Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 1959 v5 No 1 SpringActions


A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.


A Plea for a Wider Usage of Scientific Plant Names
Department of Plant Ecology, University of Saskatchewan,
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Once a botanist in the United States wrote to his Asian counterpart requesting a reprint of his work on the Indian fig. The Asian denied having ever worked on any such plant but he mailed to his correspondent a reprint of his researches on Opuntia—"just in case you are interested," he wrote. Not many readers would probably know that Indian fig is one of the common names for Opuntia.

Many botanists in countries other than the United States and Canada meet similar situations quite often. They wait eagerly for a well-advertised American book in their specific fields but when it arrives and they read the first few pages they stamp the book on their desks because they are annoyed to find new books not giving proper scientific names to plants. I was similarly disappointed when I read an article 1 in "Fifty Years of Botany," the Golden Jubilee Volume of the Botanical Society of America. The paper was by Braun (1958) .and the plant she referred to was pin oak. In my dictionary of flowering plants (Willis, 1951) there is included only one oak, white oak, of the five mentioned twenty-two times in the article by Braun (1958). Her shagbark hickory and river birch are also not given iri this standard work of Willis (1951). Willis includes only "birch" which, according to him, could be either Betula or Bursera, but river birch is conspicuously absent. Willis does mention a plant called river weed, and it occurred to me that some authors may possibly consider birch a weed. I soon found out, however, that river weed is Podostemon. Since river birch must (?) be some kind of either Betula or Bursera, and because Podostemon is neither Betula nor Bursera, river brich cannot be Podostemon. Or, could it be that river birch is not a birch just as Indian fig is not a fig? Further investigation showed that Braun (1958) used eighteen common plant names seventy-two times, while the only

'My purpose here is not, of course, to criticize any author or his work. The comments here are directed only toward the usual practice in greater part of North America of giving common plant names a preference over their scientific names. The books referred to here have been picked from my shelves. three scientific names used by her were mentioned four times.

Let us explore the matter a little further and look into a few other important books published in recent years in the United States. Oosting (1956) writes about loblolly pine on page twenty. Its scientific name, however, is not given there. I therefore turn to the index. But in it there are no entries for common plant names. Since I happen to know that pine could be Pinus I turn to the "P's." The index shows that there are twenty-eight species (including two varieties) of Pinus referred to in the book. I start working back-wards — looking for page twenty after every Pinus species, and when I find the number twenty after Pinus taeda, the twenty-seventh Pinus in the list, I feel that my labor was not wasted after all. Incidentally, after reading loblolly pine on page twenty, it is not until the reader reaches page 289 that he finds the scientific name for this plant.

Authors who use both the common and the scientific plant names but who apparently give the former a greater degree of importance than the latter can be exemplified at random from Weaver (1954). He writes the scientific name in parenthesis after the common name, e.g., "Large white wild indigo (Baptisia leucantha) ." This practice is the one most commonly followed in the American literature, and to me it appears to suggest an attitude somewhat like this: "The plant I am talking about is Illinois tick trefoil but if you are a scientist and prefer the orderly manner of things, it is Desmodium illinoense."

In his chapter on the classification of plants Pool (1941) has gone to great length to convince his readers that the use of scientific names is the only unambiguous way of naming plants since they constitute a much more reliable clue to the identity of plants than do common names. A critical examination, however, of even a few pages of the strictly taxonomic section of his book would soon reveal that not only the common specific and generic names but also the common names of families and orders have been given greater importance than their respective scientific names. Thus, "The Mallow Family'' is centered in bold capitals as a title



Plant Science Bulletin


Department of Botany and Bacteriology

Wellesley College, Wellesley 81, Massachusetts


George S. Avery, Jr    Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Harlan P. Banks    Cornell University

Harriet B. Creighton    Wellesley College

Sydney S. Greenfield    Rutgers University

Paul B. Sears   Yale University

MARCH, 1959   •   VOLUME 5, NO. 1


Maybe our readers will not realize that they need an explanation of why the first number of the BULLETIN for 1959 is coming out with a March dateline, but the Editor would like to give one, and maybe more. First, we are just plain late because of having a conscience about rendering service to our employer. We got behind on the 1958 numbers, but we used up nearly all of the material we had on hand. By mid-February we had enough for an 8-page issue, but we didn't have the time to put it together then. This issue will use up almost "all the news that's fit to print" except a few bits of timeless interest and a couple of articles out for revision. Therefore, get your fingers on the typewriters and send in news—discussions declarations—whatever you feel you would like to read if someone else had written it. Why not take the time soon to tell this portion of the botanical world what you have to say. If the Editorial Board does not accept your article you will probably feel bet-ter for having gotten it down on paper, and besides, you will get a nice note from us. We have no printed rejection slips'

for the section on the Malvaceae. Someone interested in cotton may prefer to call it "The Cotton Family" which could well lay the foundation for mistaking mallow as a synonym for cotton in areas where mallow is rarely, if ever, heard of.

