I (Aaron Floden) am a graduate student beginning work in Dr. Schillings lab at the University of Tennessee. My focus (foci) will be on the systematics of the genera of the tribe Polygonatae of the Asparagaceae (formerly Liliaceae, Convallariaceae, etc.). Although molecular analyses will be important, morphology, cytology, ecology, biogeography, pharmacology, pollination, and seed germination will, hopefully, be examined as part of the primary goal, a comprehensive revision - a badly needed one - of the genus Polygonatum. Additional side-projects are species circumscription in Disporopsis, monophyly of Heteropolygonatum, and species circumscription in that genus. Then there are the odds and ends projects that are inevitable when one is immersed in taxonomy.
Part of the project involves my collection of over 300 living accessions of Polygonatum, Disporopsis, and Heteropolygonatum. Many of these have provenance and these will serve as cytological and molecular vouchers for the project. All specimens that have flowered have been photographed in the lab for detailed intrafloral morphology.
Aside from my taxonomic interests in the above, I also have interests in the North American - Asian disjunction patterns, and thus many of those genera displaying that pattern amongst others; Podophyllum, Smilacina/Maianthemum, Asarum, Disporum/Prosartes/Streptopus, Tupistra, Aspidistra, Convallaria, Ophiopogon, Reineckea (not -ia), Allium of the canadense group, Lilium, Clematis in the predominantly North American Viorna group, Monarda, Stachys, various Ranunculaceae (Cimicifuga, Trautvetteria, Thalictrum), Manfreda-Polianthes-Prochnyanthes, Ledebouria-Drimiopsis, and so much more.
My horticultural interests are boundless. I will grow nearly anything (I have a collection of some bryophytes as well as the liverwort genus Conocephalum!). Common garden cultivation of many things is necessary to tease apart closely related taxa; particularly through observations on life-history, phenology, and plasticity. I currently grow about 2000 taxa and over the past 15 years have grown over 10000. My current collections have a focus on research, but also aesthetic value.
All currently considered the same species, P. cirrhifolium, according to current literature, those on the left are
P. bulbosum (top) and P. sp. (bottom), the one on the right is P. sp. as well.