PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
FALL 2005 VOLUME 51 NUMBER 3
The Botanical Society of America: The Society for ALL Plant Biologists
Published quarterly by Botanical Society of America, Inc., 4475
Castleman Avenue,St. Louis , MO 63166-0299 . The yearly subscription
rate of $15 is included in the membership dues of the Botanical
Society of America, Inc. Periodical postage paid at St. Louis,
MO and additional mailing office.
Table of Contents
Plants Are Indeed Intelligent
What Are We Teaching In Our Introductory Courses
100th Anniversary Series
Katherine Esau: A Personal Perspective
News from the Society
Young Botanist of the Year Award Recipients
Karling Graduate Student Research Award Recipient
Graduate Student Research Award Recipients
Vernon I. Cheadle Student
Phycological Section Student Travel Award
Pteridological Section Student Travel Awards
Zane B. Carothers. (1924-2005)
Vincent Ray Francheschi. (1953-2005)
Gugenheim Award Supports Michael J. Balick's Ethnobotanical Study of
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
A Symposium and Banquet Honoring the Legacy of David E. Fairbrothers
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
names Scot D. Medbury President, CEO
M. Patrick Griffith Appointed Executive Director of
Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research
American Philosophical Society grant and fellowship programs
and Organismic Research in Plant History................91
Evidence of Integrated Signaling in Plants Reported at the First Symposium
on Plant Neurobiology
BSA Contact Information
Botanical Society of
America Logo Items
Address Editorial Matters (only) to:
Marsh Sundberg, Editor
Dept. Biol. Sci., Emporia State Univ.
1200 Commercial St.
POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:
Botanical Society of
P.O. Box 299
Plant Science Bulletin
Editorial Committee for Volume 51
Andrew W. Douglas (2005)
Department of Biology
Douglas W. Darnowski (2006)
Department of Biology
Andrea D. Wolfe (2007)
Department of EEOB
1735 Neil Ave.
Samuel Hammer (2008)
of General Studies
Joanne M. Sharpe (2009)
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
P.O. Box 234
Boothbay, ME 04537
With the onset of a new school year many of us will be rushing to get the
"nuts and bolts" of our courses together - - writing syllabi, ordering supplies,
checking laboratory equipment, etc. For those of us who are "veterans" this
will probably be a routine task that is now second nature. Pull out last
terms syllabus and modify the dates. Maybe fine tune it a bit by changing
the sequence of topics or adding a little more time to one topic and chopping
a bit from another. Pull out last year's supplies order form and again correct
the "date needed" and perhaps the quantities required. OK, I'm ready!
The process may be a little more involved for faculty in their middle-years.
Will I ever finish digitizing my slide and overhead collection so I can use
them in Power Point presentations or post them on the web? How does this
grade book in Blackboard™ work and can I incorporate the chat room function
into my teaching? And what about all that stuff on the
web? And perhaps there's the doubting question - -is this worth the
For new faculty the task can be daunting. During the first term every
course is new and everything must be done "from scratch." (
or more likely from the notes and syllabi received as a student taking
a similar course). If you're lucky, you'll be more than a day ahead of your
students! Then there is the time spent learning what resources the department
already has and finding where to order the missing things you'll need to
offer the courses the way you want to. Of course, the "rookie" still has
the problem of moving all of this information to the electronic format that
your newly remodeled classroom (sans 2x2 or overhead projector and
chalkboard) requires. Luckily, for most new faculty, this will be an easier
transformation than for their more senior colleagues!
Does any of this sound familiar? My guess is that it does. But the middling's
concerning question is there - - is this where we should be concentrating
our time and effort? In the second article of this issue I summarize what
appears to be a standardized syllabus for introductory botany courses around
the country, based on syllabi submitted by members following a call for contributions
last year. You may or may not be surprised by the results but to me it's
a wakening call that is at least partially addressed by David Hershey in
his lead article. There are certainly stereotypes about plants, widespread
among biology teachers, that we do not do a good job of addressing. One approach
is to confront these stereotypes head on with alternative viewpoints and
documented examples. David provides some interesting examples that can certainly
be incorporated into our introductory botany courses (if we are willing to
make a place for them).
Finally, I think most of us will agree that the most important factor influencing
how students perceive botany is not the substance of the course but rather
the enthusiasm of the teacher. In the third article Ray Evert reflects on
his most inspirational teacher _ Katherine Esau. This is the first of a series
of tributes to some of the BSA's past-presidents that we will run during the
next year and a half to commemorate the Societies first 100 years. I think
you'll enjoy it. Have a great academic year! - editor
EVOLUTION - NEVER:
Tune: God Save the King (My country
tis of thee)
God bless our status quo:
Grant that we never grow.
No need to change.
We're perfect as we be:
So was our ancestry.
And thus posterity:
No need to change!
: Songs of Biology, 4th ed. 1953
Plants Are Indeed Intelligent
Biology Today columnist Maura Flannery (2002) rejected Anthony Trewavas
(2002) thesis that plants have intelligence mainly by assuming it was merely
an "animal metaphor". However, Trewavas (2002, 2003) was not being metaphorical,
he was being literal. Flannery (2002) arbitrarily restricted the term intelligence
to "an animal way of doing things." However, Webster's dictionaries don't
restrict intelligence to animals.
Webster's dictionaries define intelligence as "the ability to cope with
a new situation" (Agnes 2002) or "the ability to learn or understand or to
deal with new or trying situations" (Woolf 1973). Flannery (2002) described
how plants cope with new or trying situations such as high temperatures,
water deprivation, and attacks by herbivores and pathogens. Therefore, no
"animal metaphor" is required. Plants literally fit a dictionary definition
of intelligence. Trewavas (2002) said effectively the same thing as Webster;
plants are intelligent because they have "adaptively variable behavior."
Trewavas (1999) has evidence that plants learn,
which also qualifies as intelligence according to the dictionary definition.
Flannery (2002) stated that all animals, "even a slug", have higher IQs
than any plant. However, several plant species are intelligent enough to
produce caffeine, which Flannery (2002) noted is a highly effective pesticide
against slugs. Was the inventor of Velcro, George de Mestral, more intelligent
than the cocklebur (Xanthium stumarium) which gave him the idea (Jacobs
1996)? Was Joseph Paxton, the designer of London
's famous Crystal
Palace of 1851, more intelligent than the giant waterlily
amazonica) whose leaf venation inspired his design (Carter 1985)? Are
the chemists who first synthesized taxol in the laboratory more intelligent
than the Pacific yew (Taxus brevifolia), which synthesized it first
and provided them with the structure of taxol? Are the thousands of plant
products in a supermarket just an indication of human accomplishment or do
plants deserve some credit? Humans often take sole credit for accomplishments
that were really made by plants. Many people do not seem to realize that
"Man and all other animals are in reality guests of plants on this earth"
If the modern Plant
of bryophytes and vascular plants, was suddenly wiped out, humans would not
be able to respond to the "trying situation" without mass starvation. Humans
might even go extinct due to wars over, or overexploitation of, the remaining
food chains anchored by algae and photosynthetic bacteria. However, if humans
were suddenly wiped out, plants would actually benefit in several ways because
they could recolonize all the areas occupied by buildings and paving and
would no longer have the destructive effects of humans destroying their habitats,
overcollecting wild plant species into extinction, introducing nonnative
invasive plants, and polluting the air, water and soil. Even if all animals
were wiped out, the many plant species that do not depend on animals for
pollination and seed dispersal would not be negatively impacted. Even many
of the plants that coevolved with animals might be able to survive without
Common themes in science fiction, and goals of real science, are human
cloning and suspended animation for long space voyages. However, plants have
used cloning and suspended animation for over 100 million years. Seeds can
survive in suspended animation for decades or centuries (Shen-Miller et
al. 1995). Plants have numerous cloning methods such as adventitious
plantlets, apomictic seeds, bulbs, corms, fragmentation, layering, rhizomes,
runners, suckers, and tubers. Flannery
(2002) noted the "problem" Trewavas (2002) was addressing as "the view of
plants as passive and therefore not very interesting organisms". However,
Trewavas (2002) was only dealing with the view of plants as passive. He never
stated or implied that plants were "not very interesting." Given that Flannery
(1999) wrote a column on plant blindness, it would have been much more desirable
to have stated the problem more accurately, i.e. "Although a common misconception,
it is a huge mistake to view plants as passive or uninteresting." Flannery
(1999) actually dismissed the misconception of plants as uninteresting rather
well when she asked "Why deprive ourselves of the joy of learning about organisms
that have come up with so many fascinating strategies to deal with the challenge
of life on Earth."
How can parasitic and carnivorous plants be considered passive when they
are stealing energy and nutrients from other plants or murdering animals,
respectively? The strangler figs (Ficus aurea and other Ficus
spp.) are notorious for murdering their host trees. Plants are constantly
battling each other to the death. Even seemingly harmless epiphytes are considered
"nutritional pirates" who intercept mineral nutrients and effectively steal
from their host trees (Benzing 1980). Plants may be stationary but their
seeds or fruits may fly, float, be forcibly discharged or carried by animals
to other locations. Fruits of coconut (Cocos nucifera) may float for
hundreds of km in the ocean, and the fruit of the sandbox tree (Hura crepitans
) "explodes" when it dries and can forcibly discharge its seeds up to 100
m (Ray et al. 1983).
Plants also face hordes of herbivores and pathogens, resource shortages
and harsh environments. It is hardly passive that plants use a multitude
of mechanical and chemical weapons and ally themselves with a variety of
bacteria, fungi and animals in their battle for survival. Their allies include
nitrogen-fixing bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi, animal pollinators, animal seed
dispersers, endophytic fungi and endophytic bacteria and even ants that serve
as live-in bodyguards. Plants not only communicate with other plants, they
communicate with their allies. For example, an Acacia tree produces a chemical
in its flowers that tells its ant bodyguards not to attack the insect pollinators
that visit the flowers (Ghazoul 2001).
The sizzling sex life of plants is hardly passive either. Plants flaunt
their sex organs and often advertise them with flashy petals or bracts, delicious
fragrances or a horrible stench. Some flowers even generate heat to attract
pollinators or better disperse floral scents (
Seymour 1997). Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum
) changes its sex depending on the resources available (Policansky 1987).
Plants fill the air with untold trillions of pollen grains. Plants sometimes
even trick animals into pollinating their flowers or dispersing their seeds
without giving them the expected rewards.
Contrary to Flannery (2002), I think it is a fundamental requirement that
students be able to contrast animal and plant strategies to deal with basic
challenges, such as energy accumulation, environmental sensing, solid and
liquid intake, gas exchange, waste disposal, internal transport, mechanical
support, temperature control, defense, growth and reproduction. If students
are not able to describe how plants meet these basic biological challenges,
then they are suffering from plant blindness. Darley (1990) noted that plants'
nutritional mode requires them to be stationary because they are "collectors
and concentrators" and concluded that "If we feel animals are superior, it
is only because we are animal chauvinists" (Darley 1990). Whether called
animal chauvinism, plant blindness or plant neglect (Hershey 1993, 2002,
Hoekstra 2000, Wandersee and Schussler 1999), the problem remains that there
are many biology teachers, and thus their students, "whose familiarity with
plants is little more than skin-deep" (Nichols 1919). Perhaps Trewavas (2002)
discovery that plants are intelligent might make biology teachers take plants
a bit more seriously. David R. Hershey,
Agnes, M. E. (2002). Webster's
NewWorld Compact Desk Dictionary and Style Guide.
: Hungry Minds.
Benzing, D.H. (1980). Biology of the Bromeliads
California: Mad River Press.
Carter, T. (1985). The
Darley, W.M. (1990). The essence of "plantness."
American Biology Teacher, 52, 354-357.
Flannery, M.C. (1999). Seeing plants a little more
clearly. American Biology Teacher, 61, 303-307.
Flannery, M.C. (2002). Do plants have to be intelligent? American Biology
Teacher, 64, 628-633.
Ghazoul, J. (2001). Can floral repellents pre-empt potential ant-plant
conflicts. Ecology Letters, 4, 295-299.
Hershey, D.R. (1993). Prejudices against plant biology.
American Biology Teacher, 55, 5-6.
Hershey, D.R. (2002). Plant blindness: "We have met
the enemy and he is us." Plant Science Bulletin, 48, 78-85.
Hoekstra, B. (2000). Plant blindness: The ultimate challenge to botanists.
American Biology Teacher, 62, 82-83.
Jacobs, M.I. (1996). Unzipping Velcro.
Scientific American, 274(4), 116.
Karling, J.S. (1956). Plants and man. American
Biology Teacher, 18, 9-13.
Nichols, G.E. (1919). The general biology course and
the teaching of elementary botany and zoology in American colleges and universities.
Science, 50, 509-517.
Policansky, D. (1987). Sex choice and reproductive
costs in jack-in-the-pulpit, BioScience, 37, 476-481.
Ray, P.M., Steeves, T.A. and
Seymour, R.S. (1997). Plants that warm themselves.
Scientific American, 276(3), 104-109.
Shen-Miller, J., Mudgett, M.B., Schopf, J.W., Clarke,
S. and Berger, R. (1995). Exceptional seed longevity and robust growth:
Ancient sacred lotus from
China. American Journal of Botany
, 82, 1367-1380.
Trewavas, A, (1999). How plants learn. Proceedings
of the National
Academy of Sciences
, 96, 4216-4218.
Trewavas, A. (2002). Mindless mastery, Nature
, 415, 841.
Trewavas, A. (2003). Aspects of plant intelligence.
Annals of Botany, 92, 1-20.
Wandersee, J.H. and Schussler, E.E. (1999).
Preventing plant blindness. American Biology
Teacher, 61, 82, 84, 86.
Wandersee, J.H. and Schussler, E.E. (2001).
Toward a theory of plant blindness. Plant
Science Bulletin, 47, 2-9.
Woolfe, H.B. (1973). Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary
Massachusetts: G. and C. Merriam
What Are We Teaching In Our Introductory Courses?
Last year in these pages I requested that members submit a copy of their
introductory botany course syllabus to be used in comparing what is being
taught to introductory students in a variety of institutions from around
the country. Forty members responded and their syllabi form the basis of
the following summary. It includes 15 introductory courses for botany majors,
the botany component of 11 introductory biology courses for majors, and non-majors
botany courses from 14 institutions. Among these were two of the "best" botany
departments and two of the "best" comprehensive university biology departments
based on their course offerings (PSB 50(1): 2-7). Only 2 schools had a multi-term
sequence of required botany. Eighty-one percent of the majors' botany courses
had a corresponding laboratory while 89% of the majors' biology courses had
a laboratory component. Only 38% of the nonmajors' botany courses had a laboratory
experience. While not a large response, the breadth of the sample suggests
that the syllabi submitted present a fair representation of what is covered
today in introductory botany courses around the country.
To score coverage, the majors' botany courses were used as a standard.
Only topics receiving a full lecture of coverage in a majors' syllabus were
scored. For each topic identified in this way the percentage of syllabi including
that topic in each category was calculated. These topics were then ranked
in descending order of coverage in majors' botany courses (Table 1)
Before examining the content of the introductory course, it will be useful
to reflect briefly on the purposes this course fulfills. A major purpose
is to provide a solid foundation for subsequent courses in the discipline.
A second function is to begin to develop some of the skills necessary for
students to become proficient practitioners in the discipline. A third function
is to attract students to the discipline. With these goals in mind we can
begin to evaluate the effectiveness of our course.
It quickly became evident that there is considerable uniformity in the
topics covered _ particularly in the botany majors' course. Survey of the
plant kingdom, sensu lato is a major component of more than 70% of
all majors' courses. Angiosperms and gymnosperms are particularly popular,
occurring in more than 90% of all courses. Photosynthesis and organ systems,
roots, stems and leaves, earned at least a full lecture each in 87% of the
courses reported. By comparison, in the majors' biology course only photosynthesis
was covered in more than 70% of the courses. In terms of survey, only gymnosperms
and bryophytes were covered in more than half of the courses. Not surprisingly,
coverage of these topics in the nonmajors' courses was much lighter. The
one exception is organ systems. While only 1/3 of the courses spent a full
lecture on each system, another third combined the three in a single lecture.
Overall, the structure of roots, stems, and leaves, at 72%, is the most commonly
included topic in the nonmajors' syllabus.
Table 1. Topics Covered (Percent)
in: Introductory Botany Courses for Majors; Majors' Biology; and Non-majors
Botany Biology Non-majors
Ferns & Allies
Taxon & Systematics
Environmental Effects 0.47 0.27
General or Plant Ecology
In the group of topics constituting between about 50% and 70% coverage,
life cycles and transport were the most common topics for majors. Not surprisingly,
fewer than a third of the biology majors covered
life cycles but more than 40% of the nonmajors address this topic. Cell structure
and prokaryotic cells are the only topic in this group of concepts that is
covered more extensively in majors' biology than in the majors' botany course.
Plant tissues (xylem and phloem) is the only topic
covered about equally in all three course types - - about 50%.
Development, hormones and meiosis are treated about equally in the
two majors' courses. Noteworthy (if you've ever questioned a student about
it during a masters or Ph.D. examination) is that fewer than half of the
majors' courses spend a full lecture on meiosis!
The final group of topics, covered in about 30-50%
of the majors' courses, include several concepts that receive greater
coverage in the biology course. Notable discrepancies involve respiration,
biological molecules, and evolution. Given the emphasis on plant kingdom,
it was surprising to see the general concepts of evolution covered in only
about ¼ of the botany majors' courses. In fact, the non-majors botany courses
provided greater coverage. Two other topics that received greater coverage
in the nonmajors' than the major's courses were ecology and economic botany.
The surprise here is not so much that nonmajors' get more economic botany
but that majors' get less ecology.
The weighting of topics covered provides some indications of all three
of the purposes of the introductory course. Frequency of coverage should
be a good indicator of what concepts are considered foundational to the discipline.
