Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2013 v59 No 3 FallActions

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Fall 2013 Volume 59 Number 3


In This Issue..............

Botany 2013!.....p. 146

More BSA  awards announced at 

Botany 2013.....p. 80

Botany in Action  - in New Orleans!

PlantingScience mentors 

make a difference.....p. 90

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From the Editor

                                                                                  Fall 2013 Volume 59 Number 3



Editorial Committee  

Volume 59


Elizabeth Schussler  


Department of Ecology  & 

Evolutionary Biology 

University of Tennessee 

Knoxville, TN 37996-1610

Christopher Martine 


Department of Biology 

Bucknell University 

Lewisburg, PA 17837

Carolyn M. Wetzel 


Department of Biological Sci-

ences & Biochemistry Program 

Smith College 

Northampton, MA 01063 

Tel. 413/585-3687

Lindsey K. Tuominen 


Warnell School of Forestry & 

Natural Resources 

The University of Georgia 

Athens, GA  30605

Daniel K. Gladish 


Department of Botany &  

The Conservatory   

Miami University   

Hamilton, OH 45011

The good news these days is about resources.  There is 

so much information readily available on the internet 

that one hardly needs to leave the office to work on a 

literature review or gather information for a lecture.  

The first step—Google it!  The bad news these days is 

about resources.  There is so much information readily 

available on the internet that one could spend hours 

sorting through possible sites to find the information 

you want.  What we need is a resource that has done 

the dirty work of searching what is available and evalu-

ating its usefulness.  That resource has been provided 

for botanical and lichenological systematic research 

by Morgan Gostel, Manuela Dal-Forno, and Andrea 

Weeks in this issue.  This is also a great resource to use 

for teaching images.  

In our other feature article, Melanie Link-Pérez and 

Elizabeth Schussler


demonstrate that resources, by 

themselves, are not enough to support grade-school 

teachers in their efforts to introduce plant science to 

students.  At this age the kids love plants and so do 

the teachers, and the teachers are anxious to find and 

use resources to help them incorporate plants into the 

curriculum.  What they need even more, however, is 

greater exposure to plant-based activities in their pre-

service training.  Are you looking for broader impact?  

Here is a defined target to aim for. Collaborations with 

individual schools or individuals teachers are great, 

but collaborations with teacher trainers in education 

departments will have much greater overall impact.

By the way, if you were not in New Orleans, you 

missed a GREAT conference.  It took the Society 37 

years to go back to New Orleans for an annual meet-

ing, but I don’t think we’ll wait that long to visit again.  

But that’s behind us now, and mostly below sea level.  

Next year we’ll be back on higher ground—look for-

ward to Boise.

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Table of Contents

Society News

More Awards for Botany 2013 .........................................................................................80
Second Annual BSA Public Policy Committee Capitol Hill Visit ....................................85
BSA Seeks Editor for the Plant Science Bulletin .............................................................87
Botany in Action in New Orleans .....................................................................................88

BSA Science Education News and Notes ......................................................


Editor’s Choice Review .................................................................................



Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research ...........................................................................95
American Philosophical Society Grants ...........................................................................95
English - Spanish/Spanish - English Dictionary of Botany Now Available .....................96
A Learning Gap is Filled with Plants ...............................................................................97


How Teachers Teach about Plants ....................................................................................99
A Navigation Guide to Cyberinfrastructure Tools for Botanical and Lichenological 

Systematics Research . ..........................................................................................111

Book Reviews

Bryological .....................................................................................................................131
Developmental and Structural ........................................................................................133
Ecological .......................................................................................................................134
Economic Botany ...........................................................................................................136
Systematics  ....................................................................................................................138

Books Received ...........................................................................................


The Boise Center 
July 26-30, 2014

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Congratulations to all  

Botany 2013 Award Winners

For a complete listing of Awards and Winners see:

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Society News

Award Winners

In the last edition of the Plant Science Bulletin 


2013-59-2.pdf), we listed a number of Botanical 

Society of America award winners. We’re pleased to 

continue the list of winners in the following pages.

Jeanette Siron Pelton Award

The  Jeanette Siron Pelton Award  is given for 

sustained and imaginative productivity in the field 

of experimental plant morphology.

Professor Mitsuyasu Hasebe, National Institute 

for Basic Biology (Japan)

The 2013 Grady L. Webster 


This award was established in 2006 by Dr. 

Barbara D. Webster, Grady’s wife, and Dr. Susan V. 

Webster, his daughter, to honor the life and work 

of Dr. Grady L. Webster. The American Society of 

Plant Taxonomists and the Botanical Society of 

America are pleased to join together in honoring 

Grady Webster.

Drs. Jessica M. Budke, Bernard 

Goffinet, and  Cynthia S. Jones. The 

cuticle on the gametophyte calyptra 

matures before the sporophyte cuticle in the 

moss  Funaria hygrometrica (Funariaceae) 

American Journal of Botany, 2012, 99(1): 14-22




Margaret Menzel 

Award (Genetics Section)

The Margaret Menzel Award is presented by 

the Genetics Section for the outstanding paper 

presented in the contributed papers sessions of the 

annual meetings.

This year’s award goes to  Dr. Ingrid Jordon-

Thaden, University of Florida, for the paper 

“Differential gene expression and loss in two natural 

and synthetic allotetraploid Tragopogon  species 

(Asteraceae) and their diploid progenitors” 

Co-authors: Lyderson Viccini, Richard Buggs, 

Michael Chester, Ana Veruska Cruz Da Silva, 

Srikar Chamala, Ruth Davenport, Wei Wu, Patrick 

S. Schnable, W. Brad Barbazuk, Douglas Soltis and 

Pamela Soltis


George R. Cooley Award

(Systematics Section and 

the American Society of Plant 


The ASPT’s Cooley Award is given for the best 

paper in systematics given at the annual meeting 

by a botanist in the early stages of his/her career. 

Awards are made to members of ASPT who are 

graduate students or within 5 years of their post-

doctoral careers. The Cooley Award is given for 

work judged to be substantially complete, synthetic, 

and original. First authorship required; graduate 

students or those within 5 years of finishing their 

Ph.D. are eligible; must be a member of ASPT at 

time of abstract submission; only one paper judged 

per candidate.

This year’s award was given to Ricardo Kriebel of 

the New York Botanical Garden for the talk 

“Phylogenetic study of  Conostegia  demonstrates 

the utility of anatomical and continuous characters 

in the systematics of the Melastomataceae.” Co-

author: Fabian Michelangeli


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

A.J. Sharp Award

(Bryological and Lichenological 


The A.J. Sharp Award is presented each year by the 

American Bryological and Lichenological Society 

and the Bryological and Lichenological Section for 

the best student presentation. The award, named 

in honor of the late Jack Sharp, encourages student 

research on bryophytes and lichens.

This year’s A.J. Sharp Award goes to  Matthew 

Nelsen, University of Chicago, for his paper 

Lichen-associated algae: we hardly know you.” Co-

author: Steven D. Leavitt


Edgar T. Wherry Award

(Pteridological Section and the 

American Fern Society)

The Edgar T. Wherry Award is given for the best 

paper presented during the contributed papers 

session of the Pteridological Section. This award is 

in honor of Dr. Wherry’s many contributions to the 

floristics and patterns of evolution in ferns.

This year’s award goes to  Sally Stevens, 

Purdue University, for her paper; “No Place 

Like Home? Testing for Local Adaptation 

and Dispersal Limitation in the Fern  Vittaria 

appalachiana  (Vittariaceae)” Co-author: Nancy 





Lawrence Memorial Award

The Lawrence Memorial Fund was established 

at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, 

Carnegie Mellon University, to commemorate the 

life and achievements of its founding director, Dr. 

George H. M. Lawrence. Proceeds from the Fund 

are used to make an annual Award in the amount 

of $2000 to a doctoral candidate to support travel 

for dissertation research in systematic botany or 

horticulture, or the history of the plant sciences.

The recipient of the Award is selected from 

candidates nominated by their major professors. 

Nominees may be from any country and the Award 

is made strictly on the basis of merit—the recipient’s 

general scholarly promise and significance of the 

research proposed. The Award Committee includes 

representatives from the Hunt Institute, The Hunt 

Foundation, the Lawrence family, and the botanical 


The Lawrence Memorial Award for 2013 goes 

to  Aleksandar Radosavljevic, student of Dr. 

Patrick Herendeen of the Chicago Botanical 

Garden and Northwestern University. The proceeds 

of the award will help support his travel for field 

and collections-based work in integrative research 

study of the genus Cynometra.


BSA Public Policy Award

The Public Policy Award was established in 2012.
Kathryn Ann Lecroy, University of Pittsburgh, 

Advisor: Lindsey Tuominen

Michael Cichan Award

(Paleobotanical Section)

This award was named in honor of the memory 

and work of Michael A. Cichan, who died in a 

plane crash in August of 1987, and was established 

to encourage work by young researchers at the 

interface of structural and evolutionary botany. 

This award is given to a young scholar for a paper 

published during the previous year in the fields of 

evolutionary and/or structural botany.

The Michael Cichan Award for 2013 is presented 

to  Anne-Laure Decombeix, French National 

Center for Scientific Research at UMR AMAP 



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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Isabel Cookson Award

(Paleobotanical Section)

Established in 1976, the Isabel Cookson Award 

recognizes the best student paper presented in the 

Paleobotanical Section.

Dori Contreras  from the University of 

California-Berkeley, is the 2013 award recipient 

for the paper, “New data on the structure and 

phylogenetic position of an extinct Cretaceous 

redwood.” Co-authors: Garland Upchurch and Greg 



Katherine Esau Award

(Developmental and Structural 


This award was established in 1985 with a 

gift from Dr. Esau and is augmented by ongoing 

contributions from Section members. It is given to 

the graduate student who presents the outstanding 

paper in developmental and structural botany at 

the annual meeting.

This year’s award goes to  Luke Nikolov, from 

Harvard University, for the paper “Developmental 

origins of the world’s largest flowers.” Co-authors: 

Peter Endress, M Sugumaran, Sawitree Sasirat, 

Suyanee Vessabutr, Elena Kramer and Charles Davis.


Maynard Moseley Award

(Paleobotanical and 

Developmental and Structural 


The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established 

in 1995 to honor a career of dedicated teaching, 

scholarship, and service to the furtherance of the 

botanical sciences. Dr. Moseley, known to his 

students as “Dr. Mo,” died Jan. 16, 2003 in Santa 

Barbara, CA, where he had been a professor since 

1949. He was widely recognized for his enthusiasm 

for and dedication to teaching and his students, 

as well as for his research using floral and wood 

anatomy to understand the systematics and 

evolution of angiosperm taxa, especially waterlilies 

(Plant Science Bulletin, Spring, 2003). The award is 

given to the best student paper, presented in either 

the Paleobotanical or Developmental and Structural 

sessions, that advances our understanding of plant 

structure in an evolutionary context.

Robert A. Stevenson, from University of 

California - Berkeley, is the 2013 Moseley Award 

recipient for his paper “Flight of the conifers: 

Reconstruction of the flight characteristics of 

Paleozoic winged conifer seeds.” Co-authors: 

Dennis Evangelista and Cindy V. Looy.


Samuel L. Postlethwait Award

(Teaching Section)

The Samuel L. Postlethwait Award is given by 

the Teaching Section of the BSA for outstanding 

service to botanical education.

This year’s award goes to Dr. James Wandersee

Louisiana State University.

Developmental & Structural 

Section Student Travel Awards

Abigail Mazie, University of Wisconsin-

Madison - Advisor, Dr. David Baum—Botany 

2013 presentation: “Understanding cell shape 

diversity: the evolution of stellate trichomes in 

Physaria (Brassicaceae)” Co-author: David Baum


Adrian Dauphinee, Dalhousie University - 

Advisor, Dr. Arunika Gunawardena—Botany 

2013 presentation: “Comparison of the early 

developmental morphologies of  Aponogeton 

madagascariensis  and  Aponogeton boivinianus.” 

Co-authors: Christian Lacroix and Arunika 



Lachezar Nikolov, Harvard University - Advisor, 

Dr. Charles Davis—Botany 2013 presentation: 

“Developmental origins of the world’s largest 

flowers.” Co-authors: Peter Endress, M Sugumaran, 

Sawitree Sasirat, Suyanee Vessabutr, Elena Kramer 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

and Charles Davis


Li-Fen Hung, National Taiwan University -  

Advisor, Dr. Ling-Long Kuo-Huang—Botany 2013 

presentation: “The growth strain and anatomical 

characteristics of tension wood in artificially 

inclined seedlings of Koelreuteria henryi Dummer.” 

Co-author: Ling-Long Kuo-Huang


Bhawana Bhawana, Middle Tennessee State 

University - Advisor, Dr. Aubrey B. Cahoon - Botany 

2013 presentation: “Visualization of 3-Dimensional 

Plant Cell Architecture with FIB-SEM.” Co-authors: 

Joyce Miller and Aubrey Cahoon


Developmental & Structural 

Section Best Student Poster 


Katie Downing, Eastern Michigan University, 

for the poster “A S.E.M. survey of Carnivorous 

North American Purple Pitcher Plant Leaves, 

Sarracenia purpurea (Sarraceniaceae).” Co-author: 

Margaret Hanes


Ecology Section 

Undergraduate Student 

Presentation Award

Jenna Annis, Eastern Illinois University, 

for the paper “Seed Ecology of Federally 

Threatened  Pinguicula ionantha  (Godfrey’s 

Butterwort).” Co-authors: Jennifer O›Brien, Janice 

Coons, Brenda Molano-Flores and Samantha 



Nia Johnson, Howard University, for the poster 

“Herbivory Response of  Murgantia histrionica  to 

a Ni-hyperaccumulator,  Alyssum murale.” Co-

authors: Chandler Puritty and Mary McKenna


Chandler Puritty, Howard University, for 

the poster “Herbivory Response of  Murgantia 

histrionica  to a Ni-hyperaccumulator,  Alyssum 

murale.” Co-authors: Nia Johnson and Mary 



Ecology Section Graduate 

Student Presentation Award

Ian Jones, Florida International University, 

for the paper “Temporal and developmental 

changes in extrafloral nectar production in Senna 

mexicana  var.  chapmanii: is extrafloral nectar an 

inducible defense?


Ecology Section Student 

Poster Award

Jordan Ahee, Trent University, for the poster 

“Evidence of restricted pollen dispersal in  Typha 

latifolia.” Co-authors: Marcel Dorken and Wendy 

Van Drunen


Economic Botany Section 

Student Travel Awards

Taylor Nelson, Weber State University - Advisor, 

Dr. Sue Harley, for the paper “Survey for helenalin 

among Utah Asteraceae species.


Sushil Paudyal, Old Dominion University - 

Advisor, Dr. Govind P. S. Ghimire, for the paper 

“Plants used in religious ceremonies by Tharu 

culture in Dang Valley (Nepal).”


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Tropical Biology Section Best 

Student Paper Award

Beyte Barrios Roque, Florida International 

University, for the paper “Herbivory in fragmented 

populations of the Pineland golden trumpet 

(Angadenia berteroi).” Co-authors: Andrea Salas 

and Suzanne Koptur


Laura Lagomarsino, Harvard University, for 

the paper “Of Bats, Birds, and Berries: Phylogeny 

and Evolution of the Species-Rich Neotropical 

Lobelioids (Campanulaceae).” Co-author: Charles 



Melissa Johnson, Claremont Graduate 

University,  for the paper “Evolution of reproductive 

barriers within a non-adaptive hyper-species-rich 

radiation of Hawaiian Cyrtandra (Gesneriaceae).” 

Co-author: Elizabeth Stacy



Genetics Section Student 

Poster Award

Meng Wu, Miami University, for the poster “The 

investigation on protein evolution of Y chromosome 

in Carica papaya.” Co-author: Richard Moore


Physiological Section  

Li-Cor Prize

Samuel Del Rio, California State University - 

Bakersfield, for the paper “Hydraulic conductance 

is coordinated at the leaf and stem levels among 

chaparral shrubs.” Co-authors: Christine Hluza, 

Evan D. MacKinnon, Jeffrey Parker and R. Pratt


Physiological Section Best 

Student Paper Award

Kerri Mocko, University of Connecticut - Advisor, 

Dr. Cynthia Jones, for the poster “Physiological 

responses to drought reflect phylogenetic history 

in South African Pelargoniums (Geraniaceae).” Co-

author: Cynthia Jones


Physiological Section Best 

Student Poster

Robert “Berto” Griffin-Nolan, Ithaca College - 

Advisor, Dr. Peter Melcher, for the poster “The 

physiological responses of moss to greenlight.” Co-

author: Peter Melcher


Marta Percolla, University of Connecticut - 

Advisor, Dr. Cynthia Jones, for the poster “Reduced 

number of vessel connections is positively 

associated with greater cavitation resistance to 

water stress in chaparral shrubs” Co-authors: R. 

Pratt, Anna Jacobsen and Michael Tobin


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Lindsey’s Experience:

Although I have previously participated in 

science policy in small ways, I had never before 

been to Capitol Hill or spoken in person with any 

federal policymaker.  Curious about the world of 

science policy, I was keen to attend the science 

policy career panel sponsored by the Ecological 

Society of America, receive training from AIBS, 

and discuss support for NSF with policymakers.

The career panel included Alan Thornhill, the 

Director of the Office of Science Quality and 

Integrity with the USGS; Laura Petes, Ecosystem 

Science Advisor with the Climate Program Office 

at NOAA; Ari Novy, Public Program Manager 

of the US Botanical Gardens; and Penny Firth, 

the Deputy Division Director for the Division of 

Environmental Biology at NSF.  As one might guess 

from the range of job titles, learning about these 

individuals’ career paths and day-to-day working 

life helped attendees better understand the diverse 

options available for PhD-level scientists to serve in 

the federal government.  Dr. Thornhill pointed out 

that science is highly respected and influential 

within the federal government when it has a seat 

at the table, but policymakers may not always 

remember to include science.  Thus, scientists 

can potentially have a transformative effect on 

public policy.  Students considering science policy 

work should note that, while the ability to think 

scientifically is highly valued in such careers, a deep 

expertise in one area is less important than broad, 

interdisciplinary knowledge and a collaborative 

work orientation.

The training session was serendipitously timed, 

as the President’s 2014 Budget Proposal had been 

released earlier that day.  BESC co-chairs Nadine 

Lymn and Robert Gropp and AIBS Senior Public 

Policy Associate Julie Palakovich Carr gave 

an overview of the federal budget process, the 

impacts of the sequester and proposed budget on 

federal research funding, and tips on effectively 

communicating with federal policymakers. 


It became clear in their mock Capitol Hill 

meetings that the way scientists usually discuss 

their research needs to be distilled even from 

an “elevator pitch” to a simple fifteen-second 

summary highlighting the work’s broader 


This year (2013) marks the first year that the 

BSA Public Policy Committee has offered a Public 

Policy Award. This award supports student and 

early career BSA-member applicants to travel to 

Washington, D.C. and participate in the annual 

Biological and Ecological Sciences Coalition 

(BESC) Congressional Visits Day. This two-day 

event is co-organized by the BESC and American 

Institute for Biological Sciences (AIBS) and is 

attended by scientists from around the United 

States. During the first day, participants receive 

training in effective communication with policy 

makers, followed by an opportunity for the 

constituent scientist participants to meet with their 

elected representatives and senators to discuss the 

impact and importance of federal funding for basic 

research in the biological sciences. 

Last year, former BSA student representative to 

the Board, Dr. Marian Chau, and current student 

representative, Morgan Gostel, participated in 

the event. The success of the event resulted in the 

establishment of the annual BSA Public Policy 

Award by the BSA Public Policy Committee 

and the BSA Awards Committee. This year, two 

BSA members, Dr. Lindsey Tuominen and Kate 

LeCroy (PhD student), received the first of these 

awards. The awardees were joined by BSA student 

representative, Morgan Gostel (a PhD Candidate 

located at George Mason University, in close 

proximity to D.C.). The three attendees share their 

experience in this article. 

As we are all well aware, Congressional 

partisanship has reached historic levels and is 

resulting in significant budget uncertainty, which 

has permeated all levels of government and affected 

the amount of funds available for biological 

research. Biological research touches all of our 

lives, whether spurring innovation, improving 

food security, or protecting biodiversity and 

understanding the needs of a healthy ecosystem.  

There is a substantial return on the investment 

in basic research, including the maintenance of a 

well-trained workforce prepared to face mounting 

global challenges ahead. The Congressional Visits 

Day provides a unique opportunity for researchers 

to meet with members of Congress and share their 

experience as citizens, educators, and researchers. 

Second Annual BSA Public Policy Committee Capitol Hill Visit

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

of Pittsburgh and a Pennsylvania voter, I joined 

the team of students visiting congress members 

of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of 

Columbia, specifically Senator Mikulski (D-

MD), Senator Cardin (D-MD), Representative 

Hoyer (D-MD), Representative Norton (D-D.C.), 

Representative Cummings (D-MD), Senator Casey 

(D-PA), Senator Toomey (R-PA), Representative 

Thompson (R-PA), Representative Brady (R-PA), 

and Representative Doyle (R-PA). Our message 

was simple yet strong: sustain investments in 

basic biological research.  

In regard to my state of Pennsylvania, Senator 

Casey and his science policy staffer were open and 

honest about the hard times of sequestration but 

stated that investing in federal science funding at a 

predictable level was a high priority. Representative 

Thompson was polite and receptive to our message 

while he leaned more toward supporting applied 

research and research that could be commercialized 

for economic benefit. Senator Toomey’s science 

staffer was thankful for the stories I shared about 

how federal science funding has benefited my 

University’s department of biological sciences, and 

he agreed with us that funding basic research can 

lead to solving problems and making advances for 

society. Lastly, the staffer of my own Pittsburgh 

Representative Doyle was happy to tell us that he 

signed a statement circulating around the House 

floor in support of the significant increases in federal 

science funding described by the president’s budget. 

Every congress member or their staffer specifically 

voiced their pleasure to hear that not only does 

federal science funding support the scientist, but 

that there is an increasing commitment to bring 

our science out to our communities.

Beyond active research, we cannot secure 

the future of science without cultivating strong 

relationships with non-scientists and future 

scientists. This relationship should be especially 

strong with decision-makers, because as members 

of their constituency, we must maintain a stable 

voice to make the most positive and informative 

impact that we can.  I encourage those interested 

in cultivating these relationships to increase your 

civic engagement and consider participating in 

Congressional Visits Day 2014!

Morgan’s Experience:

This marked my second year participating in 

the Congressional Visits Day. Despite living and 

On April 11, led by neuroscientist and AIBS 

Policy Intern Dr. Zach Rosner, Margaret Kosmala 

(PhD Candidate, University of Minnesota/National 

Museum of Natural History), Andrew Adrian 

(PhD Candidate, University of Iowa), and I met 

with Senate staff members representing Minnesota 

(Klobuchar and Franken), Iowa (Grassley), and 

Illinois (Durbin) and Representative staff members 

representing Minnesota (Ellison and McCollum), 

Illinois (Davis), and Andrew’s home state of 

Alabama (Aderholt).  In discussing NSF’s basic 

research funding, we came to realize that most 

elected officials were highly receptive to our message 

and supportive of basic biological research—cause 

for optimism that the relatively restricted impacts 

on NSF funding President Obama has proposed 

for 2014 will be supported within the legislative 


Throughout the trip, we were immersed in the 

world of scientists who had chosen what is often 

considered “one” alternative career path from the 

perspective of academic scientists.  While the AAAS 

Science & Technology Policy Fellowships seem 

to be the most common way that scientists enter 

this world, the diverse options within the science 

policy career path were evident.  Meeting Jasmine 

Hunt, Legislative Assistant to Senator Durbin, and 

Anna Henderson, an Energy Fellow with Senator 

Franken, further reinforced this idea—Dr. Hunt 

has training in chemistry and Dr. Henderson in 

geology.  I am really honored that BSA gave me the 

opportunity to get this view of the science policy 

world, and I strongly encourage graduate students 

considering a career outside academia to apply for 

the BSA Policy Award in 2014!

