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Aaron J. Sharp 1904-1997.
Dr. Aaron Sharp was considered by many the leading international authority on moss. He found identical ancient mosses in Japan, Mexico, and Appalachia that had not evolved for millions of years, which conformed to theories that large tectonic plates on the earth's surface had moved apart. He founded one of the world's best known wildflower events, the annual "Wildflower Pilgrimage," held the last weekend in April in the Great Smoky Mountains for 53 years.

Japan awarded Dr. Sharp the Order of the Rising Sun for his findings on the relationships of ecosystems of Asia and the Americas. He was one of three editors of Moss Flora of Mexico, published in 1994 by the New York Botanical Garden.

Born in Plain City, Ohio, he graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1927, received his M.A. from the University of Oklahoma in 1929, and his Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1938. He taught at the University of Tennessee from 1929 until his retirement in 1974 and was head of botany from 1951 to 1961. He served on the board of governors of the Nature Conservancy from 1955 to 1961.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Barbara A. Johnston