The topics covered also may suggest the kinds or skills that will be required
and give some indication of interest to students. Perhaps a better indicator
of the latter is what is the first topic covered in the course? Can it serve
as a good hook to catch students attention and
draw them to the discipline? Table 2 indicates the frequency of the initial
topics, by course type.
Table 2. Initial Topic Covered in
Botany Biology Non-majors
Nature of Science
Plants and People
Given the emphasis on survey in the majors' botany course it is not surprising
that the majority of courses begin with this information. What was surprising
was the number of majors' biology courses that did the same thing. The difference
here was that in the biology course the first lecture usually concerned general
evolutionary principles (as do several popular textbooks). The survey component,
of all the diversity of life, usually fell somewhere in the middle of the
So what about the laboratory? The percentage coverage of lab topics is
presented in Table 3.
Table 3. Topics Covered (Percent) in
Introductory Laboratories for Botany Majors, Biology Majors, and Non-majors'
Majors Biology Non-majors
Seeds & Germination
Perhaps the biggest surprise here is the lower coverage of plant diversity
in the majors laboratory relative to the lecture.
While the percent coverage of diversity is lower In
the non-majors course, there is nearly a 1:1 correspondence between lecture
and laboratory. This is not true for the botany majors. My biggest surprise
with this data is that only 1/4 of the biology majors' lab courses include
a lab on photosynthesis! This is a significant drop from lecture coverage
of a basic biological concept - - that happens to be botanically oriented!
What does the information summarized above tell us about what we are covering
in our introductory botany courses? What it tells me is that there is a lot
of inertia in the botany curriculum! The distribution of effort in the
majors botany course looks very similar to what I experienced as an
undergraduate nearly 40 years ago! This is despite the growing body of literature
demonstrating that exposing students to a breadth of content is NOT an effective
way for them to learn the content we want them to learn. Is this approach
successful in achieving the purposes of the introductory course? Is it providing
a solid foundation for anything or is it simply providing a (often bitter)
taste of everything? Is it developing analytical and critical thinking skills
or is it simply encouraging rote memorization? Is it successful in attracting
students to botany or is it reinforcing a stereotype of botany being dull,
and unexciting? I know what I think - - it's time to
reevaluated the content of freshman botany! Marshall
D. Sundberg, Emporia
Tune: Reuben, Reuben
Teacher, teacher, I've been thinking:
What an ogre you must be.
When you put a simple freshman
torrid third degree.
Does Planaria have a coelom?
Does a tapeworm have a mouth?
Are the uropods of
On the north
side or the south?
What mysterious process makes the
Tail of tadpole
Is the gene for
Linked to that for drinking beer?
Leeuwenhoek, the mighty searcher,
Can you tell if he did
In the depths of dank dish-water
Who invented evolution?
Planted phylogenetic trees?
Are diseases caused by germ cells?
How did Mendel cook those peas?
Indicate by plus or minus:
Bedbugs breed bubonic plague.
Tsetse carries sleeping sickness
On the tarsus
of its leg.
Cysticercus lurks in liver.
Eyes of fruitflies are convex
Tricky Trichinella's toxic.
Kinsey first discovered sex.
Corti cooked up protoplasm,
Weismann's theme goes on and on.
Robert Hooke discovered hookworm.
What did Schleiden say to Schwann?
Socrates had lively pupils
Who enjoyed their little
They gave hemlock to their teacher
Fellow students, we must always
Givers of objective quizes
a martyr's fate.
F. G. Brooks,
Cornell College in
: Songs of Biology, 4th ed. 1953.
100th Anniversary Series
Katherine Esau: A Personal Perspective
Ray F. Evert
I first learned of Katherine Esau in 1953, when I was enrolled in David
A. Kribsplant anatomy course at
. During the first class session, Dr. Kribs, my M.S. mentor, expressed great
disappointment that Dr. Esau's new book Plant Anatomy (lst edition,
Wiley, 1953) was not yet available for class use. Throughout the course,
Dr. Kribs spoke glowingly of Dr. Esau as he cited one after another of her
papers. It was quite clear that she was an exceptional person.
When I obtained a copy of Plant Anatomy, I was enrolled in a seminar
conducted by Dr. Kribs, the seminar topic: the phloem tissue. Unlike the
rather dull approach to plant anatomy taken by the book previously used in
Dr. Kribscourse, Esaus Plant Anatomy took a dynamic, developmental
approach, which enhanced ones understanding of and interest in plant structure.
I was not the only one so affected. Plant Anatomy had an immediate
impact worldwide and literally brought about a revival of the discipline.
It soon became known as the Bible.
Having read Plant Anatomy from cover to cover, by the end of the
phloem seminar I was hooked. I would go on to pursue the Ph.D. in botany,
become a plant anatomist, and work on phloem. Dr. Kribs tried to dissuade
me from pursuing a career as a plant anatomist. After all, there was no future
in plant anatomy. When he realized that I was determined to do so, he said,
Well then, you must go to
Davis so that you can learn from Katherine Esau.
I certainly knew who Katherine Esau was. But, where was
Davis? Unknown to me at the time, Dr. Kribs wrote
to Dr. Esau on my behalf. His letter must have been fairly convincing, because,
to my very good fortune, Dr. Esau agreed to have me as a student. Also, a
teaching assistantship would be available for me.
In August 1954, I packed my car (a
Hudson shaped like an inverted bathtub) with all my earthly possessions
and headed west to the Golden
State. It certainly
was an exciting time. When I arrived in
Davis (it was on a weekend), I called Dr. Esau and
made an appointment to meet with her on Monday morning. I arrived early that
morning and watched as a distinguished-looking woman pulled up to the botany
building (a garage converted into a few offices, a laboratory, and classrooms)
on a bicycle. As the appointed time approached and no one else appeared,
I realized that I had seen Dr. Esau. That first meeting with Dr. Esau was
comforting. She proved to be a friendly person, with a wonderful sense of
humor. She asked me if I knew that Davis (population at the time, probably
less than 10,000) had a subway. It was the name given to the railway underpass
at the town entrance from what is now Interstate 80.
Dr. Esau already had examined my
transcripts and had prepared a list of the courses I would take to fulfill
the requirements for the Ph.D. in Botany. French and German reading requirements
were included. Before my first week at
Davis had passed, Dr. Esau and I had agreed on my
research topic: a study of seasonal phloem development in the pear tree,
a study that would parallel that conducted by Dr. Esau on the grapevine.
During the first year and one-half, I met weekly with Dr. Esau as we examined
my latest tissue preparations. During that period, Dr. Esau patiently taught
me how to examine tissue critically, how to interpret developmental stages,
and how to see things many investigators overlook. There was a running conversation,
during which Dr. Esau shared her thoughts and her insights. After I was weaned,
the meetings became less frequent. Periodic, written progress reports were
expected, but she was always available and gave unselfishly of her time.
I have often thought that Dr. Esau's life story would
make a best-selling novel, beginning with her early years in Czarist Russia,
and her family's flight from the Bolsheviks on a German troop train to
Berlin (a journey that lasted two weeks from 20 December,
1918, to 5 January, 1919, because of many delays along the way). There she
continued her studies at the Berlin Landwirtschaftliche Hochschule with the
then famous geneticist Erwin Baur as an advisor. In 1922 the Esaus immigrated
to America, passing through
Ellis Island on their way to Reedly,
California, a largely Mennonite Community. From 1924
to 1927 Dr. Esau worked at Spreckels to develop a sugar beet resistant to
the curly-top disease, a viral disease transmitted by the beet leafhopper.
In the fall of 1927 she moved to
Davis with a truckload of sugar beets to begin working
for the Ph.D. in Botany. She planned to continue work on developing a curly-top
resistant sugar beet for her Ph.D. research. However, unexpected circumstances
required her to change the direction of her Ph.D. research to a study on
the development of both healthy and diseased sugar beets, with the aim of
determining the effect of the virus on the plant. Fortuitously her research
area would be plant anatomy or, more specifically, pathological anatomy.
Upon the receipt of the Ph.D. (from U.C. Berkeley, December, 1931), Dr. Esau
was appointed Instructor of Botany and Junior Botanist in the Experiment
Station of the College of Agriculture. Thus began her distinguished teaching
and research career on the faculty at
Davis. She served six years, the maximum number, in
each rank until the attainment of full professorship in 1949, at the age
of 51. (Dr. Robbins, chairman of the Botany Division, did not believe in accelerated
promotions.) In 1962, a year before retirement, Dr. Esau moved to
Santa Barbara in order to continue her collaborative
research on phloem with Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle, who had been appointed Chancellor
of the U.C. Santa Barbara campus. She had begun a second career. Dr. Esau
considered her years at Santa Barbara
to be her most productive and satisfying. She published her last research
paper at the age of 92.
The facilities in the Botany Division at
Davis when Dr. Esau began her faculty career were
poor, to say the least. Because microscopy would be critical to her research,
Dr. Esau purchased a research quality microscope with proper illumination.
(The standard illumination source in the Botany Division at the time was
a blue-tinted light bulb mounted in an asparagus can.) She also purchased
photomicrographic equipment, which later was moved to a make-shift darkroom
in a house built by her family in 1938. During the 40s and 50s all of her
published photomicrographs, including those for the first edition of Plant
were home products. When Dr. Esau built a second house in
Davis, it was made square so that a new darkroom could
be located exactly in the center, free of any windows and light leaks. When
she moved to Santa Barbara
she searched for and found an apartment suitable for a large built-in work
bench with drawers large enough to store many of the drawings and diagrams
used for her books and research papers.
Dr. Esau made virtually all of the drawings and diagrams used in her publications.
Recently, while thumbing through some of the German textbooks she used as
a student in Berlin
, I discovered pages of drawings she made during her taxonomy classes. The
drawings are amazingly beautiful and accurate, and accompanied by detailed
notes, all in German. She was a talented artist.
Being of Mennonite stock, Dr. Esau was highly disciplined. Everything
she undertook, she did with great care and with excellence. She often told
me: "Ray, one can never be too careful." She was fluent in Russian, German,
French, and English, which she spoke without an accent, and had a reading
knowledge of several other languages as well. This command of languages permitted
Dr. Esau to read all of the pertinent literature, which she did with relish.
By the late 1930s she had written numerous research articles and two important
review articles: Some anatomical aspects of plant virus disease problems
. Bot. Rev. (Lancaster) 4:548-579, 1938, and Development and structure
of the phloem tissue. Bot .Rev. (
Lancaster) 5:373-432, 1939. Within just eight years
after receiving the Ph.D., Dr. Esau was recognized as one of the worlds foremost
plant anatomists. Perhaps, even more surprising, she had never taken a course
in plant anatomy; moreover, her Ph.D. research committee did not include an
anatomist. There were no plant anatomists at either Davis or Berkeley at
Dr. Esau visiting U.W. Madison, spring, 1968 - courtesy of Ray Evert
Dr. Esau was exceedingly neat and well organized. There was a place for
everything and everything was in its place. All of the pencils were needle-sharp,
of uniform length, with the points oriented in the same direction. (One colleague
described Dr. Esau's house the most efficient in all
Davis.) Her research notes and records are a sight
to behold: printed by hand, they are thoroughly documented and clearly legible.
Virtually anyone could use them without difficulty to reconstruct her research
or to find a related print or negative.
Dr. Esau led a relatively Spartan life. Her meals were
simple but well balanced, with lots of fruit. She often made a meatloaf that
she would then freeze, so as to save time preparing dinners. She rarely, if
ever overindulged. One of her favorite candies was chocolate mints which
she would ration out to herself two a day. She also exercised and took walks
Except for osteoporosis, Dr. Esau enjoyed excellent health into her early
90s. At 92, she had to undergo a hip replacement. The operation took place
just five weeks before I was to travel to
Santa Barbara for a working session with her. She
would not hear of my postponing the visit. By the time I arrived, she was
back on her feet and driving her car.
When Dr. Esau joined the faculty at Davis, she as
assigned to teach Plant Anatomy, Systematic Botany, Morphology of Crop Plants,
and Microtechnique. Although she was pleased with her appointment
in the Experiment Station, it would afford her time for research, she was
apprehensive about teaching. The apprehension was short-lived. With her
total command of and enthusiasm for the subject matter, and her delightful
sense of humor she was a truly outstanding teacher. On one occasion when
she began an anatomy lecture humorously with "Once upon a time…"
,one of my fellow graduate students quipped: "Aha, another of Esau's
Dr. Esau was a gifted storyteller, an attribute that contributed significantly
to her effectiveness as a teacher. Many a group of graduate students were
captivated with her accounts of life in Czarist Russia, of her family's escape
from the Bolsheviks, of her experiences as a student in
Berlin, etc. Her sense of humor and compulsion as
a storyteller are reflected in her story of The Saga of Vladimir the Virus
, or the Account of the Tragic Fate of Norman the Nucleus,
which she illustrated with electron micrographs. It is an account of the
sequence of development of infection of sugar beet leaves with the beet western
Dr. Esau read extensively in English, German, and Russian. Her library
contained a broad variety of books, novels (The Grapes of Wrath,
The Great Gatsby, Wuthering
Whom the Bells Toll, among others), biographies, and historical books,
especially Russian history. She loved opera, fine art, and classical music.
Her radio was always tuned to the classical music station of Public Radio.
She was a Renaissance woman.
Although she was not particularly religious, Dr Esau's roots as a Mennonite
were very deep. When she passed away, the bulk of her estate went to a Mennonite
college in Indiana and to a Mennonite retirement
home in Canada
. Deeply devoted to her
parents, her ashes were interred next to her mother and father at the
Davis cemetery with a Mennonite-inspired memorial
service. She was 99 years old when she died.
I consider myself most fortunate not only in having had Dr. Esau as a
mentor but also as a close friend. In 1989, I had the honor of receiving
on her behalf the National Medal of Science from President Bush. At that
time Dr. Esau was just the sixth woman over a 27 year period to be so honored.
The citation read: In recognition of her distinguished service to the American
community of plant biologists, and for the excellence of her pioneering research,
both basic and applied, on plant structure and development, which has spanned
more than six decades; for her superlative performance as an educator, in
the classroom and through her books; for the encouragement and inspiration
she has given a legion of young, aspiring plant biologists; for providing
a special role model for women in science.
Works about Katherine Esau
Evert, R.F. Katherine Esau. Plant Science Bulletin 31 (5):33-37
Russell, D. Life in Czarist
Russia: a conversation with Katherine Esau.
Soundings: Collections of the University Library 23 (29):5-32.
OHern, E.M. Katherine Esau. The Botanical Review 62 (3):209-271
In a pine tree
In the barrens
Overgrown with poison vine,
Grows a substance,
Soft and jummy,
name is turpentine.
Oh my sticky,
Oh my gummy,
Oh my oily turpentine.
I will put you
In my bottle.
Then I know that you'll be mine.
continued on p. 94
News from the Society
2005 Award Recipients:
2005 YOUNG BOTANIST OF THE YEAR Award
Certificate of Special Achievement
Bishop, Andrew Ohio
University, Department of Environmental and Plant
Caravello, Tanisha California State
Davis, Department of Plant Sciences
Clopton, Jessica University of Connecticut
, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University, Department of Biology
Douglas, Ryan Truman
, Division of Science
Dunn, Emily Truman
, Division of Science
Gray, William California State
Chico, Department of Biological Sciences
Isaacson, Karin Barnard
College, Department of Biological Sciences
College, Department of Biological Sciences
Jensen, Nicholas California State
Davis, Department of Plant Sciences
Johnson, Eric E. Southern Illinois University,
Carbondale, Plant Biology Department
Jones, Jeffrey North Carolina
, Department of Botany
Lopez-Smith, Renee Southern Illinois
Carbondale, Plant Biology Department
McGrath Taylor, Kelly
University, Division of Science
Nguyen, Hanh Truman
, Division of Science
, Davis, Department
of Plant Sciences
Stewart, Jodi University of
Mackenzie L. Truman State
University, Division of Science
Uyeda, Josef Willamette
Withers, John Ohio University
, Department of Environmental and Plant Biology
2005 J. S. KARLING GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD
Daniel Fulop, Harvard University (Supervisor: Elena M. Kramer) - “Integrating phylogeny, biomechanics
and pollination ecology in a study of the genus Catasetum (Orchidaceae)”
2005 BSA GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH AWARD
Michelle Barthet, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and
(Supervisor: Khidir W. Hilu)_"Molecular and Genetic
analysis of the matK gene"
Iju Judy Chen, University
of Florida (Supervisor:
Steven R. Manchester) "Fossil records and
phytogeography of Vitaceae, the grape family"
Susan E. Elliott, Dartmouth
Rebecca E. Irwin) "Distinguishing between
pollen-limitation and pollinator-limitation of seed production for the perennial
bumblebee-pollinated plant, Delphinium
Courtney C. Finch, Saint
(Supervisor: Janet C. Barber) _ "Pollination Biology
and Evolution of the Orchid Genus Thelymitra
Nicole A. Hardiman, University
of Cincinnati, Department
of Biological Sciences (Supervisor: Theresa Culley) _ "Intra-Specific Hybridization
as a Mechanism of Invasiveness
in Pyrus calleryana"
Rebecca Hufft, University of
Santa Cruz, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology (Supervisor: Ingrid M. Parker) _ "Mechanisms maintaining
coexistence of sympatric cytotypes of
Arnica cordifolia (Asteraceae)"
G. K. Johnson, Wake
of Biology (Supervisor: William K. Smith) "Evaluation of cloud
emersion, acidic deposition, leaf wettability, and cuticle damage in refugial
populations of Fraser fir"
Shannon C. K. Straub, Cornell
of Plant Biology and L.H. Bailey Hortorium (Supervisor: Jeff J. Doyle) "Systematics
of Amorpha L. (Fabaceae): phylogenetics, evolution, ecology, and conservation"
Ping Zhou, Duke
Department of Biology (Supervisor: Jonathan Shaw) "Evolutionary history
and causation of Sphagnum cribrosum
"wave form" in North Carolina
The BSA and the Developmental & Structural section are pleased to announce
the 2005 "VERNON
I. CHEADLE STUDENT TRAVEL AWARD"
of Colorado, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
University, Department of Plant Biology
Cassandra Rogers Southern
Illinois University, Department of Plant Biology
Phycological Section Student Travel Award
State University "Ultrastructure and Morphology of Development in the Charophycean Green
Alga Chaetosphaeridium (Coleochaetales)"
Pteridological Section Student Travel Awards
2005 Award International
Steven F. Oberbauer "Biomechanics of Equisetum giganteum L. in the Atacama Desert and northwestern
Argentina" and "Ecophysiology of
Equisetum giganteum in the Atacama Desert, northern
University, Advisor: R. James Hickey "Natural History of the Puerto Rican soral cryptic
T. Klimas University of Colorado, Advisor: Thomas Ranker "Phylogenetic relationships and ecology of the tree fern genus
E. Watkins University of Florida
, Advisors: Steven Mulkey and Michelle Mack "Stress physiology of fern gametophytes: consequences for distribution
In response to Scott Russell's article on AJB Open access... (PSB 51(2):47)
Douglas Darnowski wrote:
I liked your article in PSB on open access. I think that BSA should keep
its current policies.