Kate’s Experience:

The Public Policy Award of the BSA afforded 

me the incredibly rewarding experience of civic 

engagement during a critical time for decision-

making of our congressmen and congresswomen. I 

attended the science policy career panel discussion 

with Lindsey, and I also enjoyed the dialogue that 

I’ve often pondered but have not found easily 

accessible until now. Following this panel, we 

attended a boot camp on current science public 

policy topics—in fact, the most recent topic, the 

President’s new fiscal year budget, was released 

the day of our workshop—and the gifted policy 

analysts at AIBS quickly read through it and had 

prepared a presentation, along with a summary of 

the projected impacts of sequestration on federal 

science agencies.  As a student at the University 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

be made a partisan issue! Your continued support 

of science policy can be as easy as joining the 

AIBS Action Center, which provides notification 

of important science policy news (



), and you can also play a role by 

joining the growing BSA Public Policy Committee 

(Contact Marian Chau for more information: 

We thank the membership of the BSA for 

supporting this outreach opportunity to enhance 

basic scientific research policy by allowing 

young, active members of the botanical research 

community to participate in this capacity. 
By Morgan Gostel, Lindsey Tuominen, and Kate LeCroy

pursuing my PhD only 45 minutes outside of 

Capitol Hill, this is one of very few opportunities 

I have to meet with and speak directly to 

policymakers on the Hill. With regard to funding 

uncertainty, the contrast between this year and 

the last is remarkable. President Obama’s budget 

proposal for fiscal year 2014 was released only two 

hours before the CVD briefing session (day one of 

the two-day event), so it was not until the morning 

of our congressional visits that specific details could 

be clarified regarding how the budget request might 

affect federal science agencies. These details were 

important, as the FY 2014 spending plan includes 

several proposals that support increases to science 

funding; among these is a $741 million increase to 

the current NSF budget. 

I co-led my team (with Richelle Weihe, Federal 

Grants and Contracts Coordinator at the Missouri 

Botanical Garden) this year, which included 

scientist constituents from Missouri, North 

Carolina, and Virginia. Richelle represented 

Missouri and met with staffers from the offices 

of Representative Clay (D-MO) and Senator 

McCaskill (D-MO), while I met with staffers from 

the offices of Virginia Representative Connolly 

(D-VA) and Senator Warner (D-VA). Also in our 

team were two other graduate students: Gar Secrist, 

who was preparing to defend his Masters Thesis 

from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences, 

and Erin McKenney, a North Carolina resident 

and PhD student studying at Duke. Gar met with a 

legislative aid from Representative Wittman’s office 

(R-VA), while Erin had meetings with a legislative 

aid for Senator Hagan (D-NC) and met directly 

with Representative Price (D-NC). Although our 

meetings with elected representatives included 

members with a range of political ideology, the 

message we had was generally well received. We were 

cautioned that the gulf of partisan divide remains 

wide and that it is likely that much congressional 

debate will continue before components of the 

President’s proposed spending plan can be adopted. 

As constituents and members of the BSA, 

you too can push for support of science funding 

simply by writing your elected members of 

Congress and asking them to support the 

President’s FY 2014 proposed spending plan for 

the sciences. Tell your elected officials how federal 

funding for science impacts your research, your 

community, and the next generation of researchers 

who will drive global leadership in innovation. 

Request not only sustained support for the sciences, 

but a commitment to support this valuable 

investment. Science funding is not and should not 

BSA Seeks Editor for  

Plant Science Bulletin

The Botanical Society of America (BSA) is 

soliciting nominations for the position of Editor 

of the Plant Science Bulletin (PSB) to serve a 

five-year term, beginning January 2015.  Both 

self- nominations and nominations of others are 


This is a rare leadership opportunity to contribute 

to the Society and the continued evolution of the 

PSB.  We seek someone with desire to pursue 

innovation and explore new ways to serve the 


Duties of the Editor include both aspirational 

responsibility (helping shape a strategic vision for 

PSB, along with the PSB Editorial Committee and 

BSA Publications Committee) and operational 

responsibilities (soliciting contributions, 

coordinating reviews, working with Society office 

staff to produce copy, and recruiting new Editorial 

Committee members).  Qualities of candidates 

should include a broad familiarity with different 

botanical specializations and especially botanical 

education, excellent communication skills, and a 

strong commitment to the Bulletin.

Review of nominations will begin on November 

15, 2013. For the first stage of the review process, 

please submit a brief letter of nomination and 

a detailed vita of the nominated individual to 

Dr. Sean Graham, Search Committee Chair at

The Committee may request additional 

information from candidates as the search process 

progresses.  If you have questions or comments, 

please contact Dr. Graham.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Botany in Action Project 

Helps Bayou Rebirth Restore 

Wetlands Plants

Give a botanist a day off and a chance to make a 

difference, and what happens? 

Well, if the example is that of 75 botanists at 

the Annual Conference of the Botanical Society 

of America, they put their hands and backs into 

restoration of the Louisiana wetlands.  

Every year during the conference, BSA organizes 

a  Botany in Action field trip, giving the members a 

chance to give back to the host community. In 2013, 

that field trip was organized around Bayou Rebirth, 

a New Orleans non-profit devoted to hands-on 

wetlands restoration and stewardship.

“We offer volunteers and students an opportunity 

to engage in environmental restoration in a real 

way and learn about the issues facing an incredibly 

diverse, ecologically valuable, and significantly 

degraded ecosystem in their backyard,” says Colleen 

Morgan, founder and director of the program, 

which is affiliated with Tulane University.

But not every volunteer group is quite like 

the botanists that poured off the bus in late July, 

ready with plant savvy and ready to learn about 

the Louisiana plants they were going to tackle. 

The group started in the backyard of an urban 

neighborhood, where Bayou Rebirth had a variety 

of gardens with native plants. They planted new 

seeds, moved garden beds, weeded, dug, and 

toted blocks. All the work was accomplished 

while they fired off questions about the plants 

they were working with and the native habitat 

and environmental impact of the hurricanes and 

flooding of the low-lying 


Camaraderie and laughter 

punctuated the sometimes 

serious discussions of 

environment and restoration 

of New Orleans wetlands. A 

few blamed the heat for the 

inevitable water fight, caused 

when a liner tarp had to be 

rinsed and the hose went rogue.

Next stop was an office complex, where the 

developer had decided a native landscaping would 

afford a more environmentally friendly option. 

BSA’s volunteers formed teams and spread out to 

Seanna Walsh of the University of Hawaii mixes 

soil during the Botany in Action project.

At an urban office complex where the native species 

were used to landscape, the Botany in Action Team 

went to work weeding and planting.

Part of the assignment was separating and replanting 

some of the wetlands species, something the botanists 

took on with smiles.

Toting blocks from an old seedbed to create a new 

one called for some muscle.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

accomplish the tasks laid out by Bayou Rebirth, 

sharing the tools and supplies to get the needed end 

results. As the heat of the New Orleans day grew, 

the enthusiasm of the botanical volunteers never 

waned for the task at hand. They moved gardens, 

spread mulch, planted seedlings, all while learning 

about the site’s solar re-circulated filters and rain 

water systems.

Not only did they see it as a way to grow knowledge 

about species of plants they had not seen before, 

they saw it as a way to grow friendships among 

kindred spirits who care not only about botanical 

science but also about the world community. 

Holding up muddy hands and wearing a big 

smile, one participant said, “I like to help out, and 

I’m learning about plants and digging in the dirt. 

It’s fun!”

Another added, “It is fun, but it’s also the 

right thing to do. And we learn about another 

community, its issues and the botanical aspect of it.”

So, in the end, it’s all about community and 

making that community better. And, that, the 

botanists will tell you, is just plain fun.
-Story and Pictures by Janice Dahl, Great Story!

Taking a close look at a tiny weed, you never stop 

learning, even after hours of labor during the Botany 

in Action project.

Bayou Rebirth’s mission focuses on restoring Louisiana’s 

wetlands, and who’s history dates back to 2007.  Bayou Rebirth 

has a dedicated staff, relationships with a wide variety of sponsors 

and partnerships, and a dedicated Board of Directors all working 

towards preserving and restoring Louisiana’s wetlands. See more at: 

In an effort to increase public awareness of coastal land loss and 

the need for urban resilience to climate change impacts, Bayou 

Rebirth seeks to bring together, educate, and empower residents 

of and visitors to South Louisiana through hands-on wetlands 

restoration and stewardship projects. - See more at: http://www.

Botany 2013 is proud of the volunteers that helped and donated their 

time to this very worthy cause.

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BSA Science Education 

News and Notes

New and Ongoing Society 


PlantED Digital Library

Do you have a resource for teaching or learning 

botany to share?  Resource Editors J. Phil Gibson 

and Stokes Baker are pleased to announce a call 

for submissions to the BSA’s digital library. Inquiry 

activities, data sets, syllabi and images are only a 

few of the resource types welcome.  

PlantED, the BSA’s new resource portal, is run 

in conjunction with companion portals of the 

Ecological Society of America, the Society for 

Economic Botany, and the Society for the Study 

of Evolution.  Peer-reviewed resources in PlantED 

will be searchable across these four portals and 

included in the National Digital Science Library.  

Your resource supporting botanical education 

could reach a wide audience.  

If you have resource to contribute, we’re here 

to help you share it.  Please visi





As PlantingScience comes to the end of its first 

(but we anticipate not its last) major grant, we are 

taking stock of impacts and lessons learned.  In 

early planning meetings, the number of scientists 

willing to volunteer was anticipated to be a potential 

limiting factor for the project.  How exciting it is to 

report that was a faulty assumption.  

The number of scientists offering their time 

and expertise as online mentors has only grown 

BSA Science Education News and Notes is a quarterly update about the BSA’s education efforts and the 

broader education scene.  We invite you to submit news items or ideas for future features.  Contact:  Claire 

Hemingway, BSA Education Director, at or Marshall Sundberg, PSB Editor, at

across the years—now over 800 scientists from 

diverse career stages and work places.  New 

mentors continue to join the effort to enhance the 

way secondary school students and their teachers 

experience science.  As important as recruiting new 

mentors, there is long-lived commitment on the 

part of many mentors.  Of those scientists who have 

mentored two or more sessions, a phenomenal 6% 

have mentored 10+ sessions—that’s lasting power 

of 5+ years!  

In addition to the opportunity to volunteer as a 

mentor in any session that fits a scientist’s schedule, 

the program has offered a special opportunity for 

graduate students and post-doctoral researchers to 

make a year-long commitment as a member of the 

Master Plant Science Team (MPST).  Since 2006, 

the Botanical Society of America and the American 

Society of Plant Biologists have sponsored 127 

individuals; the Ecological Society of America 

starts sponsorship this year.  Nine MPST members 

have served 3+ years—that’s significant mentoring 

experience in early career development!  

As scientists concerned with the state of science 

education, you have shown great dedication.  You 

have also demonstrated skill in helping novice 

science learners see how science works.  In 

analyzing 170 mentor dialogs between scientists 

and student teams, we found that mentors promote 

the idea of scientific community, acculturate and 

welcome students to it, seek to broker relationships 

and negotiate expectations for interactions with 

student teams, and encourage students to connect 

ideas about science content and process when 

asking about student ideas (Hemingway and 

Adams, 2013).


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Our hearty thanks to each and every one who has volunteered as 

a PlantingScience mentor and served as an Master Plant Science 

Team member thus far.  In our effort to recognize your efforts, 

names in the illustrations are weighted by the  

number of sessions participated.

Our Hats off to you! 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Thank you to the Master 

Plant Science Teams 

Thanks to the 2012-2013 Master Plant Science 

Team Members, Mon-Ray Shao, Lisa Kanizay, 

Christine Palmer, Lina Castano-Duque, Molly 

Hanlon, Mohammad Salehin, Elena Batista 

Fontenot, Kranthi Mandadi, Mitchell Harkenrider, 

Jennifer Lind.

Our thanks to the 2013-2013 Master Plant 

Science Team. The BSA sponsored: Ben Gahagen, 

Katherine Geist, Klara Scharnagl, Sampurna Sattar, 

Katie Clark, Evelyn Williams, Angela Rein, Marites 

Sales, Katie Becklin, Steven Callen, Alan Bowsher, 

Elizabeth Georgian, Wesley T Beaulieu, Max Jones, 

Bryan T. Drew, Chris Doffitt, Rhiannon Peery, 

Rupesh Kariyat.  The ASPB sponsored: Susan Bush, 

Mon-Ray Shao, Lisa Kanizay, Christine Palmer, 

Lina Castano-Duque, Molly Hanlon, Mohammad 

Salehin, Elena Batista Fontenot, Kranthi Mandadi, 

Mitchell Harkenrider, Jennifer Lind

Education in Action at 

Botany 2013

A Few of the Teaching Session 

and Poster Highlights

How effective is PowerPoint as an instructional 

delivery method?  How severe is “Plant Blindness” 

among undergraduate students?  What goes into 

developing a general plant biology lab for distance 

education?  How can you make fake barf for a 

forensic botany case study?  These are some of the 

questions addressed in talks and posters presented 

this year at the Teaching Section.  

Links to a few resources 

mentioned in talks and posters:

Secondary Growth Animation—This animation 

provides cellular, tissue, cross-section, and 

macroscopic views across five seasons of grow.  

Hide or show legends.
Cornell University Plant Anatomy Collection

This searchable online slide collection of over 8,800 

anatomical slides of a wide array of plant parts is 

available for both teaching and publication. Try the 

online measurement tool.

Biology Teaching Assistant Project (BioTAP)—this 

is a network of individuals interested in enhancing 

biology graduate teaching assistant professional 

development. Learn more.


Yes, Bobby, Evolution is Real 


If you missed the selection of interesting talks 

in the symposium on teaching about evolution, 

you can catch some of the news and excitement it 


The Times Picayune covered the symposium.


ht m l ? ut m _ c ont e nt = bu f f e r 0 6 b 5 7 & ut m _



Chris Martine blogged about it in the Huffington 




 From Around the Nation

Art and Science Collaborations 

in Ecological Reflections

Science is a way of knowing; art is a way of 

knowing.  When scientists, artists, and writers 

come together to explore places of long-term 

inquiry, their collaborations educate and inspire 

broad audiences to build a deeper understanding of 

the natural world.  The Ecological Reflections is a 

network of scientists, artist and writers that grew 

out of the National Science Foundation (NSF)–

funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) 


“How do we respond as change comes to 

places we know and love?” is a central question 

addressed in the Ecological Reflections, which 

include creative writer/artist residencies, 

interdisciplinary workshops, and K-12 projects.  

Art-science collaborations at 11 LTER sites in the 

continental US, Alaska, and French Polynesia are 

being showcased at various locations.  Attendees 

at the 2013 or 2012 Ecological Society of America 

meetings had the pleasure of seeing some featured 

works first hand.  An exhibit is also on display at 


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Unleashing a Decade of 

Innovation in Plant Science 

The nation is not prepared for future agricultural 

challenges.”  The final report of the Plant Science 

Research Summit enlarges the vision and voice 

to the national calls to action.  Five interwoven 

components are recommended to reimaging the 

research enterprise to support the agriculture 

sector:  (1) increase the ability to predict plant 

traits from plant genomes in diverse environments, 

(2) assemble plant traits in different ways to solve 

problems, (3) discover, catalog, and utilize plant-

derived chemicals, (4) enhance the ability to 

find answers in a torrent of data, and (5) create a 

T-training environment for plant science doctoral 


T-training means to add cross training that 

prepares students for a wide variety of careers, 

while retaining disciplinary apprenticeship in a 

mentor’s laboratory and shortening time to degree.  

The statistic that only one of six PhD biologists 

becomes tenure-track faculty within five years 

of obtaining their degrees is only one reason re-

imagining graduate training is recommended. 

Read the full report:

h t t p : / / p l a n t s u m m i t . f i l e s . w o r d p r e s s .



The Power of Partnerships: A 

Guide from the NSF Graduate Stem 

Fellows in K12 (GK-12) Program

Although the GK-12 Program is no longer 

ongoing, the community is encouraged to adopt 

and expand on the GK-12 approach to foster 

partnerships between universities and K-12 

schools, with graduate fellows as key links. An 

aim of the recently published guide is to support 

adoption of best practices of this approach.



“Last Exit” by Edward Sturr, Konza Prairie.

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Editor’s Choice Review

Engaging Students by Emphasiz-

ing Botanical Concepts Over Tech-

niques: Innovative Practical Exer-

cises Using Virtual Microscopy.  

Bonser, S. P., P. de Permentier, J. Green, G. M. 

Velan, P. Adam, and R. K. Kumar.  

2013.  Journal of Biological Education 47(2): 


Virtual microscopy, a technique developed in 

implemented in many medical schools, allows 

intro-level students to manipulate magnification 

and scan images similarly to using a microscopy, 

but without having to make adjustments of lighting 

or focus.  The authors present data that not only 

do students prefer virtual slides, but in fact they 

score statistically better on practical examinations 

than students using traditional glass slides and 

microscopes.  So how important is the skill of being 

able to effectively use a microscope?  Or perhaps 

more important, when should this skill be taught 

to students?

Teaching Botanical Identification 

to Adults: Experiences of the UK 

Participatory Science Project ‘Open 

Air Laboratories.’  

Stagg, B. and M. Donkin.  Journal of Biologi-

cal Education 47(2): 104-110.

Three different methods—dichotomous key, 

mnemonic word association exercises, and pictorial 

card games—were compared for learning plant 

identification by a variety of adult participants 

ranging from high school dropouts to college 

graduates.  There was no significant difference 

between techniques for learning or motivation for 

any of the groups.

A Forgotten Application of the 

Starch Test.  

Hartley, S. M.  2013.  The American Biology 

Teacher 75(6): 421-422. 

In C4 plants, as explained in this article, only the 

bundle sheath cells accumulate starch and stain 

positively with IKI.  It is a perfect inquiry lead-in to 

C4 photosynthesis after students have worked with 

C3 plants.

The Trouble with Chemical Energy: 

Why Understanding Bond Ener-

gies Requires an Interdisciplinary 

Systems Approach.  

Cooper, M. M. and M. W. Klymkowsky.  2013.  

CBE-Life Sciences Education 12: 306-312.

If you teach that “chemical bonds contain energy 

that is then released as bonds break,” you have to 

read this article.  According to the authors, there 

are three major reasons why students have difficulty 

understanding energy: (1) biologists tend to talk 

about chemical energy in a colloquial, everyday 

sense, (2) physics and physical sciences explain 

it from a macroscopic perspective (a ball rolling 

down a hill), and (3) chemists fail to explicitly link 

molecular with macroscopic energy ideas.  The 

authors walk through each of these difficulties and 

present a model for integrating energy concepts 

throughout the curriculum.

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Each year Harvard University awards 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 

Harvard Forest, 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 1.  

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 Harvard Forest 

web site (  

Annual deadline for applications is February 1.  




Information and application instructions for all 

of the Society’s programs can be accessed at http:// Click on the “Grants” tab at 

the top of the homepage.



Purpose, Scope

Awards are made for noncommercial 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 citizens or residents of the 

United States or American citizen residents 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.



Franklin Research Grants 


This program of small grants to scholars is 

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. Ph.D. candidates are not eligible to 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Library Resident Research 



The Library Resident Research fellowships 

support research in the Society’s collections.


Applicants must demonstrate a need to work in 

the Society’s collections for a minimum of 1 month 

and a maximum of 3 months. Applicants in any 

relevant field of scholarship may apply. Candidates 

whose normal place of residence is farther away 

than a 75-mile radius of Philadelphia will be given 

some preference. Applicants do not need to hold 

the doctorate, although Ph.D. candidates must have 

passed their preliminary examinations.


$2500 per month.


March 1 (March 3 in 2014); notification in May.

Contact Information

Questions concerning the Franklin and the Lewis 

and Clark programs should be directed to Linda 

Musumeci, Director of Grants and Fellowships, 

at or 215-440-3429.

Questions concerning the Library Resident 

Research Fellowships should be directed to 

Earle Spamer, Library Programs Coordinator, 

at or 215-440-3443.

apply, but the Society is especially interested in 

supporting the work of young scholars who have 

recently received the doctorate.


From $1000 to $6000.


October 1, December 1 (December 2 in 2013); 

notification in January and March.

Lewis and Clark Fund for 

Exploration and Field Research  


The Lewis and Clark Fund 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, 

biology, ecology, geography, geology, linguistics, 

and paleontology, but grants will not be restricted 

to these fields.


Grants will be available to doctoral students 

who wish to participate in field studies for their 

dissertations or for other purposes. Master’s 

candidates, undergraduates, and postdoctoral 

fellows are not eligible.


Grants will depend on travel costs but will 

ordinarily be in the range of several hundred dollars 

to about $5000.


February 1 (February 3 in 2014); notification in 



English - Spanish / Spanish – 

English Dictionary of Botany 

Now Available

By far the world’s largest, most accurate, and most 

in-depth English-Spanish / Spanish-English work in 

botany, by Kenneth Allen Hornak (Lexicographer): 

a wealth of terms compiled from thousands of 

botanical studies carried out by doctors in their 


Both plant and tree species glossaries are English-

Latin-Spanish and Spanish-Latin-English, in 

accordance with the International Code of Botanical 

Nomenclature, and broken down by country.   

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

No more paging through the incomplete, semi-

accurate lists in print or online; this work provides 

authoritative clarity for student and professional 


It covers all aspects of  botany: Plant 

biochemistry, plant species, tree species, plant 

ecophysiology, paleobotany, plant morphology, 

plant anatomy, taxonomy and classification, 

horticulture, arboriculture, plant breeding and 

genetics, palynology, pteridology, agrostology, 

orchidology, and much more.

The publisher Editorial Castilla la Vieja has 

announced a NEW LOWER PRICE of $89 for the 

electronic version. Contact them at:


: service(at)editorialcastilla(dot)com


: 908-399-6273 


Mailing address: Editorial Castilla La Vieja, c/o 

P.O. Box 1574, Havertown, PA 19083 USA

A learning gap is filled with 


Arboretum offers increasingly 

rare course in their morphology

By Alvin Powell, Harvard Staff Writer
Sam Perez is searching for mutants. But to find 

them, he has to know what normal looks like.

Perez was among a dozen top botany graduate 

students and postdoctoral fellows who took 

an intensive, two-week course in what may be 

a vanishing discipline, plant morphology, at 

the Arnold Arboretum this month.

The course, with funding from the National 

Science Foundation and the Arnold Arboretum, 

is modeled after intensive, high-level courses 

in marine science offered by the  Woods Hole 

Oceanographic Institution  in Massachusetts and 

in molecular biology at the  Cold Spring Harbor 

Laboratory  in New York, according to  William 

Friedman, arboretum director and Arnold 

Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. 

The course is the first of what will become an annual 

summer offering in plant organismic biology at the 


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

In between, they have three-hour lectures each 

morning, followed by lunch, and three hours of 

laboratory time each afternoon, with discussion 

sessions, special lectures, and dinner mixed in. 

