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Timothy Spira

Emeritus Professor of Biology
Biological Sciences Department

Phone: 828-424-1315
Personal Website:


 Educational Background

Ph.D Botany
University of California, Berkeley 1983

MA Botany
California State University 1978

BA Biological Sciences
California State University 1975

 Courses Taught

Plant ecology, Field Botany


Tim Spira is a plant ecologist, native plant gardener, hiker, and professor emeritus of biology at Clemson University where he taught a variety of courses, including field botany and plant ecology, and a summer course on the natural history of wildflowers for teachers. As a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Tim studied alpine gentians and did postdoctoral research on plant-pollinator interactions at Ohio State University and the Smithsonian Institution. After teaching at Georgia Southern University for nearly 10 years, Tim moved to Clemson University where he taught for 22 years, retiring in May 2015. He’s published more than 30 papers in scientific journals including a cover article in the journal Nature. Tim and his spouse, Lisa Wagner, currently reside in Asheville, North Carolina.

 Research Interests

Reproductive biology of plants including plant-pollinator interactions
Native Plants and Natural Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains

 Extension and Outreach

Tim has given more than 100 presentations at various venues, including native plant societies, botanical gardens, conservation groups, and libraries over the past five years (2012-2016) on a variety of topics, including plant-pollinator interactions and wildflowers and plant communities of the Southern Appalachians.


Tim Spira is the author of the award winning book, Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist's Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia (2011, UNC Press). His latest book is Waterfalls and Wildflowers in the Southern Appalachians: 30 Great Hikes (2015, UNC Press).