Foresters, notwithstanding their training in taxonomy, who use scientific plant names freely in their work and talk, have yet to be encountered by me. This is clearly shown in books on forestry. In Kittredge (1948), for example, scientific names are used only 63 times, whilst in one table (No. 43) alone there are 143 common names to the complete exclusion of the scientific names. Kittredge does provide a common and scientific plant name index. In it manzanita is stated to be Arctostaphylos spp. although in the text it also means Ceanothus leucodermis.

To the last category which includes a handful of Americans and Canadians but a large number of botanists from other countries, belong the authors who almost always use scientific plant names. Thus Maheshwari (1950) uses scientific names exclusively. Daubenmire (1947) uses them almost entirely in his book, and in about half a dozen cases where he uses the common names he was careful to give the respective scientific names also. He would not use even the very obvious ponderosa pine for Pinus ponderosa.

That the tendency to use common rather than scientific names of plants is not restricted to books alone can be seen from the following evidence gathered from some of the recent botanical journals.

Some authors (Lesley et al, 1958, and Biddulph et al, 1958) do not use the scientific names at all while others (McMillan and Pagel, 1958, McWilliam and Mergen, 1958, and Weier, 1958) would use nothing but the scientific names. Carew and Schwarting (1958) have used the common name in the title of their article and at the first opportunity in the text they give its scientific name. This practice appears to be quite popular in North America. There is some justification in adhering to this procedure but there is none whatever for giving the scientific name half-way down the text after using the common name a dozen times or more as done by Barker (1958).

It seems that in his research articles 'Weaver follows the same method as used in his book (Weaver, 1954) . He puts the common name before the scientific name. In his latest contribution (Weaver, 1958) he has, however, made an encouraging change in one species list where the scientific names precede the vernacular names, e.g., "Eryngium vuccifolium, Rattlesnake Master."

It would be evident from the following quotation from Hayward and Bernstein (1958) that they use the scientific plant names only when they feel their use to be absolutely unavoidable: "Of the pasture species, sea barley (Hordium marinum) and alfalfa were most tolerant, exceedingWimmera rye (Lolium rigid-um), curly rye (Pholiurus incurvus), Atriplex semibaccata, marigold and oats."

Probably the most annoying articles are those in which no definite procedure in using plant names is followed. An example of this is seen in Laessle (1958). In a given sentence he may use either only the scientific plant names, or a mixture of scientific and common names, or just the common names. There is no reason apparent from the article for Laessle's preference for not adhering to one "method." He may, or may not, give the scientific names of plants whose common names are used in the article. Like Braun (1958), Laessle uses only the common names to identify the plant associations, e.g. "Longleaf-pine/ Turkey-oak association." No where in the twenty-seven pages of his article has Laessle ever mentioned the scientific names for longleaf-pine and turkey-oak. A search for these yielded Pinus palustris for longleaf-pine (U.S.D.A., 1949) and Quercus cerris for turkey-oak (Willis, 1951). If Laessle (1958) had named the association "Pinus palustris/Quercus cerris associa-


tion" it would have made a world of difference for all scientists the world over.

