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 Chapel Hill Herbarium.
Special thanks to Niki Wallace, Alumni Records, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Patricia Anne Whitlock Nielsen
(b. 8 June 1935 )

The University of North Carolina Herbarium has about 40 vascular plant specimens collected by Patricia Anne Whitlock Nielsen, but as cataloging of our collection continues we will probably find more.  All specimens curated by NCU were collected in 1959 and she used “P.A. Whitlock” on labels.  Other herbaria curating specimens collected by Ms. Whitlock Nielsen include Carnegie Mellon Museum of Natural History (CM), Delta State University (DSC), Georgia Southern University (GAS), Missouri Botanical Garden (MO), Murray State University (MUR), New York Botanical Garden (NY), University of Florida (FLAS), University of Mississippi (MISS), and Western Carolina University (WCUH). 

Vascular plant specimens curated by NCU and other herbaria can be searched at 

Patricia Anne Whitlock was born in Stanly County, North Carolina to Eula Vivian Melton and John U. Whitlock.  She began her undergraduate education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro then transferred to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to earn the degree of Bachelor of Science in Science Teaching in 1957.  She studied soil fungi with Dr. John Nathaniel Couch and earned a MA in 1960.  The title of her thesis was “Studies in the distribution and taxonomy of some members of the Actinoplanaceae of North Carolina.” 

In 1960 Anne Whitlock married Peter Tryon Nielsen (24 December 1933 – 11 June 2001).  Anne says, “Peter was a physics major as an undergraduate, and was the first person allowed to go directly into the PhD program in botany at UNC-CH without first completing a Master’s degree.  We met in one of Dr. Radford’s classes.  I was his Teaching Assistant!”2  Dr. Peter Nielsen taught Biology at James Madison University. The Dr. Peter T. Nielsen Annual Award for Botanical Studies at JMU was established by Anne W. Nielson in memory of her husband.1

Anne Whitlock, ca. 1955

Photo courtesy of University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Ms. Nielsen taught biology at Bridgewater College (Bridgewater, Virginia), James Mason University (Harrisonburg, Virginia), and Blue Ridge Community College (Weyers Cave, Virginia).  Ms. Nielsen was a founder of the Blue Ridge Community College Arboretum which focuses on the native flora of the area.  Though retired from teaching biology, Ms. Nielsen is active in many community organizations, including Climate Action Alliance of the Valley which educates citizens and community leaders about climate change.  “I am now helping to plant and maintain a half-mile walking/prayer path at Harrisonburg Mennonite Church.  It is planted with native trees and flora… I am compiling an on-line photograph album of common weeds in the seedling/rosette stages, as that recognition seems to be the major problem in garden maintenance… I’ve discovered, as I’ve grown older, that I never learned anything that didn’t eventually prove useful.”2






1.  Nielsen award
2.  Personal communication, email from Nielson to McCormick 5 March 2018.


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


Last Updated: 5 March 2018