Field Trip Descriptions

FT 2

Ferns And Other Plants of the Labarque Creek Watershed

 $ 125.00


LaBarque Creek is one of the last relatively unaltered permanent stream systems in the St. Louis metro region. It represents an unusual example of a successful partnership to fulfill unified conservation goals in a mosaic of public and private land ownerships. The watershed encompasses some 13 square miles in northwestern Jefferson County and is notable not only for its rich stream biota (including 42 fish species), but also for its diversity of habitats and plant communities. The creek cuts through thick layers of the Ordovician-age St. Peters sandstone formation, forming abrupt transitions from dry glades and woodlands on the ridgetops to picturesque sandstone bluffs with associated overhangs and waterfalls, along with mesic forests and a range of open to sheltered mesic streamside habitats.

The area supports a relatively rich flora, with 173 bryophyte and more than 770 vascular plant species documented thus far, including 27 species of state conservation concern. The pteridophytes comprise 28 ferns and 5 lycophytes. Many of these are typical Midwestern species, but some are restricted to acidic substrates and a small colony of Lycopodium dendroideum represents a southwestern disjunct from the main distribution of this species.

Moderately difficult walking, often off-trail, over sometimes rocky or steep terrain

Trip Leaders: George Yatskievych, Missouri Botanical Garden, and Nels Holmberg , Webster Groves Nature Study Society.


Missouri Botanical Garden Tour

 $   50.00


This trip will encompass two different aspects of the Missouri Botanical Garden. During the morning, participants will tour the main Garden grounds. An introduction to the site will be followed by a guided tour that will feature some of the special collections of living plants and highlight some of the interesting specimen plants growing here (a botanical treasure hunt). After this, participants will be free to tour the grounds on their own until lunch time.

Lunch will be followed by a tour of the Monsanto Research Center, which houses the MBG library and part of the MO herbarium. This tour will focus on the Garden’s research collections and its programs in floristics, systematics, ethnobotany, and conservation. It will also highlight the herbarium and library’s historical depth along with recent efforts to digitize specimen and literature resources and serve them through the Tropicos database and the Botanicus Project.

Easy walking.

Trip leaders: Doug Holland, Missouri Botanical Garden, Jim Solomon , Missouri Botanical Garden, and Peter Stevens, University of Missouri–St. Louis and Missouri Botanical Garden.


Prairies, Glades, and Woodlands of the Ozark Border

 $   70.00


This trip will explore three important plant communities in Missouri. Tallgrass prairie once covered about1/3 of the state, but has been reduced to less than ½ percent of its original cover. Because most of the remaining prairies are far from St. Louis in the western part of Missouri, this trip will instead visit the Prairie Garden Trust, a 180 acre nature preserve. Management here to restore overgrown woodlands and to create new upland prairie habitat was started by the Domke family in 1971 and was so successful that the family placed the property into a private trust in 1995 to continue these efforts in perpetuity.

Photographers should note that our host, Dr. Henry Domke, is an accomplished nature photographer who has done extensive work at the site. Afterward, the group will travel to two nearby state-owned sites, the Marshall Diggs and Whetstone Conservation Areas. These properties contain a matrix of woodland and glade habitats as well as some streamside vegetation, and also exhibit a series of different land management techniques.

Moderate walking, including some off-trail.

Trip leaders: Paul McKenzie , U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and John George, Missouri Department of Conservation.


Sandstone Landscapes of Ste. Genevieve County

 $   60.00


This group will travel south to Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, and visit Pickle Springs Natural Area and Hickory Canyons Natural Area. In this part of the state, deep beds of Cambrian-age LaMotte sandstone have become dissected by Pickle Creek and surrounding streams, with the production of scenic box canyons, outcrops, and escarpments. Both areas support a rich flora with many regionally uncommon and rare species, from partridge berry (Mitchella repens), rattlesnake plantain (Goodyera pubescens), and Missouri’s only wild azalea (Rhododendron prinophyllum) to rich assemblages of mosses, ferns, and liverworts. Sandstone woodland is the predominant community type, with inclusions of mesic sandstone forest, but a variety of plant communities exist ranging from open glades to mesic streambanks.

These nature preserves also contain some of the northernmost populations of shortleaf pine (Pinus echinata). The Pickle Springs trail is 2 miles in length and Hickory Canyons has two shorter trails totaling 1 ¼ miles.

Moderately difficult walking, over sometimes rocky or steep terrain.