Students also gain access to the Arboretum’s living 

collection of more than 15,000 plants spread over 

281 acres.

The intensive atmosphere is needed to cover a 

large amount of ground, said Diggle, who teaches 

plant morphology at the University of Colorado.

“As fast as I can talk, that’s what I can cover,” Diggle 

said. “My feeling is this is a really fundamental area, 

a common denominator for people working in 

different areas. … As we’ve become more specialized 

in knowledge, the commonality of the organisms is 

missing, and I think science is suffering for it.”

Despite the heavy workload, participants aren’t 

shying away from adding more of their own. 

Though the course tries to give the students a 

general knowledge of plant morphology and is 

not focused on their specific research subjects, the 

students asked early on whether they could present 

their research to the group during lunch, one of the 

few breaks in the day.

“The students are extremely good, extremely 

motivated,” Endress said. “They work more than we 


For  Kelsey Galimba, a doctoral student from 

the  University of Washington,  the long hours 

haven’t been too much to handle. Like Perez, 

Galimba signed up after finding that gaps in her 

knowledge of plant morphology were affecting her 

research. “It’s not been nearly as hard as I thought 

it would be. I don’t know if it’s because we have a 

good group or because of the interesting material, 

but we’ve all been fine with the hours.”

The intensity provides not just an opportunity 

to cover a lot of ground, Diggle said, but also 

allows participants to bond, providing the seeds, 

hopefully, of an informal network that will be part 

of the lasting effects of the experience.

“My adviser said, ‘Josh, go to this because you 

don’t get instruction in plant morphology like this 

anyplace else,’” said Josh Strable, a doctoral student 

at Iowa State University. “If you’re accepted, it’ll be 

something you’ll take with you for the rest of your 

(Reprinted with permission of  the Harvard Gazette.)

Plant morphology, which involves understanding 

the genesis of a plant’s entire shape and structure, 

has been taught less frequently in recent years, 

shouldered aside by the increased emphasis on 

genetics and understanding of how a plant’s DNA 

affects its growth and appearance.

“There aren’t that many places where the study of 

the whole organism is very prevalent. It’s not a big 

part of the curriculum,” Friedman said. “Zoology, 

botany, ichthyology, all the ‘-ologies’ have been on 

the ropes across the world, not just in the U.S. And 

as faculty who used to study morphology and whole 

organisms were replaced by genomics people, we’ve 

lost the ability to connect genes back to the biology 

of the organisms themselves.”

The dazzling diversity of flowering plants poses 

a special problem for budding botanists, since 

particular flower parts, for example, can look quite 

different in one species than in another. In addition, 

the use of a very few specific plants as laboratory 

models—akin to lab rats or fruit flies—has focused 

what morphological teaching there is on just a 

handful of species.

Young scientists like Perez have become adept at 

using the powerful tools of genetics in their studies, 

but some are finding that their lack of knowledge of 

plant morphology hinders their work.

Perez, a  Michigan State University  doctoral 

student who graduated from Harvard College 

in 2011, is examining plant mutants, comparing 

their genomes with normal plants to discover 

which genes are responsible for the mutated trait 

to better understand the genetics of the normal 

trait. He’s finding, however, that to identify plants 

with mutations, he needs a better understanding of 

normal plant morphology.

“Plant morphology is important to me because 

I’m studying the development of certain floral 

structures, but I don’t have an understanding of 

what goes into the development of actual flowers,” 

Perez said.

The course, taught by  Pamela Diggle, visiting 

professor of organismic and evolutionary biology 

from the University of Colorado, and Peter Endress, 

professor emeritus of the University of Zurich, was 

specifically designed to be an intensive experience 

for participants, Diggle said.

Students are picked up each day at 8 a.m. from 

their dormitory at Emmanuel College in Boston’s 

Longwood area, and are dropped off after 9 p.m. 

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about plants to supplement preservice education, 

removing barriers to growing plants in classrooms 

and outdoors, and developing sequences of plant 

activities that diversify students’ experiences as 

they advance through the curriculum.

Keywords: curriculum; elementary education; 

instruction; plants; teachers.


While the last 100 years have significantly increased 

scientific knowledge about plants, there seems 

to have been a concomitant decrease in student 

education about and interest in botany over the 

same period. The percentage of high schools offering 

botany classes has decreased from over 50% in the 

early 1900s to less than 2% in the 1990s (Hershey, 

1996). Less than 1% of all students entering college 

indicate “botany” as their future major (Uno, 1994), 

and fewer undergraduate institutions are offering 

botany degrees (Drea, 2011). Both Wandersee 

(1986) and Kinchin (1999) have documented that 

K-12 students have less interest in studying about 

plants compared to animals. Students are also 

less likely to say that plants are alive as compared 

to animals, and most students find assigning 

specific names to plants to be particularly difficult 

(Wood-Robinson, 1991; Inagaki and Hatano, 

2002; Bebbington, 2005; Cooper, 2008; Patrick and 

Tunnicliffe, 2011). 

Misconceptions pertaining to plant 

growth and reproduction are also common in students of 

all ages (Simpson and Arnold, 1982; Barman et al., 2003; 
Schussler and Winslow, 2007). 

This lack of botanical 

interest and knowledge should be of concern on 

a planet where the survival of animals, including 

humans, is dependent on the health and ecosystem 

services of the green plants that are the foundation 

of terrestrial life. 
Many botanists and educators suggest that student 

interest in plants has to be carefully fostered from 

an early age because children are not as inherently 

interested in plants as they are about animals. 

Wandersee and Schussler (2001) have argued that 

humans have a natural visual tendency to be “Plant 

Blind.” Plant characteristics such as their lack of 

movement and a face, their uniform color and 

spatial grouping, and the fact that they are typically 

not harmful result in humans discarding them 

from their conscious attention. However, visual 

Elementary botany: how teachers 

in one school district teach about 


Melanie A. Link-Pérez


 and Elisabeth E. 




Armstrong Atlantic State University, De-

partment of Biology, 11935 Abercorn Street, 

Savannah, Georgia 31419  


University of Tennessee, Department of 

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 569 Dab-

ney Hall, Knoxville, Tennessee 37996 


Authors for correspondence: M.L.-P. 

(; E.S. ( 

DOI: 10.3732/psb.1300002

Submitted 4 January 2013.

Accepted 22 May 2013.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank the 

Committee for Faculty Research at Miami 

University, Mr. Jeff Winslow for his support, and 

the teachers who participated in this study. The 

comments of two anonymous reviewers helped 

improve the manuscript.


Students rarely know as much about plants 

as animals. Some researchers attribute this to 

deficiencies in formal education; however, little 

has been documented about how K-12 teachers 

approach teaching plant topics. We investigated 

how elementary teachers in one school district 

teach about plants. Thirteen K-5 teachers were 

interviewed. Teachers expressed comfort teaching 

about plants despite having little botanical training. 

All used resources beyond the textbook and affiliated 

activity kit, but activities and topics were repetitive. 

Teachers said students loved growing plants, but 

lack of adequate sunlight, water, and space made this 

difficult. Most would like a garden or greenhouse 

at school. Results suggest elementary botanical 

education, at least in this school district, could be 

improved by providing professional development 


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

attention to plants can be increased by educational 

exposure to them. A nature study in Switzerland 

showed that a relatively short educational program 

(averaging 17 hours of instruction) on local flora 

and fauna for 8- to 16-year-olds significantly 

increased student knowledge and appreciation of 

local plants (Lindemann-Matthies, 2005). Thus, 

instruction about plants in formal education 

settings should be a critical component of 

fostering botanical interest and knowledge (Strgar, 

2007; Fancovicova, 2011; Ju and Kim, 2011). 

Botanists, however, have suggested that primary 

and secondary school curricula and/or instruction 

are not facilitating student learning about 

plants. Evidence from student interviews found 

that children say they learn more about the 

names of plants at home (71%) than they do at 

school (27%) (Tunnicliffe and Reiss, 2000). One 

possibility for this lack of formal learning about 

plants is deficiencies in curricula about plants. 

For instance, Link-Pérez et al. (2010) found that 

in two major publishing companies’ elementary 

science textbooks, the photographs of animals were 

captioned with specific names more than 80% of 

the time (e.g., rhinoceros, five-lined skink), while 

a third of the photographs of plants were captioned 

with terms for plant parts (e.g., leaf), life form (e.g., 

tree), or simply “plant”. In the same two textbook 

series, Schussler et al. (2010) found that the topics 

presented about animals were more focused on 

adaptations and whole-organism content while 

information on plants focused mostly on parts and 

growth. They also discovered that animal examples 

were used almost twice as much as plant examples 

to illustrate content in the textbook series. Overall, 

these textbooks (which were the same ones used 

by the teachers in the current study) exhibited 

differences in the presentation of plant and animal 

content that could help to explain deficiencies in 

student understanding about plants, particularly 

in comparison to their understanding of animals. 

These challenges for botanical education are likely 

compounded by federal accountability mandates in 

recent years that emphasized a focus on language 

arts and mathematics in primary grades, leaving 

limited time for science instruction (Marx and 

Harris, 2006; Griffith and Scharmann, 2008).  
On the other hand, curriculum is only one aspect 

of the classroom. Ultimately, it is the teachers 

themselves who determine what actually occurs 

in the classroom setting. Even the best botany 

curriculum in the world is useless if teachers 

choose not to use it, as pointed out by Hershey 

(1996); by the same token, a good teacher can 

ameliorate a deficient curriculum by conveying 

their own understanding of a topic (Darling-

Hammond, 2000). Some have questioned, however, 

whether teachers who lack an understanding about 

plants would be able to convey an interest in or 

knowledge about plants to students (Uno, 1994; 

Hershey, 1996). 
Studies of elementary teacher confidence in 

teaching science indicate that most elementary 

teachers are literacy, and not science, specialists 

(Flick, 1995; Akerson, Flick, and Lederman, 

2000). Confidence in teaching science has been 

found to be correlated with personal experiences 

in learning science (Jarrett, 1999), the number 

of science content courses completed (Jarrett, 

1999; Yilmaz-Tuzun, 2008), and the amount of 

professional development (Murphy, Neil, and 

Beggs, 2007). With gaps in content knowledge of 

a subject, science teachers are thought to be less 

confident in teaching the subject (Abell and Roth, 

1992; Dickinson et al., 1997; Akerson and Flanigan, 

2000), may fail to direct the learning experience 

appropriately (Osborne and Simon, 1996), and may 

revert to several coping mechanisms identified by 

Harlen and Holroyd (1997), including teaching a 

minimal amount of the subject, relying on prepared 

kits or outside-developed lessons with step-by-step 

instructions that students can follow, emphasizing 

expository teaching while minimizing discussions, 

using only the simplest hands-on activities, and 

looking to outside experts and colleagues for 

assistance. Studies of confidence in teaching 

science have generally found that teachers are 

more confident teaching biology than chemistry 

or physics, and in one case, were even found to 

be most confident teaching about the topic of 

the flowering plant (Murphy, Neil, and Beggs, 

2007). Increased professional development and 

confidence, however, does not necessarily correlate 

to correct understanding of a topic, as indicated by 

Jarvis and Pell (2004). 
There is a large gap in the research literature about 

how plant information is presented in elementary 

and secondary schools. In particular, there has 

been little but speculation about what science 

teachers know about plants, where they learned 

their information, how comfortable they feel 

teaching about plants, the resources they use, and 

the classroom practices they use to engage their 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

students in learning about plants. Yet even in the 

absence of research, several scholars have suggested 

that teachers’ lack of botanical content knowledge is 

affecting teaching about plants in formal education 

settings (Uno, 1994; Hershey, 1996).

The goal of this study was to investigate 

how elementary teachers in one school district 

approach teaching about plants. The focus was 

strictly on capturing teachers’ perceptions and not 

their actual classroom practices or the students’ 

experience. Therefore, this study documents 

teachers’ self-reported experiences in teaching 

about plants, in order to assess their comfort level 

and experiences in botanical instruction and build 

the foundation for further research on this topic. 

Data were collected through the use of one-on-one 

interviews. The specific objectives in data collection 

were to answer the following questions:

•  How do teachers feel about teaching plant 

•  What types of activities are used to teach 

about plants? 
•  How do students react to lessons about plants?
•  Is there anything teachers need to help them 

teach about plants?

Common themes identified from these teachers’ 

experiences were then used to make suggestions for 

the improvement of botany teaching and learning 

in the context of primary science education in this 

particular school district, and then to infer how 

these recommendations may apply more broadly to 

other school districts and teachers.


This study focused on elementary school 

instruction about plants because these are some 

of the first formal experiences students have with 

plants. It was also done simultaneously with a 

school system-university collaborative plant growth 

and reproduction experiment (utilizing Wisconsin 

Fast Plants®) for the fourth-grade teachers in the 

district (Schussler and Winslow, 2007). The school 

district is centered in the Midwestern university 

town where the study was conducted. The area is 

a suburban / rural mix, with students coming from 

the local university town of approximately 20,000 

residents and 18,000 undergraduate and graduate 

students, as well as surrounding areas comprised of 

a significant corn and soybean farming community.
In the year and state in which the study was 

conducted (Ohio), plants were taught as part of the 

curriculum in kindergarten (living / non-living, 

plant and animal features and habitats), first grade 

(plant and animal growth needs), second grade 

(survival needs, structures, habitats, seasonal 

changes), fourth grade (life cycles, structure / 

function, classification, interactions with other 

organisms), and fifth grade (plants as producers, 

food webs), to varying extents. As mentioned 

in the introduction, an analysis of the national 

science textbook series used in this school district 

identified differences between how plant and 

animal information is presented that potentially 

decreases student exposure to certain types of plant 

information (Link-Pérez et al., 2010; Schussler et 

al., 2010). 
In May 2006, elementary science teachers 

(kindergarten through fifth grade) from the 

three elementary schools in the local school 

district (comprising approximately 3000 K-12 

students, with approximately 60 K-5 classroom 

teachers) were given information about this study 

by the science instructional leader on behalf of 

the researchers. The information was presented 

in writing and included a form teachers could 

fill out if they were willing to be interviewed 

regarding their experiences teaching about plants. 

Participants were told that they would receive $25 

in books or resources to compensate them for the 

time they spent doing the interview. Seventeen 

teachers volunteered to participate in the study; 

all of them were contacted, and 13 interviews were 

subsequently scheduled and completed. Four of the 

teachers either did not get back to the researcher 

about scheduling or decided not to participate after 

hearing more about the study.
All 13 participants were female, and their K-12 

teaching experience ranged from 2 to 30 years (Table 

1). With two exceptions (Rebecca and Allison; all 

participant names are pseudonyms), all teachers 

had taught their entire careers in elementary grades. 

Two of the teachers (Sherry and Christine) were 

initially trained for special education instruction. 

Eleven of the teachers considered themselves 

experienced science teachers; one (Christine) had 

just completed her first year of teaching science, 

and one (Martha) was about to teach science for 

the first time. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Interviews were semi-structured (Hatch, 2002) 

and generally followed the interview guide shown 

in Table 2. The interview contained three major 

areas of discussion: teacher background (grades 

and subjects they have taught, for how long), their 

experiences teaching about science in general, and 

their perspectives regarding teaching about plants. 

The “teaching about plants” questions explored 

how teachers felt about teaching plant content, the 

resources they used when teaching about plants, 

the activities they have done, obstacles they faced, 

students’ reactions to plants, and what the teachers 

wished they could do to teach about plants. 

Teachers were given the opportunity to choose 

the interview location; about half of the interviews 

occurred at the school where the teacher worked, 

and about half occurred at the teacher’s house. The 

second author conducted all of the interviews. Each 

interview was audio-recorded, with permission of 

the participant, and lasted from 20 to 65 minutes. 
Each interview was fully transcribed and the 

resulting transcript was subjected to inductive 

qualitative analysis. No pre-determined themes 

or codes guided the analysis; the researchers, 

instead, used the data to inform their analysis and 

the creation of themes (Corbin and Strauss, 1990). 

Two researchers, each working independently, read 

and took notes from each participant’s interview. 

Each researcher then read and re-read the notes, 

identifying recurrent ideas that emerged from the 

data. The researchers then met and discussed these 

recurrent ideas until a preliminary consensus was 

reached about themes. These themes were then 

used for a second round of qualitative analysis using 

the software program NVivo (version 7.0, QSR 

International). One of the researchers identified 

and saved portions of the interviews that supported 

or did not support each of the preliminary themes. 

The researchers then examined the evidence for 

each theme and eliminated themes that were not 

supported by a majority of the participants. 
These procedures were approved by the institutions’ 

review board for human subjects research; all 

procedures for the ethical collection and use of 

information from human subjects were followed. 


Themes from the teachers’ responses were 

categorized according to each of the four research 

questions of the project: how teachers feel about 

teaching plant content, the activities used to teach 

about plants, student reaction to plant activities, 

and what teachers need in order to teach about 

plants. Table 3 provides a summary of the themes 

for each of the research questions. 
No training? No problem!—When the teachers 

were asked to reflect about their feelings regarding 

teaching about plants, two themes emerged: “lack of 

training” and “comfort teaching about plants.” Nine 

of the teachers could not recall learning anything 

about plants during their preservice education. Two 

had taken a botany course, and two recalled learning 

a little about plants or planning a plant lesson as 

part of their science methods course. Bethany said, 

“I don’t remember specifically doing that in any of 

my classes…I don’t remember anything specifically 

     Participant (pseudonym)       Grade being taught 

      Years experience 


































 Christine  Fourth 








Table 1. Participant years of experience and grade teaching in upcoming year.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

about plants.” Allison, in response to whether she 

had learned about plants during her preservice 

training, said, “No. None. No…. I had to do a lot 

of the, um, you know, you do the work at home to 

make sure that you know what you’re talking about 

[to prepare for classroom instruction].” Patricia 

recalls, “Honestly, the only thing I remember is 

having to diagram and label parts of a plant. But I 

can’t, — oh, and I guess we went into different types 

of leaves.” Similarly, Martha said,

“One thing I remember is he [the instructor] 

had, um, one of the, I don’t know what kind 

of lights they were, but a light you have inside 

that helps plants grow. Um, so he had one of 

those and we had, um, seeds that we planted in 

baggies and had them sprout and we put them 

in the dirt and had them grow. So I know he 

had us do that. I don’t remember necessarily 

anything else in particular that we learned. But 

I do remember doing that.”

Many of the teachers had a very positive feeling 

about their preservice science training in general, 

despite the fact that the majority had none, or very 

little, botanical training. 
Undeterred by their lack of specific training or 

background related to plants, 11 of the 13 teachers 

reported feeling “comfortable,” or even “confident,” 

when it comes to teaching about plants in their 

classrooms. One felt “medium” about it, and one 

stated she was “not confident.” When asked about 

her comfort level when teaching about plants, 

Bethany said, 

“It—because it’s, like I said, something you 

can read about and, it’s pretty straightforward 

to me…And it is something you learn a lot in 


•  How long have you been teaching?

•  What grades have you taught over your career?

•  What subjects have you taught, and what will you teach this year?

•  What percent of your teaching time is spent teaching science (rough estimate)?

Teaching Science

•  As compared to teaching other subjects, how do you feel about teaching science—like it,   


love it, think it’s OK, etc.?

•  Do you feel your teacher training prepared you to effectively teach about science? Explain.
•  What are your favorite and least favorite science topics you teach about?

Teaching About Plants

•  Do you feel your teacher training prepared you to teach about plants? Explain.

•  Relative to other science topics, how comfortable do you feel teaching about plants?

•  What sorts of obstacles, if any, do you encounter when teaching about plants    



(things that make teaching about plants difficult in the classroom)?

•  Are you personally interested in plants? (Do you grow plants, read about them?)

•  What resources do you use when teaching about plants (books, kits, supplies,    



other teachers, etc.)? Do you have a favorite?

•  Compared to other science topics, do you have a harder or less hard time finding good    


resources to use when teaching about plants?

•  What are some examples of lessons you use to teach about plants? What has really worked  


and what has not?

•  Do you ever go outdoors to teach about plants?

•  As compared to other topics, how do your students react when you teach about plants?    


(excited, not excited, etc.)

•  Is there anything about plants that you’ve noticed your students are particularly interested in?

•  If I had big grant money to spend on improving instruction about plants in the school  



district, what would you tell me to do?

•  Is there anything else you would like to add?

Table 2. Interview questions.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

school…you always are doing plants as you’re 

growing up during school, so it was a little more 

of a comfort level. And, nothing changes really 

in plants—a plant’s a plant’s a plant. It’s gonna 

be the same ten years from now. So there’s a 

little more comfort level there.” 

Tessa, when asked to compare her comfort level 

teaching about plants relative to other science 

topics said, 

“I’d probably put it farther toward the front, 

mostly because of my personal background. My 

parents were farmers… I always worked with 

plants. I’m not saying I’m great with them, but I 

understand, you know, how to work with them 

and have done gardening and stuff. So I’m a 

little bit more familiar with plants.”

In a similar vein, Samantha attributed her comfort 

to her personal love of plants:

“Um, I feel more comfortable teaching about 

plants than some of the other topics—the 

matter and the energy, more of the physical 

sciences… I just, I’m more comfortable with 

plants primarily because I love plants.”

Other teachers expressed that once they taught 

plants for a year, they were able to gain the 

necessary content knowledge to feel comfortable 

teaching about them again. Sherry indicated this 

when she stated,

“If you had asked before this school year… I 

would say I did not feel very knowledgeable 

about plants. I felt like I was always grabbing…

some kind of curriculum guide to look up what 

I needed to look up for myself before I could 

teach it to the kids…. Now after this school 

year, I feel like we did so much more with plants 

that I feel more comfortable with it now. I think 

I, I mean I know I’m not the expert yet…”

Three of the teachers had a personal interest in 

gardening that they used to inform their instruction 

about plants. Two stated that the plant activities 

were so “redundant” or “simple” that a lack of 

training was not an impediment to their teaching. 

Overall, there was no evidence that the teachers felt 

that a lack of plant training was an obstacle to their 

teaching about plants. 
Not lima beans again!Two themes emerged from 

the portion of the interviews in which teachers 

reflected on the  types of activities used to teach 

about plants in their classrooms: “supplementing the 

standard curriculum” and “repetition of activities”. 

The school district provides a nationally syndicated 

textbook (modified for each state) and associated 

activity kit that teachers use when teaching science. 

However, all 13 teachers reported supplementing 

these resources when they taught about plants. As 

Patricia said, “I think all of us probably use the kits, 

at least to a certain extent. And then, we, you know, 

use our other materials to supplement with.” When 

asked whether it was more or less difficult to find 

resources about plants as compared to other topics, 

three said it was the same, three said it was harder, 

and four said it was easier. Easier to find, however, 

didn’t mean the teachers liked the quality of the 

activities; Allison articulated this when she said, 

Category defined by research question  


Feelings about teaching plant content 


Lack of training






Types of activities used to teach about plants 

Supplementing the standard  







Students’ reactions to lessons about plants   

Students love to grow plants






Impediments/needs for teaching about plants 

Logistical growth problems






Table 3. A summary of major themes emerging from the teacher interviews, grouped accord-

ing to the categories defined by the four research questions.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

“I think it’s pretty easy to find things. Although, I 

am not always real thrilled with what I find because 

some of the stuff is so specific.” Teachers mentioned 

that they use the Internet, DVDs, and local plant 

experts as additional resources. More significantly, 

12 of the 13 teachers said they use children’s books 

to supplement their plant lessons. Vanessa said, 

“[Children’s literature] That’s the biggest thing…

That’s how I would start almost all my lessons, with 

a book or with some kind of an idea from a book.” 

