Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 1980 v26 No 4 WinterActions


A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.


RICHARD M. KLEIN, Editor Department of Botany, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405
Jerry D. Davis, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, WI
Peter Heywood, Brown University, Providence, RI
Anitra Thorhaug, Florida International University, Key Biscayne, FL
Richard P. Wunderlin, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL

The Plant Science Bulletin is published at the University of Vermont, Burlington, VI 05405. Second class postage paid at Burlington, VT.

Plant Introduction and Botanic Gardens in China

Plant Introduction and Botanic Gardens in China
C. K. Sheng
Botanic Garden of Nanking & Institute of Botany, Kiangsu

1. Plant Introduction in Old China
Nearly as old as other centers of early agriculture in the world, China introduced and domesticated cereal crops in the Neolithic age about 7000-10,000 years ago. l4C measurements of rice grains from an archeological site in Chekiang pushed back the history of cultivated rice in China to 5,000 BC; wheat domestication was ascertained to be at least 4,000 years ago. The chronology of plant introduction in China falls into three main stages: a) Stage of domestic introduction from the beginning of proto-agriculture to the first century A.D. This stage was characterized by domestication of wild crop plants and plant introduction from neighboring countries. b) Stage of introduction via terrestrial routes (134 BC - 1368 AD). This stage included the introduction of plants from middle Asia and from near-eastern countries. c) Stage of introduction via oceanic routes (1368-1948) from the beginning of the Ming Dynasty to the founding of the People's Republic. This stage was characterized by the introduction of plants from Central and South America followed by North American trees, vegetables and garden flowers.

The earliest recorded Chinese plant hunter was Chan-Chien who brought alfalfa and grapes in 126 BC when he served as ambassador of the Han Dynasty to the "western territory." From then on, camel caravans on the long corridor known as the "Silk Route" carried such economic plants as persian walnut, pomegranate, safflower, garlic, sesame, etc. By the beginning of the first century AD, broad bean and asiatic cotton were introduced from Central Asia as was lotus, ginger and cucumber from India and sugar cane from tropical Asia.

Another long period of plant introduction commenced from the fifth to the fourteenth centuries. African cotton, castor oil bean and watermelon, spinach from Central Asia and vegetable sponge from India traveled to China by various routes. Domestication of tree paeony and chrysanthemum became of interest to Chinese cultivators during the tenth century and numerous cultivars were obtained with special treatises on cultivation written, published and circulated.

Plant introduction from the fifteenth to the middle of this century turned a new page after the opening of oceanic traffic and the discovery of the new world.

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Among the plant emigrants were maize, sweet potato, white potato, peanut, pepper, bean, upland cotton and other plants. No one can underestimate the importance and success of plant introductions in old China, but it took too much time and was by no means efficient and scientific.

II. Plant Introduction in the People's Republic
Upon the founding of the People's Republic, plant introduction developed into an organized and scientific enterprise. Since 1954, ten major botanic gardens in different climates and vegetational regions were established under the sponsorship of Academia Sinica. A Commission of Botanic Gardens was established under the Academy and, according to the Rules of Botanic Gardens (1978), five functions should be performed.

1. The exploitation of wild plant resources, introduction of indigenous and exotic economic plants, breeding of new varieties so as to enrich the re- sources of cultivated plants.
2. To study the new techniques and methods on plant introduction and acclimatization, so as to improve the productivity, quality or tolerance of introduced plants.
3. To summarize the principles regulating the growth, development, adaptability, economic characteristics and variation of introduced plants.
4. Extensive collection of plant resources, especially those of rare, threatened and endangered species, followed by studies on their evolution, taxonomy, preservation and utilization.
5. To mold a botanical garden with both pleasing landscapes and scientific displays, to make the garden an important place to study modern botany and to popularize botanic knowledge in the public.

For close to 30 years, Chinese botanic gardens and arboretums have worked to fulfill these aims. Their major accomplishments might be briefly summarized:

1. Field surveys of plant resources, exploration for wild ancestors and related species.
2. Exploitation, introduction and utilization of indigenous wild species of timber trees, medicinal plants and garden plants.
3. Introduction and acclimatization of exotic economic plants.

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4. Introduction of plants for special purposes, e.g., desert, aquatic, forage ground covers, salt tolerant, seashore, etc. plants, plants as food adulterants, etc.
5. Selection and breeding of woody plants.
6. Insect and disease control measures.
7. Studies on principles and methods of plant introduction including physiology of cold resistance, seed physiology, tissue culture, surveys of flora, etc.
8. Investigations on precious, threatened and endangered species.
9. Phytochemical studies, compilation of floras, experiments on artificial plant communities and study of the history of plant introduction in China.