Varmus' original statements were foolishly irresponsible at best, for
most journals—just what happens when sucessful scientists go outside their
own limited field of scientific research (Pauling, Watson, you name `em,
they generally say and do poorly thought-out things).
If the government wants to pay for AJB, that
would be a different matter, if of course BSA voted to allow it. But then,
flying pigs are still fairly rare.
Scott Russell's reply:
Thanks for your comments. One reason that I wanted to discuss Open Access
(note capitalization) is that it, like mom and apple pie are difficult to
oppose in some form without more information. What has become OA is not merely ability
of all scientists to download information for free (which AJB has managed
to do with older content), but a dramatic shifting of the information and
revenue stream that decreases the number of payers and increases the number
of players. That is a difficult market when the payers are scientists and
grants are getting larger, but number funded are getting smaller. Scientists
don't buy journal subscriptions, so if the journal is essential to their
work, price is not a direct concern compared to the ideal of being able to
have access to high impact journals. The commercial publishers realize that
researchers are not going to pay en masse for what they could have for free,
or fire a graduate assistant so they can publish more papers this year.
For all that Springer has done, they hold free submission as a very high
does not permit payment of page charges on grants and they support their
scientists in this practice. Charging what the market can bear is the tricky
part and only in the marketplace do we find out how much the market can bear.
It is a complicated situation and non-profits have too small a cash reserve
to make mistakes! Thanks again.
LETTER TO: William M. Dahl, Executive Director, Botanical Society of
At the close of the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences' Centennial celebrations, we offer a grateful Thank-You to you and
the Botanical Society of America for your time and contributions towards
making it a most successful year. We are especially appreciative of the BSA
Historical Sections generous sponsorship of the sessions on the Legacy of
Liberty Hyde Bailey, presented at the Agricultural History Symposium, which
was held at Cornell as part of our Centennial tribute.
Lee B. Kass
for the CALS Centennial Committee
Zane B. Carothers - 1924-2005
Zane B. Carothers, Professor Emeritus of Plant Biology at the
University of Illinois
, died on 3 Feb 2005. He was 80 years old.
Zane was born in 1924 in Philadelphia
. After serving in the U.S. Army Air Force during World War II, Zane received
his BS and MS degrees in education from Temple
University and his PhD in botany
from the University
ofMichigan with his
doctoral dissertation on "Comparative stem anatomy of some shrubby members
of the Geraniaceae." He taught at the University
of Kentucky from 1957-1959 and
of Illinois from 1959-1991.
He was Professor of Botany or Plant Biology from 1976-1991 and became Professor
Emeritus of Plant Biology at his retirement in August 1991
At Illinois, Zane guided six masters (including Robert C. Scott III, Kathie
Gilmore, Stephen Wolniak, and Beverly Williams) and six doctoral students
(James Seago, Gerald Kreitner, John Moser, Dorothy Zinsmeister, David Haas,
and Robert Robbins), and he served on dozens of doctoral committees. After
his last doctoral students, he also hosted postdoctoral and senior collaborators:
Roy Brown, Ann E. Rushing, and Karen S. Renzaglia.
Zane influenced many students with his courses in classical
plant anatomy and morphology. He was very well known for his teaching because
his classes were punctuated by his utterly careful preparations and by his
dynamic teaching style and use of his voice. He was especially adept at changing
the tone of his voice in order to emphasize points. He had a major impact
on the teaching styles of many students who passed through his classes. His
precise illustrations of plant anatomy provided a key to understanding complex
topics and have been fondly used by many former students. Zane was a very
much sought after reviewer by botanical journals (especially AJB) because
he was so careful, thorough, and constructive in his criticisms and so knowledgeable
of the literature.
His research covered the spectrum from stems and roots to bryophytes,
which were the major emphases of his life's work. On the root/stem side of
his work, the paper he coauthored with David Haas on maize root endodermis
development (Haas' dissertation) is still a much cited paper. Zane was well
known among bryologists for his meticulous interpretations of electron micrographs
and reconstructions of bryophyte spermatids. He authored or coauthored 34
papers on the topic, including several major review articles.
Zane's avocation was submarines. He was a life member
of the Navel Institute and Submarine Veterans Inc. and an associate member
of the U.S. Submarine Veterans of World War II for which he served as president
of the Wolf Pack chapter.
In his honor, the Zane B. Carothers Memorial Fund has been established
at the Montgomery
in Coral Gables,
Center is dedicated
to research and conservation of cycads and palms. Zane loved all plants but
was particularly fascinated by the large sperm of cycads. For more information
about this fund, contact Ann_Rushing@baylor.edu.
_ Ann E. Rushing, Department of Biology, Baylor University, Waco, TX 76798
and James L. Seago Jr., Department of Biology, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126.
Vincent Ray Franceschi 1953-2005
Vincent Ray Franceschi, Director of the School
of Biological Sciences, and the
Electron Microscopy Center, Washington State University, died unexpectedly
on Saturday at Pullman
Vince was born on March 1, 1953, in
. He was the son of Giuseppe and Rita Bertolucci Franceschi. While Rita was
on a visit to Tuscany,
Italy, she met and married Guiseppe. Later,
he immigrated to Napa
, California, Rita's home town.
He worked as a shoemaker, and she as a seamstress
as they raised their three children, Joe, Vince and Angela. Vince attended
School and later,
Vince graduated from the University
SantaBarbara, in 1976, obtained an MS from
University in 1978, and earned a doctorate in Botany from
the University of
, in 1981.
Over the course of his career, Vince received many honors, all well-deserved.
While still a student, he became a member of Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society,
and was named a Regents Fellow at the University
Davis. He received a Lady Davis Fellowship from Hebrew
University of Jerusalem in 1981. Vince was the recipient of the WSU College
of Sciences Distinguished Faculty Research Award in 2004. Also in 2004, he
was included on the ISI list of researchers Most Highly Cited in Animal and
Plant Sciences, a distinction based on the high-profile nature of his over
In 1982, following a year of postdoctoral study at E.I. duPont de Nemours
and Company, Wilmington
, Delaware, Vince accepted a
position at WSU in the Department of Botany. He rose to the rank of Full
Professor in 1992 and assumed the Directorship of the WSU Electron Microscopy
Center two years later, a position he still held at his death. The Department
of Botany, along with several other departments, was reorganized into the
Biological Sciences in 1999.
Despite the intensity of his research and instructional load, Vince volunteered
in 2001 to assume the Director's position for the School, a multi-campus academic
unit with more than 35 faculty, 60 graduate students
and a burgeoning undergraduate program. Through his stewardship, the School
moved forward with the successful addition of new faculty, reassessment of
its undergraduate course offerings and a sharper image of its future. Vince
instinctively understood the needs and aspirations of each faculty member
in the unit and worked in a collegial manner to form faculty consensus and
shape the school's future. His rapport with and support for the School's
staff was truly extraordinary. In these four years, he provided perhaps
his finest service to his colleagues, his university and his profession.
Vince dedicated his life to plant science, focusing on the relationship
between plant structure and functions. Over 27 years, he studied cellular
and biochemical mechanisms controlling carbon assimilation, transport, and
partitioning of substances (sucrose, nucleic acids and proteins) in plants.
He demonstrated how vitamin C is transported in plants, which could lead
to improvement of the nutritional value of food. He also recently contributed
to the discovery of a previously unknown form of photosynthesis in plants.
Since it is a very novel structural variant of the most efficient pathway
by which some plants perform photosynthesis, there is interest in exploiting
this discovery towards the development of crops to withstand adverse conditions
like heat and drought, and rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
Throughout his career, Vince studied calcium oxalate in plants, which is
important in regulating calcium levels, and in plant defense against herbivores.
He had another project, working with colleagues in
Norway, in which he identified mechanisms
used by conifers in defense against bark beetle attack, a major problem in
the forest industry. Vince had an extraordinary record of collaborative research,
which included scientists all over WSU and at many universities across the
U.S. and world wide, including
, Iran, and
Israel. He was very skillful in procuring
grant funds for his research program, and he obtained millions of dollars
to support his projects.
Vince was extraordinarily skillful in microscopy, using various methods
to examine and photograph the innermost workings of plants. His wonderful
micrographs have graced many prominent scientific journals, including the
cover of Science magazine.
Vince's research is known by plant scientists
world wide through his many publications and through his membership in the
American Society of Plant Biologists and the Botanical Society of America.
More information about his life's work can be found on his website: http://www.sci.wsu.edu/sbs/franceschi.
In addition to being a dedicated leader and a premier scientist, Vince
was respected as a teacher. For many years, he taught Plant Anatomy and courses
in Electron Microscopy Technique. Vince was advisor to many graduate students
and mentor to many visiting scientists in his laboratory and the EM Center. He was exceptionally generous with his time in teaching techniques
and cell biology to any student or researcher who sought his help.
Vince was also a Science Fiction enthusiast. In his spare time, he loved
gardening. He waged a never-ending battle against the squirrels. In this,
he was aided by his faithful cat, Buddy.
Vince is survived by his fiancée, Mechthild Tegeder, and his parents, Rita
and Guiseppe, to whom he was a very caring son. He is also survived by his
brother Joseph, his wife Patricia and their son Anthony, of
SaltLake City, Utah, and by
his sister Angela Worden and her husband Chris of Omond Beach, Florida, and
their daughter Gina, of Weaverville
, California. Vince leaves behind
many members of his extended family in the Napa
, California, area and in
Italy, and his many, many friends and colleagues at
WSU and universities across the
United States and in a number of foreign
Those who knew Vince will remember him as a kind, friendly person with
a keen scientific mind and a devotion to his profession. He had excellent
communication skills and fostered an "open door" policy when it came to encouraging
interaction with faculty, staff and students. He was a prolific scientist
whose legacy of work will go on through all his publications, through his
influence on colleagues, and through the careers of the many students he
mentored. He will be greatly missed, and impossible to replace.
A memorial service to celebrate Vince's life is planned for 3 p.m. on Friday,
May 6, at the Presbyterian Church,
1630 NE Stadium Way, Pullman,
Washington. The Rev. Roger
Lynn will officiate. Immediately following the service, Vince's friends and
colleagues are invited to an informal reception at
240 SW Blaine St., Pullman
. The family suggests that, in lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to
the Vince Franceschi Scholarship Fund, through the Washington State Employees
Credit Union, Pullman Branch,
1220 S. Grand Ave., Pullman
. - Gary Edwards, Washing St. University.
Guggenheim Award Supports Michael J. Balick's Ethnobotanical Study of
Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia
On May 4, 2005, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation held a reception
to honor their new 2005 Guggenheim Fellows. Among the new fellows is Dr.
Michael J. Balick of The New York Botanical Garden, whose fellowship will
support the preparation of a comprehensive manuscript on the ethnobotany
of the Micronesian island
Working with local ethnobotanists, the Pohnpei Council of Traditional Leaders,
The Nature Conservancy, The College of Micronesia, and other international
and local groups, Dr. Balick has been documenting people's traditional uses
of plants on the island for eight years. This data will be compiled into
a complete synthesis of ethnobotanical knowledge of Pohnpei. The Guggenheim
award will enable Dr. Balick to produce a first draft of this manuscript
in 2006, for publication in 2007.
Pohnpei, the highest and second largest of the Caroline Islands in the
western Pacific, is part of the
Federated States of Micronesia. It is
one of the wettest and, until recently, most fully forested of the
CarolineIslands. It contains the lowest elevation cloud forest
in the world and is rich in rare and endemic species of plants and animals.
The diversity of habitats, high rainfall, and deep weathered soils support
more than 1,000 species of vascular plants.
Since the first botanist visited in 1822, botanical and ethnobotanical
information gathering on Pohnpei has been uncoordinated and sporadic. Today,
as in other parts of the world, much of traditional knowledge, including
an understanding of biodiversity, and its use and management, is being lost
as modern culture spreads around the world.
The book will contain introductory chapters on the botany of the island,
agroforestry and food production, traditional forest management practices,
traditional healing, ecosystem conservation, and the loss of specific knowledge
about plants and their uses. This will be followed by an encyclopedic section
on Ponapean flora, with detailed scientific nomenclature, common names, local
and regional uses, and color photography. The book is planned to be the most
detailed study of the traditional use of plants on any Micronesian island.
It will support biodiversity research, conservation, and anthropological
studies and be
used in public health programs and local teaching. It will also help safeguard
the intellectual property interests of the Pohnpei people.
Dr. Michael J. Balick is a senior scientist, curator, and research director
at The New York Botanical Garden. He is the Philecology Curator and Director
of the Botanical Garden's Institute
of Economic Botany
and Vice President for Research and Training. He is the author of numerous
books and scientific papers in ethnobotany and plant systematics, and serves
as an advisor and trustee on the board of a number of organizations dedicated
to ethnobotany and herbal medicine. Dr. Balick serves as an Adjunct Professor
at Columbia University,
New York University,
, and City University of New York. Internationally, he has established numerous
collaborations between communities, governmental and non-governmental organizations,
and institutions in the United States
and Europe, all working towards the common
theme of discovering plants with potential therapeutic uses and was recently
awarded the Award for International Scientific Cooperation by the American
Association for the Advancement of Science.
A Symposium and Banquet Honoring the Legacy of David E. Fairbrothers
"The Future of Plant Research" at
Rutgers University, NJ,
USA June 4, 2005
This event was organized to honor David Fairbrothers' work during his
40+ years career at
as a researcher, academic advisor, teacher, administrator, and colleague.
David Fairbrothers' historic influence over plant research, conservation
of plants on both a local and nationwide scale, as well as protection of
habitats in the NJ Pinelands cannot be overestimated. He was honored by former
students, colleagues and his friends in a Mini-Symposium discussing his influence
over plant research and conservation in the
UnitedStates, with personal anecdotes from students
and colleagues, and presentations of current cutting-edge plant research
at Rutgers. This was also the kick-off for
the fundraising campaign for the David E. Fairbrothers Plant Resources Center
(FPRC), an umbrella organization envisioned to consist of the Chrysler Herbarium,
the Rutgers' Mycological Herbarium, Online
Herbarium, Molecular and Plant Extract Archive and a K-12 Stakeholder outreach
program. The endowment for the FPRC would secure funding for staff and activities
that would benefit both New Jersey
plant and citizens, as well as nationwide plant research.
Speakers for Mini-Symposium:
Richard Triemer, Michigan
Ilya Raskin, Rutgers
Steven Handel, Rutgers
David Lee, Florida
Jim White, Rutgers
Steven Clements, Brooklyn
Dennis Stevenson, The
New York Botanical Garden
Art Tucker, Delaware
Lena Struwe, Rutgers
To contribute to the endowment for the Rutgers
Chrysler Herbarium: Lena Struwe, Director, Chrysler Herbarium,
(Phone: 732-932 9711 x235, email@example.com)
Mycological Herbarium: Jim White,
(Phone Number: 732-932 9711 x357,
Names Scot D. Medbury President, CEO
, NY, July 28, 2005 Scot D. Medbury has been
named president and chief executive officer of
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
. Mr. Medbury, 46, will officially assume his new position at
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
October 3, 2005, becoming the sixth leader since the Garden was founded
in 1910. Prior to joining
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
, Mr. Medbury was the director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
a San Francisco landmark since 1878 and the
Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum,
Golden Gate Park
. Since 1999, he has been the chief administrative officer for the 55-acre
botanical garden as well as for the 125-year-old conservatory, which re-opened
in 2003 after a $25 million building restoration and exhibitions upgrade
that transformed it into Golden
's star attraction. Mr. Medbury was also highly successful in creating programming
that appealed to San Francisco
's diverse audiences and increased their use and enjoyment of the garden.
Throughout Mr. Medbury's distinguished 25-year career he has been involved
in the curation, cultivation, and interpretation of botanical collections,
having held appointments at gardens in California, Washington state, Great
Britain, New Zealand, and his home state of Hawaii. Mr. Medbury's knowledge
of the horticultural, ecological, and design characteristics of temperate,
subtropical, and tropical plants has helped to inform the planning and management
of many botanical gardens.
"I am absolutely thrilled to accept the opportunity to help lead this extraordinary
cultural institution and to lend my enthusiasm and commitment to the
Brooklyn Botanic Garden
's local and far-reaching constituencies," said Scot D. Medbury, president-elect.
"Together we can further the Garden's outstanding reputation both as a world-class
garden and as a leader in botanical and conservation research and education,
which are an inspiration to botanical gardens everywhere."