Martha mentioned the local library as a resource: 

“Lane’s [Lane Library] is really good because they 

will put collections together for you if you tell 

them what you want.” Whitney mentioned, “And 

we are supplementing a lot with literature.” This 

heavy reliance on children’s literature is likely a 

reflection of a district initiative to integrate reading 

into science as a mechanism to prepare students for 

statewide reading testing.
An overall repetition in the activities used to teach 

about plants in the elementary grades was a strong 

theme that emerged from the interviews. Although 

only three of the teachers directly referenced the 

repetitive nature of the plant activities, four of the 

teachers mentioned an experiment where students 

grew plants in the light and dark, three mentioned 

an activity with dye and celery, and eight mentioned 

growing or using lima beans. Sherry acknowledged 

the problem of students knowing the outcome of 

these repetitive activities but didn’t know how 

else to demonstrate some of the basic botanical 


“If they already know what’s going to happen 

before you do it…I’m looking for something 

else to do that will show them, and I think that’s 

really hard. With the plants especially, it’s hard 

to find another way to show them that the plant 

is going to die if the plant doesn’t have any light.” 

In many cases, the activities they were using were 

so repetitive that teachers mentioned the dismay 

that their students felt when doing these activities. 

Sherry explained,

“Um, they do the, the old celery and the blue 

dye and the red dye thing… And they [said], 

‘Oh! We did this last year! And we did it in 

second grade too!’”

Allison, who teaches fifth grade, also commented 

on her students’ reactions to growing lima beans:

“So by the time you get them in fifth grade 

they’d be like, ‘We’re not growing beans, are 

we?’ ‘Yes we’re growing beans again this year!’ 

So that was kind of a, you know, even though 

you’ve taught them, you did other things with 

the beans, but there wasn’t a lot of excitement 

there. At that point because they’ve done it for 

every year.”

Bethany attributed some of these struggles to 

limited budgets in the schools, saying, 

“And you’re kind of limited money-wise, you 

know, you’re always growing like the lima 

beans… and that’s why Fast Plants, again, were 

fun, because it was something different. I mean, 

they’ve all grown a lima bean, and [inaudible], 

alfalfa sprouts, you know.” 

Overall, there was a striking lack of diversity among 

the activities teachers mentioned doing in their 

classrooms. In some cases the teachers were aware 

of this repetition, but others seemed to be unaware 

that students might find these activities redundant.
Planting excitement—Teachers were also asked to 

discuss how students reacted to the plant lessons. 

From these discussions, two themes emerged, one 

of which is “students love to grow plants”. Nine of 

the teachers, even if they thought students were not 

that excited about plants in general, admitted that 

planting a seed and watching it grow was exciting 

to their students. Kate said, 

“Any time they can grow something themselves, 

that is just ‘It’… Oh, yeah. They would, they, I’m 

sorry I can’t do it [have students grow things], 

because growing something in the classroom is 

probably one of their favorite things to do.” 

Carol commented, “What makes them excited is 

putting a seed in dirt and two days later, it’s coming 

up. And then, if it gets a flower—oh, my gosh! You’d 

have thought they had won the lottery!” Whitney 

had her kindergarten students grow their own lawn 

grass and expressed the ownership the students felt 

from growing their plants.

“And they take their grass home and they plant 

it in a special place and some of the kids will 

still tell me, ‘My grass is right there in the corner 

by my house—see! That’s my grass, right there!’ 

Cracks me up.”

Despite the initial excitement that teachers 

expressed the students felt about growing plants, a 

second theme emerged: “student excitement about 

growing plants is short-lived.” Teachers expressed 

that student excitement about plants (even their 

growth) was hard to maintain, particularly when 

doing a longer-term activity. Teachers often 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

observed their students go through an initial 

excitement followed by a letdown. Sherry said, “My 

students this year really liked anything we did with 

plants… But it got old fast.” Christine reflected on 

a project that held student attention better because 

the plants grew so quickly:

“Y’know, any toy has to do something, it just 

can’t sit there, and so I think that was the 

one reason with the Fast Plants that … the 

first day nothing happened, the second day 

nothing happened, and then all of a sudden 

“WOW” there’s these green things. That kept 

them going. Again, attention spans. You have 

to have something that is going to keep them 

[interested], or you’re going to lose them 

totally… you need something that is like “look 

at that, look what happens here.”

This excitement to grow plants coupled with the 

quick loss of enthusiasm by students may help to 

explain why there is a redundancy of activities 

such as germinating lima beans, an activity which 

provides the quick and relatively easy thrill of 

germination to students.
Growing, growing, groan!—When asked about 

what they wished they had to teach about plants, 

two themes emerged: “logistical growth problems” 

and “a space to grow plants”. Eight of the teachers 

expressed frustration with their classrooms that 

lacked sufficient light, space, or water sources and 

indicated that this limited their abilities to grow 

plants in their classroom. Kate commented about 

the lack of growth requirements for plants such as 

water and sunlight. 

“I think teaching plants is very hard. The 

curriculum is in the winter…No water, no 

sunlight—it’s really a challenge… I would 

say that, of all the topics in science that I can 

think of, that’s probably the most difficult to 

try and teach [because of the physical barriers/


Patricia also mentioned the lack of sunlight, saying, 

“We actually don’t get real good sunlight in with 

these windows that we have. So, when you depend 

on sunlight for some of your things, it’s kind of 

hard.” Samantha mentioned that for her classroom, 

space was the major limitation.

“Now as you can see in here, I have very little 

space I could put plants in front of windows. … 

So, I will, you know, I’ll hang a plant here and 

I’ll put a plant there, but in terms of having kids 

grow their own it’s really hard.” 

Allison explained the climatological challenges of 

trying to grow plants in a temporary classroom.

“So, like, I was in the trailer. So, in the—if you 

put plants by the window, it would get so hot 

that they would die in the trailer. I mean, it was 

just awful. Even if you had the air conditioner 

on, but then you had to remember to put the 

heat on at night cause the trailers would cool 

down. It was really hard.” 

When asked whether they ever took students 

outside to view plants, most teachers indicated 

that an environmental educator contracted by the 

district led nature walks with the students but that 

these excursions rarely focused on plants. 
When asked what would help them be able to do 

a better job of teaching about plants, 11 of the 

teachers wanted a dedicated space where they could 

grow plants. Sherry said, 

“Some schools have little greenhouses… I 

just think it would be awesome if we had a 

greenhouse to use with our kids in fourth and 

fifth grade where they could grow things other 

than just little beans. But having like a vegetable 

garden or an herb garden. They would get 

exposed to different kind of plants that they had 

not been exposed to.”

Kate agreed, saying, “You’d have a garden. Or you’d 

have a greenhouse. That’s what you’d do. I mean, 

logically.” Rebecca saw the value not only of having 

a garden, but also of integrating a community 

project, while focusing on the life cycle of the plants 

as well.

“Have a garden, I think, at the school. That the 

kids would take care of and, and see the whole 

life cycle kind of thing, and then, you know, use 

the plants to sell at like a Farmer’s Market.” 

There seemed to be a consensus that live plants, 

and a wider diversity of plants, are needed for 

effective teaching about plants, but that the barriers 

to growing them in the classroom made this too 

difficult to achieve.


The overall goal of this project was to investigate, 

using interviews, how elementary teachers in 

one local school district perceived teaching 

about plants. There are several positive aspects 

about teaching plant topics that arose from 

these interviews. First, teachers expressed that 

they are comfortable teaching the plant-focused 

content and all went beyond just the textbook and 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

associated activity kit when presenting information 

about plants. The teachers are taking their own 

initiative to fill gaps in their content knowledge and 

to find additional resources to use when teaching 

about plants. In particular they are linking reading 

activities to student learning about plants, although 

they may be doing this as a result of mandated state 

curriculum testing. Despite logistical obstacles to 

growing plants in the classroom, the teachers do 

bring plants into the classroom and at a minimum 

expose students to the excitement of germinating 

a seed and watching it grow. The teachers in this 

study are making a concerted effort to get students 

excited about plants. 
However, several concerns regarding teaching 

about plants also arose from this study. Almost 

all the teachers are presenting information about 

plants with no recollection of any training specific 

to plants during their preservice education. 

Several of the teachers were not concerned about 

their lack of botanical training because they 

mentioned that it is easy to read a few books and 

pick up the content. This could imply that the plant 

content they are teaching is not very in-depth; the 

redundant activities the teachers mentioned seem 

to support this speculation. There was also little 

evidence from the interviews of any instructional 

objectives beyond plant parts or growth, which is 

also consistent with the findings of Schussler et 

al. (2010) that the science textbooks used in this 

district limited botanical content mainly to the 

topic of plant parts, in contrast to animal content 

that extended to animal adaptations, needs, and 

diversity. Taken together, these results might 

suggest that although teachers are supplementing 

text information, they are not adding instruction 

that goes far beyond the textbook. Further studies 

are needed, however, regarding actual classroom 

instructional practices, student learning, and 

effects of professional development and classroom 

experience on instruction before broader 

conclusions can be made.
Many teachers mentioned that they integrate 

science trade books into their lessons about plants. 

Integration of trade books into science lessons 

was promoted because state testing focused on 

reading and not science in the year this study was 

conducted (J. Winslow, personal communication; 

Marx and Harris, 2006). Although teachers were 

excited about the availability of the science trade 

books for their botany lessons, several found it 

challenging to judge a book’s quality; as expressed 

by Martha, “I don’t feel comfortable knowing, um, 

what’s a good science trade book and what’s not. At 

this point, anything is better than nothing.” A study 

identifying many incomplete and unexplained 

representations of plant life cycles in the science 

trade books available at the same local library 

serving this school district (Schussler, 2008; also see 

Hershey, 1996) suggests, however, that these books 

are not a panacea for classroom botany instruction. 

Teachers need enough knowledge about plants to 

identify and supplement incorrect information 

in the books, but it is unknown if teachers in this 

district recognized this issue. One role botanists 

can play in school instruction is to help teachers 

identify appropriate and inappropriate science 

trade books about plants, and provide supplemental 

information as needed.
Teachers reported that students are most excited 

when they get to grow plants in the classroom. 

However, the interviews suggest that most of their 

germination experiences are with bean seeds. Since 

students quickly lose interest in plants, it seems 

prudent to find new classroom plants for teachers to 

use (e.g., Amaryllis or Chia plants; Hershey, 2002; 

Conover, 2011). Diversity in available plants could 

help to maintain student excitement and prevent 

them from knowing what will happen (as several 

teachers reported hearing from the students). It also 

can be inferred from the interviews that students 

rarely get an opportunity to grow a plant through 

its entire life cycle. Teachers reported that a new 

program using Wisconsin Fast Plants®, introduced 

in the schools the year of these interviews, was 

very successful because the plants changed quickly 

enough to keep students’ attention and they got to 

see the flowers and fruits in a relatively short time 

period (Schussler and Winslow, 2007).
When asked what they would like to have available 

to teach about plants, teachers overwhelmingly 

focused on things that would help in teaching 

about cultivated plants: greenhouses and gardens. 

Given that at least two of the three schools had 

associated school natural areas, it seems clear 

that teachers want a diversity of plants available 

to them, but they prefer to work with plants in a 

controlled environment (greenhouse or garden) 

rather than utilizing nature. Several researchers 

have previously reported on perceived barriers to 

outdoor learning, including lack of natural areas to 

use, health and safety concerns, attitudes, weather, 

time constraints, and acceptable child-to-adult 

ratios, among others (Dillon et al., 2006; Waite, 

2010, 2011; Passy, 2012; Carrier, Tugurian, and 

Thomson, 2013). It also seems that the teachers 

in this study take a product-centered approach to 

teaching about plants, with the focus being on how 

plants are useful to humans rather than on how 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

plants are a part of nature. Christine articulated this 

when she stated,

“What about an organic garden? ... A functional 

type where we, you would grow cantaloupes 

or gourds or something. So that you could 

maybe even not sell it, but at least use that in 

the classroom making [a] bird feeder from 

gourds. I mean, using the products to, to, show 

the kids—or at least I would think—that plants 

have a purpose in our world. Not just because, 

‘oh it looks pretty’ or ‘I eat corn.’ That kind 

of stuff… Here’s the whole process of ‘we’ve 

planted a seed and we have this product, what 

do we wanna do with this product?’” 

Samantha described an activity that also revealed a 

product-centered approach toward teaching about 

plants: “I always have them kind of list all the plants 

they know, they can come up with. And I have them 

do it on a chart with plants that are food, plants that 

are landscape or decoration, and plants that are 

made into something else.” This educational focus 

on human dependence on plant products may also 

help to explain why teachers would favor a garden 

or greenhouse to support instruction, versus nature.
Despite teachers’ claims of comfort in teaching 

about plants, coping mechanisms identified by 

Harlen and Holroyd (1997), such as placing a 

reliance on outside-developed lessons, avoiding all 

but the simplest hands-on activities, and seeking 

assistance from outside experts and colleagues, 

seemed to be in place. This leads us to speculate 

that teachers are comfortable teaching the most 

basic plant information, such as parts and growth 

needs, but are feeling discomfort because of a lack 

of textbook support and personal understanding 

related to plant topics such as reproduction, 

identification, diversity, or adaptations. The 

consequence of this discomfort—a plant 

curriculum that is unchallenging and repetitive—

could potentially result in students in this district 

lacking interest in and knowledge about plants, as 

many other children across the nation demonstrate 

(Baird, 1984; Wandersee, 1986; Kinchin, 1999; 

Patrick, 2011).
Although our findings are limited to teachers 

in one local school district and may not be 

representative of teachers as a whole, or only 

perhaps representative of teachers in the same 

type of regional school district, we include broader 

recommendations so that others might consider 

whether these practices would improve botanical 

instruction in their own school districts. Given the 

lack of preservice professional development and 

the redundancy in the plant science curriculum 

in this school district, significant work needs 

to be done in teacher training and curriculum 

development to help teachers teach about plants 

in the classroom. Professional development about 

plants would provide teachers an opportunity to 

reflect on the current curriculum and practice, 

and may lead to pacing of curriculum activities 

to reduce redundancy. Apparent throughout the 

interviews we conducted was a lack of teachers’ 

reflection about the current status of teaching 

about plants in their district. Many teachers 

admitted they had never thought about these issues 

previously. When asked what sort of activity or 

“cool thing about plants” they thought would get 

their students excited about plants, some teachers 

had no idea, underscoring how important it is for 

plant scientists and members of botanical societies 

to engage in community outreach (or programs 

such as PlantingScience; Hemingway et al., 2011).
A good starting point for outreach activities would 

be to conduct teacher interviews similar to those 

in this study to determine how the plant science 

community can help teachers improve botanical 

education in their school districts. Interviewing 

teachers may also lead to collaborative activities 

where plant scientists team up with elementary 

teachers to implement some of the interesting plant 

activities available in the teaching literature (Allen, 

2004; Digiovanni, 2010; Mallory, 2011). Partnering 

with botanical experts in such a way may alleviate 

some of the fear involved in trying something 

unfamiliar. Steps should also be taken to help 

teachers review science trade books and provide 

students exposure to a variety of plant life, either 

through field trips to plant nurseries, arboretums, 

or botanical gardens/conservatories (Keppler and 

Schussler, 2010), or by obtaining more diverse 

plants for their classrooms. These steps may begin 

to open the eyes of teachers and students to the 

more diverse, more exciting, more intricate world 

of plants that lies beyond the bean seed.


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

A Navigation Guide to Cyberinfra-

structure Tools for Botanical and Li-

chenological Systematics Research

Morgan R. Gostel, Manuela Dal-Forno, and 

Andrea Weeks

George Mason University, Department of 

Environmental Science and Policy, Fairfax, 

Virginia USA

Author for correspondence:

DOI: 10.3732/psb.1300001

Submitted 4 January 2013.

Accepted 12 July 2013.

Acknowledgments: The authors thank the many 

reviewers for their feedback on earlier versions 

of this manuscript, including James Lawrey, 

Marc Appelhans, Matthew P. Nelson, Mauricio 

Diazgranados, Robert Lücking, Sheri Shiflett, 

and Tom Ranker. The authors are also grateful 

to individuals and societies responsible for the 

internet resources included in this manuscript 

as well as their commitment and contribution to 

sharing systematics resources. 


In this paper we describe a navigation guide to 

the frontiers of cyberinfrastructure for systematic 

research of plants and lichens. We define this 

term as it applies to systematics and provide links 

to resources that can assist the many stages of 

botanical and lichenological systematic research 

projects. This guide specifically addresses the 

concerns of new graduate students, although it 

should be useful to established researchers as well as 

interdisciplinary researchers who have an interest 

in systematics. Included in this paper are links 

and descriptions of 131 websites distributed in 15 

categories. We encourage additions to the curated 

electronic form of this guide, http://www.botany.

org/students_corner/systematics_resources.php, as 

a means of developing an up-to-date community-

driven resource that will assist beginning and 

established systematic researchers worldwide.

Key words: cyberinfrastructure; internet resources; 

lichenological systematics; botanical systematics; 

student resources

The field of systematics has grown to incorporate 

a bewildering array of internet-based sources of 

data, from archived resources that were previously 

only available in physical form (e.g., rare floras, 

museum specimens, printed datasets) to newly 

generated molecular genetic and genomic datasets 

(Harrison and Kidner, 2011). Coincident with the 

increased availability of such open-access data has 

been the advent of cyberinfrastructure tools that 

not only speed systematic analysis of these data but 

also promote collaborative and interdisciplinary 

research. What is perhaps most striking about the 

development of these resources besides their ever-

increasing scope and depth is their accessibility, 

which has “flattened” the field of systematics 

to some extent. Resources that were previously 

only available to students and researchers at large 

research institutions are now more freely accessible 

to all. An open question is how best to marshal these 

resources to enhance the study of biodiversity and 

raise support for systematic research, especially in 

light of the ongoing extinction crisis and dwindling 

institutional support for taxonomic expertise.

Cyberinfrastructure tools and their synergistic 

effects within the field of systematics have been 

generated within the US in part as a consequence 

of multimillion-dollar funding initiatives 

by the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 

Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21



Science and Engineering (CIF21) and Software 

Infrastructure for Sustained Innovation (SI2). In 

2003, the NSF charged a Blue Ribbon Panel with 

exploring challenges, opportunities, and trends in 

science cyberinfrastructure. This panel prepared 

a document that describes cyberinfrastructure 

priorities in science and engineering, but perhaps 

more importantly defines the term as “infrastructure 

based upon distributed computer, information, and 

communication technology... [and] we could say 

that cyberinfrastructure is required for a knowledge 

economy” (NSF, 2003). In much the same way that 

traditional infrastructure such as roads, bridges, 

and other structural developments allow for an 

improved flow of goods, people, and services, 

cyberinfrastructure lays the foundation for the 

transmission of information across the research 

community. Cyberinfrastructure can consist of 

online data storage, data exchanges, and distributed 

computing facilities that support remote analysis of 


The opportunities and challenges of new research 

emerging from this scientific cyberinfrastructure 

have received considerable attention. For example, 

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however, the scope of these publications is often 

narrow in focus (i.e., Huttenhower and Hofmann, 


To address the need for a resource guide to 

cyberinfrastructure tools in plant and lichen 

systematics, we have compiled a list of web 

resources using several criteria. We recognize that 

there are numerous taxon-specific web resources, 

but due to the sheer volume of such resources we 

have opted to exclude taxon-specific tools from 

this guide. We selected online resources related to 

plants and lichens that are broad or introductory in 

scope. We have also included resources that cover 

general systematics research methods. Finally, we 

limited our selection of resources to those pertinent 

to US researchers, due to our familiarity with such 

resources, but also included some well-known 

international resources that may have broader 

appeal. We welcome the contribution of other 

resources we may have overlooked, especially if they 

fit the criteria of general utility to the systematics 

research community. These can be contributed 

to the online version of this paper hosted by the 

Botanical Society of America: http://www.botany.


One particular strength of an online version of 

this guide is that it may be curated continuously as 

new resources become available and others become 

obsolete. The categories we have established for our 

internet resources follow a hypothetical workflow 

new graduate students might want to pursue as 

they explore and develop a research project in 


We have developed a curated navigation guide 

for 15 categories of internet resources that will 

be relevant to beginning plant and lichenological 

researchers, although established researchers and 

systematists of other taxa should find the list useful. 

For each category, we have provided a list of links 

to individual resources with a brief description of 

their content and utility. These categories reflect the 

stages of being a new graduate student; therefore, 

we start with sections to help the student get the 

process started, such as consulting (1) Checklists 

and (2) Visual and other Multimedia. We follow 

these introductory resources with categories that 

can help students gather data already available 

online, such as (3) General Plant and Lichen 

Biodiversity and (4) Nomenclatural Resources

Other resources described below emphasize 

methods of generating new data in (5) Collections 

and Collections Management, (6) Fieldwork 

a recent issue of Science titled, “Dealing with data,” 

focused on these issues in depth (Science Staff, 

2011). However, there is no navigation guide to 

the cyberinfrastructure tools for botanical and 

lichenological systematics researchers in this 

new era of “Big Data”. This deficit is certainly a 

consequence of the constantly evolving landscape of 

internet resources, as any guide would be destined 

to be out of date by the time it was published and 

could never be fully comprehensive. Other Internet 

databases for botanical resources (e.g., the Internet 

Directory of Botany;

IDB/ and Botany online; http://www.biologie.uni- contain an 

overwhelming number of links, many of which are 

no longer active and do not distinguish resources 

by subdiscipline, such as systematics. 

Beginning researchers often confront the online 

frontier alone and established researchers cannot 

be certain that they are fully utilizing all available 

resources. In our experience, locating relevant 

cyberinfrastructure tools or becoming aware of 

new ones relies on a substantial element of kismet, 

even after consulting internet search engines, 

bibliographic databases, and colleagues. Even the 

most savvy explorer may have difficulty determining 

whether some tools are more appropriate than 

others for a particular task or if they provide high-

quality results. Moreover, we have encountered 

examples of functional redundancy among tools 

that may represent an unnecessary duplication of 

effort, which could have been avoided had there 

been even a partial guide to pre-existing resources. 

If one of the goals of cyberinfrastructure is 

to expedite and improve scientific research, 

systematists must be able to navigate this wealth of 

resources more effectively. To date, we have found 

only one existing guide to web-based systematics 

tools. This resource is operated and maintained 

through the Entomological Society of America and 

its content is specific to entomological research 

(Shockley, 2009, available at

resources/Systematics_Resources). Other resources 

include an annual “Database Issue” published 

through the journal Nucleic Acids Research that 

provides a listing and brief description of new 

or updated molecular databases each year (see 

Galperin and Fernández-Suárez, 2011). Several 

other cyberinfrastructure guides have been 

published in peer-reviewed journals recently with 

the intent of assisting researchers in using data-

sharing tools or other networked technologies; 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

 “What taxa might be present 

at my study site?”

1. Checklists—These lists describe which species 

are present in a certain locality but can also reveal 

erroneous records of taxa or the significant absence 

of others. Checklists for a given region are not static, 

since species occurrences do change over time. 

Checklists can also be used to develop hypotheses 

about ecological interactions and biographical 

histories of taxa and to refine taxon distribution 


Catalogue of Life (CoL):
Catalogue of Life is a partnership linked 

with several other important projects related to 

biodiversity (such as GBIF and EOL, described 

below) and aims to create an integrated checklist of 

all living organisms. There are 1.3 millions species 

included already, about 70% of known species. CoL 

can be used to look up a species’ taxonomy and to 

compile regional checklists.