Although plant introduction in China has had a history of thousands of years, the institutions responsible for such matters were started less than 50 years ago. We have to accumulate experience on problems of planning; construction and management of efficient botanic gardens, study methods of plant introduction and conduct scientific research. We also urgently need to study the experiences of corresponding institutions abroad with the hope that botanic gardens in China will progress faster and make more contributions to plant introduction and the welfare of the people.


Hsip-Saungpana Botanic Garden - Mung Lun, Hsip-saungpana, Yunnan
Director: Prof. S. T. Tzai. Area: 86 ha.
Taxa: local and exotic tropical forest trees, fruit trees, woody oil plants, medicinal plants, palms, bamboos
Garden: economic plants, artificial plant communities, tropical rain forest Publications: catalog of plants, research papers

Kunming Botanic Garden - Kunming, Yunnan
Director: Prof. Y. Y. Wu Area: 40 ha.
Taxa: 2000 trees and shrubs of Yunnan
Garden: greenhouse, garden of ornamentals, systematic garden, olive Publications: Index Seminum, Yunnan camellias, research papers

Kweilin Botanic Garden - Kweiling, Kwangsi
Director: S. R. Yi Area: 150 ha.
Taxa: 2000 fruit trees, medicinals, plants for rocky hills
Garden: Timber trees, woody oil plants, ornamentals, medicinals, bamboo Publications, research papers

Kwantung Botanic Garden - Gouanzhou, Kwantung
Director: Prof. F. H. Chen Area: 300 ha.
Taxa: 3200 south sub-tropical and tropical trees, medicinals, ferns
Garden: displays, Ting-Hu Mountain Natural Reserve
Publications: Index Seminum, research papers

Lushan Botanic Garden - Lushan, Kiangsi
Director: not given Area: 290 ha.
Taxa: 3000 plants of sub-tropical mountains, conifers, alpine herbaceous
Garden: greenhouse, alpine flowers, arboretum, pinetum, rock garden, tea Publications: Index Seminum, research papers

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Nanking Sun Yat-Sen Botanic Garden - Nanking, Kiangsu
Director: C. K. Shen Area: 120 ha.
Taxa: 2000 plants of north and central sub-tropics, timber, ornamentals
Garden: greenhouse, systematic garden, pinetum, medicinals, ornamentals Publications: Index Seminum, Plant Introduction & Acclimatization, Domestication of Plants, Fast-Growing Trees, Introduction of Olive

Peking Botanic Garden - Peking
Director: D. T. Yui Area: 58 ha.
Taxa: 3000 economic trees of northern provinces, garden trees, grapes
Garden: greenhouse, displays of economic and garden plants
Publications: Index Seminum, newsletter, research papers

Sian Botanic Garden - Sian, Shensi
Director: not given Area: 48 ha.
Taxa: 1200 plants of Ching-Ling, aromatics, medicinals
Garden: garden of evolution of plants Publications: research papers

Shenyang Botanic Garden - Shenyang, Liaoning
Director: not given Area: 24 ha.
Taxa: 200 Populus, Salix, Picea, non-legume N-fixers
Garden: greenhouse under construction
Publications: catalog of plants, research papers

Wuhan Botanic Garden - Wuhan, Hupeh
Director: T. T. Shan Area: 60 ha.
Taxa: Economic plants of Central China, fresh-water plants, medicinals
Garden: greenhouse, aquatics, arboretum, bamboos, medicinals
Publications: Index Seminum, research papers

Other Gardens
Desert Botanic Garden - Mingching, Kansu
Medicinal Garden - Hangchow, Chekiang
Medicinal Plants - Academia Sinica Medicinalis, Peking
Sub-Tropical Forestry - Fujan, Chekiang
Arboretum - Fuchow, Fukien
Garden - Hangchow, Chekiang
Forest Botanic Garden - Harbin, Heilongjiang
Hwangshan Arboretum - Shihsien, Kweizhow
Kweizhou Botanic Garden - Kweiyang, Kweizhou
Kwantung Institute of Tropical Crops - Hainan Island, Kwantung
Nanning Botanic Garden - Nanning, Kwansi
Pingyang Institute of Sub-tropical Crops - Pingyan, Chekiang
Pingtung Tropical Botanic Garden - Pingtung, Taiwan
Shanghai Botanic Garden (under construction) - Shanghai
Shongyae Arboretum - Shongyae, Liaoning
Tapei Botanic Garden - Tapei, Taiwan
Tropical Crops Experiment Station - Tzanchiang, Kwantung

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Dr. Umesh C. Banerjee has been appointed Director of the Benjamin Harris Herbarium of North Texas State University in Denton. A graduate assistantship is available in areas of plant taxonomy, botanical electron microscopy, palynology and protoplasm fusion of winged beans and Parthenium.

