Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2019 v65 No 3 FallActions

background image






Meet new BSA Student Representative,  

Shelly Gaynor.... p. 177

Students beta-testing new  

PlantingScience module.... p. 174

Old trees meet new technology.... p. 156

Botany 2019: A Fantastic Time in Tucson!

background image

                                                     Fall 2019 Volume 65 Number 3


Editorial Committee  

Volume 65

From the Editor

Melanie Link-Perez  



Department of Botany  

& Plant Pathology 

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR 97331

Shannon Fehlberg 



Research and Conservation 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Phoenix, AZ 85008

David Tank 


Department of Biological 


University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID 83844

James McDaniel 


Botany Department 

University of Wisconsin Madison 

Madison, WI  53706

I hope that those of you who made the 

trip to Tucson found this year’s Botany 

meeting to be productive and stimulat-

ing. It was my first time in Arizona and 

I particularly enjoyed the landscape. 

As always, we are pleased to list the 

winners of awards that were presented 

during the meeting. Congratulations 

to all!
I want to highlight a pair of articles in 

this issue that address botanical ed-

ucation for general audiences—one 

looking back at the work of influential 

past botanists and the other focusing 

on using modern social media tools to 

engage the community. It is important 

and inspiring to consider those who use 

creative and contemporary resources 

to promote plant and environmental 

science. Many in our professional com-

munity are doing incredible outreach 

with both local and global audiences. 

At PSB, we are always pleased at high-

light those projects, either as articles or 

as features in the Education News and 

Notes section. 

background image




Public Policy Committee Report Supporting Evidence-Based Policy  

   Through Public Comments ............................................................................................................................144

BSA Promotes Author Workshop at the XXI Congreso Mexicano de Botánica in  

   Aguascalientes, Mexico ...................................................................................................................................146


AJB Reviews

 Feature Coming In 2020 ............................................................................................147

BSA Members Participate in 2019 Climate Strike ...............................................................................147

Botanical Society of America’s Award Winners 

(Part 2)


Botany 2019 - It's More Than Just Another Scientific Conference! ..........................................153


Old Trees Meet New Technology ...................................................................................................................156

Inspirational Voices in Early Botanical Education .................................................................................161


“Botanists: See Zoologists and Wildlife Biologists”: Seeking Resources on  

   Careers for Plant People ................................................................................................................................172 

PlantingScience Launches new “Plants Get Sick, Too!” Theme in Collaboration  

   with American Phytopathological Society .............................................................................................174

Thanks to PlantingScience’s Early-Career Scientist Support Team .........................................175


Getting to Know Your New Student Representative: Shelly Gaynor ...........................................177

Quick Notes on the Botany 2019 Conference .......................................................................................179


New BSA Social Media Liaisons Selected for 2019-2020..............................................................180

Harvard University: Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research ...........................................................181

In Memoriam

    Personal Reflections on a Guiding Light: Winslow R. Briggs (1928-2019) ........................182

   Arthur Oliver Tucker, III (1945-2019) ........................................................................................................185

   W. Mark Whitten (1954–2019) ....................................................................................................................188


Biographies ..................................................................................................................................................................192

Ecology ..........................................................................................................................................................................195

Economic Botany .....................................................................................................................................................196

Physiology ....................................................................................................................................................................197


background image



Public Policy Committee Report

Supporting Evidence-Based Policy 

Through Public Comments

By BSA PPC Co-Chairs Krissa Skogen (Chicago Botanic 

Garden) and Kal Tuominen (Metropolitan State University) 

and ASPT PPC Chair Andrew Pais (North Carolina State 


During the past year, we have highlighted 

ways that BSA members can support science-

friendly candidates and legislation to increase 

the capacity for botanical expertise in the 

federal workforce (PSB 65[1]: 2019). Winners 

of this year’s (BSA) Public Policy Awards, 

(ASPT) Congressional Visits Day Award and 

(BSA/ASPT) Botany Advocacy Leadership 

Award have also described their experiences 

reaching out to elected officials (PSB 65[2]: 

2019). Another way our members have 

engaged in public policy is by providing public 

comments on proposed rules or rule changes.

Public comments can be a highly effective 

way of leveraging your subject matter 

expertise to create positive change. However, 

many scientists are unaware of what a public 

comment is or how governments use them. 