Checklists of Lichens and Lichenicolous 




This website hosts checklists of lichens worldwide. 

It also includes information about collectors, the 

general diversity of lichens, and assessments of 

known species in several countries. The resource 

is maintained by contributing lichenologists from 
around the world.

eFloras provides a searchable database of regional 

floras, including checklists, interactive keys, image 

galleries, and herbarium records. eFloras can be a 

powerful tool for learning about particular taxa in a 

given study site or geographic region. 

and Permitting, and (7) Laboratory Protocols

We continue with suggestions on how and where 

to get training with (8) Courses, Workshops, and 

Guides and another important part of graduate 

student life, learning the process of applying for 

grants under (9) Funding. We carry on with 

suggestions of resources that will help students to 

analyze their data, such as (10) Computing, (11) 

Molecular and Phylogenetic Databases, and (12) 

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 

Maps. After that, we identify resources to assist 

students with networking and learning about their 

profession in (13) Professional Societies, and (14) 

Social Networking. Finally, we have discussed 

some relevant resources for obtaining a job in (15) 

Employment and Career Development. Each 

of these categories has been selected because it 

represents an important concern for beginning 

researchers, and we preface each category with an 

example of typical questions that may occur to new 

graduate students. Some categories are noticeably 

absent, such as a section on how to improve 

teaching skills and where to find teaching materials, 

as we feel such categories are beyond the scope of 

this effort. 

As a static list of web-links, this guide’s lasting 

value is admittedly ephemeral and as the product 

of several individual’s efforts, it is neither 

comprehensive nor claims to be authoritative. 

Moreover, we urge a sense of critical skepticism 

in using data or services from any internet site 

as errors can and do occur in their creation. As 

always, it is good practice to verify the source of the 

information and, if errors are found, to contact the 

site administrator with corrections. It is our hope 

that the electronic form of this guide hosted by the 

Botanical Society of America, http://www.botany.


will become the basis of a curated, community-

driven resource for all botanical and lichenological 

systematists, as well as a means of welcoming new 

students into the era of Big Data. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Arkive - Images of Life on Earth:
Arkive is a project to centralize a digital image 

library from organisms across different domains 

of life, but with an emphasis on creating an image 

library of endangered species before they become 

extinct. It has high-quality videos and photographs 

of algae, plants, fungi (including lichens), and 

animals in nature and/or as voucher specimens. 

Flickr is a website (from Yahoo) used to share 

and manage pictures. It provides a search tool that 

improves its basic features. Flickr may not always 

provide scientifically accurate identification for 

images; however, Flickr does support image sets 

that are managed through other web resources 

listed in this guide, such as the Biodiversity Heritage 

Library and the Encyclopedia of Life. The Flickr 

format allows commenting on images, which may 

help researchers to identify unknown specimens. 

Inside Wood:
Inside wood is a project to promote knowledge 

in wood anatomy. This site is useful for both 

research and teaching applications, with a search 

tool and large image database. The website provides 

an interactive key with over 200 features of wood 

anatomy that can help one to identify the material 

under examination.

Karlostachys Plant image gallery:


This photo album contains more than 50,000 

plant images, organized by family and lower 

taxonomic ranks. Photos have been collected from 

around the web; users should take care to properly 

credit the original photographer and verify 


Lichens Home Page—Sharnoff Photos:


Kew World Checklists of Selected Plant 

Families (WCSP):
WCSP contains updated checklists of 173 plant 

families in different stages of completion. Users can 

also develop their own checklists using a tool on the 

site. By selecting the family and genus under study 

as well as the continent and region of interest, the 

user may generate a summary or detailed checklist. 

Lichenicolous fungi —worldwide checklist:
A curated checklist of lichenicolous fungi, which 

are fungi that live exclusively on lichens as host-

specific parasites, broad-spectrum pathogens, 

saprotrophs, or commensals (Lawrey and Diedrich, 

2011). It is useful to lichen systematists, since 

lichen-fungus interactions are diagnostic for 

certain lichen lineages.

North American Lichen Checklist:


A curated checklist for the lichen-forming, 

lichenicolous and allied fungi of continental United 

States and Canada with 5,355 species currently 

included (Esslinger, 2012). It is a cumulative project 

since the original version was first posted online in 

1997 with 3,580 species, and it has been updated 

yearly by Dr. Theodore L. Esslinger at North Dakota 

State University. 

“Where can I find high 

quality images of my taxa?  

Are there interactive learning 

tools available online to help 

reinforce difficult concepts and 

classroom material?”

2. Visual and Other Multimedia—  Visual and 

multimedia resources are critical to systematics 

research by providing rich, descriptive information 

for the taxa of interest as well as their habitat. Visual 

and other multimedia resources include databases 

and interactive galleries with collections of images. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Smithsonian Institution Plant Image 

A searchable collection of more than 49,000 

plant images, including species and their habitats. 

All images are freely available for non-commercial 

use, if properly credited. 

Texas A&M University Vascular Plant 

Image Library:
A gallery of vascular plant images organized by 

taxa. The gallery is organized alphabetically, first by 

family and then by genus. 

Ways of Enlichenment:


This site provides a regularly updated database 

of lichen images, which is searchable by several 


“Where can I find relevant 

information about the taxa I 

am working on?”

3. General Plant and Lichen Biodiversity—

In this section, we aim to help people identify 

information about taxa of interest. Most of these 

resources include websites that contain digital 

books, voucher specimens belonging to important 

collections, links to other sites, and repositories of 

images, but they may also include phylogenies and 

identification keys.

3a. Biodiversity reference—Angiosperm 




A searchable website and tool for up-to-date 

information on angiosperm phylogenetics, hosted 

through the Missouri Botanical Garden. This site 

is organized according to ordinal classification and 

taxa are searchable on a scrolling left-hand panel. 

The angiosperm phylogeny website also includes 

This website offers a photo collection to help 

users identify more than 1,200 lichens of North 

America. The website is linked to the most up-to-

date North American Lichen Checklist and it was 

developed by two lichen photographers and several 

lichenologists. The photographs were taken in the 

development of the book Lichens of North America 

(Brodo, Sharnoff, and Sharnoff, 2001).

Morphbank is a free database containing 

hundreds of thousands of specimen-based 

biological images. It allows researchers to deposit 

taxon images in private or private workspaces and 

to query other images deposited in the database.

Mushroom Observer:
Mushroom Observer is a portal dedicated to fungi 

pictures. It helps people to identify different types 

of fungi, including lichens, in addition to offering 

networking opportunities. Users can upload 

pictures and the community may help identify 

species based on images. This helps establish a 

dialog among amateurs and professionals. It also 

has a search tool to easily find a specific taxon.

Paldat is a palynological database of images 

and other pollen data for plant research. Paldat is 

maintained by the Society for the Promotion of 

Palynological Research in Austria. 

Pictures of tropical lichens:
The largest collection of pictures of tropical 

lichens online, including a searchable list of 

thousands of species with photo credits and locality 

data. Photos are organized by genus and species. It 

is maintained by several lichenologists around the 

world and is linked to Index Fungorum and GBIF 

(both databases are listed below).

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

General MOBOT Resources:


Missouri Botanical Garden’s website lists 

numerous general botanical resources. It hosts 

several links to regional floras (linked to tropicos.

org), and additional databases with valuable 

information about plants.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility 

GBIF is a freely accessible resource for biodiversity 

information, including taxa, distribution, and 

digitization services. Much of the data available 

on GBIF is shared with and retrieved from other 

web-based biodiversity resources, including the 

databases of natural history collections. GBIF 

currently includes over 400 million records and 

continues to grow. GBIF communicates with many 

other biodiversity-related web resources, making it 

one of the largest biodiversity data tools available 


Global Plants Initiative (GPI):
The Global Plants Initiative (GPI) is an 

international collaboration with the goal of 

digitizing and making available plant type 

specimens, as well as other resources to be used in 

education. The output of GPI is presented through 

JSTOR Plant Science. 

Google Books
Google books is another service for searching 

freely available online literature.

JSTOR Plant Science:
This site is a digital archive and repository of 

plant science resources, specializing in historical 

collections. It contains numerous images and type 

collections, as well as digitized floras. Priorities 

of this initiative currently include digitizing type 

specimens; 2.2 million specimens are expected 

distribution maps, a regularly updated bibliography, 

and glossary in addition to the detailed information 

on taxa.

Biodiversity Heritage Library:
BHL is a consortium of natural history 

libraries with the goal of providing thousands 

of historical biological documents online. A 

digitized bibliography helps users find old and new 

literature, which may be otherwise hard to find. 

One can browse by author, year, subject, titles, and 

languages, among other search criteria (e.g., search 

by species name).

Cyberliber: an Electronic Library for 



Cyberliber is a digital library dedicated primarily 

to fungi (including lichen literature). There are 

several books, journals, and catalogues available 

online as well as a search tool to find literature 

about the study taxa. 

Encyclopedia of Life (EoL):
The Encyclopedia of Life is a publicly accessible 

database of natural history information that 

was initiated in 2007 with the goal of developing 

“a webpage for every species”. With several 

collaborating institutions, EoL actively pursues 

this goal with a priority list for certain taxa. The 

Encyclopedia of Life continues to be updated and 

is a growing resource for researchers, as well as 

those with a passing interest in biodiversity. The 

EoL contains nomenclatural, phylogenetic, and 

visual and multimedia content for taxa. Much 

of the content is collected from other web-based 

biodiversity resources, such as GBIF, LifeDesks, 

Tropicos, etc. 

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Tropicos is a database and information network 

maintained by the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Tropicos contains specimen, nomenclature, 

distribution, and other reference data for plant 

specimens from around the world, specimen data 

are mostly gathered from their holdings. 

3b. Biodiversity tools—

Discover Life:
Discover Life is an initiative for educators and 

researchers that provides interactive tools for 

learning about biodiversity. Classroom activities 

and more complex student research projects are 

presented on the site. It includes online tools for 

developing labels, field guides, and maps as well as 

storage for images of taxa and locality information. 

Locality data for accessions can be uploaded and 

linked to a particular accession to generate maps 

and labels quickly. 

Internet Directory for Botany (IDB):
The IDB is an extensive catalog of botany-related 

websites, organized alphabetically. Numerous 

gardens, guides, checklists, organizations, and 

other databases and references are included; the list 

is searchable.

iPlant Collaborative:
The iPlant Collaborative has developed a suite of 

cyberinfrastructure tools for plant biologists. The 

site promotes collaboration, learning, and research 

in plant science. Educational and research resources 

developed by the iPlant team cover evolutionary 

development, genomics, and phylogenetics. 

Researchers can use information resources such 

as cloud computing and storage on the iPlant 

Atmosphere service. iPlant also offers community-

networking tools.

to be digitized by 2013. Other resources, such as 

regional floras, are also available. 

Kew Science and Research Resources:


The website of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew 

describes their extensive research programs and 

distributes photographs, videos, collections data, 

and more. 

Lucid Key Database:;/


This online tool allows users to search for 

interactive keys based on several criteria, including 

taxon, geographic range, and ecological features. 

Missouri Botanical Garden Research Links:


The pages associated with this site contain many 

hyperlinks to resources relevant to systematics 

researchers, under categories such as phylogeny, 

botany, societies and organizations, and tropical 


Recent Literature on Lichens:


This website is updated often; therefore, it is 

a valuable tool for finding current publications 

pertaining to lichens.

Tree of Life:
The Tree of Life Web Project (ToL) is a 

collaborative effort of researchers to provide 

information about the biodiversity. Contributors 

must apply for authorship on taxon pages and 

supply a description of the morphology and 

evolutionary history (phylogeny) for each taxon. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

any type of free text. This service is very useful for 

finding names in encrypted or image-based PDFs.

Index Fungorum and Species Fungorum:
Index Fungorum and Species Fungorum are 

nomenclatural databases for fungi (including 

lichens) with over 380,000 names. 

Integrated Taxonomic Information System 

ITIS is a federally funded taxonomic data 

clearinghouse for organisms, predominantly those 

found in North America, and aims to provide up-

to-date authoritative information. Data are collated 

from US, Canadian, and Mexican partner agencies 

and are provided to larger global clearinghouses, 

such as GBIF. It also provides the user with a list of 

experts for given taxa and links to where one can 

find information about individual species.

International Code of Nomenclature for 

algae, fungi, and plants online (ICN):
The ICN establishes rules for nomenclature and 

is the most authoritative resource for understanding 

the nomenclatural system for plants and lichens.

International Plant Names Index (IPNI):
The International Plant Names Index (IPNI) is a 

searchable database containing information on plant 

nomenclature, authorities, and author publications. 

IPNI is an excellent resource for looking up plant 

names and authors. Nomenclatural data come from 

the Index Kewensis database, supported by the Kew 

Botanical Gardens. 

MycoBank is a database created with the purpose 

of serving the scientific community through 

documentation of new mycological nomenclature 

(names and combinations, including lichen) and 

other data, such as descriptions and illustrations.

Symbiota provides software tools for sharing 

biodiversity data. Symbiota packages facilitate the 

development of electronic floras and faunas, keys, 

and other resources for improved collaboration on 

biodiversity research projects. 

“How do I correctly use 

taxon names and know which 

one is valid?”

4. Nomenclatural Resources—Nomenclature 

is the practice of establishing the correct name 

for a taxon and is a key component of systematic 

research. Knowing a little bit of Latin can help, 

but understanding the International Code of 

Nomenclature (ICN) and using the correct 

taxonomic reference databases is essential. It is 

important to note here that taxonomy and its 

attendant nomenclature do change over time, for 

reasons that may be subjective (e.g., opinion of 

the researcher) or objective (e.g., changes in ICN 

rules). Consequently many databases do not reflect 

the current consensus regarding the accepted 

name of a given taxon but may list bibliographic 

information about possible synonyms. Moreover, 

nomenclatural databases may have errors in them.  

You should always verify names with reference to 

the most recent taxonomic literature in addition to 

scrutinizing the original publication documents. 

As always, it is good practice to contact the online 

nomenclatural database administrators with 

corrections if errors are found. 

This database includes nomenclatural resources 

in algae, including taxa that are part of the lichen 


Global Names Initiative (GNI):
This website helps you to find information about 

biological groups across all domains of life through 

a search system that leads the user to other web 

resources. Under the find names service, the system 

detects scientific names in documents, URLs, or 

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to a searchable index of international herbaria, as 

well as links to organizations that serve herbarium 

curators and provide best practices for collections-

based research, including preparation of specimens 

for both physical and digital preservation. 

Registry of Biological Repositories:
Biorepositories is a database of natural history 

collections accession information. Biorepositories 

works with numerous institutions and will also be 

linking with other large collections databases in the 

near future, including Index Herbariorum (below).

Consortium of North American Bryophyte 

Herbaria (CNABH):
CNABH is a distributed network dedicated to 

integrating herbaria that carry bryophytes. It offers 

tools to locate voucher specimens as well as their 

images, plus checklists curated by experts in the 


Consortium of North American Lichen 

Herbaria (CNALH):
CNALH is similarly to CNABH but integrates 

lichen research tools. Both were initially created 

by the American Bryological and Lichenological 

Society, but currently are maintained by separate 


Index Herbariorum (IH):

h t t p : / / s c i w e b . n y b g . o r g / s c i e n c e 2 /


Index Herbariorum is a searchable database 

of all herbaria in the world. IH merged with in 2012 and can also be accessed 

through their website.

Integrated Digitized Biocollections 

iDigBio is an online resource for promoting 

the digitization of biological collections. This 

site facilitates digitization and makes digitized 

specimens available to the public. 

The PhyloCode is a formal set of rules governing 

phylogenetic nomenclature. It is designed to name 

the parts of the tree of life by explicit reference to 

phylogeny. The draft is available online and is open 

for suggestions and comments.

The Plant List:
This site contains a working list of all known 

plant species. It provides an accepted name for 

most species along with links to all synonyms.

This web-based application searches for names 

and synonyms of plant species. Users can submit 

a taxonomic query and a list will be returned via 

email from the Tropicos and Plant List databases. 

Universal Biological Indexer and Organizer 

Ubio is designed to integrate biological name 

data and classification data. The Name Server tool 

is described as a biological “name thesaurus”. It also 

contains introductory information on classification 

and species concepts. 

“Where can I find scientific 

vouchers for study? How 

do I handle specimens 


5. Collections and Collections Management—

Herbaria are located all over the world and are rich 

sources of material for plant and lichenological 

systematics research. Contacting these institutions 

and examining loans of specimens is a component 

of many systematics research projects. These 

specimens, all of which are irreplaceable and 

unique samples of the natural world, require 

archival storage conditions and careful handling 

procedures, and all beginning researchers should 

be aware of these practices. The following are links 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

may be importing or exporting listed species which 

require a CITES permit. National agencies charged 

with permitting can be found at http://www.cites.


Lichen collection and identification at the 

Farlow Herbarium, Harvard University:


This website hosts guides to several subjects 

in general and North American lichenology. It 

provides a vast list of literature about different 

topics when working with lichens in the US, but 

also gives tips on important characters of different 

morphotypes in lichens. Under the “How to collect 

lichens?” link, the site offers detailed advice on 

how to collect lichens appropriately based on 

text developed by Philip F. May. The information 

available in the website contributes good quality 

material and analysis in depth. 

Missouri Botanical Garden Field 



This website describes standard techniques used 

by MOBOT botanists in the field. Techniques are 

categorized and can be browsed with detailed 

descriptions for each. 

United States Fish and Wildlife Service 

(FWS): and


The USFWS provides permits for research 

activities in localities under USFWS jurisdiction. If 

you are uncertain whether your research requires 

permits, visit the link above or contact a FWS 


United States National Park Service (NPS):


The USNPS grants permits for collecting wildlife 

materials from locations within the US National 

Park system. 

International Society for Biocuration (ISB):
Like SPNHC (below), ISB is a leading 

international organization for biocuration and 

provides support of and advocacy for biocuration. 

Kew Herbarium Catalogue:
Similar to Index Herbariorum (above), the 

KHC provides a searchable listing of international 


Society for the Preservation of Natural 

History Collections (SPNHC): 
SPNHC is an international organization 

that promotes the curation, preservation, and 

innovation of natural history collections and 

provides resources for researchers interested in 

such collections. 

“I need to collect specimens, 

how do I do this legally?”

6. Fieldwork and Permitting—As a graduate 

student, you might need to collect your own 

material, which means you may need a permit to 

do so legally. We acknowledge that different parks, 

states, and countries have different permitting 

processes; therefore, we encourage the user of this 

guide to look for specific laws that apply to the 

relevant jurisdiction. We have some suggestions 

to help start the process. Outside the US, the best 

recommendation is to contact a colleague at a local 

accredited institution rather than trying to start the 

permit process on your own.

Convention on International Trade in 

Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and 

Flora (CITES):
CITES is an international organization that 

governs the import and export of endangered 

species across international borders. CITES also 

helps facilitate communication of researchers who 

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“I need intensive or 

specialized training not 

available at my university” 

“Where can I find lectures 

and other learning material 


8. Courses, Workshops, and Guides—Courses 

and workshops are an important part of graduate 

student training, but sometimes your university 

doesn’t offer everything you need. In this section, 

we include a list of courses in systematics-related 

fields that are offered annually by institutions 

with open registration to graduate students and 

professionals. We also present a short list of guides 

for different programming and scripting languages. 

Each guide is written with a specific emphasis on 

biological applications or programming languages 

that are often used by those in biological disciplines. 

8a. Computing languages for research

Codecademy is a free training service available 

to anyone that offers computer code teaching 

exercises for basic and advanced programming 

applications. Guided teaching modules allow users 

to familiarize themselves with basic scripting tools 

for writing their own applications and developing 


iTunes Podcasts on iTunes U:
iTunes U provides lecture and classroom content 

for download. Material available through iTunes U 

is available through any device that can run iTunes 

software. Lectures can be recorded, uploaded, and 

stored on iTunes and made available to students or 

the general public. Photos and other multimedia 

documents can be stored along with individualized 

notes that can be synchronized with the lecture. 

This is a free resource, and several universities 

and colleges are already making lectures publicly 

available through this venue.

“Where can I find 

information about protocols 

for a new or unfamiliar 

laboratory technique? Are 

there tools available online 

to help me troubleshoot my 

methods and protocols?”

7. Laboratory Protocols—Developing new lab 

protocols or troubleshooting existing protocols can 

often take more time than first expected. Searching 

for the right reference can be difficult; however, 

there are some helpful resources available to resolve 

your problems. Two texts highly recommended for 

laboratory basics and troubleshooting are Barker 

(2005) and Hillis, Moritz, and Mable (1996).

Lab Protocol:
Lab Protocol provides information for 

researchers to look up protocols available from 

different institutions and to store their own 

methodologies for easy access. This resource has 

protocols in several areas of biology.

Promega, Inc.: 

Promega is a well-known distributor 

of molecular laboratory products and services. 

Although most support offered online through 

Promega is specific to products they offer, they also 

offer many protocols, tools, and other resources 

free of charge. 

Protocol Online—Your lab’s reference book:
Protocol online offers a variety of protocols 

related to biology in several subcategories. It also 

provides creative ideas for activities for teaching 


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Udacity provides free teaching modules for 

the public in basic and advanced computer 

programming applications. Udacity’s teaching 

modules are guided and application-based. All 

lessons can be completed within the web browser 

of choice.

8b. In-person resources—

Bodega Phylogenetics:
Bodega Phylogenetics hosts an annual Applied 

Phylogenetics Workshop each summer at the 

Bodega Marine Lab in Northern California. The 

Bodega Phylogenetics team also maintains and 

actively updates their Wiki page, where visitors can 

download tutorials and participate in discussions. 

Evolution and Genomics (Evomics):
Evomics offers workshops and training in 

molecular evolutionary biology and genomics. 

Tutorials and other resources are available through 

their website and several workshops are hosted 

internationally throughout the year. 

Molecular Evolution:
This organization offers US and European 

workshops and as well as online training modules 

for topics in molecular evolution, comparative 

genomics and phylogenetics. 

National Evolutionary Synthesis Center 

NESCent is a non-profit organization that 

supports interdisciplinary research in evolutionary 

biology. The organization sponsors annual training 

courses and small group workshops and offers 

fellowships for students. 

Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS):
OTS is a non-profit organization created in a 

partnership between universities from the US, 

Australia, and Latin American countries to promote 

training in tropical field biology. It offers field 

courses in Costa Rica year-round to undergraduate 

and graduate students on topics ranging from 

tropical plant systematics to conservation biology. 

Eagle Hill Institute and Foundation:


This institute and foundation is a nonprofit 

organization dedicated to education, especially in 

the natural history sciences. It offers field courses 

on lichens and plants, among other organisms, 

every year between May and September on its 

campus in Maine, the site of the former Humboldt 

Field Research Institute. 

“How will I fund my 


9. Funding—Securing funds for research is a 

requirement for anyone who wishes to pursue 

research professionally, and graduate school is 

an excellent place to begin grant writing. Often, 

professional societies (see later category) offer small 

research and travel grants to graduate students 

specifically. Private businesses as well as non-profit 

organizations such as philanthropic foundations 

as well as local and federal government agencies 

sponsor larger awards, which may include grants 

for research or more inclusive research fellowships. 

Below are links to groups besides professional 

societies that provide funding opportunities for 

graduate research in the sciences. 

