Dr. Patrick McMillan Biography

Dr. Patrick McMillan in Juniper Level Botanic Garden with a hellebore

SPOUSE: Waynna McMillan

EDUCATION: PhD Biology from Clemson University; B.S. Biology University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

OCCUPATION: Botanist, Conservation Biologist, Plantsman, Horticulturist, Botanical Garden Management Specialist, Author, Television and Radio Personality, TV Producer

Patrick is a well-known fixture in the horticultural, taxonomic and conservation circles. For over 30 years, he has worked as a professional botanist, horticulturist, naturalist, biologist, and educator. His explorations of the globe have added hundreds of new species and cultivars to the horticultural world. His transformation of the South Carolina Botanical Garden including the development of the natural heritage garden exhibits were formative in the development of the gardening style he has coined as “natural community gardening.” His horticultural research interests lie in the maintenance and generation of diversity using our managed landscapes and the conservation of rare species both in their native habitats and in gardens. He has also worked extensively in the introduction and evaluation of plants from the Chihuahuan desert ecoregion as landscape plants in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. His range of experience has concentrated on botany, though he is also well-respected through his work in ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy. Patrick is perhaps best known as the Emmy Award-winning host, co-creator and writer of the popular ETV nature program Expeditions with Patrick McMillan

Patrick was a faculty member at Clemson University from 2001-2020 where he was the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, was the director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest and is an honorary member of the Clemson University Class of 1939. As an expert speaker, he is in demand throughout the Southeast and nation and routinely gives more than 100 public presentations annually. He is well-known for his passionate and lively presentation style.

Patrick’s intense interest in natural history began at a very young age. He attributes his memorization of thousands of scientific names to his grandmother, who would read him Animal Kingdom and wildflower books as a young child, including the Latin names—quite a contrast to Dr. Seuss! He spent his early childhood in south Florida where he spent his time wandering the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress Swamp with his father and grandfather. Patrick and his family moved to Alleghany County, North Carolina, in 1976, where he lived a few hundred feet off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 231. Every day was spent familiarizing himself with the rhythm and diversity of his neighborhood woods, fields, and streams as well as working with his grandmother in her extensive garden which contained more than 2000 taxa. By the time he entered the University of North Carolina, his explorations had already documented plants formerly unknown in North Carolina.

During and after college, Patrick worked as an environmental consultant and field ecologist for UNC-Chapel Hill, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, KCI Technologies and R.J. Goldstein & Associates, curator at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences and eighth grade math and science teacher. He moved to and joined the faculty of Clemson University in 2001, moved to Kingston Washington to direct the world-renowned Heronswood Garden in 2020 but returned to North Carolina in 2022 to work in what he describes as the most interesting collection of plants and people in the world – Juniper Level Botanic Garden, and is currently serving as an Adjunct Horticultural Consultant. His research has taken him around the world in pursuit of new species of plants, and his areas of expertise are in sedge and Begonia taxonomy, natural community ecology and conservation biology.

Publications and Media

Books and Chapters

McMillan, P.D., R.D. Porcher, D.A. Rayner and D.W. White. 2022. A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina, 2nd ed. USC Press. 613pp.

Polomski, R., P.D. McMillan. 2008. General Botany, in South Carolina Master Gardener’s Training Manual. Clemson University Publications. Clemson, SC. 829 pp.

McMillan, P.D. 2007. Rhynchospora of South Carolina and the Eastern United States. Biota of South Carolina, series. vol. 5. Clemson University Publications. Clemson, SC. 486 pp.

McMillan, P.D. 2006, The Francis Marion National Forest; Oconee Bells; Pines; Venus Flytrap, in The South Carolina Encyclopedia, W.T. Edgar, ed. The University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC. 1077 pp.

McMillan, P.D. and L. Roth. 2004, in Life at the Waters Edge, L. Roth, ed. Clemson University Publications, Clemson, SC.

Refereed Journal Articles

McMillan, P.D. & L. Prevost. 2022. Ambrosia porcherii (Asteraceae): A new species from the Blue Ridge escarpment of South Carolina. Phytoneuron 2022-15:1-6.

Cushman, Laary J., V.P. Richards and P.D. McMillan. 2020. Micranthes petiolaris variety shealyi: A New Variety of Micranthes (Section Stellares, Saxifragaceae) from South Carolina. Phytotaxa 452 (2): 124-136.

McMillan, P.D., E.B. Pivorun, R.D. Porcher, C. Davis, D. Whitten and K. Wade. 2018. Three remarkably disjunct fern species discovered in Pickens County, South Carolina. Phytoneuron 2018-21: 1-5.

