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One of the first scientists to write and lecture about ecology, Wells introduced North Carolinians to the extraordinary tapestry of “natural gardens,” or plant communities, within the state’s borders back in 1932. His purpose was to help readers understand a plant within its community–a pioneering concept at the time–and to promote conservation. Moving from the Atlantic coast westward, Wells identifies eleven major natural gardens: the sand dune community, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, swamp forest, aquatic vegetation, evergreen shrub bog (or pocosin), grass-sedge bog (or savanna), sandhill, old-field community, upland forest, and high mountain spruce-fir forest. He devotes the first part of his book to a general account of the vegetation and habitats of each community and then identifies and describes the wildflowers found there.
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