Trip leader: Bob Gillespie, Missouri Department of Conservation


Shaw Nature Reserve

 $   50.00


Purchased by the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1925, the land that is now the Shaw Nature Reserve occupies about 2,500 acres in Franklin County, near the advancing front of the St. Louis metropolitan region. Over time, the property has served many functions, from an arboretum and plant trials center to an outdoor classroom, and outdoor laboratory. The Reserve is also a regional leader in native plant gardening and the focus of extensive native plant community restorations. The intensively managed portion of the site includes the Whitmire Wildflower Garden, with an impressive array of plants native to Missouri and surrounding states.

The Ecological Reserve portion contains 13 miles of hiking trails through a full array of Ozark Border landscapes, including a state-designated Natural Area along the Meramec River with an old-growth bottomland forest, oak-hickory upland forests and woodlands, dolomite glades and bluffs, and one of the oldest tallgrass prairie plantings in the state, as well as a series of wetlands.

Participants will tour the variety of natural habitats, visit the intensively cultivated areas, and learn about restoration efforts and research projects at the Reserve.

Moderate walking on paths and hiking trails.

Trip leaders: Peter Hoch, Missouri Botanical Garden, and James Trager, Shaw Nature Reserve


Wetland Flora of the Mississippi Embayment

 $   65.00


The Missouri portion of the Mississippi Embayment once included more than 3,600 square miles of bottomland forests, swamps, river meanders, oxbows, sloughs, bottomland prairies, and other floodplain habitats. The overwhelming majority of the region has been destroyed, mostly by conversion to agriculture. The largest remaining area of wetlands in southeastern Missouri occurs at Mingo National Wildlife Refuge (21,592 acres), located near the town of Puxico in portions of Bollinger, Stoddard, and Wayne Counties. This area was set aside in 1944, primarily as a refuge for migratory waterfowl, and thus has been altered hydrologically to facilitate management. However, a more than 7,700 acre portion was designated as a Wilderness Area by the federal government in 1976. Mingo NWR includes a large system of canals and pools flanked by wetland vegetation. There are extensive bottomland forests and cypress swamps, as well as several meandering, more natural waterways.

Located at the edge of the Ozarks, the southern edge of the floodplain also is flanked by a series of sandstone bluffs that harbor a strikingly different flora from the bottomlands. About 500 species of vascular plants have been documented to occur at the site, including fifteen species of state conservation concern.

This field trip will start at the visitor center for an orientation, followed by a walk along a boardwalk through the swamp and a driving tour with several stops to see different habitats and species.

Relatively easy walking, some over wet soil.

Trip leader: Allan Bornstein, Southeast Missouri State University

FT 8

A Day at Monsanto

 $   50.00


Monsanto, a world leader in the biotechnology industry, as well as in plant breeding and agricultural products, is headquartered in the St. Louis region. This trip will tour both of the company’s campuses, each of which has a different focus.

The Creve Coeur Campus is home to Monsanto’s programs in Breeding and Agronomics Technology. The plant breeding programs still involve many traditional techniques, which are combined with modern genetics and production methods to develop seeds that offer the best yields for specific growing conditions. The tour will highlight the sampling and testing protocols, seed coating technologies. Additionally, the tour will describe Monsanto’s efforts to develop crops that are healthier for humans, as well as to summarize the company’s programs to optimize crop yields. The Creve Coeur campus also is home to Monsanto’s research involving glyphosate herbicides.

After lunch, the tour will visit the Chesterfield Campus, which house’s Monsanto’s Biotechnology programs. Here, the group will be introduced to the various stages in the development of agronomic products using modern genetic techniques.

Points covered will include:

  1. The discovery process of genes with potentially useful products
  2. The insertion of novel genetic traits into host plant material
  3. Propagation of plants using tissue culture. The tour will visit the greenhouse complex and growth chamber facility, and participants will see examples of plants bred for special traits such as drought tolerance, insect protection, and weed resistance

Easy walking.

Trip leaders: Wendy Applequist, Missouri Botanical Garden, & Melody Carrato, Monsanto


Cahokian Mound Builders, Horseradishes, and Organic Farming in the American Bottom

 $   55.00


This trip will combine examination of ancient American Indian agriculture and natural resource use with visits to modern agricultural sites. Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located just across the Mississippi River from St. Louis in Illinois. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that preserves nearly 100 mounds and associated artifacts of the Mississippian Culture (ca. 1000–1400 AD). It was once home to more than 10,000 inhabitants and supported a diverse farming system that combined native temperate and tropical crops along with intensive utilization of wild and managed plant and animal resources. The trip will tour the excellent visitors center and gardens and visit some of the mounds.

After lunch, the group will contrast ancient agriculture with a visit to examples of contemporary farming. By its own pronouncement, Collinsville, Illinois is the horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) capitol of the world, and participants will learn about large-scale cultivation of horseradish plants via clonal propagation.

Finally, the group will visit a 5-acre organic vegetable farm that participates in communitysupported agriculture (CSA) programs in the St. Louis area.