American Philosophical Society (APS):
APS has provided grants in support of basic 

research since 1933. There are several grant and 

fellowships opportunities available to students and 

early career scientists.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

processors; it is also termed distributed computing

We suggest that users new to cloud computing 

always prepare a short input file as a test to make 

sure that data can be uploaded to, analyzed by, and 

retrieved from the cloud-based software service 

successfully. Conducting similar tests using local 

installations of the distributed software can also 

help new users use cloud resources most effectively. 

We also recommend that users explore a scripting 

language to familiarize themselves with common 

notation and file formats. A thorough introduction 

to computing for phylogenetic biologists is 

described in Haddock and Dunn (2011). 

10a. Cloud computingCloud computing 

allows users to both store data and conduct 

computational tasks remotely. Remote storage and 

computing can be valuable for backing up data 

and also accomplishing tasks that often exceed the 

processing power or time available to researchers 

at their home institution. Many cloud resources are 

available for modest fees or are free. 

Amazon Web Services:
AWS offers for-cost storage and distributed 

computing services for a variety of tasks. Many 

users have developed computing pipelines for 

analyzing genomic datasets through AWS. 

Cyber Infrastructure for Phylogenetic 

Research (CIPRes):
CIPRes Science Gateway is a user-friendly 

portal for performing computationally intensive 

phylogenetic analyses. It is a free service, but the 

user needs to create an account. An individual 

account is allowed to consume up to 30,000 CPU 

hours of computing time, or 50,000 for users 

affiliated with US institutions. Once a data file 

has been uploaded, that file can be analyzed using 

any of the tools available on CIPRes. CIPRes also 

provides detailed instructions for file formatting 

and file testing. 

University of Oslo Bioportal:
The Bioportal is another free and user-friendly 

portal for conducting phylogenetic analyses but 

The Fulbright student program has been active 

since 1946 and provides competitive research 

awards to students internationally, although this 

link is for students who are US citizens. Research 

awards include funding for residency in the country 

of study. 

Garden Club of America (GCA):

http://w w


The GCA offers grant-based awards for several 

categories of plant-related research. 

National Geographic:


National Geographic has annual openings for 

grants in many subjects relevant to systematists, 

including a program for scientists under the age of 

25. Their site has a search tool under the section 

“grants A-Z,” which can help narrow down the 


National Science Foundation (NSF):
Opportunities for students include graduate 

research fellowships and doctoral dissertation 

improvement grants (DDIG). NSF also provides 

links to other funding sources for scientific research 

in broad categories. 

“Is there a software program 

that can do X, Y, or Z with my 

data already? Or do I have to 

write it myself?” 

“I have a lot of intensive 

computational analyses to do, 

but not enough machines or 


10. Computing—Computing resources for 

systematics research have been categorized here as 

cloud computing resources and software resources. 

Cloud computing may occur on one or many remote 

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Biopython Tutorial and Cookbook:


This online tutorial of Python is relevant for 

computation of biological datasets. A library 

of Python scripts for phylogenetic analyses 

(DendroPy) is available through http://packages.

BLAST: Basic Local Alignment Search Tool 

BLAST finds regions of similarity between DNA 

or protein sequences. It compares user-uploaded 

sequences and/or sequences already in the NCBI 

database (see above) and provides information 

about the potential identity of query sequence data 

based on matches in the system. 

The Felsenstein Phylogeny Program Pages 

at the University of Washington:


This is a curated and frequently updated 

descriptive list of software programs for systematics 

research, with an emphasis on phylogenetic and 

population genetic analysis software packages. 

The user can search for software by name, method, 

computer system, etc. 

R is a computing language with broad 

applications for statistical research. We recommend 

the APE package in R, which supports comparative 

phylogenetic functions. 

Text Wrangler:

http://w w w.b areb duc ts/


Text Wrangler is a dedicated text editing 

program appropriate for manipulating datasets and 

command files. It offers greater editing capabilities 

than standard word-processing programs (e.g., 

MS Word). For example, it has more “search and 

replace” options and interconverts UNIX, PC, 

and Macintosh line-break formats. It is free, but 

only available for Macintosh OS. We recommend 

supports a wider range of software programs, 

including those specifically for population genetics 

analyses. It hosts more than 40 programs and 

allows users to download these programs to their 

local computers as well. 

10b. Software and ToolsThere are numerous 

phylogenetic software programs available for 

download, some of which are free and open-source 

and others that are proprietary and/or must be 

purchased. An important point to remember is that 

not all programs are subject to rigorous beta testing 

and that their performance cannot be guaranteed. 

Popular programs typically have community-

based message boards, such as wikis, that may list 

important bugs or other limitations not otherwise 

described in the user-manual. Many of the 

programs do not have a GUI component and must 

be run from the command line, thus one of the first 

steps to using them is to become familiar with this 

type of operating environment. We also suggest 

using a stand-alone text-editing program, such 

as TextWrangler, in which to create and modify 

command files. Hall (2011) and Lemey, Salemi, 

and Vandamme (2009) also present guidance on 

creating phylogenetic trees through some practical 

software exercises and explain the theory behind 

the methods used.

Alignment Transformation EnviRonment 

ALTER is a tool that interconverts file formats. 

Different software programs often use separate file 

formats (e.g., .nex vs. .phy), and you will inevitably 

need to perform file conversions between them.

The wiki available through BioPerl offers 

resources for training biologists in the use of 

Perl scripts for data analysis. Script templates for 

common tasks are available for download and the 

community at BioPerl is able to answer questions 

for users who encounter problems with datasets or 

Perl scripts. 

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journals have limited printed space, Dryad offers 

an opportunity to the authors to deposit additional 

information and make it available online for further 

investigation and discussion. 

National Center for Biotechnology 

Information, including GenBank:
The Center, funded by the US federal 

government, maintains GenBank, which is the 

centralized database for biological sequence data, 

in addition to other molecular genetic databases. 

GenBank is part of a consortium of international 

sequence databases, including the DNA Databank 

of Japan (DDBJ) and European Molecular Biology 

Laboratory (EMBL), and cross-lists their entries 

as well. Currently there are more than 100 million 

sequence records in GenBank, each of which is 

publicly searchable. NCBI also maintains a number 

of online analysis tools, such as BLAST, that can 

facilitate systematics research. 

TREEBASE allows researchers to submit and 

store “phylogenetic trees and the data used to 

generate them” used in support of published 


 “Where can I find maps to use 

in presentations, publications, 

and analyses? GIS software is 

expensive and challenging to 

use, so are there any tools that 

make this easier?”

12. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and 

MapsVisualizing and analyzing distributional 

data of taxa are often critical components of 

systematics research projects. Below are links to 

map resources and other data, as well as software 

for geographic analysis of biological data.

Notepad++ (

) as an 

alternative to Text Wrangler on the P.C.

This site is similar to the Felsenstein Phylogeny 

Program site (above) in that it is curated by a 

single individual. However, it includes a more 

detailed search engine and discussion of analytical 

problems that may not yet be addressed by available 


Wikipedia: List of phylogenetics software


This list is frequently updated by the broader 

phylogenetics community. For each program entry, 

there is a short description, a citation, and link to 

the web address for each program.

“Has someone else collected 

a dataset I could incorporate 

into my own research? Where 

can I archive and store my 

data, besides my lab notebooks, 

my hard drives, and my 


11. Molecular and Phylogenetic Databases— 

Many open access databases exist for storing 

and sharing biological data, and archiving one’s 

data in these locations is often a prerequisite for 

publication. In all cases listed here, accessing and 

downloading data are free.

Barcode of Life Database (BOLD):
BOLD is a resource meant to promote and 

support the development of DNA barcodes for 

living organisms. BOLD serves as an international 

repository of DNA barcode data and a resource for 

information on barcodes. 

This is a data repository governed by a 

consortium of peer-reviewed journals. Since most 

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12a. GIS Data—

CCAFS GCM Data Portal:
The CCAFS GCM Data Portal provides 

global climate modeling GIS data for use in GIS 

applications. These data are freely available for non-

commercial uses. 

Federal Geographic Data Committee 

FGDC is a multi-agency host of geographic data, 

which provides maps and other resources as well as 

grants and training opportunities for researchers. 

FGDC is hosted by the USGS. 

Natural Earth:
Natural Earth is a host of open access, public 

domain map, and GIS data. These high-quality 

resources are freely accessible. There is also a 

discussion forum for users.

WorldClim Global Climate Data:
WorldClim is a freely accessible data repository 

for GIS climate and ecological data. 

12b. GIS tools—

DIVA-GIS is a free GIS software package 

designed specifically for use with biological data. 

Earth Explorer:
Earth Explorer is a tool maintained by the US 

Geological Survey (USGS) that hosts searchable 

map and GIS data. 

ESRI, Inc.:
ESRI, Inc. produces ArcGIS, which is an industry-

standard geographical information software 

package. ESRI also provides GIS information and 

resources for users and hosts data, some of which 

are available for free through their website. 

MapWindow GIS:
MapWindow is a free GIS package for visualizing 

and manipulating geographic data. 

National Geographic Map Maker 

Interactive (MMI):


As the name implies, MMI is an interactive, web-

based map-making tool that uses a user-friendly 

Flash interface to explore maps of interest. Map 

images can be manipulated using the interactive 

web tool and downloaded to your computer. 

 “Are there organizations 

I can join that support my 

research, or offer assistance 

through networking and 

collaboration, funding, or 

other resources?”

13. Professional Societies—Below are several 

professional societies, besides the Botanical Society 

of America (, that are 

relevant to plant and lichen systematics researchers. 

Some publish journals, offer discounted student 

membership rates, and sponsor student research 

grants. Professional societies can be an excellent 

way to meet potential collaborators and network 

with other researchers in your field of interest. Due 

to the sheer number of international professional 

societies, we have opted to only include societies 

that are based in the North America; however, we 

have also included a few organizations that have an 

international scope but are based outside of North 


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How can I find potential 

collaborators online or join 

a community of like-minded 


14. Social Networking—Electronic social 

networking applications are becoming more widely 

used by researchers to share ideas and collaborate 

on projects. News and events can be disseminated, 

discussed, and tracked for a variety of purposes; we 

encourage readers to investigate the networking 

potential that these resources offer.
This site caters to students and researchers in 

academia, providing opportunities to “follow” the 

research of colleagues or other researchers whose 

work one might have an interest in. It allows users 

to post manuscripts and can link users based on 

their discipline and academic interests. 

Professional organizations, researchers, and 

funding institutions are networking and updating 

news and providing research announcements 

with tools available through traditional social 

networking sites, such as Facebook. 


This website allows users to make an 

account where they can store and share data in a 

searchable format. All data uploaded to FigShare 

is protected by a Creative commons license and, 

Figshare offers up to 1GB of storage for free. 

Google Plus:
Google+ is a social networking site like Facebook 

that allows for networking and following groups, 

which Google calls “circles”. 

American Bryological and Lichenological 

Society (ABLS):

American Fern Society (AFS):

American Society of Naturalists (ASN):

American Society of Plant Biologists 


American Society of Plant Taxonomists 


Canadian Botanical Association/ 

L’Association Botanique du Canada (CBA/


International Association for Lichenology 


International Association of Plant 

Taxonomists (IAPT):

Phycological Society of America:

The Mycological Society of America (MSA):

Society for Systematic Biology (SSB):

Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE):

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

LinkedIn is another social networking tool, 

which specifically focuses on networking for 

business and academic professionals. 

My-Plant is a social network hosted through 

the iPlant Collaborative (listed above). My-

Plant organizes participants by their taxonomic 

specialty using a tree-based phylogenetic approach. 

Researchers and collaborators can “join” a 

particular clade of interest and discuss research, 

news, and interact through the services available at

The site is a content sharing service that allows 

members to “pin” images, videos and other objects 

to their user page. 

 ResearchGate is a social networking website 

dedicated to professional scientists. The goal of 

Research Gate is to improve networking and 

collaboration among researchers.


Similar to the networking possibilities 

available through Facebook, Twitter has also 

become a useful tool for interacting with potential 

collaborators, as well as following news and 

information from institutions, researchers, and 

professional societies. 

“What am I going to do after 

graduation? How can I get the 

job I want?”

15. Employment and Career Development—

In this section, we focus on resources available 

to help guide students through graduate school 

to their future career. Three texts (Feibelman, 

2011; Peters, 1997; and Vick and Furlong, 2008) 

are recommended, which contain helpful tips for 

meeting and understanding career and professional 

development goals. 

The American Society of Plant Taxonomists 

job listings:


Similar to the BSA jobs website (below), the 

ASPT regularly updates position announcements 

for plant taxonomy-related careers.

Association for Women in Science (AWIS):
This association provides career resources, 

advocacy, and professional development 

opportunities to women in science.

The Botanical Society of America job 

The BSA website maintains an up-to-date 

listing of jobs available for post-doctoral research, 

fellowships, and botany-related careers.

The Chronicle of Higher Education:
This journal is a leading publication about 

news and issues in academic research, teaching, 

and administration. It also maintains an extensive 

section on academic careers and academic job 


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013


Atkins, D.E., K.K. Droegemeir, S.I. Feldman, et al. 

2003. Revolutionizing science and engineering 

through cyberinfrastructure: Report of the 

National Science Foundation Blue-Ribbon 

Advisory Panel on Cyberinfrastructure. 


jsp?org=OCI [accessed September 16, 2012].

Barker, K. 2004. At the bench: A laboratory 

navigator, Updated. Cold Spring Harbor 

Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.

Bolser, D.M., P.Y. Chibon, N. Palopoli, et al. 2011. 

MetaBase—The wiki-database of biological 

databases. Nucleic Acids Research 40: 


Brodo, I.M., S.D. Sharnoff, and S. Sharnoff. 2001. 

Lichens of North America. Yale University 

Press, New Haven & London.

Burge, S., T.K. Attwood, A. Bateman, et al. 2012. 

Database 1–7. 

Esslinger, T.L. 2012. A cumulative checklist for the 

lichen-forming, lichenicolous and allied fungi 

of the continental United States and Canada. 

North Dakota State University: http://www.

htm (First Posted 1 December 1997, Most 

Recent Version (#18) 13 December 2012), 

Fargo, North Dakota.

Feibelman, P.J. 1993. A Ph.D. is not enough: A 

guide to survival in science. Basic Books, New 

York, NY. 

Galperin, M.Y. and X.M. Fernández-Suárez. 2011. 

The 2012 Nucleic Acids Research database issue 

and the online molecular biology database 

collection. Nucleic Acids Research 40:D1-D8.

Goff, S.A., M. Vaughn, S. McKay, et al. 2011. 

The iPlant collaborative: cyberinfrastructure 

for plant biology. Frontiers in Plant Science 


Haddock, S. and C. Dunn. 2011. Practical 

computing for biologists. Sinauer Associates, 

Inc, Sunderland, MA.

Hall, B.G. 2011. Phylogenetic trees made easy: A 

how to manual, 4th Edition. Sinauer Associates, 

Inc, Sunderland MA.

Harrison, N. and C.A. Kidner. 2011. Next-

generation sequencing and systematics: What 

EvolDir is a regularly updated news and bulletin 

website for evolutionary biology. The website 

maintained postings for jobs, which include 

positions in academia, graduate student positions, 

and post docs.

Science Careers:
This site, hosted by Science Magazine, contains 

a wealth of career resources, articles, and job 


The Society for American Chicanos and 

Native American Scientists (SACNAS):
This society provides career resources, advocacy 

and professional development opportunities to 

American Chicanos and Native Americans in 



This guide is not intended to promote or 

advocate the use of any particular text, tool, 

protocol, or database over another, but rather to 

serve as a clearinghouse for and introduction to the 

wide variety of tools available to graduate students 

and early career researchers beginning their studies 

in plant or lichen systematics. Further, the authors 

hope that this guide might encourage researchers 

in other related fields to develop their own 

cyberinfrastructure navigation guides for students 

and others entering or exploring new frontiers. We 

welcome additions to this online version of this 



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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

can a billion base pairs of DNA sequence data 

do for you? Taxon 60(6):1552-1566. 

Hillis, D.M., C. Moritz, and B.K. Mable. 

1996.  Molecular systematics, 2nd Edition. 

Sinauer Associates, Sunderland MA.

Huttenhower, C. and O. Hofmann. 2010. A quick 

guide to large-scale genomic data mining. PLoS 

computational biology 6(5):e1000779.

Lawrey, J. D. and P. Diederich. 2011. Lichenicolous 

fungi—worldwide checklist, including isolated 

cultures and sequences available. Website http:// [accessed on October 8, 


Lemey, Salemi and Vandamme. 2009. The 

phylogenetic handbook: A practical approach 

to phylogenetic analysis and hypothesis testing, 

2nd Edition. Cambridge University Press, New 

York, NY. 

Parr, C.S., R. Guralnick, N. Cellinese, and R.D.M. 

Page. 2012. Evolutionary informatics: unifying 

knowledge about the diversity of life. Trends in 

Ecology and Evolution 27(2):94-103. 

Peters, R.L. 1997. Getting what you came for: The 

smart student’s guide to earning an M.A. or 

a Ph.D., Revised Edition. Farrar, Straus and 

Giroux, New York, NY.

Science Staff. 2011. Dealing with data. Science 

Special Issue. 331(6018). 

Shockley, F.W. 2009. The systematics resources web 

portal—The best web resource you’re not using 

(and may not have even known existed)… ESA 

Newsletter 32(1):5.

Vick, J.M. and J.S. Furlong. 2008. The academic job 

search handbook, 4th Edition. University of 

Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia, PA. 

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Book Reviews


Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians  ...................................................131

Developmental and Structural

The Anatomy of Palms: Arecaceae–Palmae ...................................................................133


Air Plants: Epiphytes and Aerial Gardens. .....................................................................134
Invasive Plant Ecology ...................................................................................................135

Economic Botany

Bromeliads for Home and Garden         ..........................................................................136
The Drunken Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great Drinks .....................137


Flora of the Cayman Islands, 2nd ed. .............................................................................138 

Florida Wildflowers: A Comprehensive Guide ...............................................................142


Common Mosses of the Northeast 

and Appalachians

Karl B. .  McKnight, Karl B., Joseph R. Rohrer, 

Kirsten McKnight Ward, and & Warren J. 


2013.  ISBN-13: 978-0-691-15696-5

 (Paperback, US$24.95.) 392 pp.   

Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, 

Princeton, New Jersey, 08540-5237USA.

I can’t tell you how many times I have been asked by 

amateur naturalists in New England to recommend 

a good field guide to the mosses. I usually suggest 

several books from other regions (Michigan, 

Pennsylvania, or the southern Appalachian 

Mountains) that cover broadly distributed genera, 

have color photos, and do not require a microscope 

for identification (Glime, 1993; Munch, 2006; 

Davison, 2007). For New England naturalists, these 

guides suffice for generic-level identifications, but 

the need for a regionally appropriate guide has 

persisted for far too long. Common Mosses of the 

Northeast and Appalachians fills this long-standing 

gap, covering mosses of the northeastern United 

States and Canada from Nova Scotia to Wisconsin 

and south throughout the Appalachian Mountains. 
The book’s introduction is thorough yet concise. 

Readers are taught how to use a hand lens, 

oriented to basic moss structures, and introduced 

to the moss life cycle. The authors take the time 

to review what I like to call “mossy misnomers”; 

plants whose common names include the word 

“moss,” but are not in fact bryophytes. This section 

also covers how to discern mosses from other 

small, potentially confounding plant relatives. 

Instructions are given for making a collection 

voucher, including details on how to fold collection 

packets and which information should accompany 

the specimens. The introduction concludes with 

the authors answering the burning question “What 

good are mosses?” by touching on a bevy of topics 

including the connections between mosses and 

ecosystem services as well as their usefulness to 

humans. The authors take a moment to provide 

a brief word of caution to remind the reader to 

refrain from collecting in prohibited areas, such 

as national or state parks. If there were anything 

I would add to this informative introduction it 

would be a brief discussion of moss conservation 

in order to stimulate the reader to think about the 

sustainability of harvesting economically useful 

mosses and the impact of habitat destruction on 

these and other plants. 
Common Mosses is a field-ready companion even 

in the physical sense. It is a nice compact size that 

easily fits in one hand and is covered by a clear, 

waterproof dust jacket. The first thing I noticed 

flipping through the book are the multiple colored 

tabs on the page edges. These tabs form the core 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

of the identification key, which focuses on three 

main features of the leafy gametophyte: growth 

form, leaf shape, and leaf midrib. The authors 

dedicate several pages to explaining these key 

features using both drawings and photos. Then the 

reader is directed to either the tabbed pages or the 

dichotomous keys, which are both organized into 

12 groups of mosses with similar morphologies. 

By focusing first on these three main features, the 

individual dichotomous keys are not intimidating 

in length and the majority of species are identified 

in less than ten couplets. This will be a refreshing 

identification experience for anyone who has tried 

to identify plants in the field using a guide with an 

overwhelming number of couplets. 
Both color photos and line drawings illustrate 

the 150 main species in the book. Line drawings, 

originally published in the classic two-volume 

tome The Mosses of Eastern North America (Crum 

and Anderson, 1981), focus on sporophyte capsules 

in addition to habit and leaf shape. These line 

drawings are accompanied by color photographs, 

which together comprise a full page of illustrations 

for each species. The color photos focus on 

gametophyte habit and leafy stems. Some mosses 

look quite different wet versus dry, a situation that is 

usually remedied by taking a bottle of water into the 

field for both personal and bryological hydration. 

The authors address this issue by including side-

by-side photos of both conditions for a quarter of 

the species included in the guide. Photos for some 

species include the sporophytes, but they are never 

the focus. The sporophyte phase of the life cycle is 

the most seasonably variable, and thus I think it was 

a wise choice to center the images and identification 

on gametophyte features. 
Each main species also has a full page of text 

detailing its appearance, leaves, capsules, and 

habitat(s). Broad-ranging mosses are the focus of 

this book, and rare or endemic species are lacking. 

Unfortunately, that means that species’ distributions 

are not included in the text. Including a list of 

states or small map indicating the distribution for 

each moss would have been helpful for readers to 

confirm that a species is present in their area. The 

text is complemented by a short list of “similar 

species,” and their distinguishing characteristics to 

help the reader discern them from the species in 

question. The brief treatment of “similar species” 

contributes information for an additional 46 taxa 

not covered elsewhere in the book, without adding 

multiple entries for similar taxa or lengthening 

the dichotomous keys. At the end of each species 

description, a few microscopic features are listed 

to entice readers to further explore the mosses 

beneath the microscope.
The four authors include two botany professors, 

a professional artist, and a former undergraduate 

biology student. This unique combination of 

expertise results in a particularly accessible text for 

both budding and seasoned naturalists, requiring 

only a hand lens and a desire to explore. I have no 

doubt that this guide will become a trusted field 

companion for outdoor educators and amateur 

naturalists, who may be new to moss identification, 

as well as to botanists interested in refreshing 

their moss identification skills. Common Mosses 

fills a long-standing void in moss field guides for 

the region, and, as such, this guide will make the 

identification of these small plants more accessible 

to a wider botanical audience.


CRUM, H. A., and L. E. ANDERSON. 1981. Mosses 

of Eastern North America. 2 vol. Columbia 

University Press, New York, New York, USA. 

DAVISON, P. G. 2007. A Trailside Guide to Mosses 

and Liverworts of the Cherokee National Forest. 

Blurb Inc., San Francisco, California, USA.

GLIME, J. 1993. The Elfin World of Mosses and 

Liverworts of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Isle 

Royale. Isle Royale Natural History Association, 

Houghton, Michigan, USA.

