September 17, 1847: Lawrence Nuttall Born in Pennsylvania


Amateur botanist Lawrence Nuttall was born in Pennsylvania on September 17, 1857. In 1878, he moved to the New River Gorge town of Nuttallburg in Fayette County to join his father, pioneer coal operator John Nuttall. Within just seven years, Lawrence Nuttall had collected about 1,000 species of flowering plants, many of which were named after him, and hundreds of fungi. At least 108 of the fungi species were new to science.

In 1896, Nuttall and C. F. Millspaugh of West Virginia University jointly published Flora of West Virginia. Nuttall continued collecting plants and fungi around West Virginia and elsewhere and wrote for national publications on the topic.

In 1927, just before moving to San Diego, Nuttall donated his plant collection to the WVU Herbarium. His collection included thousands of seed plants and fern specimens but was particularly valuable for its more than 1,400 species of fungi, most of which he first identified in Fayette County.

Lawrence Nuttall died in San Diego in 1933 at age 76. In 1953, a trail in the WVU Arboretum was named in his honor.