Dan Tenaglia
Dan Tenaglia

This web site was conceived and created by Dan Tenaglia, shown in this photo with some glacial relicts (not shown in the image is a 200 foot cliff just beyond the left edge of the photo). Dan formerly resided in Auburn, AL, and attended the University of South Florida, Tampa. Tragically, Dan is no longer with us. The tribute reprinted below was written by George Yatskievych, Ph.D., the author of the revised Flora of Missouri and a friend of Dan's.


In 2017, the Missouri Botanical Garden assumed control of Dan's website with the goal of updating the information and expanding the number of species described. Most of the subsequent work has been done by volunteers. This site is dedicated to Dan's memory, with the hope that he would approve of the new material.


Memorial tribute below reprinted with permission from the Missouri Native Plant Society's newsletter, Petal pusher (Vol. 22 No. 3, 2007).


Tragic Loss of a Missouri Botanist


Daniel Edward Tenaglia was born in central Florida on October 24, 1969.  He learned to love the outdoors early in life, which eventually led him to the University of South Florida, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology in 1998.  Dan also spent time guiding botanical boat tours and working as a keeper and educator at various zoos.  He honed his botanical talents on a variety of plant surveys for the National Park Service and other state and federal agencies.  He also was a skilled custom furniture maker, a trade that he learned from his father, Alfredo.  Among his other passions were bicycling and hiking, as well as nature photography.


In 2001, Dan took a summer job working for the Missouri Department of Conservation as a member of the botany summer field crew for the Missouri Forest Ecosystem Project. That summer he met Karen Luepke, who was working on the MOFEP herpetology field crew.  Love soon blossomed and led to their marriage.  In 2003, when it was time for Karen to attend graduate school, the couple moved to Alabama.  While Karen attended Auburn University, Dan built furniture and photographed plants.  On 11 February 11, 2007, while riding their bicycles along U.S. Highway 280 near their home, a juvenile driver in a white 1993 Nissan lost control of his vehicle and ran into Dan and Karen.  Karen sustained only minor physical injuries, but Dan never recovered.  He was declared dead two days later. A memorial service for this remarkable individual was held on February 20, in Winter Haven, Florida, and a celebration of his life for family and friends occurred on February 24 in Opelika, Alabama


While serving as Program Coordinator for the Haw River Program, an environmental education camp in Brown Summit, North Carolina, Dan began designing a web site to document the wildflowers of that state.  This was the forerunner of the Missouri Plants web site (www.missouriflora.com), which Dan started in 1999.  Dan started photographing plants in the late 1990s using a simple point-and-shoot camera, then graduated to a 35 mm SLR and eventually to a digital camera.  Dan’s Missouri site eventually grew to include detailed photographs and commentary of an astounding 1,085 species, and by May, 2006, the site was receiving about 1.2 million hits a month. As word got out, numerous other web sites and publications received Dan’s kind permission to reprint his wonderful images.  In 2004, the Missouri Native Plant Society awarded Dan the Erna R. Eisendrath Memorial Education Award in recognition of his achievements.  After moving to Alabama, Dan was beginning to develop a similar site for that state, and accumulated some 350 sets of species images.  His two sites show that updates were made on February 8, just 3 days before the accident.


One description of Dan on the web states, “Look for Dan hanging off a rock face, crouched down on the side of the road, or dangling from a tree limb taking plant pictures, you never know where he’ll show up next.” During my own travels in Missouri, I ran into Dan occasionally, and his passion for the plants he was studying and photographing was always a pleasure and an inspiration.  We would occasionally meet when he was in St. Louis, but distance and time made e-mail our most frequent way of chatting.  In 2002, when Dan discovered a mustard species new to Missouri (Thlaspi alliaceum), we published a paper on it together in Missouriensis.  Dan could always be counted on for interesting and useful firsthand observations of his favorite plant species, and he was always eager to learn more about the flora.  He was energetic, an eternal optimist, and a great champion for preserving nature.  Thirty-seven years are way too short a time to complete a life.  Dan will be sorely missed by all whose good fortune it was to cross paths with him.




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