While new laws are introduced by parts of the 

legislative branch (e.g., the federal House of 

Representatives), proposed rules are created 

by parts of the executive branch (e.g., the 

Environmental Protection Agency) in order to 

carry out existing laws (e.g., the Endangered 

Species Act). Because civil servants with 

technical expertise are often involved in 

proposing and altering rules, public comments 

can be surprisingly similar to writing or orally 

presenting research findings to a scientific 

audience. Here we provide some tips for how 

to get started with your first public comment.




Within the scientific 

community, we often assume 

that our subject matter 

expertise begins and ends 

with our own research. In 

the context of public policy, 

however, that expertise is 

far broader. What graduate-

level STEM courses have you 

completed or do you teach? 

What topics did your graduate 

committee expect you to 

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


discuss during comprehensive exams? Have 

you been a co-author on any side projects? 

Have you used your scientific training to 

help a nonprofit organization become more 

effective? How do you explain the relevance 

of your work to friends and neighbors? The 

answers to these questions can help you 

identify what your subject matter expertise 

looks like to elected officials. It is likely that 

you have expertise in many subjects, or that 

you have not fully constructed the nature of 

your expertise in the context of a particular 

policy issue that interests you!



While many scientists become aware of pro-

posed rules or changes directly through their 

own research, by law most governments in the 

United States must publicly announce such 

proposals. The federal government makes 

these announcements in the Federal Regis-

ter (, and StateScape 

provides links to state registers (http://www.

ters/). If you are interested in science policy 

but unsure about how to leverage your sci-

entific knowledge, try searching one of these 

registers to identify opportunities to comment 

based on your location, subject matter exper-

tise, agency, and comment deadline.


While federal public comments are typically 

submitted in writing, state and local 

governments often hold community hearings 

to take verbal testimony in addition to a venue 

for submitting written comments. Attending 

a community hearing is an excellent way to 

become familiar with the rule-making process 

and to learn deeply in a short amount of 

time about multiple viewpoints on the issue. 

Any verbal testimony you provide will be 

documented and made public, so prepare as 

you would for a conference presentation or 

course lecture. The number and geographic 

locations of hearings tends to be limited, 

so if you are unable to travel on a specific 

day, providing a written comment is still 

a good option. In our experience, written 

comment periods typically last 60 to 90 

days; your state or local government may 

have different expectations. If you need 

assistance writing your first public comment, 

the Public Comment Project provides more 

detailed guidelines and templates (https://


Scientists speaking publicly on politically 

challenging topics such as climate change 

experience political and sometimes legal 

opposition. Depending on your professional 

role, the sort of information you may legally 

provide in a public comment may also be 

limited.  OrgÍanizations such as the American 

Institute of Biological Sciences (www.aibs.

org), the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund 

(, and the government affairs office 

at your institution can help you navigate 

the less familiar aspects of using your First 

Amendment rights and your professional 

expertise for the betterment of society.

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


In support of the Society’s commitment to 

greater international collaboration, the BSA 

publications group and Wiley, our publishing 

partner, hosted a free author workshop at 

the XXI Congreso Mexicano de Botánica on 

October 23, 2019, in Aguascalientes, Mexico. 

Like the workshop held at the XII Congreso 

Latinoamericano de Botánica in Quito, 

Ecuador (2018), this workshop focused on what 

researchers can do to improve their chances 

of getting published in a scientific journal—

and then what they can do after their paper is 

published to make sure it is discovered by the 

larger community. Topics covered included: 

Choosing a journal, writing the paper clearly 

and concisely, and convincing the editor it 

should go out for review; understanding what 

happens during peer review and revision; 

making your paper “discoverable” to search 

engines and promoting your own work 

through various channels; learning about 

ethical issues in publishing; and getting advice 

for publishing in foreign language (primarily 

English) journals.

