We are always looking for new scientific articles. Do you, one of your students, or someone you know have an article appropriate for The Michigan Botanist (to be renamed The Great Lakes Botanist at the beginning of 2017)? Now is the time to contribute manuscripts related to plants of the Great Lakes region or North America generally (and to solicit the contribution of manuscripts from others). Student participation is strongly encouraged; the Isobel Dickinson Fund awards a $250.00 prize for the best student authored or co-authored paper appearing in each volume of The Botanist.

All primary research and review articles are subject to external peer review prior to publication. Other submissions, such as book reviews or announcements, are subject to editorial review.

Instructions for Authors

Articles submitted to The Great Lakes Botanist should include new botanical information pertaining to North America north of Mexico. Because of the wide variety of botanical disciplines published in the journal, introductory text should be used to place the study in context and indicate the significance of the work. Please don't assume the reader understands the significance of your work or the terminology specific to your discipline. Authors are encouraged to contact the editor for help with any aspect of manuscript preparation.

Voucher Specimens

Whenever the identity of a plant or other organism is important to the results of a study, a voucher specimen of the organism must be made and deposited in a recognized herbarium, and the voucher specimen and herbarium where it is deposited must be cited in the article. Rare exceptions can be made, such as when the taking of a voucher specimen could adversely impact a population of endangered plants, in which case a photographic record should be made. This rule applies not only to floristic surveys of an area, but also in connection with other types of studies, such as ecological studies where the results of the study depend on the identity of the organisms, forest composition studies, and even studies involving a single species (e.g., pollination studies, morphological studies, the ecological response of a particular species). Whenever a floristic list is presented, each taxon must be represented by at least one voucher specimen. In appropriate cases where a previous study has been documented with voucher specimens, reference to the earlier study may be sufficient. Exceptions may be considered on a case by case basis.

Even though a researcher may be confident in his or her field identification of plants, especially of common or well-known species, and feel that voucher specimens are therefore not necessary, that misses the point of requiring the citation of vouchers. Vouchers are cited primarily to ensure the verifiability of the results of the study. Even if field identifications are completely correct, it is still necessary that other researchers be able to verify those results. Furthermore, taxonomic concepts change, as do the names assigned to species. Without a voucher specimen, it may not be possible later to verify which species was actually studied.

Formatting Instructions

Research articles (other than Noteworthy Collections articles) should be organized as follows: Title, Author(s) and address(es), Abstract followed by up to 5 keywords, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgements, Literature Cited, Tables, Figure Legends, and Figures. Sections may be omitted if not relevant. The Introduction should be used to establish a context for the study.

Nonresearch articles, such as book reviews, letters to the editor, notices, biographies and other general interest articles, can be formatted as general text without the specific sections listed above. However, literature cited and any tables or figures should be formatted as described below.

For Noteworthy Collections articles, manuscripts should be formatted as follows. The title, "Noteworthy Collections," should begin each submitted manuscript, followed by an appropriate individualized title for the article and the name and address of the author(s). Each report (or group of reports from the same jurisdiction) should be preceded by the State or Province for the species reported. The next three lines should list the taxon of interest by scientific name and authority; the family of the taxon; and a common name, if any. The rest of the manuscript should include the following named sections: (i) Significance of the Report, (ii) Previous Knowledge, (iii) Discussion, (iv) Diagnostic Characters (if desired), (v) Specimen Citations, (vi) Acknowledgements (if desired), and (vii) Literature Cited. Each of these sections is largely self-explanatory; however, the “Significance of the Report” section should be limited to a brief sentence or phrase indicating the significance of the collection(s), and this may be expanded upon in the “Discussion” section; the "Specimen Citations" section should include the relevant label data from the voucher specimen(s) including location data, collector(s), collection number, etc., as well as the Index Herbariorum acronym(s) of the herbarium or herbaria where the specimen(s) are deposited. Citation of other relevant specimens may be appropriate. Examples:

  • Species Author(s)
  • Family
  • Common name (if one exists)
  • Significance of the Report.
  • Previous knowledge.
  • Discussion.
  • Diagnostic characters.
  • Specimen citations.
  • Acknowledgements.
  • Literature cited.

To be considered worthy of publication as a Noteworthy Collections article, the report of the collection itself (or rather, of the population represented by the collection) should constitute an important contribution to the knowledge of the taxon under discussion, such as (i) a new report for a state, large geographical region or floristic region, (ii) a significant range extension, (iii) a new report for an area of a potentially invasive species, (iv) a naturalized occurrence of a species otherwise generally known only in cultivation, (v) the rediscovery of a species previously known in the region but not seen or collected for at least several decades, or some similar situation. A new county record where the plant is known from one or more adjacent counties is rarely worthy of publication as a Noteworthy Collection, unless it also meets one of the other acceptable criteria. Although it is difficult to define what a “significant” range extension is, it should be of a distance that is otherwise unexpected (distances less than approximately 250 km will not ordinarily constitute a significant range extension). If there is any doubt, an examination of the range given in the county maps at will generally dispel the doubt. If the locality in question does not fall significantly outside the imaginary boundary of the distribution (disregarding state lines), then it is likely not a significant range extension.