Cope, M.P., E.A. Mikhailova, C.J. Post, M.A. Schlautman, P.D. McMillan, J.L. Sharp, P.D. Gerard. 2017.  Impact of extreme spring temperature and summer precipitation events on flowering phenology in a three-year study of the shores of Lake Issaqueena, South Carolina. Ecoscience. 1-7.

Cope, M.P., E.A. Mikhailova, C.J. Post, M. Schlautman, P.D. McMillan. 2017. Developing an integrated cloud-based spatial-temporal system for monitoring phenology. Ecological Informatics 39: 123-129.

Hart, S., E. Mikhailova, C. Post, P. McMillan, J. Sharp, W. Bridges. 2017. Spatio-temporal analysis of flowering using LiDAR topography. Journal of Geographical     Sciences 27 (1): 62-78.

Pamplin, R.W., E.A. Mikhailova, C.J. Post, P.D. McMillan, J.L. Sharp, S.K. Cox, R.P. Pamplin. 2016. Multitemporal phenological floristic analysis of the shores of Lake Issaqueena, South Carolina. Bartonia 68: 60-85.

McMillan, P.D. and A.H. Blackwell 2015. A proposal to conserve the name Clethra alnifolia with a conserved type. Taxon 64:637-638.

McMillan, P.D. and A.H. Blackwell. 2013. The vascular plants collected by Mark Catesby in South Carolina: Combining the Sloane and Oxford herbaria. Phytoneuron 2013-73: 1-32.

Blackwell, A.H., P.D. McMillan. 2013. Collected in South Carolina 1704-1707: The Plants of Joseph Lord. Phytoneuron 2013-59: 1-15.

McMillan, P.D., A.H. Blackwell, C. Blackwell, and M.A. Spencer. 2013. The vascular plants in the Mark Catesby collection at the Sloane Herbarium, with notes on their taxonomic and ecological significance. Phytoneuron 2013-7: 1-37.

Livieri, Travis M., D.S. Licht, B. Moynahan, & P.D. McMillan. 2013. Prairie dog aboveground aggressive behavior towards Black-footed Ferrets. American Midland Naturalist 169:422-425.

McMillan, P.D., B.A. Sorrie, B. vanEerden, R.J. LeBlond, P. Hyatt, L. Anderson. 2011. Carex austrodeflexa, (CYPRACEAE), a new species of Carex sect. Acrocystis from the Atlantic coastal plain of the southeastern United States. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas. 5:45-51.

Morris, R. & P.D. McMillan. 2010. Two newˆBegonia (Begoniaceae, section Gireoudia) species from Oaxaca, Mexico. The Begonian 77:51-53; 88-92.

Jenkins, R. Austin & P.D. McMillan. 2008. Vascular flora of Sandhill Research and Education Center, Richland County, South Carolina. Castanea 74:168-180.

LeBlond, R.J., E.E. Schilling, R.D. Porcher, B.A. Sorrie, J.F. Townsend, P.D. McMillan, and A.S. Weakley. 2007. Eupatorium paludicola, a new species from the coastal plain of North and South Carolina. Rhodora 109: 137-144.

McMillan, P.D., G. Wyatt, and R. Morris. 2006. The Begonia of Veracruz: additions and revisions. Acta Botanica Mexicana 75:77-99.

McMillan, P.D. and R.D. Porcher 2005. Noteworthy collections: South Carolina. Castanea 70:237-240.

McMillan, P.D. 2005. Noteworthy collections: Alabama. Castanea 70:162.

Ray, T.D., J.W. Castle, P.D. McMillan. 2004. Geological influence on the distribution of rare plant species at Wadakoe Mountain in the Jocassee Gorges region of South Carolina. 39th annual Geological Society of America presentation abstract.

McMillan, P.D. and Eran Kilpatrick. 2003. Noteworthy Collections, South Carolina. Castanea 68:182.

McMillan, P.D. 2003. Noteworthy Collections, South Carolina. Castanea 68:345-346.

McMillan, P.D., R.K. Peet, R.D. Porcher and B.A. Sorrie.  2002.  Noteworthy botanical   collections from the fire-maintained pineland and wetland communities of the coastal plain of the Carolinas and Georgia. Castanea 67: 61-83.


McMillan, P.D. (2007-2019) Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. 98, ½ hour programs, airing on SCETV and distributed to PBS stations nationwide and internationally by NETA and APT (American Public Television).

McMillan, P.D. 2008. Tide of Change, 1-hour long documentary produced for SCETV.

    Patrick McMillan
    Plant Delights Nursery at Juniper Level Botanic Garden
    9241 Sauls Road, Raleigh, NC 27603
    919-772-4794 ext. 31