Mr. Medbury is affiliated with many professional associations including
the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta (AABGA), where
he has served on the Publications Committee since 1990, Board of Directors
from 2001 to 2004, and its Conservation Committee
from 1992 to 1996. He is also a member of the governing councils of the
California Horticultural Society and the International Dendrology Society,
and is a member-at-large of the Garden Club of America. Among his many awards,
Mr. Medbury received the professional citation from the American Association
of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 2004 for his contributions to public
gardens in North America.
Mr. Medbury holds two degrees from the University
of Washington in
Seattle: an MS in Forest Resources from Center for Urban Horticulture;
and, a BA in International Studies, with an emphasis on Russian language
and culture, Phi Beta Kappa, from the
of International Studies.
M. Patrick Griffith Appointed Executive Director of
Florida: June 23, 2005:
Botanist M. Patrick Griffith was recently selected by
Center as its new
Executive Director. Patrick is a recent Ph.D. graduate in Botany from Claremont
Graduate University and Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California,
and also holds M.S. (Biology, Sul Ross State University) and B.A. (Botany,
UT Austin) degrees. Patrick is the author of numerous scientific articles
and other publications, and has received various grants and awards for his
studies of plant evolution and relationships. His past experience includes
extensive botanical fieldwork, both within the
US and abroad.
is situated on the former 122- acre
Coral Gables, Florida
estate of Colonel Robert and Nell Montgomery. This botanical resource specializes
in scientifically documented, population-based collections of tropical plants,
with an emphasis on palms and cycads. "Our rigorous standards in population
sampling, data collection, permitting, and collections management have earned
the respect of botanical institutions, researchers, and educators from around
the world," Patrick states. The local community also benefits by learning
about these plants and their landscape potential in
South Florida by seeing them displayed in a beautiful, professionally-designed
garden setting. Working in close collaboration with the Florida Nursery,
Growers & Landscape Association (FNGLA), MBC operates the largest seed
bank in the world, providing other research institutions, gardens, and the
nursery industry with seeds, pollen, and plants.
Under Patrick's leadership, Montgomery
will continue to expand its scientific collections of tropical plants (emphasizing
palms and cycads) in its botanical garden, and further exemplify outstanding
landscape design. Patrick is committed to expanding and strengthening MBC's
relationships with scientists, researchers, horticulturalists, and botanical
institutions around the world. As such, Patrick invites all interested persons
to contact him at their convenience
University Bullard Fellowships in Forest
Each year Harvard
a limited number of Bullard Fellowships to individuals in biological, social,
physical and political sciences to promote advanced study, research or integration
of subjects pertaining to forested ecosystems. The fellowships, which include
stipends up to $40,000, are intended to provide individuals in mid-career
with an opportunity to utilize the resources and to interact with personnel
in any department within Harvard
University in order
to develop their own scientific and professional growth. In recent years
Bullard Fellows have been associated with the
, Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology and the J. F. Kennedy
School of Government and have worked in areas of ecology, forest management,
policy and conservation. Fellowships are available for periods ranging from
six months to one year after September 1st. Applications from
international scientists, women and minorities are encouraged. Fellowships
are not intended for graduate students or recent post-doctoral candidates.
Information and application instructions are available on the
web site (http://harvardforest.fas.harvard.edu). For additional information
contact: Committee on the Charles Bullard Fund for Forest Research, Harvard
University, Harvard Forest, 324 North Main Street, Petersham, MA 01366 USA
or email (firstname.lastname@example.org
). Annual deadline for applications is February 1st.
American Philosophical Society Grant and Fellowship Programs.
We have revised the Fellowships and Research Grants section of our website,
, for 2006, and we hope to institute a listserv where you can register
to receive brief reminders of deadlines and of our yearly update of the forms;
the launch of the listserv will be announced on our website so we invite
you to check the "About the Fellowships and Research Grants" section periodically.
New this year:
1. The American Philosophical Society is proud to announce the addition
of the Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research to
our list of programs. The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field
Research offers grants, primarily designed for
young scholars, to support the cost of travel and equipment in field research.
2. It is now possible to submit applications electronically to the
Franklin and Lewis and Clark programs using fill-in
versions of the forms.
3. In collaboration with the British
Academy, the APS offers an exchange
post-doctoral fellowship for up to three months' research in the archives
and libraries of London
during 2006. Those interested in applying for this program should use the
application form, specifying the British Academy Fellowship, and
apply by October 1.
A very brief overview of the
Franklin and Lewis and Clark programs is below my
signature. Please feel free to edit the information as your space allotment
and the interests of your readership dictate. The single most important detail
to convey is the web site address because all current forms and updates are
available there. If you feel that your readership needs to know that our
grants are not restricted to philosophy, refer them to the section "About
American Philosophical Society, RESEARCH PROGRAMS
All information and forms for all of the Society's programs can be downloaded
from our website, http://
. Click on the "Fellowships and Research Grants"
tab at the top of the homepage.
INFORMATION about ALL PROGRAMS
Awards are made for non-commercial research only. The Society makes no
grants for academic study or classroom presentation, for travel to conferences,
for non-scholarly projects, for assistance with translation, or for the preparation
of materials for use by students. The Society does not pay overhead or indirect
costs to any institution or costs of publication.
Applicants may be residents of the
United States, or American
citizens resident abroad. Foreign nationals whose research can only
be carried out in the
United States are eligible. Grants are
made to individuals; institutions are not eligible to apply. Requirements
for each program vary.
Grants and fellowships are taxable income, but the Society is not required
to report payments. It is recommended that grant and fellowship recipients
discuss their reporting obligations with their tax advisors.
Questions concerning the FRANKLIN and LEWIS AND CLARK programs should
be directed to Linda Musumeci, Research Administrator, at
LMusumeci@amphilsoc.org or 215-440-3429.
Franklin Research Grants
This is a program of small grants to scholars
intended to support the cost of research leading to publication in all areas
of knowledge. The Franklin
program is particularly designed to help meet the cost of travel to libraries
and archives for research purposes; the purchase of microfilm, photocopies
or equivalent research materials; the costs associated with fieldwork; or
laboratory research expenses.
Applicants are expected to have a doctorate, or to have published work
of doctoral character and quality. Pre-doctoral graduate students are not
eligible, but the Society is especially interested in supporting the work
of young scholars who have recently received the doctorate.
From $1,000 to $6,000.
October 1, December 1; notification in February and
Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration
and Field Research
The Lewis and Clark encourages exploratory
field studies for the collection of specimens and data and to provide the
imaginative stimulus that accompanies direct observation. Applications are
invited from disciplines with a large dependence on field studies, such as
archeology, anthropology, astrobiology and space science, biology, ecology,
geography, geology, and paleontology, but grants will not be restricted to
Grants will be available to graduate students, post-doctoral students,
and junior and senior scientists who wish to participate in field studies
for their theses or for other purposes. Undergraduates are not eligible.
Grants will depend on travel costs, but will ordinarily be in the range
of several hundred dollars to about $5,000.
March 15; notification in June.
Evidence of Integrated Signaling in Plants Reported at the First Symposium
on Plant Neurobiology
June 21, 2005—Science is showing that plants are capable of accumulating,
processing, storing, and transmitting information. Plants contain nervous-system-like
receptors and neuroactive compounds, similar to those found in animals. These
advances in understanding the "neuronal" aspects of plant life may dramatically
change our understanding of how plants grow, as well as how plants interact
with other organisms, a field of science sometimes referred to as plant neurobiology.
At the world's first Symposium on Plant Neurobiology, recently
held in Florence,
Italy, May 17-20, 2005, Dr. Eric D. Brenner,
curator at The New York Botanical Garden, presented recent findings on pharmacological
approaches to understanding plant glutamate receptors. It was one of a number
of scientific papers that were presented on molecular biology, cell biology,
plant physiology, electrophysiology, and plant-to-plant communications.
Plants produce a variety of compounds that affect the human nervous system.
Although their effects on humans have been well studied, their role in plants
is poorly understood. One such compound, BMAA [S(+)-beta-Methyl-alpha, beta-diaminopropionic
acid], is found in all species of the most ancient, living seed plants, the
cycads, which once covered large portions of the earth nearly 200 to 300
million years ago . BMAA in cycad seeds, among a number of candidate compounds
has been suggested as the etiological source of Guam
's dementia (also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/parkinsonism-dementia
complex, or ALS-PDC)—a disease in the South Pacific. Now research
is uncovering BMAA's role in plants.
Dr. Brenner with Dr. Dennis Stevenson and their colleagues
from The New York Botanical Garden and the Department of Biology at
New York University
took a pharmacological approach to uncover the role of plant glutamate receptor
genes by examining the effects of BMAA, derived from cycads, on morphogenesis
in the model study plant, Arabidopsis thaliana. Their studies presented
at the meeting, and their previously published work in Plant Physiology
(December 2000), revealed that BMAA appears to interfere with light-induced
changes in morphology in Arabidopsis. These studies suggest a role for glutamate
receptor involvement in light signaling in plants. Thus, BMAA made by cycads,
which acts on glutamate receptors, appears to be acting against animal predators.
Glutamate receptor genes have been identified in Arabidopsis, and
the genomic sequencing of cycad genes performed by Dr. Brenner and his colleagues
at the New York Plant Genomics Consortium, has uncovered glutamate receptor
like genes in cycads, published in Genome Biology (2003).
Further studies on glutamate receptors and their impact on plant growth
and development, including circadian cycles (biorhythms) of plants, are underway.
Dr. Brenner also previewed further research on BMAA light signaling and light
pathways in plants. There's mounting evidence that a new era of plant studies
is emerging, the era of plant neurobiology.
The collection of scientists from diverse backgrounds at the Symposium
on Plant Neurobiology is one signal of this new era, as is the announcement
at the symposium of a new journal, Plant Signaling and Behavior, to
be launched this fall. For more information on the symposium, see its Web
site at http://izmb.de/volkmann/plantneuro.php.
The New York Plant Consortium was formed in 2000 to pool the abilities
and resources of four of New York's top science institutions—New York University,
The New York Botanical Garden, The American Museum of Natural History, and
Cold Spring Harbor. Together, the institutions are pursuing research in comparative
functional genomics in plants. In September 2004, the consortium received
a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to create a virtual
center for plant evolutionary genomics.
The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants located at
Bronx River Parkway (Exit 7W) and
Fordham Road in the Bronx
. The Botanical Garden is dedicated to the documentation and preservation
of the Earth's plant biodiversity through education and research. Its
Center is one of the most accomplished, intensive,
and distinguished botanical science programs in the world. The Garden is
open year-round, Tuesday through Sunday and on Monday holidays, from 10 a.m._6
p.m. April through October, and 10 a.m._5 p.m. November through March. For
information call 718.817.8700 or visit
Revised New York
The NY Natural Heritage Program and New York Flora Association are pleased
to unveil the revised online New York Flora Atlas. This online atlas may
be accessed via the following URL:
http://atlas.nyflora.org/. Through this atlas users can
generate county checklists, learn which plants are rare, develop wetland
lists, and create native/non-native list. Each species has information on
the distribution, rarity, native status, and wetland status, as well as a
list of synonyms. We will soon add habitat descriptions and associated ecological
communities. By the end of summer, we also hope to add non-vascular plant
information. More than 200 vascular species were added to the
New York State
flora, mainly through the discovery of unreported voucher specimens. The
taxonomy of many species has also been updated,
however, the database is cross-referenced with a long list of synonyms.
There are also direct links to the USDA Plants Database and to NatureServe
Explorer for each databased species.
All county records are tied to a voucher specimen. To assist people in
obtaining more information about a particular record, the herbarium holding the
voucher specimen can be found under the source tab. As a word of caution,
all identifications have been accepted as is. The distribution record is
only as good as the identification of the voucher records. Identification
errors are obviously present within these voucher records; however, researchers
can track down the specimen and annotate any questionable reports. This
atlas will receive continual updates to reflect the most accurate information
This project is only possible though the support of the various herbaria
that have provided digital data. This atlas is built on existing digital
data and many unrecorded voucher specimens still need to be added to the database.
As more and more herbaria digitize their collections, the more improvement
users will see with the atlas. All herbaria are welcomed to contribute their
data. Data from nearly 60 herbaria have been contributed to date, but special
thanks go to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, New York State Museum, Planting
Fields Arboretum, New York
Botanical Garden, SUNY-Oswego (Rice Creek Field Station),
for the significant amount of data provided. We also want to thank Ken Dean
and Dick Mitchell for their work on the 1990 NYFA Atlas as the current atlas
is largely based on this work. We also thank Dick Mitchell for all the work
he did as State Botanist, and we hope this work represents a continuation
of his great works. Many thanks to the numerous collectors who have provided
specimens that this atlas is based on. Lastly, we thank Shawn Landry and
Logan Mabe (University of South
Florida) for developing and designing the atlas database/website,
as well as Dave Gerhard and Chris Isaksen (
New York State
Museum) for supporting, trouble-shooting, and
maintaining the atlas database server/website.
Funding for the project came from the Environmental Protection Fund through
the New York State Biodiversity Research Institute, and from the members
of the New York Flora Association.
Troy Weldy and
For additiona information contact:
Troy Weldy Botanist
NY Natural Heritage Program
625 Broadway, 5th Floor
Phone: (518) 402-8952
Cell: (518) 810-1853
Fax: (518) 402-8925
The NY Natural Heritage Program is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy
and the New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation.
Visit our website at www.nynhp.org
from p. 82
In the ages,
Dripping from the bark of pine
Catching gnats, bugs
Grew some sticky
Buried up for
In the seas and mud and slime:
Then washed up
Upon the seashore
our fossil turpentine.
Oh my solid,
Oh my golden
Oh my amber turpentine
Put you in my
Then you'll be both hers and mine.
H.S. Conard, 1910
: Songs of Biology, 4th ed. 1953
Natural History, Revised Edition
. Storer, Tracy I., Robert L. Ysinger, and David Lukas.
- Jan Barber................................................95
Deserts: The Living Drylands
. Oldfield, Sara. - Gretchen North.........................................................................96
What Good are Bugs?
Insects in the Web of Life
. Waldbauer, G. - Scott
The Book of Edible Nuts
. Rosengarten, Frederic, Jr. -Nina Baghai-Riding...........................................................98
Creative Propagation, 2nd ed
. Thompson, Peter. - Douglas Darnowski............................................................100
Herbs in Bloom.
A Guide to Growing Herbs as Ornamental
. Dougherty, Holly
S.- Tadeusz Aniszewski.........................................................101
Hibiscus: Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden
Barbara Perry. - Randall Small......................103
Timber Press Pocket Guide to Shade Perennials
Schmid, W. George. - Jason Koontz...................................103
Linnaeus' Philosophia Botanica
. Freer, Stephen (Translator). -Marshall
Biodiversity of Fungi,
Inventory and Monitoring Methods
. Mueller, Gregory M., Gerald F. Bills, and Mercedes
S. Foster. - Darlene Southworth...........106
Vitamin C: Function and Biochemistry in Animals
. Asard, Han, James M. May and Nicholas Smirnoff (eds
) - Susan Jonew-Held.............107
A Natural History of Ferns
. Moran, Robbin C. - Courtney C. Finch.................................................................108
Structural and Developmental
Deep Morphology: Toward a Renaissance of Morphology
in Plant Systematics
. Stuessy, Tod F., Veronika Mayer & Elvira Horandl (
- Marshall Sundberg………………………………………................................................................109
Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent
. Powell, A. Michael and James F. Weedin.
- Root Gorelick....110
The Moss Flora of Britain
, 2nd ed
. Smith, A.J.E. - Norton Miller...............................................112
Sierra Nevada Natural History, Revised Edition.
Storer, Tracy I., Robert L. Usinger, and David Lukas. 2004. ISBN 0-520-24096-0
(Paper US$ 24.95) 592 pp University of California Press, 2120 Berkeley Way,
Berkeley, CA 94704.This volume is no. 73 in the California Natural History
Guide Series published by the
Press. It is a revised edition of the 1963 guide by the first two authors,
and contains a new introduction, updated treatments, and a set of beautiful
color plates illustrating the plants and animals of the Sierra. The introductory
chapter includes sections on topography and geological history, climate,
and distribution patterns of the range's extraordinarily diverse biota. A
section titled "The Changing Landscape" details the immense impact that humans
have had in the region. Virtually all of these impacts occurred after the
gold rush of 1849. Although local Native American tribes used fire to control
brushlands and encourage the growth of various food plants, their populations
were never large enough to effect change at the enormous scale of white settlers.
The bulk of the book consists of the descriptions and illustrations of
Sierran plants and animals. There is some attempt to follow current taxonomic
knowledge, while at the same time producing a guide that will undoubtedly
be used mostly by people without technical training. This is a clearly a
difficult balance to achieve. For example, fungi are treated in the plant
section, despite current evidence that they are more closely related to animals.
Angiosperms are divided into "flowering plants", shrubs and trees, which
is likely how most non-botanists categorize plants. The "flowering plant"
section is ordered alphabetically by family name, although the index to the
section uses the common family name. No key is included and I can't help
but wonder whether your average layman would know the difference between
a plant belonging to the waterleaf family and one from "Loasa." As I said:
a difficult balance, and these are surely not
the last authors to struggle with how best to arrange taxonomic groups in
a popular guide. A rudimentary description of floral parts is provided, and
each plant family begins with a brief description of family characteristics.
As a botanist, I spent most of my time looking at the plant sections, but
all the chapters are subject to the same problem of organization. It's difficult
to see how an amateur naturalist would find what he was looking for without
at least some taxonomic training. Presumably, there would be a lot of flipping
back and forth between the color plates and the descriptions. This is, of
course, a problem common to anyone who wants to produce a popular guide; I
certainly don't have a solution.