The presenters at the workshop were Amy 

McPherson, BSA Director of Publications 

and AJB managing editor; Gillian Greenough, 

Executive Editor, Life and Physical Sciences, 

Research & Society Services at Wiley; and 

Marcelo Rodrigo Pace, Investigador Asociado 

at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de 

México and Editor-in-Chief of the IAWA 

Journal. The presentation was given mostly 

in English, with slides translated into Spanish 

as a handout for attendees. Pace provided 

advice from his own publishing experience 

and helped with the Q&A in Spanish. Heather 

Cacanindin, Executive Director of the 

Botanical Society of America, attended the 

Congreso in support of botanical colleagues 

in Mexico and provided information about 

the benefits of joining BSA.
We look forward to continuing to expand 

the BSA’s international outreach at upcoming 


BSA Presents Author Workshop at 

the XXI Congreso Mexicano de  



nica in Aguascalientes, Mexico

Marcelo Pace, AJB Managing Editor Amy McPherson, and Wiley Representative Gillian Gre-

enough [front row center] led the author workshop at XXI Congreso Mexicano de Botánica.

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        





The 2019 Climate Strike attracted BSA members 

from around the globe. Here, Dr. David Ehret 

participated in the Climate Strike in Victoria, BC, 

Canada. “I thought it was important to add my 

voice to the chorus of others demanding climate 

action,” Ehret said. “I was most impressed by all 

the millennials and Gen Z’ers at the protest. It was 

so inspiring to see such passion and commitment 

among the young.”


AJB Reviews


coming in 2020 

AJB Reviews is set to launch in 2020! These reviews will expand the coverage and reach of the 

journal by providing timely syntheses of major issues, and new insights or perspectives to guide 

future research. 

AJB Reviews, headed by Drs. Jannice Friedman, Emily Sessa, and Pamela Diggle, place topics 

in context while being forward-thinking and insightful. They can develop new hypotheses and 

propose general models that help move the field forward. Original interdisciplinary syntheses 

and articles that cover newly emerging fields are welcomed. Authors can express a personal 

perspective while maintaining a balanced view of the field. 

Anyone interested in submitting to AJB Reviews should provide a preliminary summary of 

up to 250 words. A decision on whether to invite a full review rests with the Editorial Board. 

All contributions will be fully peer-reviewed, in line with other AJB manuscripts. For more 

information, go to or e-mail the Reviews Editor at

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


The BSA was pleased to announce its annual 

award winners in the last issue of the Plant 

Science Bulletin. We now present the rest of 

the awards available at press time.




This year the BSA recognized Dr. Suzanne 

Koptur, Professor at Florida International 

University, with the Charles Edwin Bessey 

Teaching Award.  This award recognizes 

outstanding contributions made to botanical 

instruction and celebrates individuals 

whose work has improved the quality of 

botanical education at a regional, national, or 

international level. The Bessey Award is the 

highest honor for Teaching and Educational 

Outreach given by the Botanical Society of 


Suzanne has been an active member of the 

BSA since graduate school. She has presented 

over 40 papers at BSA conferences over the 

years, both ecological and educational, and 

is a member of the Teaching, Ecology, and 

Tropical Biology sections. 

Suzanne is a clear fit with the qualities 

recognized by the Charles Edwin Bessey 

Teaching Award. During her career she has 

mentored an exceptional number of graduate 

and undergraduate students, including 

many from groups under-represented in the 

sciences. She actively seeks funding to provide 

early opportunities for her students, providing 

opportunities for undergraduate researchers 

to join her and her graduate students in the 

lab and field, supporting and encouraging 

them to attend and present at botanical 

meetings, and to be involved in the PLANTS 

mentoring program and other career-building 

opportunities. In 2017 she was awarded the 

FIU University Graduate Student Provost 

Award for Mentorship of Graduate Students 

recognizing her mentoring efforts. One of 

her former students writes: “Through her 

vocation to training the next generation of 

botanists, she has left a lasting legacy. Every 

one of us that has had the great fortune in 

having Suzanne as a teacher will go forth as 

emissaries for science, creating a ripple effect 

that will spread her passion for plants far and 

wide throughout the world.”

Botanical Society of America’s  

Award Winners  

(Part 2)

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


Suzanne is an active and engaged teacher who 

embraces new teaching techniques like active 

learning, flipped courses, and online teaching. 

She was active in creating a new FIU initiative, 

Quantifying Biology in the Classroom (QBIC), 

to help biology students develop quantitative 

skills to help them succeed. She served as the 

QBIC director from 2012-2016, and continues 

to serve this program as co-director. She 

contributes to the research on teaching and 

has made great impact in developing and 

supporting a culture of teaching innovation 

within her department.

