Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Title

Proceedings of the Back Bay Ecological Symposium



Conference Name

Back Bay Ecological Symposium


The Back Bay region has long been recognized for its many species which reach either their northern or southern limits there. The eminent Harvard botanist M.L. Fernald collected extensively in the Back Bay region during the late 1930's and early 1940's. He postulated the Back Bay area provided a unique opportunity for the migration of fresh and brackish water species through a series of interconnected or neighboring marshes and pools. His collections document the presence of several species which we now consider extirpated.

Of especial interest are genera with vicarious species pairs, that is, one area of overlap between wide-ranging species and southern species is at Back Bay. We present information on two such pairs: Lilaeopsis carolinensisand Lilaeopsis chinensis (wide-ranging); and Lippia nodiflora (southern) and Lippia lanceolata (wide-ranging). In addition we discuss species which reach their northern or southern limits at Back Bay. Examples include: Limosella subulata (Scrophulariaceae), a northern species which apparently has been extirpated, and Juncus megacephalus (Juncaceae), an endemic of the southeastern United States which is abundant near its northern limit at Back Bay.