Bessey Picklesimer’s Little-known Quantitative Study on the Vegetation of a Cedar Glade in the Central Basin of Tennessee


Jerry M. Baskin

Additional Authors:

Carol C. Baskin


March – 1996


Vegetation, Cedar, Tennessee

Data in Bessey C. Picklesimer’s (1927) unpublished M.A. thesis on the vegetation analysis of a cedar glade in the Central Basin of Tennessee are put into a format that will allow them to be used by ecologists, and the results are compared with those of other quantitative studies on cedar glade plant communities in the Basin. Picklesimer’s study is significant because it contains the most comprehensive data set available documenting the importance of the two shallow-soil dominants Arenaria patula and Sedum pulchellum in the vegetation of cedar glades in the Central Basin. The results of her vegetation analysis are in general agreement with those of previous workers in that: (1) the C3 winter annual dicots S. pulchellum, A. patula, and Leavenworthia spp. are major spring-aspect dominants of xeric open glades; (2) the C4 summer annual grass Sporobolus vaginiflorus is the primary dominant of subxeric open glades in summer; (3) Forestiera ligustrina, Symphoricarpos orbiculatus, and Rhus aromatica are the dominant shrubs in glade thickets/woods; and (4) Juniperus virginiana, Celtis laevigata, and Ulmus alata are the most important trees in glade woods. Floristic similarities and dissimilarities between the cedar glade studied by Picklesimer and those studied by other vegetation ecologists in the Center Basin are discussed.