Core (1955) pronounced 1753, the year of publication of Species Plantarum, as "the end of an era" and the beginning of "a new epoch." From the above evidence it appears that for many the "era" has yet to end. The importance of using scientific plant names and the chaos arising from the usage of common names has been realized for well over two hundred years. Bailey (1933) has given numerous examples which bear testimony to the inadequacy of great numbers of common names. Many of them are erroneous and misleading. Some of them are duplicates and few of them designate the same plant the world around. Also, one common name in a language may refer to more than one species or genera. Thus sandbar willow rep-resents five species of Salix (Kittredge, 1948), and birch may mean either Betula or Bursera (Willis, 1951). According to Willis, common names which include the word "pine" may refer to any of the following twelve genera: Ananas, Araucaria, Callitris, Dacrydium, Monotropa, Pandanus, Phyllocladus, Pin-us, Pseudolarix, Pseudotsuga, Sciadopitys, and Tillandsia. In their study of the Brazilian rain forests, Cain et al (1958) found that even the generic names of several plants, e.g. ioioca, could not be established from their vernacular names. Aturiā has been tentatively considered by them to be Mechaerium lunatum, and though they could place patacheiro in the genus Dimorphandra its specific name could not be deter-mined. Notwithstanding the genuine reasons for the unsettled identity of these plants and several others, confusion in the future could be expected from the possibility of someone establishing his ioioca, aturiā, and patacheiro as species of genera completely different from those actually observed by Cain and his associates. In all such cases the army claim, quoted by Bernatowicz (1958), can well be modified to emphasize that since a common name can be misunderstood, it will be misunderstood.

I have asked several American botanists as to why there is a tendency in most of North America to attach more importance to common rather than scientific names of plants. Some ascribed it to "the farm back-ground of these botanists." But surely there must be many botanists who do not have "farm backgrounds." Others attributed the tendency to the fact that many botanists have to talk with the "common man" who knows only the common names. But do the botanists in other countries talk only with botanists? The above reasons for lapses into "unscientific language" appear to be only excuses. It seems to me that the common names are used just because they are there for, as seen earlier in the quotation from Hayward and Bernstein (1958), when there is no common name for a given plant it is referred to only by its scientific name. In other words habits which could be traced back to many centuries, die hard, even among scientists. The tendency to use common names may also be partly due to a lack of proper emphasis on the importance of scientific names in the taxonomy courses. I remember how in the United States once a good student of taxonomy missed his "A" by four points because he did not know four common names.

The issue of using common plant names in scientific literature, like the one of teleology in science teaching (Bernatowicz, 1958), is not "to be debated but to be deplored—we stand against evil." The scientists, therefore, should consider it their duty to disseminate the usefulness and the preciseness of scientific names rather than stoop down to use common names at the expense of the scientific names.

It is worth bearing in mind that vernacular names have often immense non-scientific literary value. They have deep roots and they enormously enrich the language. Shakespeare's writings bristle with vernacular plant names. " 'What's in a name?' cries Juliet, 'that which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.' Yet Shakespeare might admit that a rose is not less sweet because we know its name" (Bailey, 1933). The non-scientific literary value of vernacular names, however, in no way reduces their importance in increasing confusion in scientific literature. It is to be noted that even in non-scientific literature the ac-curate description of plants has now become important, particularly for ecologists. I have often seen a perplexed look on the faces of some American ecologists who were unable to identify the original vegetation of a given region from the descriptions in the diaries of early explorers.

"How Plants Get Their Names" (Bailey, 1933) is, in my opinion, one of the most revealing and en-grossing books on the subject, and I feel that it should be made "required reading" for all who have something to do with plants. I cannot in any way improve upon what Bailey has so very lucidly written, and I, there-fore, take the liberty of quoting from him to some length. He has pointed out that it is only by means of the binominal nomenclature of Linnaeus that "all plants and all animals are known by all people in all countries who speak or write of them with precision. . . . The system of binomial nomenclature is one of the best inventions of men. . . . Every binomial has meaning; it is significant. To know the (precise) names of the forms of life is one of the keenest of satisfactions. . . . 'The first requisite on the part of the grower (and all others who deal with plants) is to know plants critically. ... The naming of plants under rules of nomenclature is an effort to tell the truth. . . . Serving truth it thereby serves everybody. . . . Common, vernacular, English names of plants do not constitute a method. . . . Common names lack precision; therefore, their practical utility is limited. . . . .. . Botanical binomials are exact. . . . Botanical nomenclature is Latin. Thereby may it be understood to all people in all languages. . . . All words are beau-


tiful when properly used and correctly pronounced and relieved of the vulgarisms of slang. So the binomials of plants and animals are beautiful if clearly enunciated and decently pronounced. They constitute a luminous part of the language of horticulture, botany, and natural history."

