sunflower was named for Lewis David de Scweinitz, an American botanist with important German connections. Born in Pennsylvania, he was a descendant of the founder of the Moravian Church, and traveled to Germany for training at a seminary there. . Returning to the United States, he worked for that Church in Salem, North Carolina, and also pursued his studies in local mycology --- cataloging nearly 1400 species of fungi from that area. Fortunately for us, he also collected plants and his specimen of the Schweinitz sunflower was part of those efforts. He returned to his native Pennsylvania and eventually he authored three publications on American fungi detailing over 4000 species. At his death, his personal herbarium collection was the largest private one in the country. I like mushrooms but must admit I find sunflowers a little more exciting!