Sam Wolfe


In his hometown of Aiken, Dr. Harry Shealy, Jr. has a pimento cheese hamburger, The Shealy, named after him at a local restaurant. An area of Hitchcock Woods, one of the largest urban forests in the country, also bears his name – Harry’s Hill. Now, across the state, his name graces a tiny flower with a lengthy name, Micranthes petiolaris var. shealyi, or more simply, Shealy’s saxifrage.

Recently, Shealy traveled to The Nature Conservancy’s Nine Times Preserve in Pickens County to meet up with Laary Cushman, a professor at Anderson University, and see the flower that carries his name for the first time. Cushman researched the flower while working on his master’s degree in 2015. 

The flower, a white specimen with one tiny yellow dot on each of its five petals, was first documented in 2002 by Patrick McMillan, the former South Carolina Botanical Garden director.

Following the verification of the new variety, Cushman, McMillan and Clemson researcher Vincent Richards chose to name the discovery after Shealy, a Distinguished Professor Emeritus who taught at the University of South Carolina Aiken. 

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