MUNCH, S. 2006. Outstanding Mosses & Liverworts 

of Pennsylvania & Nearby States. Sunbury Press, 

Inc., Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, USA. 

–J. M. Budke, Katherine Esau Postdoctoral Fellow, 

Plant Biology Department, University of California, 

Davis, California, USA. jessica.m.budke@gmail.


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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Developmental and Structural

The Anatomy of Palms: Arecaceae–


P. Barry Tomlinson, James W. Horn, Jack B. 


2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-19-955892-6 

Cloth, US$225.00, £135.00. 251 pp. 

Oxford University Press, New York, New 

York, USA

The Arecaceae is a family of superlatives—sky-high 

plants with massive, tree-like trunks and enormous, 

spreading fronds—which divide up into five 

subfamilies and 183 genera. Palms are of extreme 

economic and cultural importance in the tropical 

realm, and are an icon of the tropics recognized 

by people in all climatic zones of the world. The 

latest treatise on these plants, The Anatomy of 

Palms: Arecaceae–Palmae,  is also superlative—a 

monumental monograph that describes internal 

structure in this huge plant family in a phylogenetic 

context. Yet the book is a concise 251 pages 

containing 60 line drawings, cladograms, and 

tables, as well as 88 figures composed of some 800 

individual images.
Leading palm botanists P. Barry Tomlinson, James 

W. Horn, and Jack B. Fisher were able to tap into 

the diversity of Arecaceae at the Fairchild Tropical 

Botanic Garden in Florida, but also drew on 

material from all over the globe to document their 

anatomical swath through this predominantly 

tropical and subtropical family. Altogether, all 

183 species of Dransfield et al. (2005, 2008) were 

examined; however, only selected taxa were 

targeted for description and illustration in the 

book. Thus, the authors offer an apology for their 

“big picture approach,” although, in my opinion, 

their misgivings are unwarranted. When 800 

anatomical images are chosen out of some 2500 

altogether, you can be sure that only the best and 

most exemplary were included. Indeed, most of 

the pictorial images are color photomicrographs 

of vividly stained anatomical sections, but there 

are also a few macrographic images depicting the 

overall aspect of the palms.
It should be noted that The Anatomy of Palms is 

“only” limited to the vegetative parts of the palms, 

which must have been a massive undertaking 

in itself. Reproductive parts, with the exception 

of a few photos of distinctive fruiting heads of 

the mangrove palm Nypa, are not covered in the 

The book opens with nine introductory chapters 

on the preparation of anatomical material, the 

general construction and classification of palms, 

and the evolution of structures. The second part 

of the book, which accounts for about two thirds 

of the volume, consists of detailed descriptions of 

this structurally complex family of plants and is 

organized by subfamily, tribe, and subtribe within 

a molecular systematic framework based on the 

system of Dransfield et al. (2005, 2008b). 
The treatment of each subfamily begins with an 

introduction that includes its current biogeography, 

fossil history, and phylogenetic position. Afterwards, 

each part of the vegetative plant body is described, 

starting with the leaf and its lamina, petiole, and 

leaf sheath. The description moves on to the stem, 

root, vascular elements, and cell inclusions. When 

arranged in this standardized way, the reader is 

able to find information efficiently within each 

section. However, the anatomical description of 

each subfamily is more than a mere laundry list of 

facts, for each group is treated individually, with an 

emphasis on data and details pertaining to only that 

group. The writing in the non-anatomical sections 

is elegant and contains pertinent references, while 

that in the anatomical descriptions is succinct and 

Indeed, one thing that I really appreciate about 

The Anatomy of Palms is its good organization and 

the thoughtful application of typography. Varied, 

attractive type styles and sizes are consistently used 

to set off the different orders of headings and to 

emphasize partitions within blocks of text. With 

so many illustrations, the bookkeeping of species 

names in the figure captions and magnification size 

of the scale bars must have been a nightmare, yet all 

micrographs have a uniform scale bar placed neatly 

in the lower right at presumably the right size. I also 

like the aesthetically pleasing staining of anatomical 

sections, as well as the nod to the history of science 

in the form of lovely line drawings published 

by the first palm anatomist Hugo von Mohl in 

the mid-19th century. For those seeking specific 

information within the book, there are two indices, 

one to scientific names and a second to subjects in 

the book.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

The Anatomy of Palms is a handsome book, with 

thick, glossy paper, excellent printing, and photos 

with good color, balance, and contrast. However, 

don’t let the cheerful, palm green dustcover fool 

you, for this is a book for specialists, and not a 

general guide for the hobbyist palm-grower. Having 

said that, this publication is clearly a milestone in 

the study of the Arecaceae and a definite must for 

all science libraries, botanical institutions, palm 

systematists, and plant anatomists.



W. J. BAKER, M. M. HARLEY, and C. E. 

LEWIS. 2005. A new phylogenetic classification 

of the palm family, Arecaceae. Kew Bulletin 60: 




C. E. LEWIS. 2008. General Palmarum. The 

Evolution and Classification of Palms. Kew 

Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 

United Kingdom.

–Carole T. Gee, Steinmann Institute, Division of 

Paleontology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany


Air Plants: Epiphytes and Aerial 


David H. Benzing

2012. ISBN-13: 978-08014-5043-3

Hardcover, US$39.95. 239 pp.

Comstock Publishing Associates, a division 

of Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 


David Benzing’s exuberance is evident throughout 

this book. His love of epiphytes—their lifestyles, 

varied forms, growing places, and their relationships 

with the environment, to animals, and to humans—

captivates the reader. Benzing discusses all aspects 

of epiphytism without excessive dependence on 

technical terminology and with an understanding 

of the intellectual scope of his readership. From the 

opening section, “What is an epiphyte?,” to the final 

section on threats and conservation, he explains the 

epiphytic way of life.

The last treatment of epiphytes that accounted for 

the reaction of epiphytes to light, humidity, and 

temperature was probably that of plant geographer 

Andreas Franz Wilhelm Schimper more than 100 

years ago. Benzing covers the entire spectrum of 

epiphytic life, including the evolutionary origin 

of epiphytes, communities of epiphytes, how 

these “air plants” receive nutrients and maintain 

water balance, how they reproduce sexually and 

asexually, and how they interact with animals, 

particularly those responsible for pollination. Many 

epiphytes provide shelter and food for a variety of 

animals, especially insects, salamanders, frogs, and 

sometimes even crustaceans! Bromeliads provide 

water tanks at the bases of their leaves that harbor 

diverse animal communities elaborated by Benzing, 

who hypothesizes the benefits to animals from their 

epiphytic hosts.
A large portion of Benzing’s opus is devoted to 

describing the taxa of plants in which epiphytes 

predominate, as well as others where epiphytes are 

less dominant but still important. He discusses the 

physiological adaptations to epiphytism as well as 

the anatomical and morphological.
Major plant groups noted for epiphytism 

are Orchidaceae, Bromeliaceae, and Araceae 

among the monocots and Cactaceae, Ericaceae, 

and Gesneriaceae among the dicots. With the 

pteridophytes, ferns and lycophytes predominate. 

Carnivorous epiphytes, stranglers, and hemi-

epiphytes are treated as well as a few gymnosperms 

(e.g., Zamia pseudoparasitica of Panama). For all of 

these taxa, Benzing analyzes their physiology and 

ecology; for the cacti and gesneriads, he explores 

their hypothesized evolutionary history.
A final chapter concerns threats to epiphyte habitats, 

attempts at conservation, the role of epiphytes in 

modifying or producing microclimates, and their 

contribution to biodiversity.
The appended glossary is of great help to the 

nonspecialist who might refer to this book, and the 

references to associated literature provide direction 

for those seeking further information or who seek 

to verify conclusions drawn in this work. The 

carefully constructed index helps readers to locate 

areas of interest.
The clear and precise line drawings result from the 

talented hand of the author, and the photographs 

have been brought together to illustrate certain 

features of the text. Many of the photos were taken 

by the author in the field.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Benzing’s is a well-conceived and well-executed 

testimony to epiphytes and serves to bring together 

up-to-date information about these not very well 

understood plants. It provides a basis for further 

inquiry to round out our understanding of this 

peculiar life style of plants and points out areas 

where further study would be productive.
–William Stern, Botany Department, The Kampong, 

Miami, Florida, USA

Invasive Plant Ecology

Shibu Jose, Harminder Pal Singh, Daizy Rani 

Batish, and Ravinder Kumar Kohli (eds.)

2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-4398-8126-2 (Hard-

cover); ISBN-13: 978-1-4398-8127-9 (E-book)

Hardcover and E-book, US$99.95. 302 pp.

CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca 

Raton, Florida, USA 

Invasive Plant Ecology  is an excellent collection 

of thought-provoking essays by an international 

group of scientists, researchers, and academicians 

discussing the challenges of invasive plants 

from an ecological perspective but with multi-

disciplinary approaches. The problems of invasive 

plant species have been greatly increased with 

modern travel and transport systems between 

different regions, countries, and ecozones. Due to 

sheer negligence, and often due to lack of proper 

monitoring systems, awareness, education, and 

training, a large number of non-native plant species 

are being transported and exposed to vulnerable 

ecosystems, thereby causing severe ecological and 

environmental deterioration and rapid loss of 

endemic species. This volume includes detailed 

investigations into: the factors promoting invasive 

plant introductions; their establishment in fragile 

ecosystems across the globe; the biotic and abiotic 

factors involved in human interventions; ecological 

models; case studies; interaction between non-

native and alien plant species with the local flora; 

loss of endemic species due to severe competition 

from alien species for access to local available 

resources; efforts, strategies, and management to 

minimize the possibility of non-native or invasive 

plant introduction; and challenges of successful 

eradication and management programs. 
The editors should be credited for performing the 

challenging task of tackling this timely and critical 

ecological issue from many different angles and for 

providing multidisciplinary approaches to better 

understanding both the biology of invasion and the 

management of invasive plant species. The editors 

and authors have convincingly demonstrated 

that both multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary 

approaches are essential and, in fact, necessary 

to successfully handle this complex ecological 

issue, which has grave ecological, agricultural, 

environmental, economic, and sociocultural 

consequences for both the natural world and human 

societies. The volume also discusses spatial analysis 

and predictive modeling of alien and non-native 

invasive plants with respect to specific ecosystems. 

Prominent examples are discussed from diverse 

ecosystems from the Indian subcontinent in Asia, 

as well as from the continents of North America 

(particularly the United States) and Africa. The 

color plates, through their excellent layout and the 

simplicity and elegance of their presentation, make 

a great contribution to the work. I hope that future 

editions will include more of such plates for better 

communicating complex research to the readers. 
The volume is divided into 18 diverse chapters, 

including: “What makes alien plants so successful? 

Exploration of the ecological basis,”  “From species 

coexistence to genotype coexistence: What can we 

learn from invasive plants?,” “Exotic plant response 

to forest disturbance in the western United 

States,” “Alien plant invasion and its ecological 

implications,” “Ecology and management of 

invasive plants in Africa,” “Improving restoration to 

control plant invasions under climate change,” and 

“Economics of invasive plant management.” 
Each chapter contains summary tables, graphs, 

images, word diagrams, schematic charts, and 

a comprehensive bibliography for serious and 

enthusiastic readers to look for further information. 

The authors deserve special credit for presenting 

complex concepts and relevant case studies, and for 

explaining critical issues in simple terms without 

compromising the technical aspect of the research. 

The book will be valued for its comprehensive 

coverage of both basic and applied models 

involving invasion, establishment, and competition 

generated by invasive species in vulnerable 

ecosystems and ecozones. The editors have been 

meticulous in including both fundamental and 

applied aspects of invasive plant ecology to provide 

an excellent platform to investigate and analyze 

the challenges of invasive plant control and 

eradication strategies. They also deserve special 

credit for bringing together a diverse author group 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

of researchers, scientists, academicians, and policy 

makers. Some information overlap and redundancy 

were observed across certain chapters; however, it 

is not of any major concern. In any multi-authored 

volume, such information overlap is common when 

assembling different subtopics under a broad major 

theme or idea. In fact, one could argue that it helps 

to establish and reinforce important key features of 

the volume. 
Invasive Plant Ecology is recommended for students 

at the undergraduate and postgraduate level, 

and for researchers and academics in the fields 

of life sciences, plant sciences, botany, biology, 

plant ecology, environmental science, agriculture, 

forestry sciences, applied botany, and applied 

–S. K. Basu, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, 

Alberta, Canada.

Economic Botany

Bromeliads for Home and Garden

Jack Kramer

2011. ISBN-13: 978-0-8130-3544-4

Paperback, US$ 26.95. 160 pp. 

University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 

Florida, USA

Bromeliaceae have become popular plants for 

windowsills. Many of the more than 3000 species 

are forgiving plants to forgetful owners saving on 

water or who neglect to ask neighbors to water 

during vacations. Bromeliads please their owners 

not just with their colorful flowers but also with 

their attractive foliage, which comes in many 

shapes, sizes, and patterns. Thus, while in the 

beginning Aechmea fasciata was the predominant 

bromeliad, the diversity in garden centers has 

increased considerably. Consequently, growth 

requirements of the plants and problems growing 

them have also diversified. To address this field, 

garden writers began to include bromeliads as a 

side note in gardening books on succulents, and in 

addition, a few specialized books appeared (Steens, 

2003; Bromeliad Society of Australia, 2006). 
Jack Kramer, an experienced garden writer, 

presents in his book an overview of many genera 

and a total of 200 species. He gives important 

information on their preferences and cultivation 

for home gardeners. The scientific background 

is outdated, since the author still refers to the 

old three-subfamily system instead of the more 

recently used eight-subfamily system (Givnish et 

al., 2007). Also, at lower ranks, significant changes 

in the circumscription of genera have occurred 

(e.g., Grant, 1995) but have not been accepted by 

The book starts with a basic introduction to the rules 

of nomenclature and the history of taxonomy of the 

family and continues with a brief description of 

habitats and anatomy. However, since the emphasis 

of the book is popularizing bromeliads for indoor 

and outdoor planting, the subsequent chapters 

give advice on what to watch out for when buying 

plants, how to plant them, and how to care for 

them. These parts give information on propagation, 

cold hardiness, and forcing the plants to flower. For 

the latter, Kramer recommends putting the plant 

into a plastic bag with a ripe (ethylene-producing) 

apple. This is a common practice but not always 

successful, as we know from our own research. 

Similarly, in general, the recommendations in the 

book are suited for hobby gardeners but not for 

scientific purposes. These introductory parts are 

nicely illustrated with small drawings explaining 

recommendations in the text.
Most of the book (more than 100 pages) consists 

of descriptions of various cultivated species 

and cultivars of bromeliads. These are arranged 

alphabetically, usually with two species per page; 

each description includes a photo, three to five lines 

of description, and (usually) a sentence on how and 

where to grow them. The photos are descriptive 

but, unfortunately, several of them are out of focus. 

Most of the information on cultivation is given in 

the paragraphs at the beginning of each genus and 

is based exclusively on the experience of the author.
The book ends with a quick-reference guide that is 

supposed to aid identification by giving a table with 

characteristic plant size, flower color, leaf color, 

growth habit, and exposure, although we would 

rather use this guide as criteria for choosing plants 

before buying. The glossary should be superfluous 

for anyone who has taken an introductory botany 

Altogether, this is a small and informative popular 

science book for amateur gardeners, especially 

those in subtropical regions who can grow many of 

these species outside. It is, however, of limited value 

for more experienced or scientifically oriented 

plant growers.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013



2006.  Growing Bromeliads. Kangaroo Press, 

Kenthurst, New South Wales, Australia.


and K. J. SYTSMA. 2007. Phylogeny, adaptive 

radiation, and historical biogeography of 

Bromeliaceae inferred from ndhF sequence 

data. Aliso 23: 3–26.

GRANT, J. R. 1995. The resurrection of Alcantarea 

and  Werauhia, a new genus. Tropische und 

Subtropische Pflanzenwelt 91: 7–57.

STEENS, A. 2003. Bromeliads for the Contemporary 

Garden. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, USA.

–Dirk Albach and Lilian Müller, Institute of Biology 

and Environmental Sciences, Carl von Ossietzky 

University, Oldenburg, Germany

The Drunken Botanist: The Plants 

That Create the World’s Great 


Amy Stewart

2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-61620-046-6

Hardcover, US$19.95. 381 pp.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, 

North Carolina, USA

I was intrigued by Amy Stewart’s The Drunken 

Botanist: The Plants That Create the World’s Great 

Drinks just by reading the title. Although I am a year 

away from my 21st birthday, I am still interested in 

learning about how various plants are turned into 

alcohol (to keep the knowledge tucked away until 

next year, of course). I was surprised to find that 

this book was not an explanation of fermentation. 

Instead,  The Drunken Botanist is an immense 

collection of historical facts, tidbits, and vignettes 

rather than technical explanations of biochemical 

processes. It is not written like a novel but more 

like an encyclopedia with alphabetical entries. The 

book is broken down into three sections: the first 

about the surprisingly wide array of plants that 

are fermented and directly distilled into alcohol, 

the second detailing the herbs and spices that are 

used to flavor the distilled alcohol, and the third 

about the plants mixed with the finished alcohol 

to create a cocktail. Sprinkled throughout are 

recipes for cocktails including old standbys, like the 

Manhattan, and variations on classics, like prickly 

pear sangria. There are also tips and instructions 

for growing your own citrus fruits, lemon verbena, 

and even hops, to name a few. Stewart also debunks 

common misconceptions regarding various 

liquors. Right from the get-go, in the first chapter, 

she exposes the real reason why some tequila 

comes with a worm in the bottle—a hint: It’s not to 

enhance flavor or increase potency. 
The Drunken Botanist is definitely geared toward 

someone with a plant background or at least an 

interest in botanical sciences, which is not to say 

that someone who simply likes plants but knows 

nothing of their structure or biology wouldn’t 

enjoy this book. Every chapter heading includes 

the common name, scientific name, and family 

name—for example, the chapter on birch includes 

the subheading “Betula papyrifera, Betulaceae 

(Alder Family).” Botanical terms are sometimes 

explained or defined, and other times not. As 

examples, Stewart assumes that the reader knows 

the meanings of “bract” and “rhizome,” but explains 

how stomata work and the definition of dioecy. As 

an undergraduate research student who has only 

taken a serious interest in plants for the past year, 

I consider myself a newbie botanist. I was still able 

to understand all of the technical plant terminology 

and did not think of it as over my head.
Although it is written in a conversational tone, the 

book is dense—definitely not what I would call a 

“beach read.” The sheer amount of information 

in each section was lengthy and sometimes hard 

to keep straight, especially in the chapters on 

widely fermented plants like grapes and wheat, 

although this may be because I don’t have a wide 

knowledge of alcohol myself. Stewart is clearly very 

knowledgeable and did extensive research for this 

book—and given the volume of facts presented she 

does an impressive job of keeping The Drunken 

Botanist from reading like a dry textbook. 
One excellent aspect of the book that shouldn’t go 

unnoticed was the overall visual design. The cover 

is fantastic, with old-fashioned block serif lettering 

and swirling vine illustrations in a pleasing olive 

and sage green color scheme. The rest of the book 

uses the same colors, pen-and-ink illustrations, 

and related serif fonts, which evoked a cool, hip 

vibe. This, combined with the historical vignettes, 

definitely helped to elevate the book from just 

another book about plants into a bona fide 

botanical bible
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Drunken Botanist 

and learned a lot about the extensive array of plants 

that are used to make alcohols and cocktails and 

the stories behind them. I would recommend it for 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

any botanically inclined person with an interest 

in alcohol, and not just because the book would 

make a useful and visually pleasing addition to 

any bookshelf. Because it is accessible to readers 

just starting out in the field, I could see this on 

the reading list for an upper-level undergraduate 

botany course. I could also imagine college juniors 

and seniors, newly 21 years old, picking up the 

book because it is about alcohol and ending up with 

a new appreciation for plants. 
–Alexandra Boni, Department of Biological Science, 

Bucknell University, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, USA


Flora of the Cayman Islands, 2nd ed. 

George R. Proctor [with the editors and staff 

of Kew Publishing; Orchidaceae by James D. 


2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-403-8 

Cloth, US$136.00. 724 pp. 

Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom

The Cayman Islands include Grand Cayman, Little 

Cayman, and Cayman Brac, and together with 

several islets, cover an area of about 259 square 

kilometers, lying geographically south of Cuba 

and northwest of Jamaica. The first Flora of the 

Cayman Islands was published in 1984 by George 

Proctor, in collaboration with Martin Brunt, at the 

request of J. A. Cumber, then Administrator of the 

Cayman Islands (Proctor, 2012: 20). At that time, 

the known vascular flora comprised “601 native, 

naturalized and commonly cultivated species of 

which 102 were introduced” (Frodin, 2001: 289 

[citing Proctor, 1984]).
George Richardson (Dick) Proctor has long been 

a leader in the field of Caribbean plant taxonomy; 

he has studied the flora of more than 50 Caribbean 

islands and collected over 55,000 specimens from 

the West Indies and Central and South America 

(JSTOR, 2012). In addition to his two editions of 

the Cayman flora, he is recognized for his excellent 

major contributions to Caribbean and West Indian 

floras (Proctor, 1953; Gooding et al., 1965; Adams et 

al., 1972; Proctor, 1985, 1989; Acevedo-Rodriguez 

and Strong, 2005) and for publications based on his 

outstanding fieldwork (Kass and Eshbaugh, 1993; 

DeFilipps, 1999; Kass, under review). Colleagues 

who have joined him in the field appreciate his 

generosity, untiring energy, and willingness to share 

his knowledge (Eshbaugh, 2012; Stafford, 2012).
Proctor resumed his investigations of the Cayman 

flora in 1991, at age 71. Encouraged by friends and 

associates in the Cayman Islands, he published 

additions and corrections (Proctor, 1996; Guala 

et al., 2002), and included in this 2012 edition 

many species found more recently by him and his 

colleagues; three were added as new records after 

the manuscript was completed (Proctor, 2012: 

667–669). The history of botanical collecting in 

the Cayman Islands is reviewed and updated in the 

introduction to this new edition (see Proctor, 1994 

for additional details).
Of primary importance to amateur and professional 

botanists and conservationists are reports of over 

100 additional plant species found in the Cayman 

Islands that were not recorded in the first edition. 

The vascular flora growing without cultivation 

in the Cayman Islands now totals 716 species (27 

pteridophytes, 1 gymnosperm, 173 monocots, and 

515 dicots). Four hundred and fifteen taxa (species 

and varieties) of vascular plants are believed to be 

truly native (indigenous, not introduced by human 

agencies) to these islands. Of these, 28 species 

and varieties are endemic (confined only to these 

islands, list on pp. 15–16), seven of which are new 

species (sp. nov.), described for the first time in this 

updated edition of the Flora (Appendix II, p. 673). 

Of additional significance are the separately listed 

Cayman taxa (pp.16–17) that are also confined to 

Jamaica (17 species); Cuba (14 species); and the 

Greater Antilles, Cuba, and Jamaica (8 species). 

All taxa are characterized, and those believed to 

be introduced (“not indigenous”) are enclosed in 

square brackets.
The urgency to publish this new and updated Flora 

stems from recent deforestation and the building 

of new roads and housing developments. Such 

events threaten extermination for many unique 

plant species (mentioned above), unless efforts 

to expand the islands’ terrestrial protected areas 

programs can be expeditiously completed (pp. 15, 

18). Proctor’s book is significant because relatively 

few botanical investigations have been undertaken 

in these islands, and over half of the endemic 

species of the Cayman Islands are now endangered 

and approximately half of its indigenous species are 

threatened with extinction.

