Collectors of the UNC Herbarium
Henry Roland Totten
Henry Roland Totten was born in Matthews,
North Carolina on November 6, 1892. He graduated from the Yadkin Collegiate
Institute in 1909 and received his A.B. degree from the University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1913. The title of his Masters
thesis (1914) was “I. Development of the seed in Mayaca aubleti; II. Developemnt of
the seed in the cleistogamic flower of Specularia perfoliata.” Totten studied fungi for his Doctoral
thesis (1923), “Description, life history, and mycorrhizal character of Rhizopogon parasiticus
Coker & Totten n. sp.” Upon completed his graduate work under Dr.
William Chambers Coker at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
Totten promptly joined the Botany Department as a faculty member, teaching
general botany, dendrology, pharmacognosy, and
His name is especially associated for most
people with the woody flora of the southeastern United States, and his book
on this topic (co-authored with Dr. Coker) is still an excellent guide to
the trees in our area.
Dr. Totten also wrote the section on the Fagaceae (the oak and beech family) for the Manual
of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas, a challenging job in our
A hybrid oak, Quercus
was named in his honor by Lionel Melvin; a specimen currently grows near the front entrance to
the Totten Center at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Dr. Totten was
instrumental in founding the garden and also served as director of the Coker
Arboretum. He died in Chapel Hill on February 9, 1974, only three weeks after
the death of his wife, Addie.
Photograph by Arleigh Birchler, 2014
Two samples of Dr. Totten's handwriting are
below. One is a letter from Dr. Totten to Alma Holland Beers, a research
assistant in the Botany department. The other sample is a page from one of
Totten's field notebooks, noting collections of some trees from UNC campus.
Both may be clicked upon to view a larger image.
The manuscript materials on this page are from the
archives of the Herbarium at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
and are used with permission.
Further materials are located in the Coker
papers in the Southern
Historical Collection, Manuscript Department, Wilson Library, and in the papers of the
UNC Botany Department.
A bibliography of Totten's
theses and publications has been assembled by Rhonda Teague Rogers and
emended by William R. Burk. The best published source of biographical
information on Totten is a memorial piece which appeared in the Journal of
the Elisha Mitchell Scientific Society, vol. 89, pp. 262-263.
page was constructed by Ron Gilmour with the assistance of Mr. Bill Burk,
Mrs. Mary Felton,
Dr. Jim Massey, and Mr. Jim Murphy. Additional information and corrections
Curriculum North Carolina UNC
In Ecology Botanical Garden Biology Department
of North Carolina Herbarium
CB# 3280, Coker Hall
University of North Carolina
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3280
phone: (919) 962-6931
9 June 2016