The question raised by Bernatowicz (1958) concerning teleology in science teaching, arises again. "What can we do about it?—other than be more careful, that is. Carefulness is a passive approach" because it does not teach us to avoid pitfalls consciously." Pool (1941) has pointed out that the fact that scientific names are current in all lands for the respective plants in question should constitute a powerful argument in favor of abandoning all so-called common names, and adopting and using only the scientific names for plants. Should the common names be, then, discarded, at least in the scientific literature? The answer is yes. The followers of Linnaeus, however, should be able to come to an agreement with the "common-name-minded" scientists to bring about a gradual change from present confusion to future clarity. The following, therefore, are my suggestions for bringing about a wider usage of scientific plant names both among scientists and non-scientists:

1. All titles of research papers, books, and extension pamphlets should include, where used, the scientific name before the common name/s, the latter being in parenthesis. e.g. "Epilobium angustifolium (common rose-bay, willow-herb, or fireweed) " as used occasionally by Heslop-Harrison (1956). This would not only ensure the right place for each but would also initiate the "common man" into the binomial nomenclature.

2. Text of all material should include only the scientific names. This would enable the "common man" and certain scientists to get used to the correct nomenclature of a- plant whose common name has al-ready been given in the title.

3. Where plants not appearing in the title are mentioned in the text, the scientific name should precede the common name/s as suggested in "1" above.

4. Strictly scientific articles and books with no obvious interest to non-scientists should include only the scientific names.

5. Where there is a possibility of a non-scientist using a scientific book an index of scientific and common names should be provided. In such cases only the scientific names should be used in the text.

6. All scientists should make an all-out effort to see that their students and associates use only the scientific plant names.

7. The Botanical Society of America should set up a committee to find ways and means of encouraging the wider use of scientific names, and to prepare a standard dictionary to fill the gap between the literature published so far and the scientist.


I am grateful to Dr. J. H. Mundie, National Re-search Council of Canada Fellow, University of Saskatchewan, for reviewing the manuscript.


Bailey, L. H. 1933. How Plants Get Their Names. The Macmillan Company, New York, N.Y. pp. 209.

Barker, J. N. 1958. Effect of GA, 2,4—D, and IAA on seed germination and epicotyl and radicle growth of intermediate and pubescent wheatgrass. Jour. Range Manag. 11:227—230.

Bernatowicz. A. J. 1958. Teleology in science teaching. Science 128:1402—1405.

Biddulph, O., Biddulph, S., Cory, R., and Koontz, H. 1958. Circulation patterns for phosphorus, sulfur and calcium in the bean plant. Plant Physiol. 33:293—300.

Braun, E. L. 1958. The development of association and climax concepts. In Steere, W. C. (Ed) Fifty Years of Botany. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp. 638.

Cain, S. A., de Oliveira Castro, G. M., Pites, J. M., and da Silva, N. T. 1958. Application of some phytosociological techniques to Brazilian rain forest. In Steere, W. C. (Ed) Fifty Years of Botany. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp. 638.

Carew, D. P., and Schwarting, A. E. 1958. Production of rye embryo callus. Bot. Gaz. 119:237—239.

Core, E. L. 1955. Plant Taxonomy. Prentice-Hall, Inc., Engle-wood Cliffs, N.J. pp. 459.

Daubenmire, R. F. 1947. Plants and Environment. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp. 424.

Hayward, H. E., and Bernstein, L. 1958. Plant-growth relation-ships on salt-affected soils. Bot. Rev. 24:584—635.

Heslop-Harrison, J. 1956. New Concepts in Flowering-plant Taxonomy. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass. pp. 135.

Kittredge, J. 1948. Forest Influences. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp. 394.

Laessle, A. M. 1958. The origin and successional relationship of sandhill vegetation and sand-pine scrub. Ecol. Monog. 28:361—387.

Lesley, J. W., Lesley, M. M., and Turrell, F. M. 1958. Cytogenetic and pigment studies of a blue-green mutant from P"-treated seeds of the tomato. Amer. Jour. Bot. 45:598—602.

McMillan, C., and Pagel, B. F. 1958. Phenological variation within a population of Symphoricarpos occ dentalis. Ecology 39:766—770.

McWilliams, J. R., and Mergen, F. 1958. Cytology of fertilization in Pinus. Bot. Gaz. 119:246—249.

Maheshwari, P. 1950. An Introduction to the Embryology of Angiosperms. McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp. 453.

Oosting, H. J. 1956. The Study of Plant Communities. W. H.

Freeman and Company, San Francisco, Calif. pp. 440. Pool, R. J. 1941. Flowers and Flowering Plants. McGraw-Hill

Book Company, Inc., New York, N.Y. pp. 428.