There are many fine line drawings in the text, but the
glory of the book is the 536 color plates. In terms of utility for identification
purposes, these range from excellent to useless; most fall between these extremes.
Photos of most mammals and many of the birds will be of aid. As the number
of species in a group increases (e.g. insects, plants), the utility of the
photos begins to decrease. Of the insect photos, those of butterflies are
most useful. Most of the plant photos will, at best, get you to genus, certainly
as good as may be hoped for without a key. A few _ plates 57 (grass) and
58 (sedge) _ might as well have been left out entirely. Nevertheless, for
a guide so ambitious as to take on the entire biota of such a large and diverse
region, I think this volume does an admirable job. I do wish that
the plates were cross-referenced to the descriptions; this would cut down
considerably on the need to flip back and forth between photo, index and
text. Species descriptions are generally good, and often include distribution
notes and interesting remarks about the species' habits, behavior and ecology.
The plant descriptions, however, lack bloom periods.
The book itself is handsomely made, with a reasonably sturdy paper cover
and photographs and drawings of very good quality. Inside the front cover
is a handy scale, calibrated in inches. A nice set of references, arranged
by topic (general, geology) or group, is included for those who wish to investigate
further. The size and weight of the volume are perfect for car camping and
day hikes, but probably too bulky for a backpack of more than 4 or 5 days.
In summary, I think that anyone desiring an overall introduction to the natural
history of California's beautiful
Sierra Nevada will find this volume both useful and enjoyable
to read. Jan Barber, Department of Biology,
St Louis University
Deserts: The Living Drylands by Sara Oldfield
(MIT Press) opens with a photograph on the frontispiece of an arborescent
succulent that is identified two pages later as "Joshua Tree." Sadly, the
photo is of a quiver tree (an aloe, not a yucca, from an African desert,
not American). I say "sadly" because the intention of the book, given its
coffee table format, lavish use of color photography, and non-technical prose,
is to illuminate deserts and their inhabitants for general readers who may
thereby come to value deserts more highly. Moreover, a portion of the proceeds
from the book will be donated to the venerable conservation organization
Fauna and Flora International in the
UK. Thus, it is unfortunate that such a
lovely, right-minded book has many small errors and not-so-small omissions
that diminish its value for both specialists and general readers alike.
Flaws aside for the moment, the organization and scope
of the book are appropriate for its intended audience. The first chapter
presents an overview of the world's major deserts, beginning with a short
history of their exploration, followed by a discussion of abiotic features
common to most deserts, such as limited rainfall, large diurnal fluctuations
in temperature, and eroded and shifting soils. Then, the chapter briefly
describes the distribution and location of the world's deserts, but without
referring to the extremely useful map that is consigned to the back of the
book. The introduction concludes with short sections devoted to the subjects
to be explored desert-by-desert in the body of the book: plants and animals
and their ecological adaptations, the traditional cultures of the indigenous
peoples, and changes or threats and conservation measures designed to meet
them. After chapters devoted to the deserts of Africa, the Middle East, Asia,
Australia, and the
Americas, the book concludes with a chapter
called "The dryland future," followed by a map of the world's deserts and
some useful lists of endangered species and conservation organizations. Throughout,
the level of detail presented and the amount of background knowledge assumed
seem geared toward a reader with a sound general education. An ideal use
for such a book might be to stimulate a motivated high school student to
use some information directly (such as the ingenious adaptations of desert
amphibians) or to research certain of its subjects more deeply.
A number of errors and editing decisions might cause frustration for the
high school student or any reader who wants to know more about deserts. After
being alerted to the mistaken caption for the quiver trees, I set out to
check captions against photos. While this did not reveal many additional
errors, what I found was more bothersome: the photos are not closely matched
with the text. Often a statement will cry out for an illustration (e.g.,
"One of the most extraordinary African desert plants is Harpagophytum
or devil's claw"; p.103) yet the photograph accompanying the text is of
an aloe. This disconnect between illustration
and text may have arisen because the photographs were taken from a collection
and do not represent any collaboration between photographer and author. The
overall effect is that the book is an assemblage, rather than an integrated
work, which might occasionally lead to misunderstanding. For example, a two-page
spread showing lions in Gir
NationalPark (in India
, but not identified as to nation) is placed near the beginning of the account
of the Gobi
Desert, where a casual
reader might be led to believe the lions live.
The high school student or other reader may have additional cause for frustration
due to misspelled names and misidentified organisms. My favorite photograph
in the book is of a green and yellow chameleon in a hip-hop pose, with tongue
out and legs akimbo, yet an Internet search for more information on this creature
was fruitless until I realized that the author had misspelled the genus.
In addition, every person to whom I have shown this picture has asked where
the chameleon lives, but its home desert is not specified. One last small
error is one that would annoy even an elementary
school student: the author states that "The formidable scorpions are another
group of insects that have adapted to life in the Australian deserts" (p.
103). This may seem trivial, but a book meant to inspire understanding of
deserts and their inhabitants owes its readers a baseline of accurate information.
Two omissions further diminish the book, particularly for readers in the
. For all continents except the
Americas, the cultures of peoples indigenous
to desert regions are described in some detail. Even if the indigenous people
of deserts in the continental
U.S. have been displaced and decimated,
surely they deserve mention. The second omission is curious, given the dedication
of the book to the cause of conservation: no mention is made of threats to
deserts associated with global change, such as likely increases in temperature,
shifts in rainfall, increases in nitrogen deposition, and widespread invasions
by non-native species. The book does describe desertification, and also does
a good job of discussing better ways to manage the competing demands between
human uses and conservation of resources in desert lands. However, on balance,
this book does not adequately fill the niche of a beautiful yet accurate
natural history of deserts. Gretchen North, Biology Department,
, Los Angeles,
What Good are Bugs? Insects in the Web of Life.
G. Waldbauer. 2003. ISBN 0-674-01632-7 (Paper US$) 366 pp.
Massachusetts. Class after class, field trip after
field trip, and gathering after gathering of friends and family, what ecologist,
naturalist or biologist has not been asked, "What good are bugs?"
This question often comes as the inquiring person is squashing a mosquito
or collecting ticks from their clothing. "What good are bugs?" Obviously
from the subtitle, bugs have some place in this world. And by bugs, the author
means insects and all of their multiple-legged brethren. I use the general,
non-technical moniker here as well.
Acknowledging that the world has a love-hate relationship
with bugs, Waldbauer effectively and oh so thoroughly reveals how bugs are
inextricably woven into the fabric of nature. Consider insects as consumers
and the consumed, "…herbivorous insects produced close to thirty times more
food for animal-eating creatures than did the much larger and more visible
vertebrates." And the bugs that influence other bugs, "without insects there
would be no spiders, and without spiders there would probably be too many
insects." Or the many easily overlooked bugs going about their daily often
overlooked lives, "… fairy flies parasitize the eggs of many different kinds
of insects… such as the predaceous diving beetles." Or a PG-rated parasite,
"Some species (flies) lodge in the groin of male chipmunks… often sterilize
them… aptly named Cuterebra emasculator." The bizarre and the popular
are given equal billing. This is a credit to Walbauer's efforts. Readers
will be drawn into the limitless world of fascinating facts in an easy to
read combination of science and natural history. Chapters are grouped into
four broad categories: "Helping Plants," "Helping Animals," "Limiting Population
Growth" and "Cleaning Up." The next breakdown is logical: dispersal, pollination,
herbivory for example.
There is one niggling comment regarding the format. Peppered randomly throughout
each chapter are what amount, I assume, to sidebars
or footnotes. Demarcated by three miniature insects, these seem to be a place
for embellishment. In fact they distract from the otherwise lucid prose.
These do not seem necessary.
Occasionally, I was confused by chapter title similarities. "Supplying
Food" is found with the section "Helping Plants" and the similar "Giving
Sustenance" begins the second section, "Helping Animals." Both food
and sustenance refer to bugs as the item on the menu for plants (ex.
carnivorous plants) and animals in the form of many types of insectivorous
predators and parasites. True, not an insurmountable problem, but more cogent
titles could emphasize the individual importance of topics.
Illustrations, though not copious, are effective and attractive. The pencil
drawings are placed within pertinent sections and are accompanied by a short
caption. At the end of the book is a list of references divided by chapter.
The index is thorough and accurate and contains a combination of subjects,
technical and common names and authors.
What Good are Bugs? Insects in the Web of Life is not a textbook
but could have a place in the classroom. Walbauer's book could entertain
general studies course such as the variations of classes named "Bugs and People"
etc. offered at many schools. What Good are Bugs? Insects in the Web of
Life is part encyclopedia, part armchair travel guide for a fascinating,
important and yes sometimes repulsive and scary group of creatures. The uninitiated
novice bug observer should be enthralled by the panoply of the goings on
of bugs. The jaded naturalist will still find new reasons to love these multilegged
It is irresistible to not take liberty with E.O.
Wilson's view of ants; "bugs" are the little things that rule the earth.
They pollinate countless crops used by humans, move and protect many plants,
dispose of much of natures rubbish and on and on… Indeed, bugs are good.
- Scott Ruhren, Providence
School of Continuing Education
, 549 River Avenue
The Book of Edible Nuts, Rosengarten, Frederic. Jr. 2004, ISBN
0-486-43499-0 (Paper US $19.95) 384 pp. Dover Publications Inc.
31 East 2nd Street, Mineola
, New York 11501
People are encouraged to eat five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables
a day to reduce risks of cancer and other chronic diseases. There are over
20,000 edible plants in the world, yet many are unknown to individuals. Edible
plant parts may include leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds, roots, and stems.
Seeds are especially nutritious since they contain the embryo and the food
supply for the next generation of the plant. They contain large amounts of
protein, fats, carbohydrates, and vitamins (calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium,
potassium, niacin, riboflavin, and others). Rosengarten, an economic botanist,
discusses 42 different types of "nuts" that are consumed throughout the world
in his book entitled "The Book of Edible Nuts". Rosengarten uses the term
nut loosely. He does not embrace the botanical definition of a nut which is
usually defined as a one-seeded, indehiscent, simple, dry fruit with a hard
(stony to woody) pericarp In this book, the word nut encompasses an assortment
of cultivated fruits (achenes, drupes and legumes), tubers (chufa nut) and
seeds that are called nuts in everyday usage.
This book begins with a short introduction, in which
Rosengarten points out that not all nuts and nutlike seeds are edible. For
example, the cashew contains deadly toxic and venomous substances in its
fruit wall and the calabar bean of
Nigeria was used to poison individuals that
committed heinous crimes. He emphasizes, however, how nuts and seeds are
vital for vegetarians and provide healthful snacks for other individuals.
Throughout the introduction Rosengarten specified how nuts can be stored,
production and consumption of common tree nut varieties, and U.S. dollars
price per pound of edible nuts.
The book is divided into two main parts. In part 1, Rosengarten writes
individual chapters about 12 economically important, edible nuts that are
consumed in the United
States: almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews,
chestnuts, coconuts, filberts (hazelnuts), macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans,
pistachios, sunflower seeds, and Persian walnuts. This part of the book is
well researched. Each chapter provides an enormous reservoir of information.
For each of these nut types, Rosengarten gives a description of edible species
including structure of leaves, stems, flowers, and time of maturation; general
ecology and pollination strategies; legends, superstitions, and other symbolisms;
historical accounts that led to their discovery; when these plants were introduced
to nonnative regions; how the plants are propagated; where commercial facilities
are located; common pests and diseases; nutritional value, packaging and
marketing techniques; countries that purchase the nuts; and delicious recipes
(hors d'oeuvres, main dishes, side dishes, salads, confectioners, and deserts).
Throughout part 1, Rosengarten also provides a global overview of these
12 nut varieties as well as how these nuts are vital to many cultures and
countries. He discusses principal growing regions of the world for each nut
variety as well as a how these nuts are grown, processed, sorted and shipped
to consumers. For example, he describes how women in
India manually shell cashew nuts following roasting
procedures, how husks of filberts in Turkey
are beaten and removed by using thin rods or slender shoots after the nuts
are dried in the sun, and how trained pig-tailed monkeys are employed to
harvest coconuts in Malaysia
, Thailand and
Indonesia to help reduce costs. At the beginning
of each chapter Rosengarten lists the nut's common name in twelve languages
including French, Swedish, Japanese, Portuguese, and Dutch. Another particular
strength of these chapters is how Rosengarten, enlightens the reader to the
many uses of these nuts. For example, pecan shells are used as "gravel" for
driveways and to provide filler for insecticides and fertilizers, glycerin
in coconut oil was extensively used in soap-making throughout Europe in the
nineteenth century, and tropical medicine procedures used cashew nut oil
to treat scurvy, ringworm, cure cracked feet, and leprous sores.
In Part 2, Rosengarten writes short overviews of 30 other nut types from
acorns to watermelon seeds. Many of these food sources are virtually unknown
in the United States
but are in demand in other regions of the world. For example, the sweet almond-like
flavor of the souari nut is popular in northern
Brazil and quandong nuts, despite their
captivating tang, are grown and consumed mainly by Australians. Many other
interesting facts fill this portion of the book despite the brevity of these
chapters. I especially enjoyed learning that jojoba nuts are primarily used
today as a substitute for sperm whale oil. The clear liquid, an unsaturated
wax extracted from these seeds, is analogous to sperm whale oil and is used
in drugs, plastics, leather processing, cosmetics, and industrial lubricants.
Equally impressive was Rosengarten's discussion on pine (piñon) nuts. He
mentioned that piñon nuts were an important wild food of American Indians.
Piñon nuts were eaten raw or roasted, ground into flour, or mashed into butter.
These nuts are not regarded as an important commercial tree crop. While working
as a seasonal ranger at Berlin-Ichthyosaur
however, I noticed that park visitors would gather piñon nuts from the floors
of piñon-juniper woodlands. Fresh piñon nuts also could be purchased at local
grocery stores throughout the Great Basin
at the end of the summer during bumper crop years.
Rosengarten's book is written for the layperson, although there is a wealth
of information packed into this compact book. Students and scientists studying
nutrition, botany, horticulture, anthropology, and history would benefit
from its content. Food connoisseurs also may like to try some of the mouth-watering
recipes such as chicken with walnuts, crunchy chocolate-coconut balls, pecan
snowballs with praline sauce, and macadamia nut pie. Historians and literature
scholars may be enlightened by the incorporation of verses from the Bible,
literary excerpts such as from Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew", and phrases
from popular folk songs like "Eating Goober Peas" throughout the text. Chapters
of the assorted nut types addressed in Part 1 and Part II are listed alphabetically
for easy reference. This book represents the unabridged republication of
the edition published in 1984 by Walker Publishing Company, Inc.,
New York. As a result, tables do not portray current
consumption and production but contain data only from the 1960's through
early 1980s. The book is replete with rare drawings of botanical art and
photographs. Figures and illustrations emphasize the appearance of plants
and nuts discussed throughout the book, how the nuts are harvested and processed
for consumption, historical figures of individuals that pioneered or influenced
commercial production assorted nuts, and photographs of assorted recipes.
A useful glossary, bibliography, and recipe and general index are provided
at the end of this work. As a botanist, I would have enjoyed the provision
of a brief statement as to when these genera or similar plant forms were
first encountered in the fossil record. This aspect may have helped strengthen
some of Rosengarten's evolutionary conclusions.
Nina L. Baghai-Riding, Division of Biological and Physical Sciences, Delta
State University, Cleveland, MS 38732
Creative Propagation, 2nd ed. Thompson, Peter. 2005.
ISBN 0-88192-681-7. (Flexbind US$24.95) 360 pp. Timber
Press. 133 S.W.
97204-3527. Creative Propagation arrives from
Timber Press with a slant towards English readers. It seeks to present a
range of propagation techniques "Creative propagation, like creative accounting,
might be described as the art of making much from a little-sometimes very
little indeed... Propagation is one the most creative aspects of gardening,
because it constantly provides new opportunities and challenges." (p. 11).
Thomson divides his book into two parts, the first dealing with general
principles and techniques as well as equipment and supplies and the second
turning to various popular groups of horticultural plants such as Mosses
and Ferns in Chapter 7 or Alpines in Chapter 13. These groupings are taxonomic
in part but mostly practical as is to be expected from a book on horticulture.
At the end of each chapter, genera covered in or which are relevant to that
chapter are listed with codes for when and how to propagate from seed, cuttings,
The first part does an excellent job of clearly explaining general materials
and methods, along with explaining some fine details, such as what happens
to fine seed when surface sown and watered gently,
and Seed Science is presented with interesting experimental data which should
be accessible to any reader.
Not every method imaginable is included, however. For example, the reviewer
couldn't find either the method of smoke treating seeds which can be so beneficial
for species originating in areas with Mediterranean climates, or the toilet
tank method. This latter method (JW Wrigley and M Fagg, Australian Native
Plants, Reed Books, Sydney, p. 34) involves hanging a bag containing seeds
in the tank of a home toilet. As the toilet is repeatedly flushed over the
weeks and months, extensive leaching, required by some seeds, occurs.
The section on propagating carnivorous plants (pp. 196-198) includes some
but far from all known genera, illustrating that Creative Propagation manages
to cover a wide range of ground but at least some of the territory covered
is not discussed exhaustively. The end-of-chapter summary table says that
Drosera seed should be sown fresh on sphagnum moss. While this would work
for some species, many others absolutely require stratification or smoke
treatment for germination, making the advice of very limited value for this
genus for anyone growing Australian species and of limited value even for
some North American species.
The figures in Creative Propagation consist of a mix of good, though generally
not exceptional, black-and-white photographs and line drawings. The photographs
sometimes lack sufficient differentiation among their various elements for
complete clarity, as in Figure 21 where the wood potting bench, perlite,
and some of the plants blend together. The line drawings, though not lovely,
do clearly illustrate the various topics, as in Figure 24, which demonstrates
how to put rooting powder on a cutting.