In addition to her work at FIU, she is active 

in community outreach. She has been a 

supporter and proponent of Fairchild Tropical 

Botanic Garden’s Connect to Protect program 

encouraging citizens and schools to help create 

habitat corridors between the endangered 

South Florida Pine Rocklands. 

She has worked with local schools to 

build butterfly gardens, organizes several 

conferences that bring researchers and natural 

resource management professionals together, 

and serves on county committees to develop 

conservation initiatives. 

The Bessey Award is given annually in honor 

of one of the great developers of botanical 

education, Dr. Charles Edwin Bessey. Dr. 

Bessey served first as professor of botany and 

horticulture, and later as dean at the University 

of Nebraska. 

His work and dedication to 

improving the educational aspects of Botany 

are most noted in what Nebraskans call 

“The Bessey Era” (1886-1915), during which 

Nebraska developed an extraordinary program 

in botany and ranked among the top five 

schools in the United States for the number of its 

undergraduates who became famous botanists.

Past Bessey award winners include: Lena 

Struwe, J. Phil Gibson, Bruce K. Kirchoff, 

Shona Ellis, Paul H. Williams, Les Hickock 

and Thomas R. Warne, Susan Singer, Geoff 

Burrows, Chris Martine, Roger Hangarter, 

Beverly Brown, Michael Pollan, Thomas 

Rost, James Wandersee, W. Hardy Eshbaugh, 

David W. Lee, Donald Kaplan, Joseph 

Novak, William Jensen, Joseph E. Armstrong, 

Marshall D. Sundberg, Gordon Uno, Barbara 

W. Saigo and Roy H. Saigo, and Samuel Noel 



Corresponding members are distinguished senior scientists who have made outstanding 

contributions to plant science and who live and work outside of the United States of America. 

Corresponding members are nominated by the Council, which reviews recommendations and 

credentials submitted by members, and elected by the membership at the annual BSA business 

meeting. Corresponding members have all the privileges of lifetime members.

Dr. Richard Abbott, University of St Andrews, London, United Kingdom

Dr. Lucia Lohmann, Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Sao Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Jefferson Prado, Instituto de Botânica, Herbário, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Dr. Victor Rico-Gray, Universidad Veracruzana, Veracruz Mexico

Dr. Fernando Zuloaga, Instituto de Botánica Darwinion, San Isidro, Argentina

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        



Dr. John Z. Kiss, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

John’s interest in space biology has led to past spaceflight projects which used microgravity as a 

tool to understand the mechanisms of tropistic responses. Currently, his team has been approved 

by NASA for several new experiments on the International Space Station to investigate plant 

tropisms. His long-term goal is to understand how plants integrate sensory input from multiple 

light and gravity perception systems.



The Margaret Menzel Award is presented by the Genetics Section for the outstanding paper 

presented in the contributed papers sessions of the annual meetings.

Erika Frangione,  University of Toronto Mississauga, for her presentation:  Comparative 

transcriptomics of repeated reticulate evolution in the genus Cuscuta (Convolvulaceae). Co-

author: Saša Stefanović




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. 

Hannah Ranft, Johns Hopkins University, for the presentation: Sometimes it only takes one 

to tango: using natural history collections to assess the impact of asexuality in the fern genus 

Pteris. Co-authors: Kathryn Picard, Amanda Grusz, Michael Windham, Eric Schuettpelz

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        




The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and 

are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation.

Blake Fauskee, The University of Minnesota-Duluth, for the proposal: Could RNA editing 

explain phylogenetic rate heterogeneity in seed-free vascular plants?

Brianna Reynolds, The University of Tennesse-Knoxville, for the proposal: Identifying Fungal 

Endophytes in a Myrmecochore, Chelidonium majus

Susana Vega, University of Antioquia, Colombia, for the proposal: Taxonomic Revision of the 

Genus Selaginella P. Beauv. (Selaginellaceae) in the Department of Antioquia, Columbia.

Paige Wiebe, Kansas State University, for the proposal: Niche divergence in big bluestem grass 

ecotypes in response to experimental drought: Mechanisms of local adaptation

Noah Yawn, Auburn University, for the proposal: Reassessment of the Endangered Alabama 

Canebrake Pitcher Plant, Sarracenia Alabamensis, Populations and Occurrences in Collaboration 

with the Atlanta Botanical Garden



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.