An assistant professorship for tissue culture is available 1 September 1980 in the Dept. of Horticulture, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM. The Ph.D. in biology, biochemistry, horticulture or related fields is required with training in tissue culture. The successful candidate is expected to initiate and conduct a tissue culture research program related to the needs of New Mexico agriculture. The position involves research, consulting and assistance to other faculty and graduate students. Contact Dr. Fred B. Widmoyer, Dept. of Horticulture, Box 3530, Las Cruces, NM 88003.

The Civil Service Commission announces openings for a Plant Physiologist, GS-0435 and an ecologist, GS-0408 for service at the Johnson Space Center; a Plant Physiologist, GS-434-l4 at BARC, Plant Genetics and Germplasm Institute, Tobacco Laboratory in Beltsville, MD; a Plant Physiologist GS-435-ll/l2 (temporary) at the Southern Weed Science Laboratory in Stoneyville, Mississippi; and a Research Geneticist (Plant) GS-440-l3-l5 in Cereal Genetics Research, Columbia, Mississippi. Information and applications should be sent to the Special Examining Unit, Science and Education Administration, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, 6505 Belcrest Rd., Hyattsville, MD 20782.


The Plant Science Bulletin is missing from its archives Volume 11, #2,3,4. Members willing to let us photocopy these issues should contact the Editor, Richard Klein, Dept. of Botany, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405.

Paul B. Conant, President of Triarch, Inc., a supplier of microscope slides since 1926, has asked that members of the Botanical Society write to him to assist in the decisions relating to the continuation of the firm. The squeeze between rising costs and reduced educational budgets has placed the company in the position where it is unable to meet increased salary requirements. Mr. Conant would like to hear from members as to their needs for prepared slides in years to come and other information on the problems associated with Triarch.


The Association of Systematics Collections, with funding from the National Museum Act is undertaking an interdisciplinary survey and study of the use of computers in management of collections. Further information can be obtained from Lenore Sarasan, Survey Director, 2808 Sheridan Place, Evanston, IL 60201.

The Weed Science Society of America announces the publication of the revised 4th edition of the Herbicide Handbook. The paperbound text can be obtained for $7.50 from the Weed Science Society, 309 Clark St., Champaign, IL 61820.

A special conference on fumigants for museum and herbarium collections was held under the direction of the Association of Systematic Collections. The final conference report will be available from Dr. Stephen R. Edwards, Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KA 66045.

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The Plant Collectors of Mexico by Irving W. Knobloch is available from the Latin American Study Center, International Programs, Michigan State University for $3.00. A Check List of the Crosses in the Gramineae by Irving W. Knobloch is available from Lubrecht & Cramer at a special price of $5.00. Pteridophyte Hybrids by Irving W. Knobloch is obtainable from the Museum, Michigan State University for $2.50.


The National Association of Biology Teachers is hosting a conference on Molecules and Ecology on 23-26 October 1980. Contact the Association at 11250 Roger Bacon Drive Reston, VA 22090.

The Second Midwest Conference on Population Biology sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences, NSF and the RIAS Program will be held at Purdue University on 12-13 September 1980. Contact Dr. Morris Levy, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907.

Propagation of Higher Plants Through Tissue Culture is the title of a conference organized by the University of Tennessee. Contact Dr. Karen Hughes, Dept. of Botany, Univ. of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37916.

The Fifth International Congress on Photosynthesis will be held in Greece on 7-13 September 1980. Contact Dr. George Akoyunoglou, Nuclear Research Center "Demokritos" Aghia Paraskevi, Attiki, Greece.

A Symposium on Mangrove Environment in Asia will be held 25-29 August 1980 in Kuala Lumpur. Contact Prof. A. Nawawi, University of Malaya, SAM 1, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

An International Meeting on Conservation of Threatened Natural Habitats will be held in Cape Town, South Africa on 10-16 September 1980. Contact Ecosystems Programmes, CSIR, P. o. Box 395, Pretoria 0001, South Africa.


Dr. Olga K. Lakela, retired curator of the Herbarium at the University of South Florida died 17 May 1980. The family requests that donations be made to the USF Foundation, Olga Lakela Research Fund, Office of Development, Tampa, FL 33620.

Dr. Arde Jan Haagen-Smit, retired from the California Institute of Technology, died early this year.

Dr. Franklin M. Turrell, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, died in May 1980.


LAETSCH, WATSON H. Plants. Basic Concepts in Botany. Little, Brown & Co., Boston. 1979. 510 pp. $17.95.

