Liriodendron tulipifera flower

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


Collectors of the UNC Herbarium

William Clarence Legg
(1903 - 1952)

Information compiled January 2006 by Carol Ann McCormick,
Assistant Curator of the University of North Carolina Herbarium.

Special thanks to Donna Ford-Werntz, Curator of WVA, for her assistance.

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has only a few of William Clarence Legg's collections. Weldon Boone's A History of Botany in West Virginia (1965, McLain Printing Company, Parsons, West Virginia) states, "Many of [Legg's] interesting collections of plants may be seen in the West Virginia University Herbarium." Donna Ford-Werntz, the Curator of WVA, reports that, with approximately 80% of their collection databased, 34 specimens collected by Legg have been catalogued.

Rubus leggii was named by H. A. and Tyreeca Davis in William Clarence Legg's honor (Davis, H.A. and Tyreeca Davis. 1953. The genus Rubus in West Virginia. CASTANEA 18(1): 1-31). "This species is dedicated to the memory of the late William C. Legg, naturalist of Mount Lookout, Nicholas County, West Virginia, whom we accompanied on several pleasant and profitable field trips" (p. 27-28).

Core, Earl L.. 1952. William Clarence Legg..CASTANEA 17(4): 167.

William Clarence ("Bill") Legg, nationally known naturalist of Mt. Lookout, West Virginia, died on May 30, 1952, as the result of a Memorial Day automobile accident near Summersville. He was born October 18, 1903.

He was a graduate of the Nicholas County Schools and a veteran of World War II. He had been visited at his rural home by naturalists from many parts of this county and from some foreign countries. He supplied materials and specimens to numerous educational institutions. Many of his plant collections may be seen at West Virginia University. He provided materials and assistance for books of various nature authors, including Don Echelberry of Long Island, N.Y.. Recently he had compiled notes for a book of his own.

At the time of his death he was making plans for a scientific expedition to Central America.

At Mt. Lookout he operated a small-scale nature-publishing house, "Twintiliana Press", where he issued little pamphlets to distribute to his friends. A sample is "Some Notes on Holly," published Feb. 5, 1947. "This," he said, "is a very limited edition -- in fact, so limited that it's about the same as talking to myself." A selection from this illustrates his charming, informal style:

"A holly is a sort of 'apartment' for myriads of insects. Some eat the leaf tissue between the leaf surfaces, some eat the bloom, the leaves, berries and many of them eat each other. As Fabre said, each is a guest, and in turn, the dish at the table of life. There's a balance here as in all of Nature and the little black fly, Phytomza ilicis, whose grub mars the holly leaf with its mine would increase this damage many fold were it not for a certain little wasp (Braconid, it seems) that preys on the fly. And I've seen this little wasp devoured by a larger insect (apparently a Dolichopodidae), which keeps its long abdomen curled up underneath itself. Conflicting with man's interest, ilicis is considered harmful, the other one beneficial, but there's no such distinction in Nature. They each fit the niche that they were adapted for. Like the hawk or an owl, they both fit perfectly in the niches they were created for. They know no other way than the beak and claw way so the gun has never 'educated' them to a man's way.

What has a hawk to do with holly? My alibi for this dissertation is probably that bugs eat holly, chickens eat bugs and hawks eat chickens."


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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: 6 September 2011