U.S.D.A. 1949. Trees. The Yearbook of Agriculture. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. pp. 944.

Weaver, J. E. 1954. North American Prairie. Johnsen Publishing Company, Lincoln, Nebraska. pp. 348.

Weaver, J. E. 1958. Native grassland of southwestern Iowa. Ecology 39:733—750.

Weier, T. E. 1958. The cytology of mesophyll in Oenothera and Nicotiana. Amer. Jour. Bot. 45:603-608.

Willis, J. C. 1951. A Dictionary of the Flowering Plants and

Ferns. The University Press, Cambridge, England. pp. 752.



The Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden has started to build a new wing on its present building to provide a lecture hall, a laboratory for graduate students, small offices for graduate students and additional space for the herbarium.

At the A. and M. College of Texas there is to be a new, air-conditioned plant science building to be occupied by botany, plant physiology and pathology, horticulture, landscape art, range management and forestry. The Tracy Herbarium and the plant sciences library will also be located there.

Pennsylvania State University will have a new experimental mushroom house under the direction of Leon R. Kneebone of the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has appropriated $50,000 for the building and the American Mushroom Institute will provide $10,000 to equip the laboratories. The latter group will continue to support a graduate research assistant.

Not a building, but a river, is to be the new experimental facility of Ruth Patrick of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. To be 150 feet long and 6 feet wide, fed from a nearby creek, it will be allowed to evolve as a habitat for aquatic plants and animals. Joint sponsor of the project is the Manufacturing Chemists' Association of Washington, D.C.

Ohio Wesleyan has a new greenhouse and an additional laboratory for plant physiology, microtechnique and taxonomy representing an expansion of the Botany Department facilities.

The Tennessee Botanical Garden and Fine Arts Museum of Nashville is going to move to a mansion and grounds donated to them. In the house will be room for the botanical library and some laboratories. Part of the 50 acres is already planted forming, with the native trees, the nucleus of the gardens. The project started by the Exchange Club of Nashville, joined later by the Horticultural Society of Davidson County and the Nashville Arts Council, expects to have an operating budget of from $35,000 to $50,000 a year.


The University of Kansas is commemorating Darwin and Linnaeus this year as a result of the cooperation of 8 departments. A key feature is a lecture series sponsored by the University and the local chapter of Sigma Xi. Nine interdepartmental seminars will be interspersed among the lectures during the year.


The preparation of a Supplement to the "Bibliography of Eastern Asiatic Botany" by Elmer D. Merrill and Egbert H. Walker, published in 1938 by the Arnold Arboretum, is the objective of a project undertaken by the American Institute of Biological Sciences under con-tract with the National Science Foundation. The junior author of the original work has been granted a year's leave-of-absence from the Department of Botany of the Smithsonian Institution to enable him to carry out his work. The same high standards established by the senior author, who initiated this most successful regional bibliography in 1929, will be maintained. Plans are being made to increase the usefulness of the Supplement to the oriental workers by giving the Chinese and Japanese titles in the original characters as well as in translation. Much cooperation was offered by the Japanese botanists in Tokyo. They learned of the plans for this project from Dr. Walker last October, when he attended there the annual meeting of the Botanical Society of Japan and the meeting commemorating its 75th anniversary. The library of the U. S. Department of Agri-culture has provided working space for this project and assistance has been offered by the Science and Technology Division of the Library of Congress.


Two more identical generic names in the plant and animal kingdom

Corydalis: Fumewort and Dobson-fly (Megaloptera) Alsophila: Tree-fern and Geometrid moth.

Vanishing Habitats and our Professional Responsibilities. The Program of the Nature Conservancy

How many of us have had the disquieting experience of discovering our favorite collecting spot or study area disappear over night, as it were, leveled by the bulldozer, dried up by ditching, filled in by dredging, deforested, polluted, vandalized, despoiled?

We can no longer assume that the countryside will remain ours, available and convenient for use in our teaching and research. The time has come when biologists must actively participate in a broad program aimed at preserving one of the basic tools of our trade —natural areas, in which biotic communities of all types may be studied and observed in the natural state. Not only should these areas include unique habitats for the protection of rare species, but they should also preserve wild spots located at reasonable distances from centers of population and educational institutions.