Preparation of the Manuscript

Submit each of the following as a separate file: (i) text of the article: (ii) each figure; (iii) each table; (iv) figure captions.


Limit the abstract to one well-developed, coherent, and concise paragraph that is able to stand alone. It must cover all the essential elements of the article, such as the background, the purpose and focus, the methods, the results, and the conclusions. It must not contain any information not included in the article. It should be understandable to a wider audience than the specific audience for which the article is intended. It should not include any literature citations or references to figures, tables, or appendices.

Text of the article

  1. Prepare the text in 12-point Times Roman. Double space throughout (including Literature Cited and Figure Legends). All pages should be numbered.
  2. Indent the first line of each paragraph of the main text using Word’s paragraph formatting facility. Do not use tabs or spaces to create indented first lines. Do not place blank lines between paragraphs of a single section. Do not create buffers before or after the paragraphs in Word’s paragraph formatting facility.
  3. Major section headings (Abstract, Introduction, Methods and Materials, Results, Discussion, Conclusion, Acknowledgements, Literature Cited) should be centered and written in all caps.
  4. Please verify that all references cited in the text are present in the literature cited section and vice versa.
  5. Cite all figures, tables, and appendices in the text. Spell out and capitalize the words Figure, Figures, Tabe, Tables, Appendix and Appendices when used in a citation.
  6. Each entry in the Literature Cited should be formatted as a single paragraph using a hanging first line. Do not format using tabs or spaces.

Figures and figure captions

  1. Each photo should be created as a separate file in a high-resolution format—eps, jpg, or tif. Submit all photos as grayscale (black and white). The Michigan Botanist does not ordinarily publish color photographs. If color illustrations are required, the author must bear the additional cost. Separate photos that are meant to be printed together as a single plate may be created as a single file, in which case each individual photo in the plate should be labelled with the figure number (or a letter subdivision of a single figure).
  2. Figures like bar graphs or other line drawings that gain their meaning with color won’t work—use coarse-grained cross-hatching or similar devices.
  3. Create figure legends as a separate text file. The typesetter will insert them as appropriate. Please do not insert the figures in the body of the text file.


Please create tables as an MS Word table. Avoid creating tables as a spreadsheet using Excel or other similar program; these are more difficult for the typesetter to work with. Each table is to be submitted as a separate file. Table numbers and captions should be placed at the top of the table. Any footnotes should appear at the bottom of the table. Please do not insert tables within the body of the text.

Style Conventions

  1. Do not use postal abbreviations for states (e.g., IN, MI, NY, WI) except as part of a mailing address. Either spell out the name of the state in full or use the traditional abbreviation (e.g., Ind., Mich., N.Y., Wis.).
  2. Use the American convention for dates (e.g., October 21, 2014) rather than the European convention (e.g., 21 October 2014).
  3. Citations: Citations within the text should list the author's last name and publication year (e. g. Smith 1990). For works with more than 2 authors, use "et al." (e.g. Smith et al. 1992), and separate multiple citations with a semicolon and list chronologically (e.g. Smith 1990; Jones 1991).
  4. Italicize all scientific names at the rank of genus and below. Do not italicize authors of scientific names or the words and abbreviations sp., spp., f., forma, subsp., and var. When indicating a nothospecies, use the times sign, not the letter x, thus: Lonicera × bella, not Lonicera x bella. In Microsoft Word, this is created by inserting the special symbol 00D7.
  5. Identify plants by scientific name first, followed by a common name or vernacular name (generally in parentheses), if desired. Generally, all subsequent references to the plant should be by scientific name only. Exceptions might be acceptable in certain cases, such as where an entire article treats of one or two species. Authorities for all scientific names of plants at the species level or below must be provided at the first appearance of the name in the abstract and in the body of the article, except to the extent they are providing in a table or other listing of the names in the article. No general rule is provided for the use of authorities for names at and above the level of genus; the nature of the article will generally dictate the appropriate usage. Similarly no general rule is provided for the use of scientific names versus common or vernacular names of animals or other organisms other than plants; again, the nature of the article will generally dictate the appropriate usage.
  6. Provide authorities for plant names at first use in the abstract and the text, unless all plant names and authorities are provided in a table or appendix. In articles that treat one or a few taxa, indicate the family parenthetically in the title or at first use, unless the family name naturally appears in the narrative accompanying the first use. Use standard abbreviations for authors of scientific names following either Brummit and Powell, Authors of Plant Names (1992) or The International Plant Names Index,
  7. The first use of a scientific name in each paragraph should be spelled out. The generic name may be abbreviated to the initial letter in further appearances in the same paragraph, except at the beginning of a sentence or to avoid ambiguity.
  8. Words and phrases that have standard and recognized abbreviations may be used, for example, “mi” (mile), “m” (meter), “hr” (hour), and “diam” (diameter).
  9. Spell out the numbers one through ten and all numbers ate the beginning of a sentence.
  10. Acronyms should be defined on first appearance.