Plan of the Flora

In this new edition, the families of flowering 

plants are arranged (as they were in the first 

edition) according to Arthur Cronquist’s (1968) 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

classic taxonomic system, with a few exceptions, 

and some updating based on APG III (2009), as 

well as by family specialists at Kew and elsewhere 

(Orchidaceae, by James D. Ackerman), or by 

cross referencing to The Plant List (http://www. The Angiosperm Phylogeny 

Group (APG) strives to establish a common view 

on the classification of flowering plants, based 

mainly on evidence gained from analyses of plant 

DNA sequences. First published in 1998, the APG 

classification has been refined twice (Royal Botanic 

Gardens Kew, 2010). APG III was not applied 

to all entries in this new Flora (see editors’ note 

on the second edition, p. 7). Instead, the editors 

included a table (pp. 720–724) that lists all of the 

orders, families, and genera used by “Proctor in 

this flora against the accepted order and family 

names currently used in APG III.” More than 25 

orders and 33 families differ in the molecular-

based system from those used in this new Flora 

(based on Cronquist, 1968). A footnote to this 

table provides an abbreviated citation for Cronquist 

(1968) and APG III (2009), which are omitted from 

the bibliography. 
The layout and color scheme that offset the 

descriptions make this volume easier to use than 

the earlier edition. Descriptions of families, genera, 

and species are provided in the text, together 

with dichotomous keys for the identification of 

taxa at each level. Characters used in the keys are 

not repeated in the descriptions, so that keys are 

considered an integral part of the descriptions (p. 12).
For each species, the author includes essential 

synonymy, common names, a brief description, 

localities, distributions, economic use, and if 

invasive, threats to the community. New taxa are 

described in Latin, with type specimens designated. 

An extensive and concise glossary readily assists 

the reader with botanical terminology. Indices 

for botanical and common names are provided. 

Appendix I lists 116 “Additions to the Cayman 

Flora” by family, and did not include Scolosanthus 

roulstonii Proctor (Rubiaceae, see Appendix 

II), bringing the total to 117 plants over those 

previously described. Appendix II provides a listing 

for all new taxa in this volume.

Illustrations and Photographs

The first edition of Proctor’s (1984) Flora of the 

Cayman Islands included 256 text figures (black-

and-white line drawings), which are all republished 

in this 2012 edition; two figures are unintentionally 

given the same numbers (Fig. 104 [=103] and 

Fig. 209 [=208]). The drawings were taken from 

original illustrations by “Mr and Mrs D. Erasmus” 

and Miss V. Goaman, previously published works 

(Fawcette and Rendle, 1910–1916; Hitchcock, 

1936) “and collateral publications” (originals from 

Hunt Botanical Library, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 

USA), previously unpublished drawings (prepared 

by “Mrs D. Erasmus” for volume 6 of Flora of 

Jamaica, held “in the Department of Botany at 

the British Museum [Natural History]”), and two 

others from a book by R. Rose-Innes (no citation 

given) and from the “Orchid Herbarium of Oake 

[sic—for Oakes] Ames Botanical Museum, Harvard 

University.” Initials inserted at the end of each 

figure caption reflect the source for each drawing 

[e.g., (D. E.) represents “Mr D. Erasmus”]. 
One advantage of this second edition is the 

inclusion of approximately 400 color photographs: 

64 color plates are inserted between pages 544 

and 545 showing from six to eight photographs 

per plate. Each photograph, however, is identified 

only by family, genus, and species; photographs 

not taken by the author are acknowledged by the 

initials of the photographer, named in an earlier 

section of the book (p. 9). Color photos should 

assist both amateur and professional botanists to 

become better acquainted with the diversity of this 

unique flora.
Kass and Miller (2006) noted that evolutionary 

studies on islands found that species may vary 

greatly from their counterparts on the mainland 

because of different selection pressures and species 

isolation. Furthermore, we should not assume 

uniformity of species among larger islands (e.g., 

Cuba, Jamaica) or even between islands in the 

Caymans. For conservation purposes, Eshbaugh 

and Wilson (1996) recommended recognizing 

and documenting species differences that might 

exist for island populations in the Bahamas. 

Descriptions with accompanying accurate 

illustrations of the plants growing in situ would be 

an aid to this process (Kass and Miller, 2006; Kass, 

2009). Photographs of Cayman Island plants that 

accompany the illustrations (drawn from plants 

growing on other larger islands) are of definite 

value in this respect.
Not all species are illustrated, but those that are 

may be accompanied by a drawing, one or more 

photographs, or both. For example, the cactus 

Epiphyllum phyllanthus var. plattsii Proctor is listed 

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

as a new taxon for this volume in Appendix II, with 

accompanying page number (p. 256) and plate 

number (“P 14”), where one finds photographs 6 and 

7, depicting what appear to be the flat, thin, ultimate 

branches, and an oblong red fruit, respectively. 

Also listed in this appendix is the new taxon 

Pisonia margaretiae Proctor (p. 254, plate number 

omitted). Yet, the description on page 254 refers 

readers to “Plate 14,” where indeed photographs 

2–4 show what appear to be inflorescences in 

various states of development (reminder: the photo 

captions only provide the family, botanical name, 

and initials of the photographer). Another cactus, 

Opuntia dellenii (Ker-Gawl.) Haw. (pp. 257–258), 

previously known for this flora, is represented by 

an illustration (Fig. 90) and a photograph (“Plate 

14” [no. 8, showing one obovate joint with spines]). 

A new endemic species of AgaveA. caymanensis 

Proctor, is illustrated (Fig. 7, Plate 7, no. 3–5) by a 

drawing identified previously as A. sobolifera, from 

Jamaica, and with which it had been previously 

confused (A. Stafford to L. Kass, pers. comm., 2 

April 2013; Proctor, 1994: 240; 2012: 183, 184). 

Comparing the photographs with the drawings 

may elucidate my concerns for the importance 

of making drawings from indigenous specimens 

(Kass and Miller, 2006; Kass, in press).

Suggestions for and Limitations 

of the Flora

Readers should be aware that plant names for the 

photographs on the front “cover illustrations” are 

identified from right to left, not “left to right” as 

mentioned on the copyright page.
At first glance, it is not obvious that described 

taxa placed in brackets are not indigenous to the 

Cayman Islands (this information is buried in the 

Plan of the Flora [p. 12]). It would be helpful if the 

listed bracketed taxa were noted as such in captions 

for the Index of Botanical Names and in Appendix 

II; a notation such as “[ ] = not indigenous” might 

readily alert readers to the status of these plants.
It would be beneficial if all citations to books from 

which illustrations were reproduced (e.g., p. 8: 

Hitchcock, 1936) were listed in the bibliography, 

and useful to have therein the source for the first 

edition of the Flora (Proctor, 1984), upon which 

many of the descriptions and line drawings 

were based. Additionally, I suggest adding to the 

bibliography (pp. 698–699) all citations mentioned 

in the text (e.g., see p. 20).
The section on “environment and plant 

communities” with diagrams [Brunt, 1984], 

mentioned in the acknowledgments (p. 9), was 

omitted, and apparently replaced by a very brief 

non-illustrated introductory section on geography 

and phytogeography by Burton and Clubbe (pp. 

13–15). The natural vegetation communities of the 

Cayman Islands (Burton, 2008b) and threatened 

plants (Burton, 2008a) were published elsewhere, 

and provide detailed descriptions, but a few 

diagrams and maps would have been helpful within 

this Flora.
The urgency of this project, with respect to 

conservation efforts for the Cayman Islands, 

might explain why more careful editing was 

circumvented. It is disappointing that such a 

beautifully produced volume is diminished by the 

rush to add the addendum, which, inserted before 

the appendices, is not reconciled with them, the 

indices, or the editors’ notes. A more complete 

bibliography would also be worthwhile, as would 

more careful editing of the introductory sections, 

including the acknowledgments and the table of 

contents. Furthermore, family names in many of 

the plates are mislabeled (e.g., Plates 36, 45–47), 

photographers initials were often omitted, and 

some photographs are mislabeled (e.g., Plate 18, no. 

7 is not Hibiscus pernambucensis, but is most likely 

[H. tiliaceus L.], and neither is it indigenous, nor 

listed in Proctor, 2012; Plate 36, no. 6 is not Savia 

erythroxyloides, but is Buxus bahamensis). 
The hardbound copy, weighing about 3 lbs. and 

approximately 9.5 x 6.25 inches overall, could easily 

fit in a backpack, making it a valuable field guide. The 

many photographs, along with illustrations, should 

be helpful for accurate identifications, especially if 

an errata or corrigenda will be forthcoming.
Acknowledgments: I thank P. Ann van B. Stafford 

for helpful insights and correct plate and photograph 

identifications, and Robert Dirig for helpful 

discussions and suggested revisions on this review.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

Fawcette, W., and A. B. Rendle. 1910–1916. Flora 

of Jamaica. Vols. 1, 3, 4, 5, 7. British Museum 

(Natural History), London, United Kingdom.

Frodin, D. G. 2001. 252, Cayman Islands. P. 289 

in:  Guide to Standard Floras of the World: 

An Annotated, Geographically Arranged 

Systematic Bibliography of the Principal Floras, 

Enumerations, Checklists and Chorological 

Atlases of Different Areas, 2nd ed. Cambridge 

University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Gooding, G. E. B., A. R. Loveless, and G. R. Proctor. 

1965. Flora of Barbados. H. M. Stationary Office, 

London, United Kingdom. 

Guala, G. F., F. J. Burton, G. R. Proctor, and S. P. 

Clifford. 2002. Additions to the flora of the 

Cayman Islands. Kew Bulletin 57(1): 235–237.

Hitchcock, A. S. 1936. Manual of Grasses of the 

West Indies, “and collateral publications.” 

Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 

USA. [U.S.D.A. Misc. Publ. 243.] Available at 

Hunt Botanical Library website: http://huntbot.

HitchcockChase.shtml [accessed 3 May 2013].

JSTOR Global Plants. 2012. Proctor, George 

Richardson. Website


 [accessed October 


Kass, L. B. 2009 (issued March 2011). An Illustrated 

Guide to Common Plants of San Salvador Island, 

Bahamas, 3rd edition. Gerace Research Centre, 

San Salvador, Bahamas. 

Kass, L. B. and W. H. Eshbaugh (under review). 

An historical perspective on the contributions 

of William T. Gillis to our knowledge and 

understanding of the Bahamas’ flora: Twenty 

years later. Rhodora.

Kass, L. B., and W. H. Eshbaugh. 1993. The 

contributions of William T. Gillis (1933–1979) 

to the flora of the Bahamas. Rhodora 95 

(883/884): 369–391.

Kass, L. B., and I. Miller. 2006. A new look 

at illustrations for Flora of the Bahama 

Archipelago. Bahamas Naturalist and Journal of 

Science 1(1): 37–41.

Proctor, G. R. 1953. A Preliminary Checklist of 

Jamaican Pteridophytes. Bulletin of the Institute 

of Jamaica, Science Series No. 5. Institute of 

Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica.


Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., and M. T. Strong. 2005. 

Monocotyledons and Gymnosperms of Puerto 

Rico and the Virgin Islands. Contributions from 

the United States National Herbarium, 52. 

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, USA.

Adams, C. D., with contributions by G. R. Proctor, 

R.W. Read, and others. 1972. Flowering Plants 

of Jamaica. University of the West Indies, Mona, 


Angiosperm Phylogeny Group III (APG III). 2009. 

An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 

classification for the orders and families of 

flowering plants: APG III. Botanical Journal of 

the Linnean Society 161: 105–121.

Brunt, M. A. 1984. Environment and plant 

communities. Pp. 5–65 in: G. R. Proctor, Flora 

of the Cayman IslandsKew Bulletin. Additional 

Series 11. H. M. Stationary Office, London, 

United Kingdom.

Burton, E. J. 2008a. Threatened Plants of the Cayman 

Islands: The Red List. Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew, Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Burton, E. J. 2008b.Vegetation classification for the 

Cayman Islands. In: F. J. Burton, Threatened 

Plants of the Cayman Islands: The Red List

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, 

Surrey, United Kingdom.

Cronquist, A. 1968. The Evolution and Classification 

of Flowering Plants. Houghton Mifflin. Boston, 

Massachusetts, USA.

DeFilipps, R. 1999. George Proctor returns to 

Jamaica. The Plant Press 2(3): 6, 8.

Eshbaugh, W. H. 2012. The Flora of the 

Bahamas, Donovan Correll, and the Miami 

connection. P. 3 in:  Celebrating 30 years 

of the flora of the Bahamas: Conservation 

& Science Challenges, abstract document



Symposium-/Abstracts/ [accessed 3 May 2013].

Eshbaugh, W. H., and T. K. Wilson. 1996. On the 

need to conserve Bahamian floral biodiversity. 

Pp. 77-82 in: N. B. Elliott, D.C. Edwards, 

and P. J. Godfrey (eds.), Proceedings of the 

6th Symposium on the Natural History of the 

Bahamas, 1995. Bahamian Field Station. San 

Salvador, Bahamas.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

the plant is accompanied by a heading with the 

common name(s), followed by scientific name of 

family and species, status as native or not, a brief 

description of the plant, flowering time, habitat, 

and range within the state. Additional brief 

commentary and a list of synonyms are included 

for some taxa. Although certainly many species 

of the state’s extensive angiosperm flora are not 

included in this putatively comprehensive guide, it 

does compare favorably to other guides of similar 

focus with respect to number of taxa included. 

Some of the color photos suffer from inadequate 

focus, scale, or contrast, but most are of good to 

very good quality. Scientific names appear to be 

quite up to date; background information provided 

is occasionally not so. (The Eocene is given as 65 

million years ago; the mycoheterotroph Monotropa 

uniflora is stated to be saprophytic on tree roots.)
For plant field guides that aim to serve both the 

botanically informed and the nature enthusiast 

with limited scientific knowledge, a central issue 

is how to organize the species treated. Serving the 

latter public often means avoidance of a primarily 

family- or genus-based listing. Some competing 

guidebooks organize plants primarily by flower 

color, which isn’t always straightforward and of 

little use when the plant of interest is not in flower. 

This book takes a different tack. The author arranges 

entries according to plant communities under two 

major categories: wetlands and hardwood-forested 

uplands (confusingly named, since pine woodlands 

are included). These categories are subdivided into 

eight and 11 ecological communities, respectively. 

Within each of those 19 communities, plant entries 

are organized alphabetically by family, then genus. 

This organization does create some difficulties in 

looking up a plant of interest, since many occur in 

more than one plant community, and with much 

of Florida ravaged by wanton development one 

often cannot discern much about the surrounding 

community besides whether it is gated or not. On 

the other hand, the author’s system does compel 

the user to think and learn about the plants in a 

community context, and it must be said that the 

illustrated descriptions of the communities in the 

first part of the book go a long way in facilitating 

this effort.
Reasonably priced, this guide will be an important 

resource to amateurs and professionals alike. 

Anyone involved in learning about the plants of 

Florida will want to have a copy on hand.
–William B. Sanders, Florida Gulf Coast University, 

Fort Myers, Florida, USA

Florida Wildflowers: A Comprehen-

sive Guide

Walter Kingsley Taylor

2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-8130-4425-5

Paperback, US$29.95. 576 pp. 

University Press of Florida, Gainesville, 

Florida, USA

This medium-format field guide is a revised, 

expanded version of the author’s 1998 work, 

Florida Wildflowers in Their Natural Communities

The book includes 752 numbered plant entries 

(compared to 500 in the earlier version) arranged 

two per page. For each, a color photograph of 

Proctor, G. R. 1984. Flora of the Cayman Islands

with a section on environment and plant 

associations by M. A. Bunt. Kew Bulletin. 

Additional Series 11. H. M. Stationary Office, 

London, United Kingdom.

Proctor, G. R. 1985. Ferns of Jamaica: A Guide to 

the Pteridophytes. British Museum (Natural 

History), London, United Kingdom. 

Proctor, G. R. 1989. Ferns of Puerto Rico and the 

Virgin Islands. Memoirs of the New York 

Botanical Garden, vol. 53. New York Botanical 

Garden, Bronx, New York, USA. 

Proctor, G. R. 1994. Phytogeography of the Cayman 

Islands. In: M. A. Brunt and J. E. Davies (eds.), 

The Cayman Islands: Natural History and 

Biogeography. Kluwer Academic Publishers, 

Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

Proctor, G. R. 1996. Flora of the Cayman Islands

Kew Bulletin 51(3): 483–507.

Proctor, G. R. 2012. Flora of the Cayman Islands

Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 

Richmond, Surrey, United Kingdom.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. 2010. As easy as APG 

III: Scientists revise the system of classifying 

flowering plants. Website

news/as-easy-as-apg-three.htm [accessed 3 

May 2013].

Stafford, A. 2012. Caymannature website: Plants, 

Cayman Wildlife. Website http://caymannature. 

[accessed 3 May 2013].

–Lee B. Kass, L. H. Bailey Hortorium, Department 

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Books Received

Biology: Organisms and Adaptations: Instructor’s Edition. Robert K. 
Noyd, Jerome A. Krueger, and Kendra M. Hill. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-495-
83020-7 (Paperback US$164.95) 670 pp. Brooks/Cole, CENGAGE Learning, 
Belmont, California, USA.

The City Natural: Garden and Forest Magazine and the Rise of American 
 Shen Hou. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-8229-4423-2 (Cloth 
US$35.00) 240 pp. University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 

Combating Climate Change: An Agricultural Perspective. Manjit S. Kang 

and Surinder S. Banga (eds.). 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-4665-6670-5



US$99.95) 367 pp. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida, 

Data Analysis in Vegetation Ecology, 2nd Edition. Otto Wildi. 2013. ISBN-
13: 978-1-118-38403-9 (Paperback US$79.95) 336 pp. Wiley-Blackwell,


Somerset, New Jersey, USA.

Ecological Gradient Analyses in a Tropical Landscape (Ecological 
Bulletins No. 54). 
Grizelle González

, Michael R. Willig, and Robert B. 

Waide (eds.

). 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-118-65932-8 (Cloth US$65.00) 248 pp. 


, Somerset, New Jersey, USA.

England’s Rare Mosses and Liverworts: Their History, Ecology, and 
 Ron D. Porley. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-691-15871-6 (Cloth 
US$40.00) 232 pp. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.

A Field Guide to the Flowers of the Alps. Ansgar Hoppe. 2013. ISBN-13: 
978-1-907807-40-4 (Paperback US$32.99) 192 pp. Pelagic Publishing, Exeter, 
United Kingdom.

Flore des Bryophytes du Québec-Labrador. Volume 1: Anthocérothes 
et Hépatiques.
 Jean Faubert. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-2-98132600-3 (Cloth 
CAD$80.00) 356 pp. Société québécoise de bryologie du Québec, Saint-
Valérien-de-Rimouski, Québec, Canada.

The Genus Betula: A Taxonomic Revision of Birches. Kenneth Ashburner 
and Hugh A. McAllister (eds.). 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-141-9 (Cloth 
US$112.00) 431 pp. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, distributed by The 
University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

An Introduction to Population Genetics: Theory and Applications. Rasmus 
Nielsen and Montgomery Slatkin. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-60535-153-7 (Cloth 
US$62.95) 298 pp. Sinauer Associates, Inc., Sunderland, Massachusetts, USA.

The Kingdom of Fungi. Jens H. Petersen. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-691-15754-
2 (Cloth US$29.95) 272 pp. Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 

Measurements for Terrestrial Vegetation, 2nd Edition. Charles D. Bonham. 
2013. ISBN-13: 978-0-470-97258-8 (Cloth US$89.95) 264 pp. Wiley-


Somerset, New Jersey, USA.

Plant and Animal Endemism in California. Susan P. Harrison. 2013. ISBN-
13: 978-0-520-27554-6 (Cloth US$49.95) 189 pp. University of California 
Press, Berkeley, California, USA.

Plant Roots: The Hidden Half, 4th Edition. Amram Eshel and Tom 
Beeckman (eds.). 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-4398-4648-3 (Cloth US$199.95) 848 
pp. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, Florida, USA.

The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants, revised. Peter 
D’Amato. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1-60774-410-8 (Paperback US$25.99) 384 pp. 
Ten Speed Press, Emeryville, California, USA.

Wildflowers of the Mountain West. Richard M. Anderson, JayDee Gunnell, 
and Jerry L. Goodspeed. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-87421-895-4 (Spiralbound 
US$24.95) 302 pp. Utah State University Press, an imprint of University Press 
of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

This was my first botany conference and it 

was a great experience.

Nice diversity of talks, with important sessions on new technologies 

and methods.

Botany 2013 was by your account - a major success. 

Some images from the meeting and comments from the survey!   

Thank you, All!

Great hotel, great venue city, great 

organization. Pleasantly surprised 

by BSA’s increased proactivity, 

increased openness, and increased 

look to the future of botany.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

I was busy the whole time either presenting or judging or 

making connections with colleagues with whom to launch 

new projects...enjoyable and intensely-filled time.

It was a great congress, with many speakers and posters. It was a 

good opportunity to network. 

I would rank New Orleans as one of the best venues ever. The 

only negative was that it was a bit expensive, but overall, it is a 

great place. The hotel/conference center was convenient and the 

location in the city was also nice. And, New Orleans is simply 


Enjoyable. Great energy and spirit among those attending!

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

A great meeting to take undergraduates to

I really thought this was a great meeting - the Keynote speaker on Trees and Outreach was absolutely fantas-

tic. I met a lot of people, there was an abundance of great food outside of the hotel, and New Orleans is fun!

It was a great experience because of the people I get to meet there. I found the presentations to 

be interesting, however, the best experience for me was to be able to interact with professionals 

from different universities and learn about them.

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Plant Science Bulletin 59(3) 2013

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Plant Science Bulletin

Featured Image

The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership 

society whose mission  is to: 

promote botany, the field of 

basic science dealing with the 

study & inquiry into the form, 

function, development, diversity, 

reproduction, evolution, & uses 

of plants & their interactions 

within the biosphere.

ISSN 0032-0919 

Published quarterly by  

Botanical Society of America, Inc.  

4475 Castleman Avenue 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 

Periodicals postage is paid at  

St. Louis, MO & additional  

mailing offices. 


Send address changes to:

Botanical Society of America 

Business Office 

P.O. Box 299 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 

The yearly subscription rate of  

$15  is included in the membership  

Address Editorial Matters (only) to: 

Marshall D. Sundberg 


Department of Biological Sciences  

Emporia State University  

1200 Commercial St. 

Emporia, KS 66801-5057 

Phone 620-341-5605

Plant Science 


                                                                                    Fall 2013 Volume 59 Number 3

Bayou Rebirth’s mission focuses on restoring Louisiana’s wetlands, 

and its history dates back to 2007.  Bayou Rebirth has a dedicated 

staff, relationships with a wide variety of sponsors and partnerships, 

and a dedicated Board of Directors all working towards preserving 

and restoring Louisiana’s wetlands. See more at: http://www. 

In an effort to increase public awareness of coastal land loss and 

the need for urban resilience to climate change impacts, Bayou 

Rebirth seeks to bring together, educate, and empower residents 

of and visitors to South Louisiana through hands-on wetlands 

restoration and stewardship projects. - See more at: http://www.

Botany 2013 is proud of the volunteers who helped and donated 

their time to this very worthy cause.  Story and more pictures on 

page 83.

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The Boise Center 

July 26-30, 2014



Make your plans now for  

 Boise, Idaho...

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