The organization which is attempting to develop such a program on a national scale is the Nature Conservancy. This article is to acquaint the members of the Botanical Society with its work. An outgrowth of a Committee of the Ecological Society of America, it was established in 1950 under its present name. Since 1954 it has been making encouraging progress toward acquiring choice bits of property and establish-


ing wild preserves. In the past four years here is the record:

California. A 7,000-acre tract in the northern coast ranges including old-growth Douglas fir stands and a virgin watershed is presently in the advanced stages of negotiation. This will require a large-scale drive for funds. A state-wide inventory has been taken of habitats now in need of preservation, and progress has been made toward the acquisition of some of these.

Connecticut. Beckley Pond and Bog (one of the finest sphagnum bogs in the state) and the 200-acre surrounding white pine, hemlock and northern hard-woods forest has been acquired. The $21,000 required for this purchase has been raised within the state. Ten other areas totalling some 3,300 acres have also been established under other auspices through the activities of the Connecticut Committee.

Illinois. The Volo and Wauconda bogs totalling over 100 acres, situated about forty miles northwest of Chicago, have been purchased with $30,000 raised for this purpose. These bogs have the only good tamarack stands in Illinois.

Indiana. Pine Hills, a 600-acre tract with spectacular sandstone cliffs and old-growth timber adjacent to the Shades State Park is now under option.

Ohio. A portion of the Lynx prairie in Adams County, south central Ohio, is now under option. Funds are being solicited by the Ohio Chapter.

Maryland. Two tracts in Calvert County have been acquired, a stand of hemlock and a fine stand of bald cypress—both on tide water. Over $9,000 have been raised for these projects by the local committee.

Minnesota. An 80-acre mature oak stand has been purchased in the southeastern corner of the state.

Missouri. A fine stand of holly and associated vegetation on Crowley's ridge is under purchase contract in southeastern Missouri. Funds are currently being raised for this project .by the Missouri Chapter.

New York. Nine preserves totalling over 1,600 acres have been acquired by gift or purchase. These include the Mianus River Gorge Preserve with its old-growth hemlock and hardwood forest and the Arthur W. Butler Memorial Sanctuary in Westchester County; a small bog on Fire Island; a lake, a piece of sand plains and lake shore, and a mature woods—three separate tracts on Long Island; Dome Island on Lake George; a woodland preserve near Pawling and Thompson Pond with its fine marshes, both in Duchess County; and Moss Lake with surrounding bog heath and wood-land in western New York. Funds are still being raised toward the acquisition and maintenance of several of these projects through the activities of chapters and local committees.

Pennsylvania. Over 70 acres of the Cranberry Bog near Tannersville and the 500-acre Woodbourne Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary in northeastern Pennsylvania have been established as Preserves, through local committees.

Information concerning any of these areas and per-mission to use them for scientific research may be obtained through the national headquarters of the Conservancy, 2015 Bunker Hill Road, N. E., Washington 18, D. C. The Conservancy is anxious to initiate inventories of the flora and fauna on each of the preserves under its control and would like to enlist the aid of biologists in this work.

You can help this cause in many ways: (1) by joining the Nature Conservancy (present annual dues are $3), (2) by bringing areas worthy of preservation to the attention of the local representatives of the Conservancy or its national officers, (3) by telling private owners of choice areas about the conservation opportunities afforded by the Conservancy's program, (4) by contributing energy and/or funds toward the Conservancy's special preservation projects, and (5) by supporting the numerous local organizations which are attacking the problem independently. Chapters of the Conservancy have now been formed in Maine, Long Island, Eastern and Western New York, Ohio, Illinois, Missouri, Minesota, Western Washington, Monterey (Cal.) and Southern California. Regional offices have been established in Berkeley, California and St. Louis, Missouri. Active state committees, local project committees and state representatives are working in many other areas. National headquarters can put you in touch with these people.


The Committee on the Darbaker Prize of the Botanical Society of America will accept nominations for an award to be announced at the annual meeting of the Society at Montreal in 1959. Under the terms of the bequest, the award is to be made for meritorious work in the study of the algae. Persons not members of the Botanical Society are eligible for the award. The Committee will base its judgment primarily on the papers published by the nominee during the last two full calendar years previous to the closing date for nominations. At present, the award will be limited to residents of North America. Only papers published in the English language will be considered. Nominations for the 1959 award accompanied by a statement of the merits of the case and by reprints of the publications supporting the candidacy should be sent to the Chairman of the Committee in order to be received by June 1, 1959. The value of the Prize for 1959 will depend on the income from the trust fund but is expected to be about $150.00.