Who should buy Creative Propagation? It certainly would be a useful guide
for greenhouse managers and gardeners, and it would also be very useful for
introductory and intermediate courses in horticulture. If someone was working
on a particular genus and needed especially in-depth advice, previewing the
book before buying would be a wise option. All-in-all, Peter Thompson's book
is informative and useful, and it does meet its goal of presenting propagation
as a creative field. Douglas Darnowski, Department of
Herbs in Bloom. A Guide to Growing Herbs
as Ornamental Plants. Jo Ann Gardner. Illustrations
by Holly S. Dougherty. Timber Press.
Cambridge. 2005. ISBN 0-88192-698-1 394pp.
Jo Ann Gardner´s book is a manifest on the beauty, wealth and perfection
of nature, although, in reality, it is not a description of nature. Rather,
it is an interesting monograph on herbs as components of the garden. Herb
plants are a phenomenal product of nature which have
offered large benefits for humans throughout history and they are still
important sources for alternative medicines and cosmetics. In spite of the
fact that today they strongly bred in some cases, herbs have a wild, natural
origin with a large spectrum of diversity and potential use. Jo Ann Gardner
concentrates on presenting natural characteristics of herbs in the garden
and their ornamental value, which is a basis for potential use in the garden.
This is a reason why this book can be considered an enthusiastic description
of potential beauty, species diversity and aspiration towards the constructional
natural perfection in the garden. The idea of gardening herbs for ornamental
purposes is modern and will certainly attract followers, especially in home
This book contains three chapters that briefly present some problems connected
with cultivation techniques for flowering herbs (p.17 -29), landscaping with
flowering herbs (p. 31-50) and a description of herb species in alphabetic
order (p. 53-359). The cultivation techniques that are presented include
the growing of herbs from seeds, sowing, propagation, planting seedlings
outside, and maintenance and protection against diseases and insects. The
growth of herbs needs good planning, place accentation by plants, location
of bed and borders, containers, edges and hedges. Herbs can cover the ground
and the association between herbs and rocks is a one of the possibilities
for establishing an entire garden composition. In the portraits of the herb
species, some basic information is given in relation to accentation of ornamental
characteristics. This book is suitable for a large circle of readers unfamiliar
with herbs or gardening. Its purpose is to popularize herbs and their cultivation
at a general level and to give practical advice. The use of scientific nomenclature
of plants and literature citations also indicates certain scientific aspirations
attached to this work.
This monograph on herbs is written with soaring enthusiasm on the basis
of the authors experience with growing herbs in her own garden in upstate
. Certainly, the literature on the subject (p. 375 - 381) is used and discussed.
Moreover, 117 good quality original photographs of blooming herbs add to
the scientific value of this book. The portraits of herbs with an emphasis
on their ornamental value are botanically correct, although sometimes they
could be more extensive and more relevant. It is difficult to understand
why in chapter 3, containing plant portraits, there is inconsistent use of
species names. Generally, binary species names are used but confusion exists
on pages 69 (Ajuga), 89 (Anchusa), 131 (Dianthus), 143
(Filipendula), 199 (Monarda), 232 (Papaver), 239 (
Polemonium), 274 (Salvia), 296 (Santolina), 306 (Solidago
), 312 (Symphytum), 332 (Thymus), 338 (Tropaeolum),
and 347 (Veronica). Moreover, there is no consistency in the presentation
of the herb species.
Some species can be presented, for example, with three photographs (
Alcea rosea, p. 74-78), whilst there are no photographs at Angelica
archangelica (p. 93-95), Cichorium intybus (p. 117-119),
Cytis scoparius (p.128-130), Galium odoratum (p.146-148), Hyssopus
officinalis (p. 163- 164), Inula helenium (p. 165-166), Lobelia
cardinalis (p. 183-184), Lobelia siphilitica (p.185-186),
Lysimachia nummularia (p. 187-188), Polygonatum multiflorum
(p.242-244) and Tanacetum vulgare (p.323-325). This suggests a lack
at credibility for the ornamental value of these species. Moreover, some
species are presented in greater details than others, for example, Alcea
rosea is described in 5 pages (p. 74-78) but Hyssopus officinalis
takes only 2 pages (p. 163-164). In the case of each species a short description
is presented. This contains species growth cycle or form (f.e. annual, perennial
etc.), site and soil requirements (e.g., sun, moisture), hardiness (in zones),
landscape use (e.g. ground cover), height (in in. or ft. and in cm), flower
color or form (e.g. purple-blue, small) and bloom season (e.g. early summer).
Certainly, such data as height is not a stable characteristic of species.
Therefore, the height of Prunella vulgaris showed on p. 251 as 3 -
20 in. (7.6 - 50.8 cm) leaves a lot to be desired, especially when the factors
limiting the height are not mentioned at all.
A precise reading of the book produces the basic question: what is
a herb? To the botanist, a herb is a seed
plant that does not develop woody tissues (Weier et al., 1974). In applied
sciences, the herb is a plant grown for culinary or medicinal value. A medicinal
herb may be a shrub or any other woody plant, whereas a culinary herb is
a non-woody plant. Vegetables and plants simply grow for ornamental
value are not herbs (Shimizu
, 1995). So, herbs are seed plants that do not develop woody tissues and
contain useful secondary compounds. They can be only medicinal plants or
spices. In the Herbs in Bloom, a larger common definition of a herb as a
plant with a history of use for its culinary, medicinal, or fragrant properties
is adopted (p. 14). This definition is overly large and unfocused, I do not
question that the plants found within this book would not generally be perceived
to be herbs. However, in reality, methodology in applied sciences is very
important, especially these days, when a new term, such as "functional food"
(Hassler, 2002), is introduced. It is a paradox, but from the deep understanding
of the term "herb" it follows that those herbs grown only for ornamental
purposes are not longer herbs but ornamentals.
In this context, my next remark on this excellent book is unimportant.
Helianthus annuus L. is a well-known garden plant and crop. In this
book, it is presented as a herb (p. 152-1579),
which is questionable. This plant is not mentioned in the literature for
its secondary compounds with use in phytotheraphy (Ahonen, 1997; Samochowiec,
1995), nor has it been mentioned in university publications (Gubanov, 1993;
Shtanko and Stanko 1992), but it is included in some other publications (Chiej
1983; Pastushenkov et al. 1998; Bolotina 2002). It is included in the list
of medicinal plants in Chevallier's (1996) encyclopedia.
I consider the Herbs in Bloom to be an excellent book but I have also
some critical remarks. The index of plant names (p. 383-394) with page number
reference and also the biography list needs additional editing for accuracy.
The same indicators in the text are not visible in the index and in the list.
Certainly, these are small and technical points but they should be avoided
in the next edition. As I read this book, I some time felt that herbs and
their cultivation is presented only from a positive point of view.
I my opinion, herbs and their growth should be presented objectively and
as completely as possible. Small things can be very important, for example,
the herb comfrey (Symphytum officinale). The leaves of this herb,
especially on sunny days, should only be touched by gloves. Under the influence
of the sun, the leaves are scalded by the hands if touched.This herb is not
only beautiful in bloom it also has, according to my research observations
in the Botanical garden of the
, one more characteristic. It is an excellent plant for bees and bumble-bees.
During the summer, the pollinators visit this bloom very enthusiastically.
Among this herb during summer days, the hum of pollinators can be heard.
Herbs in bloom are not only ornamentals. They are also the source of life
and hapiness in the garden.
In summary, the book Herbs in Bloom contains very interesting information
on the practical aspects of how to grow herbs. It is also a basic description
of plants. It is a very useful monograph, which presents some botanical data,
ideas, experience and opinions. In this sense, it is an excellent book. -
Tadeusz Aniszewski, Associate Professor, Department of Biology,
University of Joensuu, Finland
Ahonen, U. 1997. Fytoterapian käsikirja. [Hanbook
of phytoterapy] Gummerus Kirjapaino Oy. Saarijärvi.
393pp. [In Finnish]
Bolotina, A. 2002. Dictonary
of medicinal plants. Latin. English.German.
Moscow. 384 pp.
Chevallier, A. 1996. The Encyclopedia of
Medicinal Plants. A practical reference Guide
to More than 550 Key Medicinal Plants and Their Use. DK Publishing
Inc. New York
. 336 pp.
Chiej, R. 1983. Plantas Medicinales. [Medicinal Plants]
. 456pp. [In Spanish]
Gubanov, I.A. 1993. Lekarstvennye rasteniya.
[Medicinal plants] Izdatelstvo Moskovskogo Universiteta. 271pp. [In Russian]
Hasler, C.M. 2002. Functional Foods: Benefit, Concerns and Challenges
_ a Positon Paper from the American Council on Science and Health. Journal
of Nutrition 132 (12): 3772-3781.
Pastushenkov, L.V., Pastushenkov, A.L., Pastushenkov, V.L. 1998.
Lekarstvennye rasteniya. [Medicinal plants] Izdatelstvo "Dean".
Sankt-Peterburg. 382pp. [In Russian]
Samochowiec, L. 1995. Kompendium fitoterapii dla lekarzy
i farmaceutow oraz studentow medycyny. [ Phytoterapy
compendium for doctors, pharmaceutists and medicine students]
. 308 pp. [In Polish]
1992. Lekarstvennye rasteniya. [Medicinal
plants] Izdatelstvo Petrozavodskogo Gosudarstvennogo Universiteta.
Petrozavodsk. 256 pp. [In Russian]
Weier, T.E., Stocking, C.R., Barbour, M.G. 1974. Botany: An Introduction
to Plant Biology. Fifth edition.
John Willey & Sons.
New York. 686pp.
, H.H. 1995. Herbs. In: Armitage, A., Heffernan,
M., Kleiber, C., Shimizu
, H.H. Burpee Complete Gardener. A Comprehensive, Up-to-date, Fully Illustrated
reference for gardeners at all levels.
. p. 263-290.
Hibiscus: Hardy and Tropical Plants for the Garden.
Lawton, Barbara Perry. 2004. ISBN 0-88192-654-X (Cloth
US$27.95) 160 pp. Timber Press, The
, 133 S.W. Second Avenue
, Suite 450
. The genus Hibiscus has long fascinated both professional botanists and
gardeners alike. A comprehensive treatment of the taxonomy and horticulture
of the genus would be a monumental undertaking, and is not the goal of this
book. What this book does provide is a very nice entry into the world of
Hibiscus with a focus on those species that are commonly cultivated.
The early chapters provide background information. Those species found
in North America are discussed, as are several
related species of Malvaceae that are important horticulturally or as weeds.
(History, Traditions, and Uses) is an especially enjoyable piece that describes
how Hibiscus has been used in various cultures from art to edible and medicinal
The three central chapters provide more detailed information on the three
primary groups of cultivated species. Chapter 4 addresses
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), chapter 5 the Hardy Hibiscuses (Hibiscus
moscheutos and relatives), and chapter 6 the Tropical Hibiscuses (Hibiscus
rosa-sinensis and relatives). Each of these chapters provides sections
on the history of the species, modern breeding advances, cultivation techniques,
and design tips on how and where to use them.
Following chapters deal with specific issues related to Hibiscus cultivation.
Chapters are included on diseases and pests, propagation, and the perplexing
nomenclature and taxonomy of the genus. The final chapter ("A Gallery of
Hibiscuses") briefly describes many of the commonly encountered species of
Hibiscus and includes information on etymology, geographic distribution,
growing conditions, plant features, and where they may be grown. Finally,
short lists of cultivars of the primarily cultivated species are provided
along with abbreviated descriptions. The endnotes include a USDA Hardiness
Zone map, glossary, information on major Hibiscus societies and nurseries,
and books for further reading.
This is a very well written book that was both enjoyable
and enlightening to read. The book is also nicely illustrated with both line
drawings and photographs. While it does not provide a comprehensive treatment
of any of the issues discussed, it does provide the reader with a glimpse
into the complexity and beauty of Hibiscus. I would certainly highly recommend
it to anyone interested in gardening with Hibiscus as an entry into the sometimes
bewildering world of cultivated hibiscus. Randall Small, Dept. of Ecology
and Evolutionary Biology, The
University of Tennessee
I think that I shall never see
A real phylogenetic tree,
A tree with turtles hanging high,
And bullfrogs from a limb nearby-
Imagine man atop the shoot
While poor amoeba
crawls the root.
A Scale of Nature was the best
Conception Carl Linne expressed,
While Archetypes were madly spewed
By Baron Cuvier when stewed,-
These will not do for you and me
Since old Lamarck first made a tree.
Dr. J.D. Corrington
Songs for Comparative Anatomy
Songs of Biology, 4th Ed.
Timber Press Pocket Guide to Shade Perennials. W. George Schmid. 2005.
ISBN 0-88192-709-0 (Flexbind US $19.95) 252 pp. Timber Press.
133 S.W. Second Avenue
Like the Timber Press Pocket Guide to Ornamental Grasses (reviewed
in PSB 51(1)), the TPPG to Shade Perennials is a condensed
version of the author's larger work, An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials
(Timber Press, 2002). The most recent Timer Press catalog suggests that
these pocket guides are "…essential companions for the nursery or garden center."
I had assumed that the target audience would be slightly broader for this
book, and after reading it and I think it would be a good reference for anyone
working with a shady area, although I believe that novice gardeners would
shy away from it because of the emphasis on Latin names and short descriptions.
I really liked this book and agree with the preface
that explains that this is a guide to "the very best of the available shade
perennials" and it includes classic shade plants and highlights others from
Asia and around the world. This book definitely
provides a glimpse of the diversity of plants that tolerate various levels
of shade. The introduction chapter does a good job a defining the different
kinds of shade including known synonyms of how Schmid describes the shade
tolerances of the plants he presents. There is also a brief discussion of
soil pH, amendments, fertilizers, pests, and problems that are associated
with shade created by large shade trees. Most of the text is in this section
is very introductory and too brief so you will need to look elsewhere for
more information. The lack of pictures in this section makes it less useful
in the identification of pests and problems. Schmid also recommends going
to the USDA county extension office for help for just about everything. I
did appreciate his plug for using biological control and avoiding the use
of chemicals. He also provides a short section on the pros and cons of container
gardening that might be helpful to some readers.
The next section of the book lists shade plants (by scientific name) for
specific purposes and locations (e.g., fast-growing, ground covers, plants
for wet soils, dry shade, plants with winter interest, leaf color, full shade)
that is very helpful for planning. I disagree with some of his placements
of certain plants, but the author gardens in Georgia that has a different
growing season that north-west Illinois (e.g., certain plants in Illinois
do not stay evergreen like they would in Georgia).
The meat of the book is over 1000 plant descriptions. They are arranged
alphabetically by scientific name. As a botanist, I appreciate this, but
the general public may find this a hindrance. Common names are provided for
most entries after the Latin name. Each entry contains a short description
including origin, USDA zone, and shade and soil requirements. The description
ends with comments from Schmid and descriptions of any cultivars. Most entries
include a color photograph, and at a minimum each genus has a photo. The
dust jacket says there are 310 photographs. I liked the descriptions, though
some may find them too short, but I feel they give the reader enough information
to decide if the plant will work for their area.
I did have some problems with some of the entries that I will briefly
list here. Many photos are out of focus. Several species that are known to
be invasive in the U.S.
are included and these should be clearly avoided in some areas (e.g.,
Lygodium japonicum, Lysimachia spp., Vinca spp.; www.invasive.org
is a great website to check for invasive species). Having the origin listed
for each entry helps to determine if the plant is native to your area, but
Schmid uses broad categories for origin (e.g., Eastern North America,
Asia). There are also several entries that include sensitive
species (i.e., rare, threatened, or endangered in some part of their range;
e.g., Cimicifuga racemosa, Chamaelirium luteum, Cypripedium
calceolus (= C. parviflorum), Platanthera ciliaris,
Shortia galacifolia, Thelypteris noveboracensis, Trillium cernuum,
Viola canadensis) and while they may be in cultivation gardeners need
to know where their plants come from because poaching from the wild is a
common occurrence. There is also no comment regarding the difficulty in establishing
some of these rare species.
Other information in this book includes the USDA and European hardiness
zone maps (although the USDA map is in black and white, while the European
map is in color). There is also a section on nursery sources in
Canada, the UnitedKingdom
, and U.S.
that specialize in shade plants and/or hard to find plants. There is a small
glossary, but most of the terms are familiar.
My criticisms aside, I like this book and believe it would make a good
reference for anyone needing some ideas for other plants to grow in the shade
besides the common hosta varieties seen in the large box stores. The TPPG
to Shade Perennials offers a good mix of North American, Asian, and European
plants to diversify your garden or to specialize your garden towards plants
from a particular region.
Dr. Jason Koontz, Biology Department,
, Rock Island,
Linnaeus' Philosophia Botanica.
Freer. Stephen (Translator). 2003. ISBN 0-19-850122-6 (Cloth) 402
Great Clarendon Street,Oxford
, UK, OX2
6DP. In 1753 Linnaeus published Species Plantarum, the foundation
of botanical nomenclature and the reason for which he is justly famous. Naively
this reader assumed that Philosophia, first published in 1751, would
be primarily a justification of Linnaeus' system. In fact, it is much more.
In his preface "To the Botanical Reader" Linnaeus notes that Philosophia
Botanica (The Science of Botany) is based on his earlier Fundamenta
Botanica (1736) but that "…my pupils also vehemently demanded of me that
I should add the parts of plants and technical terms as used
by me; and that they should be accurately defined, according to the method
by which I habitually propounded them in my lectures." The significance of
this approach is elucidated by Paul Alan Cox in his introduction. "Those of
us who are botanists and who read Linnaeus' scholarly works often forget that
Carl Linnaeus was first and foremost a teacher…For those of us fortunate
enough to have fallen under the benevolent influence of a charismatic teacher
of biology, we can only imagine what a lecture given by Linnaeus must have
been like." My interest piqued, I was now ready to approach this work as
a student of botanical education as well as a student of the history of botany.
