Description: Liriodendron tulipifera flower

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



Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Information compiled by Carol Ann McCormick,
Curator of the University of North Carolina Herbarium.
Special thanks to Jan Blodgett, College Archivist of Davidson College
and to
Beth Harris of the Wyndham Robertson Library of Hollins University.

Paul Morrison Patterson
(25 February 1902 – 3 May 1985)

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has catalogued about 80 specimens collected by Paul M. Patterson. Though primarily a bryologist, Patterson collected vascular plants as well, and both are represented in NCU’s holdings.  Virginia, particularly around the Mountain Lake Biological Station in Giles County, was a frequent collecting location.  As NCU’s collection continues to be catalogued it is likely that more specimens collected by Patterson will be found.

According to the Harvard Herbarium Index of Botanists, other herbaria that hold Patterson’s specimens include NY (New York Botanical Garden; primary repository) and NEBC (which was incorporated into Harvard University Herbaria). 3  Herbaria that hold bryophytes collected by Paul M. Patterson include BRIT (Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth), CAS (California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco), CHRB (Chrysler Herbarium of Rutgers University), F (Field Museum in Chicago), MO (Missouri Botanical Garden), SIU (Southern Illinois University), FLAS (University of Florida), TENN (University of Tennessee), WTU (University of Washington), and UWEC (University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire).

Paul Morrison Patterson
(ca. 1967)
Photograph courtesy of Wyndham Robertson Library of Hollins University


Paul Morrison Patterson was born to Christian missionary parents in Tenghsien (or Sutsien), Kiangsu Province, China in 1902.  He attended Shanghai American School and got his high school education in Lexington, Virginia.7  Staunton, Virginia was considered to be Patterson’s home, though he only visited there sporadically during his youth.4,5 He earned a B.A. from Davidson College in North Carolina in 1925.  He studied under Dr. William Chambers Coker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and earned a Masters Degree in 1927 with his thesis, “Fertilization and oogenesis in Achlya colorata.” He earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1933.7


From 1927 to 1928 Patterson served as an Assistant Professor at Davidson College, from 1930 to 1933 he was an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina, and then taught at Chester High School & Junior College in Chester, South Carolina from 1933-1934.7  Patterson spent the majority of his career on the faculty of Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia.  He was on the biology faculty at Hollins beginning in September of 1935 and retired in June, 1967.  Patterson taught for several years at Methodist College in Fayetteville, North Carolina after his long career at Hollins.8


Patterson served as the President of the Sullivant Moss Society 1947-1948 and the President of the American Bryological Society from 1948-1949.7


“Over a period of years, Patterson studied over 3,000 unreported collections made mostly by personnel associated with various colleges and universities, as well as the U.S. National Herbarium.  These and his own collections (which numbered over 1,500 in 1953-1954 alone) covered much of the state [of Virginia] and resulted in numerous noteworthy records as well as 41 new state records which he published in his Bryophytes of Virginia series (Patterson 1950, 1955). “ 2

Entodon sullivantii C.M.
Photo by Russ Kleinman & Karen Blisard, Black Range, Railroad Canyon, New Mexico, 2012

Paul M. Patterson collected Grimmia pilifera, Fissidnes osmundoides, and Eurhynchium pulchellum, and Entodon sullivantii at Egg Rock in Cabarrus County, North Carolina in 1927.  According to Jan Blodgett, College Archivist at Davidson College, Egg Rock was 20 feet high and 40 feet wide and “became famous after Charles Hamilton, a local farmer – and later mayor of Davidson – had postcards made around 1900 showing the large egg-shaped stone perched on two other stones.  Davidson [College] students and town residents made the 6-mile or so trek to the farm in Cabarrus county frequently.  Dr. Chalmers Davidson noted that “it used to be a favorite place for social gatherings of students and townspeople – when six miles was a pleasant ride in the country – and also for fraternity initiations.”  Sadly, [in 1972] the rock, a little like Humpty-Dumpty, came crashing down…  In [Mary Hamilton Stephens] memoirs, Living through Changes in the Twentieth Century, she writes, “one of the fraternities at Davidson College had a picnic there one day and put dynamite under ‘the egg’ and blew it off.  Their sponsor came to my brother, Tom, and said they had too much to drink and were terribly, terribly sorry and was there anything they could do?  But it was too late, there was nothing that could be done, so we decided to forgive them, but we all cried as if we had lost a member of our family.” 1

Egg Rock, ca. 1919


NCU is in the midst of cataloguing our bryophytes, including those collected by Paul M. Patterson.  Please visit The Consortium of North American Bryophyte Herbaria to search our collection.  If you are interested in helping us enter data into the database, please contact NCU’s Curator, Carol Ann McCormick



Patterson, Paul M. (1927)  Fertilization and oogenesis in Achlya colorata.  M.A. Thesis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Patterson, Paul M. (1930)  The mosses of Mt. Desert Island, Maine.  The Bryologist 33(6):  83-89.

