Liriodendron tulipifera flower

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


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Information compiled February 2014 by Carol Ann McCormick,
Assistant Curator of the University of North Carolina Herbarium.

Donald J. Drapalik
(1934 - )

The University of North Carolina Herbarium (NCU) has catalogued to date about 120 vascular plant specimens collected by Donald Drapalik. Most specimens were collected in Georgia where he spent most of his academic career.  As databasing of the entire collection continues, no doubt more of Drapalik’s specimens will be found.

Other herbaria that hold specimens collected by Drapalik include Georgia Southern University Herbarium (GAS) and Florida Natural History Musuem (FLAS).

Donald J. Drapalik, ca. 2003
Photograph courtesy of Georgia Southern University


Donald Joseph Drapalik earned a B.A. from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 1959 and a M.A. in botany from that same institution in 1962.  He earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970 under the direction of C. Ritchie Bell.  The title of Drapalik’s doctoral thesis was “A biosystematics study of the genus Matelea in the southeastern United States.”



Drapalik with a Matelea vine in
Lost Creek Forest, Thomas County, Georgia
October 10, 2010
Photo courtesy of Friends of Lost Creek Forest


Drapalik began his long association with Georgia Southern University in 1968 as an assistant professor.  He was promoted to associate professor in 1973, and attained full professor in 2002.  He retired from the Department of Biology at Georgia Southern University on June 30, 2003.1 


“Dr. Drapalik helped protect the forested tract known as the Herty Pines on [Georgia Southern University] campus, when that tract was being considered as a football stadium site.  With Emeritus Professor Dr. Frank French, he worked to protect habitat, design trails and provide interpretive signs for the Herty Nature Preserve.  Dr. Drapalik has overseen the curation and development of the Georgia Southern Herbarium [GAS], a wonderful resource and record of regional plant natural history.  This collection has approximately 16,000 mounted specimens, plus several thousand more that will be incorporated after proper preparation.  He is known for his research program on Elliottia racemosa, the Georgia plume.  Dr. Drapalik has also cared for the departmental greenhouse.  He helped with the early formation of the Georgia Southern University Botanical Garden and has served on the Garden Advisory Committee and Board of Directors.  His dedication to professional, departmental, and university service led to departmental and college service awards.  In addition, Dr. Drapalik won a 2001 Georgia Southern University Excellence in Service Award and the College of Science & Technology Service Award.  He has been active in professional organizations, particularly the Association of Southeastern Biologists and Georgia Academy of Sciences.  He was active in undergraduate and graduate student instruction and mentoring.  He served on the committees of 27 graduate students.  His students will fondly remember him as someone who loved to teach field botany courses.” 1



Elliottia racemosa
Photo courtesy of




Drapalik, Donald J. (2000)  2000 Elizabeth Ann Bartholomew Award Recipient:  C. Ritchie Bell.  Castanea 65(3):  173-176.

Wolfe, Lorne M. and Donald J. Drapalik (1999)  Variation in the degree of andromonoecy in Prunus caroliniana.  Castanea 64(3):  259-262.

Bennett, Missy Mallard, Donald J. Drapalik and Frank E. French (1983)  Herty Nature Trail Guide, Georgia Southern University.  Statesboro, Ga.:  Georgia Southern College Museum.

Drapalik, Donald J. (1983) Charles H. Herty Nature Preserve Trail guide for the Wetfoot (Short) Trail.  Statesboro, Ga.:  Georgia Southern College.

Drapalik, Donald J. (1970) 
A biosystematics study of the genus Matelea in the southeastern United States.  Chapel Hill, N.C.:  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Botany. 

Bruce, James G., Donald J. Drapalik and Wayne R. Faircloth (1974)  Lycopodium cernuum in Georgia’s coastal plain.  American Fern Journal 64(4):  120-121.

Mohlenbrock, Robert H. and Donald J. Drapalik (1962)  The Cyperaceae of Illinois.  American Midland Naturalist 67(2):  398-423.

Drapalik, Donald Joseph (1962)  The effects of inundation upon lowland groundcover plants.  Carbondale, Il.:  Southern Illinois University, Dept. of Botany. 

Drapalik, Donald J. and Robert H. Mohlenbrock (1960)  The taxonomic status of Eleocharis elliptica.  American Midland Naturalist 63(1):  143-148.

Drapalik, Donald J. and Robert H. Mohlenbrock (1960)  A study of Eleocharis, series Ovatea.  American Midland Naturalist 64(2):  339-341.

Drapalik, Donald J. and Robert H. Mohlenbrock (1960)  Eleocharis elliptica and E. compressa:  Further notes and corrections.  American Midland Naturalist 64(2):  501-502.

Mohlenbrock, Robert H. and Donald J. Drapalik (1960)  Eleocharis, subseries Palustres, in Illinois.  American Midland Naturalist 64(1):  224-228.


1.  Georgia Southern University Department of Biology [newsletter] 2 (1):  1-2. 


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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: February 2014