Literature Cited

  1. List references in alphabetical order by the first author’s surname. List all items by a single author before item by the same senior author and one or more junior authors. Among multi-authored works with the same senior author, list items by two authors before works with three or more authors (which are listed in alphabetical order, regardless of the number of authors).
  2. If there are more than seven authors, list only the first seven, followed by “et. al”, unless there are only eight authors, in which case list all eight.
  3. For each author, write out the surname in full, and provide initials for first and middle names, following each initial with a period and separating them with a space. The surname precedes the initials for the first author, but not for subsequent authors. In the case of two or more authors, insert the word “and” between the last two authors, but never an ampersand (&). In the case of three or more authors, insert a comma after each author’s name, except the last.
  4. In the titles of articles and books, capitalize only the first word of the title and the first word following a colon (:), if any, except for proper nouns and, in the case of German titles, all nouns.
  5. Citations of journal articles follow the format: Author(s). (Year). Title of article. Name of Journal Volume: First page–last page. Do not italicize titles of articles or names of journals. The colon following the volume number is followed by a space before the first page number.
  6. Citations of books follow the format: Author(s). (Year). Title. Publisher, City, State, Province, or Country.
  7. Citation of items in an edited book or collection follow the format: Author(s). (Year). Title of item. Pp. mm–nn in Title of book or collection, name of editor(s), editor(s). Publisher, State, province or country.
  8. Citation of websites follow the format: Author(s) (if any), or sponsoring organization. (Year). Title. Available at website address. (Accessed Date). If the year is not apparent, use the year of access.
  9. Write journal names in full (no abbreviations), including the initial “The,” if there is one in the title. Do not italicize journal names.
  10. Do not italicize book titles. Do not indicate the number of pages in book. Omit the state of publication if the state is part of the publisher’s name.
  11. Spell out the words edition, editor and editors, part, volume, and similar words.


DeBoer, L. S., P. E. Rothrock, R. T. Reber, and S. A. Namestnik. (2011). The use of floristic quality assessments as a tool for monitoring wetland mitigations in Michigan. The Michigan Botanist 50: 146–165.

Voss, E. G. and A. A. Reznicek. (2012). Field manual of Michigan flora. The University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor.

Weeks, S. S., H. P. Weeks, Jr., and G. R. Parker. (2010). Native trees of the Midwest, 2nd edition. Purdue University Press, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Stebbins, G. L. (1982). Major trends of evolution in the Poaceae and their possible significance. Pp. 3–36 in Grasses and grasslands: Systematics and ecology. J. R. Estes, R. J. Tyrl, and J. N. Brunken, editors. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman.

Whittemore, A. T. and B. D. Parfitt. (1997). Ranunculus, Pp. 88–135 in Flora of North America, Volume 3: Magnoliophyta, Magnoliidae and Hamamelidae, Flora of North America Editorial Committee, editors. Oxford University Press, New York, N. Y.

USDA NRCS. (2013). The PLANTS Database. National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, North Carolina. Available at (Accessed January 1, 2013).

Michigan Flora Online. A. A. Reznicek, E. G. Voss, and B. S. Walters. (2011). University of Michigan. Available at (Accessed December 17, 2014).

Cover Illustrations

Authors are invited to submit photographs for consideration as a cover illustration. Although cover illustrations will generally be relevant to an article published in the issue, they must not be cited in the article and will not be considered a part of the article (among other reasons, the cover illustration will not be included in pdfs of an article provided to the author or in the online downloadable version of the article). Submitted photographs must be at least 300 ppi and in landscape format. Photographs may be cropped by the editor to conform to a 2:3 aspect ratio or for clarity of presentation.

Copyright License

Prior to publication of an article, authors must execute a copyright license agreement whereby The Great Lakes Botanist is granted the nonexclusive right to publish the article in any format, including print and electronic media. Authors will retain the copyright in their articles. In the case of multi-authored articles, the corresponding author will ordinarily sign the license agreement on behalf of all authors and will represent that he or she has obtained the permission of all other authors to do so.


For all matters related to manuscripts and publication content, please contact:

Dr. Michael Huft, Editor
(847) 682-5240
232 Akela Dr.
Valparaiso, IN 46385 USA