Patterson, Paul M. and Eleonora Armitage  (1939)  The Sullivant Moss Society’s 1939 Foray.  The Bryologist 42(5):  125-128.

Patterson, Paul M. (1940)  A preliminary list of the mosses of Mountain Lake, Virginia.  The Bryologist 43(6):  159-166.

--- (1940)  Corticolous bryophyte societies at Mountain Lake, Virginia.  Am. Midland Naturalist 23(2)  421-441.

--- (1943)  Some ecological observations on bryophtyes.  The Bryologist 46(1):  1-13.

--- (1943)  Additional mosses from Mountain Lake, Virginia.  The Bryologist 46(4):  126-128.

Flowers, Seville, Paul M. Patterson, Frances E. Wynne, Henry S. Conard (1945)  The bryophyte herbarium.  A moss collection:  preparation and care.  The Bryologist 48(4):  198-202.

Patterson, Paul M. (1944)  Additional mosses from Mountain Lake, Virginia. II.  The Bryologist 47(1):  23-29.

--- (1946)  Osmotic values of bryophytes and problems presented by refractory types.  Am. J. of Botany 33(7):  604-611.

---  (1949)  The bryophytes of Virginia.  I.  Bryophytes reported in the literature.  Castanea 14(1):  1-49.

--- (1949)  Our Society’s new name:  The American Bryological Society.  The Bryologist 52(1):  28.

--- (1950)  The bryophytes of Virginia.  II.  New or noteworthy records.  The Bryologist 53(1):  27-42.

--- (1953)  The aberrant behavior of the peristome teeth of certain mosses.  The Bryologist 56(3):  157-159.

--- (1953)  Discovery of Forsstroemia ohioensis in Virginia with an examination of the validity of the generic name.  The Bryologist 56(4):  249-256.

--- (1955)  Additions and corrections to the bryophyte flora of the Shenandoah National Park.  Castanea 20(1):  19-24.

--- (1955)  Bryophtes of Virginia.  IV.  New or noteworthy records.  II.  The Bryologist 58(3):  215-225.

--- (1957)  The effect of indole-3-acetic acid on certain growth phases in bryophtyes.  The Bryologist 60(3):  277-283.

Patterson, Paul M. and Jane S. Baber.  (1961)  Factors breaking vegetative dormancy in certain mosses.  The Bryologist 64(4):  336-338.

Patterson, Paul M. and A. Sewell Freeman (1963)  The effect of photoperiod on certain ferns.  Am. Fern J. 53(3):  126-128. 

--- (1964)  Problems presented by byrophytic xerophytism.  The Bryologist 67(4):  390-396.

--- (1965)  John Clayton’s collection of Virginia mosses.  The Bryologist 68(1):  105-109.


1.  Blodgett, Jan.  2011.  Around the D:  Egg Rock.  The Davidson College Archives & Special Collections Blog.  10 August 2011.  accessed on 19 March 2013.

2.  Breil, David A.  2003.  Common and occasional bryophytes of the Virginia Piedmont.  Banisteria 21:  3-27.

3.  Index of Botanists.  Harvard University Herbaria.  accessed on 19 March 2013. 

4.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Passport Applications for Travel to China, 1906-1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1244180 / MLR Number A1 540; Box #: 4421; Volume #: 9.  Accessed thru 19 March 2013

5.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, 1906-1925; Collection Number: ARC Identifier 1244183 / MLR Number A1 544; Box #: 4487; Volume #: 4.  Accessed thru 19 March 2013.
6.  Source Citation: Number: 226-40-1490; Issue State: Virginia; Issue Date: Before 1951.

Source Information: Social Security Death Index [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2011.

Original data: Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.  Accessed on 19 March 2013.

7.  Virginians in the Public Eye  The Commonwealth, August 1951, p. 28.

8.  pers. comm., Beth Harris, Special Collections & Govt. Information Librarian, Wyndham Robertson Library, Hollis University.


   Description: Curriculum in Ecology                 Description: North Carolina Botanical Garden               Description: Biology Department
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         In Ecology                              Botanical Garden                   Biology Department


University of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931


Last Updated: 29 August 2016