Easy walking.

Trip leaders: Gayle Fritz, Dept. of Anthropology, Washington University, and Allison Miller, Department of Biology, St. Louis University

FT 10

Economic Botany Tour of St. Louis City

 $   40.00


This trip will visit an urban farm and community garden in St. Louis, as well as tours and tastings at a local brewery and distillery.

The City Seeds Program, managed by Gateway Greening (an affiliate of Missouri Botanical Garden), is one of several urban farms found within the city, This innovative program provides job training, therapeutic horticulture, and education on nutrition and food preparation for individuals dealing with, or at risk of, chronic homelessness, substance abuse, mental illness, and recidivism. In addition, City Seeds produces and distributes locally grown fresh food to St. Louis residents in all income brackets and serves as a resource for community education, sustainable urban agriculture, and food security.

After a morning stop at the City Seeds garden in downtown St. Louis, there will be a visit to the Bell Community Garden in North St. Louis. It is the oldest and largest community garden in the city and is also managed by Gateway Greening.

The afternoon will be devoted to plant-based beverages. The Urban Chestnut Brewery has recently opened its doors in midtown St. Louis. The brewmaster will give a tour of the facilities as well as explain how beer is made. Finally, there will be a stop at Square One Brewery and Distillery, which has recently begun to distill several classic spirits as well as some new and adventurous ones. The tour will explain the distillation processes as well as how plants are used for fermentation and flavoring. A tasting will conclude the day’s tour.

Easy walking

***Note that participants must be at least 21 years old.

Trip leader: Bruce Ponman, Missouri Botanical Garden


Exploring Forest Park

$   50.00


At 1,371 acres, Forest Park is about 500 acres larger than New York City’s Central Park. Located just west of the conference hotel, this large urban park was the site of the 1904 World’s Fair. Today it houses a number of the areas important cultural attractions, including the zoo and art, science and history museums, as well as serving as a hub for numerous other activities. However, the park also has a number of natural and semi-natural areas, including extensive wetland plantings, a mesic upland forest, and a large created savanna area.

Urban parks have formidable challenges in maintaining their uncultivated areas, particularly in controlling invasive exotic plant species and in maintaining the health of their trees. Participants will tour Forest Park by bus, with several stops to walk through different natural and semi-natural features.

Easy Walking

Trip leader: Dr. Jim H. Wilson,


Tyson Research Center

 $   50.00


Located just southwest of St. Louis, Washington University’s Tyson Research Center is a ca. 800 hectare field station embedded within a broader landscape of natural and semi-natural ecosystems, and amidst an ever-growing suburban population. Experimental and observational research at Tyson focuses primarily on understanding the processes by which biodiversity is maintained and restored within the context of anthropogenic impacts, including habitat loss and degradation, invasive species, infectious diseases, and global change.

In addition, Tyson is home to the ‘Living Learning Center’, which in 2010 became one of the first two buildings in the world to have achieved the most stringent sustainable architecture certification available — that is, status as a ‘Living Building’. In addition to a small presentation and a tour of the living building, small groups will tour Tyson’s natural ecosystems and experimental venues, including: herbaceous communities in experimentally restored dolomite glades established to examine mechanisms of species-area relationships and the maintenance of rare/endemic species; prairie restorations to examine how native communities influence invasibility; the longest-running temperate forest dynamics plot (established in the 1980s), which is being used to compare forest dynamics and structure between temperate and tropical forests; rates of invasive species spread and their impacts on native communities; and experimental wetland studies.

The tour will also highlight some of Tyson’s past, including an abandoned small mining town and a WWII era munitions storage facility (complete with more than 50 underground storage bunkers), as well as its future as a state-of-the-art research and educational facility.

Relatively easy walking, but some off-trail.

Trip leader: Jon Chase, Washington University

FT 13

Historical Section Trip

$   20.00


This field trip will provide attendees a behind the scenes visit to the extensive library and herbarium collections of the Missouri Botanical Garden. In addition to a general introduction to these collections, this tour will include a presentation of original materials related to the Historical Section Symposium “The Missouri Connection.” Special attention will be paid to George Engelmann and his contributions to Missouri botany and early botanical exploration in the western United States.

Attendees will view original herbarium specimens collected by Engelmann and colleagues, books that belonged to him, as well as original Engelmann correspondence and manuscripts. Visitors will also have the opportunity to view archival and herbarium material related to Edgar Anderson, Thomas Nuttall and Joseph Ewan.

Easy walking

Trip leaders: Doug Holland and Jim Solomon, both Missouri Botanical Garden





Participating Societies
American Fern Society
Society for Economic Botany
American Society of Plant Taxonomists
Botanical Society of America