Intended as an introductory textbook for science or non-science majors, Plants contains familiar examples to illustrate concepts from classical and applied botany. The 15 chapters contain many vivid and attractive color photographs; the black and' white photographs are generally instructive and interesting. An excellent historical

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perspective pervades the text. Part I covers concepts of biosphere energy transfer, ecosystems, food webs and a chapter on the agricultural revolution and food production. The relationship of botany to the agricultural aspects are especially well done. Part II presents a history of classification, review of the plant kingdom, and lucid descriptions of special crop plants. Part III covers structure and function, plant growth and development, regulation, metabolism, mineral nutrition and transport systems. Part IV treats plant evolution, genetics reproduction, horticultural propagation and ends on an ecological theme.

Drawings and illustrations are of high quality and are direct and clear. Short supplements follow most chapters drawing attention to more technical information and highlighting special topics such as Medicinal Plants, Soil, and Continental Drift.
An instructor's manual contains objectives, lecture and laboratory suggestions, discussions, and examination questions.

The glossary seems too brief and word derivations are lacking although occasionally cited in the text. There is disappointingly little on plant diseases. My overall impression of the text is highly favorable. Introductory botany teachers seeking an alternative to a comprehensive text should seriously consider this book.
Charles R. Curtis University of Delaware

UNDERWOOD, L.S., L. L. TIESZEN, A. B. CALLAHAN, and G. E. FOLK (eds.). Comparative Mechanisms of Cold Adaptations. Academic Press, N.Y. 1979. 379 pp.

This book is the result of a symposium and a workshop held at the AIBS meetings
in August 1977 to discuss "Mechanisms of cold adaptation in the Arctic," (Chapters I-X) and research support facilities above the Arctic circle (Chapter XI), and to present recommendations for further research (Chapter XII). Attention is confined to homeo-thermic animals hibernating in the hypothermic but unfrozen state, and plants, which due to their poikilothermy are of necessity in the frozen state during winter months in the Arctic. Unfortunately, although processed by "Rapid Manuscript Reproduction," it did not appear in print until 1979. The hope expressed by the editors, that this book "will summarize our current knowledge", is not realized. The authors emphasize that no real attempt was made to cover all aspects of cold adaptation, nor all literature pertaining to their specific topics. The main purpose of the symposium was exploratory -- to open lines of communication between the relatively few small groups of investigators whose work may apply to Arctic animals and plants. Nevertheless, anyone in the more general field of cold adaptation outside the Arctic is sure to find something of interest in this book.
J. Levitt, Carnegie Institution of Washington

JONES, SAMUEL B., JR. and ARLENE E. LUCHSINGER. Plant Systematics. McGraw-Hill Co., N.Y. 1979. 388 pp.

This book is for an undergraduate course in taxonomy and it is a thorough, yet
somewhat sketchy review of the field. The arrangement of chapters reminds one of Lawrence's now classic text (Taxonomy of Vascular Plants, 1950) with an introduction followed by historical background, discussions of nomenclature, principles of plant taxonomy, and sources of taxonomic evidence. The authors bring up-to-date information pertaining to the origin and phylogeny of the flowering plants in particular and evolution in general. In a short appendix, the authors review modern techniques

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available to the researcher in systematics. The last half of the book begins with a fleeting glance at the Pteridophytes and GYmnosperms~ followed by a look at 100 of the more important flowering plants. Experienced taxonomists might consider this volume woefully incomplete in its treatment of the taxonomy of vascular plants. Yet, the economy of detail and the numbers of plant families treated makes this a very readable text for an introductory course.
Donald Hudson, Indiana University

METZNER, H. (ed.). Photosynthetic Oxygen Evolution. Academic Press, London. 1978. xvi + 532 pp.

The book contains all 31 papers presented at the 1977 Tubingen Symposium on
aspects of Photosystem II, the water oxidizing system of green plants. However, a random pick from the more-than-a-hundred similar papers appearing each year would have resulted in a similar collection. Six of the contributions deal with non-biological systems; their relationship to the subject of the book generally is rather superficial. Several papers discuss general aspects of photochemistry, but it is doubtful that it is our ignorance about the detailed characteristics of photo-oxidized chlorophyll which limits our progress toward understanding the unique chemistry of biological water oxidation. A valuable concept, bi-nuclearly bound peroxide as oxygen precursor, has emerged from studies of manganese complexes discussed by Harriman, et al. and by Renger. There are some excellent papers, especially "fluorescence and absorbance changes in Tris-washed chloroplasts" by Van Gorkom et al. and the Akoyanoglous' treatment of the development of PS II in greening leaves. Although the book's disorganization and imperfection limit its use as a text, by containing information not published elsewhere, it is valuable for specialists.
B. R. Velthuys, Martin Marietta Laboratories

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