Ruth Patrick, Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, Chairman

Robert W. Krauss, University of Maryland Richard C. Starr, Indiana University

George F. Papenfuss, University of California, Berkeley, California

Paul C. Silva, University of Illinois



The New York Botanical Garden has announced the Gertrude S. Burlingham scholarship in mycology for advanced predoctoral summer study at the Garden. The scholarship will be granted annually. For the summer of 1959 the stipend will be $700; work under this appointment may begin any time after 1 July and should continue for approximately 3 months. Nominations or applications should reach the Director by 15 May. Further information can be obtained from William C. Steere, The New York Botanical Garden, New York 58, New York.


Three Prizes of $1000 each are to be awarded annually by The American Academy of Arts and Sciences to the authors of especially meritorious unpublished monographs; one each in the fields of the: (1) Humanities; (2) Social Sciences; (3) Physical and Biological Sciences.

A Monograph is defined for the purposes of these awards as a "scholarly contribution to knowledge, too long for an article in a learned journal and too specialized or too short for a general book."

Recipients of these prizes will be expected to make their own arrangements for publication. The final date in 1959 for receipt of manuscripts by the committee on awards is October 1. Announcements of the awards will be made in December.

Full details concerning these prizes may be secured on request from the Committee on Monograph Prizes, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 280 Newton Street, Bookline Station, Boston 46, Massachusetts.


A six-week summer course in mycology will be offered at the Duke Marine Laboratory, Beaufort, North Carolina, July 18 through August 22, 1959. The course, of 6 hours graduate credit, is open to any student interested in mycology. Subject matter includes: collection, classification, physiology and ecology of salt water, estuarine, and fresh water fungi; brief introduction to physical and chemical oceanography, and work in related fields of marine invertebrates, algology, and general ecology. There is a maximum of laboratory and field work, with a minimum of lectures. Cost: $90 registration and laboratory fees; $112.50 room and board.

The marine laboratory offers, in addition, adequate year-round research facilities for qualified post-doctoral investigators in the field of mycology. Collecting gear, laboratory space, skiffs and outboard motors are avail-able. The cost to investigators is ten dollars for the first week, and five dollars per week thereafter. Housing is sixty cents per night. Dining hall facilities are provided, June through August.

A limited number of pre- and post-doctoral fellow-ships are available 'fbr course work or research at the Laboratory. Inquiries should be directed to Dr. C. G. Bookhout, Director, Duke Marine Laboratory, Department of Zoology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

A. H. STOCKARD, Director

The University of Michigan Biological Station will conduct its fifty-first consecutive session of courses and research from June 20 to August 15 this year at its permanent site in northern Michigan. Seven courses in botany and ten in zoology, for graduate and under-graduate students, will be conducted by a faculty of fifteen prominent biologists from eight colleges and universities. Research by the faculty, independent investigators and graduate students in all aspects of field biology also will be conducted.

The seven botanical courses include work on bryophytes and lichens, higher fungi, fresh-water algae and aquatic flowering plants, taxonomy of higher plants, and plant ecology. They will be taught by Professors A. J. Sharp of The University of Tennessee; A. H. Smith, F. K. Sparrow, Jr., and Elzada U. Clover of The University of Michigan, and J. E. Cantlon of Michigan State University.

A limited number of grants, made possible through funds from the National Science Foundation, will be awarded on a competitive basis by a faculty committee, to applicants also seeking financial aid.

All students interested in pursuing undergraduate or graduate study and all professional biologists interested in engaging in research suitable for a field laboratory are invited to write to The Director, Biological Station, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


Dr. Robert H. Miller, P.O. Box 9052, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno, has 18 copies of the AJB, Vol. 45, No. 5 (May, 1958), pp. 431—416 left over after having torn his article out to fill requests for reprints. He will gladly send any or all to anyone who will pay the postage.


The Society's President, in his capacity as Director of the New York Botanical Garden, presented an American tree (species not mentioned in a three page press release) to Bar-Ilan University, an American patterned university in Ramat Gan, a suburb of Tel Aviv. He didn't get to make the gift on the spot, but rather gave it to officers of the university in a ceremony in New York in January. This was the start of an exchange


which will make possible a garden of American plants in Israel and a collection to be called the Holy Land Bower at the New York Botanical Garden containing as complete as possible a representation of plants made known to the world in Biblical context. Dr. Steere also accepted the honorary post on the Committee for the Weinstein Chair of Botany to aid the teaching of botany at Bar-Ilan. The college will graduate its first class this June, granting the B.A. and the B.S. degrees. Its botany department offers a major with nine courses, at present.