The book is a collection of 365 definitions and explanations divided into
12 chapters. I was familiar with this format because it was still used 100
years later in several of my early botanical texts, including de Jussieu'
s Cours Élémentaire d'Histoire Naturelle: Botanique, Lindley's
The Elements of Botany, or Gray's New Lessons and Manual of Botany
. What is notably different, and modern, about Linnaeus, however, is that
not only does he present an outline and elaboration of his teachings, but
he summarizes the alternative viewpoints of his contemporaries and he is
careful to credit others for ideas he accepts and supports. I was pleasantly
surprised by this approach.
The first chapter, Bibliotheca, is first and foremost a listing
of the fundamental authors Linnaeus suggests should be included in
botanists libraries. However, it is also an outline of the history
of botany, chronicling the principal botanists of the 15th, 16
th, and 17th centuries as well as "The FATHERS [who] established
the first rudiments of botany… the Greeks…the Romans…the Asiatics …the Arabs.
The authors are arranged by subdisciplines and in the case of collectors,
by geography. I was humbled to find the status afforded my forefather anatomists
as listed in entry 43 - "The AMATEURS OF BOTANY (6) are those who have produced
various [works] about botany, though they do not properly pertain to botanical
science: such as anatomists (44), gardeners ((45), physicians
(46), and miscellaneous [writers].(52)."
Thankfully plant anatomists are now included among the ranks of professional
botanists (but I think we still could work harder at including some of our
colleagues working in the applied fields).
The second chapter, "Systemata," begins with outlines and comparisons
of a dozen earlier and contemporary taxonomic systems with Linnaeus' own
"calycine" and "sexual" systems. Additional systems are provided for specific
taxa: those with compound flowers; grasses; algae; mosses; fungi; etc. I
was intrigued by some of his notes. For instance, on "the NATURAL METHOD"
(entry 77): "This is the beginning and the end of what is needed in botany.
Nature does not make leaps. All plants exhibit their contiguities on either
side, like territories on a geographical map." This is followed by his natural
classification of the genera of flowering plants.
The next four chapters, "Plants," The Fuit-body," Sex," and "Characters"
and the final two, "Sketches" and "Potencies" are a textbook of flowering
plant morphology. In addition to providing terms and definitions, in many
cases Linnaeus lists specific taxa as illustrative examples. For instance,
Bauhinia and Armeniaca have glandular stipules. As earlier,
references are frequently made to earlier authorities who coined specific
terms. For example Vaillant classified "A complete flower [as one
that] possesses a perianth and a corolla. The first appendix provides 11
detailed plates illustrating common vegetative and reproductive structures.
I plan to make the first three, on leaves, available to my students as they
learn to use keys.
Chapters 7 though 10, "Names," "Definitions," "Varieties," and "Synonyms"
include the content I naively was expecting from "Linnaeus' Philosophia
Botanica." In "Names" he provides rules for choosing or avoiding certain
terms or forms. Of course, "The generic name must be fixed unalterably, before
any specific name is devised." And "A specific name without a generic one
is like a clapper9 without a bell." The latter quote illustrates
one of the joys of this book. The translator provides copious notes that
not only interpret translations or provides etymology, but frequently provides
historical context. In this case "clapper" comes from "Pistillum, rendered
`pistil' in botanical contexts."
All in all this is a delightful and informative translation of a botanical
classic. It is in fact a syllabus for a traditional botany course as taught
by a master. While subsequent botanical educators retained some of Linnaeus'
pedagogy, specifically a sequential list of concepts to be learned, they
lost the historical context, the citation of authorities, the illustrative
examples and the personal examples that are utilized in this work - - and
that current research in science education says are important to foster meaningful
student learning. Anyone interested in the history of botany and in teaching
botany will enjoy and benefit from reading this book.
Marshall D. Sundberg, Department of Biological Sciences,
Biodiversity of Fungi, Inventory and Monitoring Methods, edited by Gregory
M. Mueller, Gerald F. Bills, and Mercedes S. Foster, 2004.
ISBN 0-12-509551-1 (hardcover $99.95) 777 pp, Elsevier Academic Press,
525 B Street,San Diego,
For the past five years, I have been carrying out an inventory of the biodiversity
of ectomycorrhizas on Oregon
white oak. Frequent subjects of conversation at meetings are how one samples
roots—the size and depth of soil cores, number of cores, number of trees,
beta diversity, how to sort and identify ectomycorrhizas based on morphology
and DNA, how to keep vouchers, etc. So it was with eager anticipation that
I opened Biodiversity of Fungi: Inventory and Monitoring Methods and scanned
the chapter titles. Nothing on ectomycorrhizas! A chapter on arbuscular
mycorrhizas, and chapters on many other fungal guilds, but nothing
on the fungi that transfer water and nutrients to many tree genera. The index
lists one entry for ectomycorrhizas in the context of mycoparasites, but no
section is evident. This is a big "Oops" for this book.
So recovering from the shock of the missing piece, I asked what was particularly
valuable or useful about this book. There is plenty. The editors have assembled
an impressive array of contributors, nearly ninety in number with 2-3,000
person-years of experience in mycology. The wealth of knowledge gathered
in this book is remarkable.
The style of the chapters approaches that seen in "Commentary" articles
in journals, but not in scientific papers. The language is particularly accessible,
slightly informal, giving a glimpse into the way that people think about
their research and their rationale for protocol choices. One could get help
in considering diverse alternatives, such as ways of quantifying diversity
or choice of molecular methods.
The central 20 chapters of the book, 500 pages, describe groups of fungi
according to their hosts and habitats: terrestrial, lignicolous, lichenized,
sequestrate, fungi on wood, inside leaves, and
saprobic on soil. Then there are fungi associated with arthropods, rotifers,
vertebrates, and dung. Also fungi in diverse habitats: freshwater and salt
water. These chapters link diverse points of view—ecology with systematics,
theory with practicality. There is a real natural history approach in the
context of molecular and digital technology.
The illustrations are uneven. Basically, this is not an illustrated text.
For example, Joe Morton's excellent chapter, "Mutualistic arbuscular endomycorrhizal
fungi," has a single diagram that would enable no one to identify AM fungi
in roots. We know from his beautiful website that he has the photos, but
the editors did not encourage their inclusion. By contrast, the multi-authored
Chapter 8, "Terrestrial and lignicolous macrofungi," includes five half-page
color photos of mycologists collecting and identifying fungi—images that
also will enable no one to identify fungi. In Chapter 7, the picture of the
guy shooting lichens from trees is mildly entertaining.
Anywhere you enter the book, you will find something
to pique your interest. Sit down and read any one chapter and be transported
into that world. Now if they will include a chapter on ectomycorrhizas in
the second edition…
Darlene Southworth, Southern
Tune: "Coming thru' the
How did sea
forms change to land forms,
Coming down the years?
Adaptation, or selection,
Which of these appears?
Did the food allure the
Tell us, we implore?
Or did fate remould the wanderer
For its life
Some have searched through every
Of the land and sea
To secure a fair solution
Of this mystery.
Eager have they scanned the sea-shore,
For a tracheate
Then traversed the mouths of rivers
For a pulmonate.
Evolution has its problems,
A missing link
There are folks in this department
Who'll make all clear to
They will help you in your trouble,
Urge you on anew,
So we'll thank our learned professors
And wish good luck to you!
Anna M. Rae, 1909
Songs of Biology,
4th ed. 1953.
Vitamin C: Function and Biochemistry in Animals and Plants.
Edited by Han Asard, James M. May and Nicholas Smirnoff.
BIOS Scientifc Publishers, NY. 2004. This book is a valuable resource
on the history, literature and research of ascorbate, an essential biomolecule.
The book should be of interest to research scientists directly working in
the area of antioxidants as well as others whose peripheral interest is in
specific areas related to ascorbate's various biological roles. The book
is very well edited with each chapter effectively linked and building upon
preceding chapters. The sequence of the chapters is quite appropriate beginning
with a historical framework leading to biosynthesis, nonoxidant roles of
ascorbate, redox chemistry and concluding with clinical and nutritional perspectives
of ascorbate. In many of the chapters there is a comparative analysis of
plant and animal research on ascorbate. In general, as a technical book it
is quite a readable resource, however, there is some repetitiveness that
occurs throughout the book which would be expected when relating one chapter
to another. If there is one recurring theme throughout the book, it is not
how much has been learned about ascorbate but how much is unknown.
Appropriately, the book begins with an excellent review on the biosynthesis
of Vitamin C. Recent research in this area has provided the impetus for a
fresh look at the chemistry and biology of ascorbate. One of the editors,
Nicholas Smirnoff has been a leader in the area of elucidating the ascorbate
biosynthetic pathways in plants. A refreshing evolutionary perspective provides
further evidence that information on ascorbate biosynthesis is lacking while
raising the question on the origin of oxidative stress.
Understanding ascorbate biosynthesis, catabolism and recycling combined
with genetic analysis and manipulation may have potential application in
elevating food nutritional content and enhancing environmental stress tolerance
in plants. However, transgenic experiments related to overexpressing enzymes
in biosynthesis and recycling have had mixed results in elevating endogenous
ascorbate levels. The use of QTL analysis and insertional mutagenesis approaches
in altering plant ascorbate levels have not developed as rapidly as transgenic
research. The need for continued work on biosynthesis as well as the regulatory
aspects of the various ascorbate pathways is quite evident in these early
chapters. Early on, one minor weakness of this section is a number of studies
cited are unpublished results.
Another area where the biological understanding of ascorbate biosynthesis
may have practical application is the industrial synthesis of ascorbate. Currently,
industrial production of ascorbate results in significant energy costs and
chemical waste disposal problems. Conceptually, to put plant biosynthetic
genes into yeast for commercial ascorbate production seems cost and environmentally
beneficial but whether it will have commercial viability will depend on future
global ascorbate demands and economics.
The book takes a departure from biosynthesis beginning with Christine Foyer's
insightful analysis of ascorbate's nonoxidant roles. Ascorbate's regulatory
properties that will require more research is its effects on gene expression,
plant cell elongation, seed germination and fruit ripening. Intuitively,
I would think there would be more information available on ascorbate in fruit
ripening because of its significance in fruit nutritional content, however,
this is not the case. Also, a later chapter revisits and updates ascorbate's
role as a cofactor in proline hydroxylation and further indicates ascorbate's
possible effects on protein turnover and gene expression. Further research
into ascorbate's nonoxidant roles should be quite an informative and productive
avenue of research in plants and animals.
Unlike the emphasis on ascorbate biosynthesis and regulation in plants,
the importance of transport of ascorbate and dehydroascorbate in animal systems
comes to the forefront in the middle section of the book. In a number of vertebrates,
including humans, ascorbate and dehydroascorbate transport has significant
influences on biochemical and physiological processes. For example, the transport
of dehydroascorbate may influence bone recycling. As a plant biologist I
found the ascorbate transport work at the cellular and molecular levels in
animals interesting reading and it certainly accentuates the lack of a comparable
understanding of ascorbate transport in plants. This disparity is understandable,
as plants are the dietary source of ascorbate for many animal species so
the research emphasis on unraveling plant ascorbate biosynthesis is paramount.
In contrast, in animals including humans that are deficient in ascorbate
biosynthesis, the body's utilization and transport of ascorbate becomes significant
in understanding certain types of pathologies. The discussion on ascorbate
flow in neuronal and nonneuronal tissue is interesting. Some of the transport
work reveals that ascorbate is capable of regulating its own transporter
levels which has implication for human clinical studies using oral Vitamin
C supplements. Again, I was surprised by the paucity of basic research on
Vitamin C function in the central nervous system and immune system.
Membrane redox proteins and ascorbate recycling are complex processes
but are well explained in terms of their impact on regulating ascorbate levels
in mammalian tissues. The form of ascorbate (reduced and/or oxidized) in biological
systems is important in understanding ascorbate's biological roles as well
as in experimentally elevating ascorbate content to confer environmental
stress resistance in plants. The potential for ascorbate to act as a pro-oxidant
is mentioned in a number of chapters but it remains unclear whether the reactions
leading to a pro-oxidant function of ascorbate occur in vivo.
The later discussion on Vitamin C levels and age indicates another transition
in the organization of the book. Although some of the earlier chapters refer
to human clinical studies and ascorbate, the later chapters emphasize the
difficulties in sorting through ascorbate levels and effects on human physiology
and pathologies. Early clinical studies were inconsistent with regard to
factors such as health history, sex and age differences in considering ascorbate
effects. For example, the required doses of Vitamin C for the elderly are
not known and may be related to age dependent changes in Vitamin C transport
and mobilization. Clinical studies examining the interaction of Vitamins
C and E are equally confusing and inconsistent. These results emphasize the
need for more controlled basic research on Vitamin C requirements in conjunction
with more structured clinical studies which is emphasized in the concluding
chapters of the book. The concept or approach of optimal nutrient ingestion
is introduced toward the end of the book. This approach is very systematic
in analyzing human nutrient requirements, beginning with a biochemical and
cellular analyses and using this information for the rational design of effective
clinical studies. A final intriguing point is in relation to the concept
of biochemical individuality which raises the possibility that enzyme responses
to Vitamin C may be different between individuals because of single nucleotide
In summary, this book is very effective in presenting a comprehensive
and current focus on Vitamin C. This significant contribution would be a
valuable resource to a variety of scientists regardless of the field of basic,
applied or clinical research interest. Susan Jones-Held, Biology Department,
King's College, Wilkes-Barre
, PA 18711
A Natural History of Ferns. Moran, Robbin
C. 2004. ISBN 0-88192-667-1 (Cloth US$29.95) 302 pp Timber Press,
, 133 S.W. Second Avenue
, Suite 450
-9743. A Natural History of Ferns is
a compilation of 33 essays, many of which are based on previously published
articles in the American Fern Society's Fiddlehead Forum. The book
is intended for an extensive audience-from the general public to trained
botanists and students. It contains a glowing forward by Oliver Sacks and
a preface by the author. The preface reveals an important truth-this book
is not only about ferns but also about lycophytes. But, as Moran says "how
many people would buy a book titled A Natural History of Pteridophytes
?" Although many of the essays contain information about pteridophytes of
a particular area, the book is not a field guide. Instead it offers more
biological, paleological, historical and cultural information about an amazing
group of plants.
Because the book comprises essays arranged into six sections, individual
chapters or sections could be read while still allowing the reader to take
away a great deal of information about pteridophytes. I think these readers
would greatly miss out, though, as all the chapters together paint a better
picture of why these plants are so interesting.
The first section starts at the beginning with the life cycle of the plants.
Moran explains how pteridophytes are different from flowering plants and gymnosperms
by describing the difference in life cycles. Much of this first section is
focused on spores, with details of spore physiology, morphology and the chemical
and physical reactions of spore shooting. He also describes the fascinating
alternative processes by which pteridophytes reproduce via apogamy, vegetatively
via buds and gemmae, as well through hybridization and polyploidy.
The second section on classification is interesting if you are a professional
botanist or student. I fear that this section might be overwhelming and tedious
to a general reader, though, with the magnitude of long and difficult-to-pronounce
names and the rules of botanical nomenclature. In the last chapter of the
section, though, Moran reveals that botanical classification and nomenclature
can be so exciting that even Hollywood
made a movie about it. In the 1971 movie, A New Leaf, the discovery
and naming of a new fern species is integral to unraveling the twisted love
story and even saves a young botanist's life!
Fern fossils are the topic of the third section. Moran tells the story
of lepidodendrids and a mystery of a giant Equisetum. He follows the
history of two fern families from the Mesozoic to the present and discusses
the paleological history of the pteridophytes in order to answer questions
about fern distributions and age. For botanists who are used to working with
plants with little or no fossil record, this section is especially refreshing!
The fourth section is about some of the more interesting adaptations by
ferns to ensure survival in harsh environments. Moran gives details about
the potato fern, Solanopteris, which harbors defensive ants in potato-like
swollen stems and provides insight on how ferns can become trees without producing
wood. He reveals the amazing story behind iridescence in ferns such as
Trichomanes elegans, why scaly polypody curls up with the lower surfaces
of the leaves exposed and the fascinating physiology of the quillwort,
Isoetes. Also discussed in this section are how bracken fiddleheads are
not only a delicacy but also deadly poisonous, and details of the mathematical
perfection of fiddlehead spirals.
The fifth section is about geography and distributions of ferns. Moran
discusses ferns on islands, why some ferns are distributed only in Eastern
North America and far Eastern Asia (China
, etc) and fern abundance in the tropics. He also describes the ferns of
the South American tepuis and the amazing independent gametophytes found
in the Eastern United States that never
In the sixth section, Moran talks about the relationship between pteridophytes
and people. He discusses how teas and medicines are made from Ophioglossum
and the devastating outbreaks and eventual control of the weedy floating
fern, Salvinia molesta. He relates how integral the world's tiniest
fern, Azolla, is to rice agriculture and how eating the fern nardoo
(Marsilea drummondii) can cause you to starve to death. Finally, he
recounts stories of the fern mania of Victorian England.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend
that anyone with an interest in plants read it. Robbin Moran has a writing
style that is easy to read and follow and his writing is filled with humorous
anecdotes and stories that made me smile often while reading. He does an excellent
job of explaining scientific processes and terminology simply and succinctly
so as not to lose a general reader. There is an extensive glossary and bibliography
for further readings. Best of all, his interest and passion for the scientific
study of pteridophytes comes out as he conveys his vast knowledge of this
fascinating group of plants. The book is filled with drawings, diagrams and
pictures, which complement the text perfectly. There are 11 pages of color
plates that not only illustrate plants talked about in the text, but serves
as eye candy for those of us who love plants! Courtney C. Finch, Department
of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103.
