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Memoir

Edward Voss
Regents' Proceedings 90

Edward G. Voss, professor of botany and curator of vascular plants, retired from active faculty status on August 31, 1996.

Professor Voss received his B.A. degree from Denison University in 1950 and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan in 1951 and 1954, respectively. He joined the University in 1956 as a research associate at the Herbarium and was appointed assistant professor of botany in 1960. He was promoted to associate professor in 1963, professor in 1969, and has served as curator of vascular plants since 1961.

Professor Voss' principal research project has been the preparation of his three volume series, Michigan Flora, which is the first comprehensive guide to the native and naturalized seed plants of Michigan. To produce these books, Professor Voss has spent over 40 years collecting extensively throughout the state and examining essentially all of the herbarium specimens collected by his predecessors. Interpretation of those early collections required a review of the history of botanical exploration in the region, and the resulting publications thus represent a significant contribution to the Michigan historical literature. As a result of his efforts, Michigan now has the best regional flora books in the country, as recognized by his receipt of the Henry Allan Gleason Award from the New York Botanical Garden in 1986. The third and final volume of the Flora series will be published late in 1996.

In his role as the leading authority on a large flora in an era of growing awareness of and interest in threatened biological diversity, Professor Voss has long been active in and in demand as a speaker for numerous organizations concerned with conservation and natural history. His enthusiasm and communication skills have also brought him great success as a teacher. He has introduced generations of biologists to field botany at the UM Biological Station at Douglas Lake, where they absorbed his encyclopedic knowledge even as they sank into the bogs, swatted the mosquitoes, and groaned at his puns.

Beyond Michigan, Professor Voss is known throughout the world for his expertise in plant nomenclature, the esoteric body of rules and traditions that govern the naming of plants. Mention his name in Paris, Berlin, or Sydney and the smiles of recognition will be accompanied by anecdotes about his able leadership through the thickets of thorny nomenclatural problems.

The Regents now salute this faculty member by naming Edward G. Voss professor emeritus of botany and curator emeritus of vascular plants.