Tropical Botany Near at Hand
Harvard University

When studying the manifold types of vegetation (comparing them and relating them to each other) , one ought logically to start with the richest and to derive from it the less complicated, impoverished types which have arisen from it by selection. The richest type of vegetation in number of supply, volume and density, is found in the tropics. It is not the impoverished, anthropogenic vegetation of Europe which should be the starting point of one's investigations." So said Professor van Steenis of Leiden twenty years ago. What is true for vegetation studies is true for many other kinds of comparative work; how many of our botanists have compared those apices, that cell-wall structure, that characteristic pigmentation, with what goes on in tropical members of the group they are studying? At the Atkins Garden and Laboratory of Harvard University in Cuba, there is not only one of the world's leading collections of tropical trees and shrubs but there is also (a rarity in such areas) a well-equipped laboratory for studying them. The laboratory has microscopes, balances, an autoclave, an air-conditioned dark room for auxin work or for photography, and a fine library covering tropical botany, forestry, horticulture, taxonomy, and some physiology.

The Garden is located near Cienfuegos on the south coast of Central Cuba. Airplanes from New York to Havana take 4% hours, or one can drive to Key West and cross on the car ferry. Train (5 hours), Grey-hound bus (5—6 hours) and plane (1 hour) connect Havana with Cienfuegos, and provide a quick introduction to the Cuban landscape of sugar-cane fields, royal palms and limestone hills. An advantage of the location is that it is right on the new Southern Circuit highway. The Garden adjoins the Soledad sugar-mill (grinding season is January through April) which provides not only some first-hand economic botany but also telephone and restaurant service. There are also excellent carpentry and machine shops (although the Garden now has a good new shop of its own). A jeep is available, too, for collecting trips and for visiting the nearby Trinidad mountains, where the recent revolution had its "second front" and where one can see the unspoiled Caribbean rural life, in its primitive simplicity, surrounded by palms, agaves, leguminous trees and epiphytic bromeliads. The jeep can also take visitors to the shore, where coral reefs offer many characteristic algae, tropical fish and invertebrates.

It is, of course, the living plant collections that are really spectacular. The Garden has some 2,000 species of tropical shrubs and trees in cultivation. There are, for instance, 12 genera of the family Moraceae, including 60 species of Ficus, many with enormous masses of aerial roots; there are 70 genera of woody legumes, in addition to the many which grow wild in Cuba, 30 genera of Euphorbiaceae, 24 of Apocynaceae, 23 of Cactaceae and 22 of Rubiaceae. A feature is the striking assemblage of monocotyledons, including bananas and their relatives, 25 genera of orchids, many agaves and aroids. A number of the palms, of which there are nearly 300 in all (in 89 genera) , were planted in the decade following the Garden's founding in 1901 and are now flowering regularly and highly photogenic. About 250 of the plants are described (and some pictured in color) in the new Guide Book to the Garden. It should be mentioned also that the Garden is peculiarly rich in birds, especially during the winter when north-ern migrants mix with the local egrets, limpkins and anis.

Now that the political situation is calm, the Garden will welcome a limited number of accredited scientific visitors for periods from a week upwards. Board and room costs $4 per person per day. There are no fees for use of other facilities; however, during that part of the summer when the Harvard course in Tropical Botany is being given, all accommodations may be taken up by students. For this and other reasons it is essential to make inquiries well in advance. Address Dr. Duncan Clement, Jardin Botānico Atkins, Apartado 414, Cienfuegos, Cuba.


The back numbers, from the beginning, of the PSB are now in the Editor's office, under a table, out of sight, but not out of mind. They are wrapped and securely packed, as received. There is a plan being worked on to send them to a permanent storage place where orders for back numbers can be filled. Thus, in the future, these pounds of freight, increasing each year, will not have to be shipped from Editor to Editor at Society expense. With the hope that the "home" can soon be found the present Editor is not going to unwrap the cartons, only to have to rewrap them for for-warding. Therefore, will all who want individual numbers, and all who should have received the early numbers of 1958 having joined, or rejoined the Society, please wait until an announcement is made in these pages as to how and where to get them?

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