Deep Morphology: Toward a Renaissance of Morphology in Plant Systematics.
Stuessy, Tod F., Veronika Mayer & Elvira Hörandl (
eds) 2003. ISBN 3-906166-07-4. (
cloth US$) 326
pp. A. R. G. Gantner Verlag, Ruggelll
. Distributed by Koeltz Scientifid Books,
P.O. Box 1360, D-61453
Germany. Deep Morphology is the outcome
of a 2001 symposium that gathered a distinguished international group of
morphologists and systematists to assess the role of morphology in modern
plant systematics. To varying degrees, the 14 chapters, review previous work,
present new data, and recommend the direction for future efforts.
In the introductory chapter, Anton Weber differentiates between the morphology
of systematists and the morphlogy of morphologists. The former, sometimes
called "phytograpy" or "descriptive morphology," concentrates on characters
and character states that provide the data for systematic studies. The morphology
of morphologists, argues Weber, has a more philosophical basis and was never
concerned with phylogenetic relationships. After reviewing the history of
both subdisciplines, Weber suggests that both have power to be exploited
in systematic studies. Furthermore, while morphology is no longer the primary
data source, he provides several examples illustrating the power of combining
morphology with molecular data to elucidate relationships. This, in fact,
sets the stage for the rest of the book where each of the authors makes a
case for the continued importance of morphology in systematic studies.
The next 12 chapters are divided into three sections, Genetics and Development,
Phylogenetic Analysis, and Ecology and Adaptation. In the first section Backmann
and Gailing review the application of quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis
to reveal the major and modifier genes associated with phenotypic change.
As they note, much of the work in this area has dealt with agricultural crops
where both multiple additive genes and saltative major gene effects may be
discerned. Diggle makes a strong case that position in the plant (architectural
effects) is an underappreciated factor in determining morphology of organs,
and hence character states that may be recorded for a species. Leins and
Erbar demonstrate the utility of developmental data in analyzing morphology
and constructing phylogenies by providing several examples of how similar
mature structures may form by different developmental pathways. In the final
chapter, Gleissberg provides a brief review of "Evo-Devo" and proposes a
plan of future research in this field.
Williams and Humphries provide a brief introductory
chapter to the Phylogenetic Analysis section by analyzing the concept of
homology from a historical and contemporary perspective. Endress provides
a thorough review of the kinds of morphological data that have proven useful
in phylogenetic studies and makes the point that "..our
present morphological arsenal is very incomplete." Hufford and McMahon turn
tradition on its head by using phylogenetic analyses, a posteriori,
to dissect patterns of morphological diversity within groups. They further
define five parameters which morphospace, the existing morphological diversity.
Much of the final section deals with the ecological adaptations of particular
structures. Barthlott et al. analyze epicuticular waxes, Hess examines the
structure and function of pollen walls, and Baas et al., cover secondary
xylem. These chapters tended to be more specialized than the others in the
book, yet each provides a wealth of examples of useful morphological characters
for phylogenetic analysis. In their chapter on plant biomechanics, Speck
et al., have a different perspective on the importance of ontogeny and developmental
anatomy by concentrating on the functionality of structure as growth proceeds
- - essentially the physics of Evo-Devo. In the final chapter of the section
Givnish suggests that a better understanding of ecological adaptations (Eco-Evo-Devo)
will provide additional power to phylogenetic analyses.
In the books final chapter Stussey draws upon each of the preceding chapters
to discuss the broad potential of future morphological investigations to provide
a rich source of information, complementary to molecular data, for phylogenetic
analyses. While the book is a series of treatises that can stand on their
own, the editors and the authors have done a good job of integrating with
each other to make the work a coherent whole. It would serve as an excellent
text for a graduate seminar and be a good reference to stimulate researchers
in one area to consider broader implications for their own work as well as
to suggest possible collaborations. Marshall D. Sundberg,
Department of Biology, Emporia
Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas.
A. Michael Powell and James F. Weedin. 2004. ISBN 0-89672-531-6.
US $60 (cloth; 7 x 10" format). xv
+ 512 pages + 314 color plates. Texas
Powell and Weedin's Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent Areas
is a beautifully compiled regional taxonomic treatment, in the old-fashioned
tradition, but with a few modern twists such as chromosome counts. Their
book is filled with details that only people with long-term love of and association
with a group of plants could write. It is also filled with the largely unpublished
wisdom of Dave Ferguson and Allen Zimmerman, who rival Powell and Weedin
in their expertise of the cacti of the southwest
Three things make this book shine. First, for each species and variety,
the authors provide a detailed distribution map. In light of the virtually
non-existent thumbnail maps in the recently published treatment of cacti
in volume four of the Flora of North America (2004) and Lyman Benson's
thorough but idiosyncratic taxonomic treatment in The Cacti of the United
States and Canada (1982), Powell and Weedin's maps are virtually worth
the price of their book. Second, unlike many previous authors, Powell and
Weedin provide data on seemingly all existing chromosome counts. With polyploidy
being such an important force in cactus evolution, this data is invaluable.
At least for the Trans-Pecos of
Texas, this book saves us from having to piece together
chromosome count data from a diffuse and often obscure cytological literature.
Third, Powell and Weedin are careful to enumerate juvenile characteristics
of all taxa. For example, theirs is the first published assertion that, of
the prickly pears in Trans-Pecos
Texas, only Opuntia engelmannii
and O. polyacantha sensu stricto have hairy seedlings. Juvenile characters
are important for diagnosis of taxa and should also prove valuable for studies
of heterochrony in cacti.
This book is filled with many charming details, some of I will highlight
in this and the next paragraph. Apparently Opuntia ellisiana [syn.
O. lindheimeri var. ellisiana] is the only prickly pear in
Texas that lacks sensitive stamens. All other Trans-Pecos
pear species (as well as Lophophora williamsii and Coryphantha
echinus var. robusta) have thigmotropic stamens, i.e. stamens
that when touched fold in around pollinating insects or the style. Powell
and Weedin provide evidence that Peniocereus greggii is obligately
cross-pollinated and state that pollination syndrome and floral morphology
strongly indicate that P. greggii should be pollinated by hawkmoths
(Manduca spp.). However, they then report that nobody has ever reported
seeing hawkmoths at P. greggii flowers.
Although P. greggii plants are notoriously cryptic in nature, several
populations are well-known and many people have gone out in the desert to
witness the virtually synchronous flowering of many clones in a population.
Lack of hawkmoth sightings is therefore noteworthy and in need
of study. Finally, Powell and Weedin report a curious way to get rid
of warts in humans using glochids and spines from Opuntia polyacantha
. Cut the wart, place the glochids and spines in the cut, and then burn the
spines. Unfortunately, they do not report the obvious control of whether
cutting and burning without the glochids and spines would have the
I was especially intrigued by Powell and Weedin's assertion on page
38, that "polyploid taxa in Opuntia and Echinocereus (
) generally have a greater biogeographic distribution in multiple plant communities
(mountains, grasslands, desert) than do diploid taxa, which are most often
found in single-plant communities. In Opuntia, approximately
70% of polyploids occur in multiple communities, whereas 100% of Echinocereus
polyploids are found in multiple communities." This provides some hints
as to the ecological and evolutionary implications of polyploidy, which are
especially important in light of nascent theories explaining how polyploidy
may create greater phenotypic plasticity and cause radiations into a greater
number of ecological niches. However, I wish that Powell and Weedin had supplied
more data or had supplied any citations to support their fascinating assertion.
Even though they provide the data given in the above quotation about polyploids,
they do not provide the corresponding data (controls) for diploids. Furthermore,
is their data for polyploids limited to tetraploids, hexaploids, octaploids
and higher ploidy levels, while excluding triploids that might respond differently?
Does their data generalize to all genera, and not just to Echinocereus
and Opuntia? Do the three segregate genera of Opuntia (
Opuntia, Cylindropuntia, Grusonia) show similar
patterns with respect to polyploids radiating into multiple communities?
Powell and Weedin open up a fantastic door by very roughly correlating ploidy
level with ecological radiations. Hopefully further data will be forthcoming
from Powell and Weedin _ or from others.
In general, I found this book parochial, but that is
probably the concession one must make in order to have a great old-fashioned
regional treatment of a family. Powell and Weedin assert without justification
the conventional wisdom that the genus Pereskia is primitive (ancestral,
basal) in the cactus family, even though one of their former students has
been adamant that Pereskia is highly derived (M.P. Griffith, 2004,
Taxon). Powell and Weedin also seem parochial in not having jumped
on the modern bandwagon of segregating the genera Cylindropuntia and
Grusonia from Opuntia. Powell and Weedin seem to adhere to
the biological species concept and thereby are willing to distinguish species
solely based on different ploidy levels, e.g. Echinocereus pectinatus
and E. dasyacanthus (but antithetically, they consider Mammillaria
prolifera and Coryphantha vivipara to each form a single species,
even though both taxa contain diploid and polyploid individuals and have
enormous geographic ranges). Although the biological species concept may
make sense for some animal taxa, most contemporary botanists seem to have
largely ignored this species concept. For example, virtually no botanists
consider the diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid populations of creosote bush,
Larrea tridentata, to be anything but a single species. Finally and
most peculiarly, Powell and Weedin continue with the parochial mantra of
protesting polyphyly in systematic treatments, even though they seem as acutely
aware as anyone (except maybe for Don Pinkava and his former students) of
the role of introgression and allopolyploidy in cactus evolution (see for
example their discussion of the messy taxa Opuntia phaeacantha and
Echinocereus x roetteri). Once one admits that reticulate evolution
is important, why stress polyphyly, which really only makes sense within
the framework of a tree topology? Stating that this book is parochial is
not meant to be pejorative. Rather, Powell and Weedin see cacti of
from one of many possible perspectives, one that is very useful so long
as the reader does not forget the authors' perspective.
This book, however, has several minor problems and omissions. The authors
make the classic mistake of assuming that the Trans-Pecos only includes those
portions of Texas _ and not also
New Mexico _ between the Pecos and
Rio Grande. The title of the book should state explicitly
this, as does Schmidly's 1977 Mammals of Trans Pecos Texas, especially
since Powell and Weedin themselves use the phrase `Trans Pecos Texas' (e.g.
pages 38 and 320). It would have been helpful to have included a list of
newly described taxa and combinations at the start of the book, as is done
in the abstract of all modern journal articles. Some of the distribution
maps are ambiguously or improperly labeled. For example, the key to the distribution
map for the genus Ancistrocactus should have a black circle, rather
than a black rectangle, for A. tobuschii. The relative lack of illustrations
is unusual in this modern era of publishing, although this omission undoubtedly
keeps the price of the book down. Powell and Weedin do however include color
illustrations of all taxa, but these suffer from not being integrated with
the text, containing too much blank space between the color photos, and containing
many images that are too dark or with too many shadows. Several of the color
plates fail to adequately depict diagnostic characters, such as the peg-like
spines in Coryphantha minima. Powell and Weedin only list herbarium
records for new taxa and new combinations published in this book. It would
have been extremely helpful had Powell and Weedin
also listed representative herbarium specimen examined for those taxa for
which experts disagree on species or generic limits or disagree on relative
relatedness of taxa.
The relatively minor problems with Cacti of the Trans-Pecos and Adjacent
Area should not overshadow the wealth of information and years of experience
that went into this traditional book. The cacti of Trans-Pecos
Texas have been overlooked for many decades,
largely because these cacti are not as large nor
as spectacular as cacti of the Sonoran
Desert or central
Mexico. Anybody seriously interested in
North American cacti should acquire this book and treasure its good points,
while understanding its relatively minor shortcomings. Powell and Weedin
have done an exemplary job, in the fine natural history and taxonomic tradition
of my youth. I sincerely hope that we are still fostering and mentoring such
dedicated naturalists and hope that we can look forwards to similar sorts
of work from subsequent generations. Root Gorelick, School
of Life Sciences, Arizona State
The Moss Flora of Britain
. Ed. 2. A. J. E. Smith. 2004. ISBN
0 521 81640 8: cloth (US$180) ISBN 0 521 54672 9: paper (US$85).
1012 pp. Cambridge
The moss and liverwort floras of Britain
are probably known better than any area of similar size in the world. Consequently,
this revision of a widely admired book about moss diversity and identification,
first published in 1978, is a major event. MFBI builds on a durable tradition.
The mosses of Ireland were first enumerated by Dawson Turner (1804), and
not long after that appeared Muscologia Britannica by William
Jackson Hooker (Turner's son-in-law and recipient of his herbarium) and Thomas
Taylor (1818). The latter book went through three editions in the 1800s. However,
anyone thinking that the 19th century must have seen the complete
documentation of the rich and complex moss flora of this geologically and
topographically varied part of northwest Europe
will be sobered to learn the following. About 10% of the 763 species treated
in the MFBI has been added since the first edition was issued 26 years ago:
8 new species with type localities in the treated region, 25 other mosses
not previously collected in Britain
, and, as the result of taxonomic monography, an additional 51 newly recognized
species for those countries. Used in conjunction with volumes 2 and 3 of
Atlas of the Bryophytes of Britain and Ireland (Hill et al.,
1992, 1994), an unrivalled amount of bryological detail is available to students
of the British and Irish floras.
The book presents introductory material and an illustrated glossary (both
of which will help beginners); a key to genera (potentially applicable over
much of the Northern Hemisphere); keys to species; descriptions, chromosome
numbers (when known); synonymies; identification, ecological, and distributional
notes (including rarity status); and serviceable stippled line drawings for
each species recognized. The illustrations were prepared with camera lucida
and drawing tube and show features that are useful in identification, including
drawings of leaf cross sections. The plants themselves are only sometimes
rendered. The printed format is attractive and easy to use, particularly
the large type size. My copy is the soft cover version, and the binding seems
sturdy. This book of over 1000 pages stays open near the beginning, in the
middle, and toward the end on a microscope bench in the laboratory where
it is most likely to be consulted while identifying mosses.
The classification scheme followed is modern and reflects the status of
knowledge through about 2000. (The author's preface is dated March 2003,
and the text and bibliography cites taxonomic papers as recent as 2000.)
Many of the numerous taxonomic innovations published in the 1980s and 1990s
have been adopted, but when rejected the author is careful to provide a reason.
For example, Lars Hedenäs's taxonomic concepts and redistribution of species
in the Amblystegiaceae and other pleurocarpous families are followed, as
are those of R. H. Zander for the Pottiaceae. Species on the British Red
List, i.e., protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, are
noted. British mosses receiving governmental stewardship under the Act are
required to have common names, and a list of these are given, although Smith
disavows their use because most are little applied (and therefore meaningless)
beyond Britain and
Almost all of the book is a distillation of the taxonomic
experience of one author, but several other bryologists contributed treatments,
including M. O. Hill (Sphagnum, 35 spp.), M. C. F. Corley (Campylopus
Brid., 13 spp.), and D. F. Chamberlain (Tortula Hedw. p. p., 5 spp.;
Protobryum bryoides (Dicks.) J. Guerra
& M. J. Cano; Microbryum rectum (With.)
R. H. Zander; Hennediella heimii (Hedw.) R. H. Zander
[all of these eight species were under Pottia (Reichenb.)
Fürnr.) in edition one]). Treatments of
certain genera, Cynodontium Bruch & Schimp.,
Hagen, Schistidium Brid., and others contain taxonomic information
useful to North American and other bryologists, and in particular illustrations
and descriptions of Schistidium will prove helpful on this side of
the Atlantic, given that species of this
under-described genus are poorly understood. Information about genera not
represented in North America, e.g., Cheilothela
(Lindb.) Broth., Dialytrichia (Schimp.)
Limpr., Rhynchostegiella (Schimp.)
Limpr., is especially welcome. Many so-called Mediterranean species
occur in southern England
, and some of these not yet known from North America
may be found in places along the West Coast. There is notable overlap between
the moss flora of Britain
and North American coastal areas, especially northern ones. For this and
many other reasons, MFBI is an important reference for studies of the North
There are a disappointing number of typos throughout the book, which is
surprising given the reputation of Cambridge University Press. I noted only
a few errors of execution, for example the genus name Lescuraea Schimp.
commemorates [Charles] Leo Lesquereux, Swiss-American
bryologist and paleobotanist, and not Charles F. Lesquereux, "a North American
Botanist," since the eponymous Lesquereux published an early work on mosses
of Switzerland before
emigrating to the United
States. The family classification used
is that of Buck and Goffinet (2000) not D. H. Vitt. Names of authors of subfamilies
are not included, but authorities are given for names of sections of genera.
In contrast to a practice of long standing, the stated linguistic source
of a genus name does not include Latin or Greek root words when these are
involved, but rather to what the name refers, for example, Octodiceras
, "meaning 8 double horns based on the erroneous assumption that there were
8 divided peristome teeth." This is helpful, of course, but perhaps not as
useful mnemonically as also knowing the root words. These small criticisms
aside, I always judge a book of this sort by how it holds my attention when
I crack it open at random and begin reading. By that measure this is a wonderful
addition to my and any other bryologist's library.—Norton G. Miller, Biological
Survey, New York
Buck, W. R. & B. Goffinet. 2000. Morphology
and classification of mosses. In A. J. Shaw & B.
Goffinet, eds. Bryophyte biology.
Hill, M. O., C. D. Preston, & A. J. E. Smith,
eds. 1992. Atlas of the bryophytes of
2. Mosses (except Diplolepideae).
Hill, M. O., C. D. Preston, & A. J. E. Smith,
eds. 1994. Atlas of the bryophytes of
3. Mosses (Diplolepideae).
Hooker, W. J. & T. Taylor. 1818. Muscologia
britannica; containing the mosses of Great
Ireland systematically arranged and described.
Turner, D. 1804. Muscologiae hibernicae spicilegium.
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