Joyce Chery,  University of California-Berkeley, for the presentation:  Evolution of strange 

wood development in a large group of neotropical lianas, Paullinia (Sapindaceae).  Co-

authors: Marcelo Pace, Pedro Acevedo-Rodriguez, Carl Rothfels, Chelsea Specht 

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        




Lauren Tucker and Amanda Salvi tied for the LI-COR Prize for an Oral Paper

Laurent Tucker, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, for the presentation: Recovery 

of California black walnut trees following drought induced dieback. Co-authors: Frank Ewers, 

Stephen Davis, Edward Bobich

Amanda Salvi, University of Wisconsin - Madison, for the presentation: Mesophyll 

photosynthetic sensitivity to leaf water potential increases in Eucalyptus species native to 

moister Australian climates: a new dimension of plant adaptation to drought. Co-authors: 

Duncan D. Smith, Kate McCulloh, Thomas Givnish

Steven Augustine and Katie Krogmeier for the LI-COR Prize for Best Poster

Steven Augustine, University of Wisconsin - Madison, for the poster: Going for broke: carbon 

and water relations of germinant conifer seedlings exposed to drought. Co-author: Kate 


Katie Krogmeier, Appalachian State University, for the poster: Investigating potential impacts 

of polyploidy on the ecophysiological responses of Solidago altissma to climate change. Co-

authors: Howard Neufeld, Erica Pauer



Helen Holmlund, University of California, Santa Cruz, for the Best Oral Presentation: High-

resolution computed tomography reveals dynamics of desiccation and rehydration in a 

desiccation-tolerant fern. Co-authors: Brandon Pratt, Anna Jacobsen, Stephen Davis, Jarmila 


background image

It's more than just 

another scientific  


This year 1200 people from all over the 

world came together in Tucson, Arizona 

as colleagues, collaborators, students, and 

friends of Botany!  

Friendships are formed, science is shared, 

knowledge is expanded!

It's more than a scientific meeting - it's a 

yearly reunion of people with the same 

interests and passion for science - with a lot 

of fun thrown in!

background image

Botany 2019 Beverages by the Numbers

1121 Servings of Craft and Domestic Beer 

1227 Glasses of Wine

923 Gallons of Coffee

49 Gallons of Fruited Water

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Botany 2019 in your words.....

• I attended the in-service at the Mission Garden. I loved the 

experience, and am happy I had the opportunity to participate!

• Crop wild relative conservation field trip is very nice!

• Culture of botany conference is very pleasant and 

inviting, contributes to enjoyable experiences speaking 

with a wide range of botanically inclined folks.

• I enjoyed the conference, and it was really nice 

to be able to go hiking right from the hotel.

• This was one of the best meetings ever. The energy was great. 

Personally, I think it is because participants could get outside 

easily, and because they could hike so readily. I went out for an 

hour or more every morning but one. Those hikes left me high 

for the rest of the day.

• It was a stunning setting, which made the stay very pleasant.

• I attended probably the best symposium since I began coming to 

BSA...the Land Plant Evolution symposium was outstanding.

• Loved the venue, we should consider going back there in a 

few years. You did a good job providing vegan food this time 

(usually there are no options, or the options aren't very good). 

The student housing rates were adequate enough to encourage 

students to attend.

• I think the PLANTS program and travel grants are extremely 

valuable. I have participated as a PLANTS mentor for 3 years, 

and I plan to continue participating whenever possible.

• It was both scientifically stimulating and lots of fun

• I really enjoy the friendly atmosphere and the chance to see 

cool talks and catch up with colleagues!

background image




f my own childhood is any indication, many 

a child has grown up wishing that trees 

could talk. In fact, recent events suggest that 

it is not just children, but adults too, who wish 

this were so. In 2010, the European magazine 

Eos launched “The EOS Talking Tree.” They 

fitted an urban tree with various sensors 

and used these to give the tree emotions and 

opinions (Galle, 2016). The tree’s website 

was visited over 350,000 times (Galle, 2016). 

Shortly after, another public-tree event took 

place in Australia (Lafrance, 2015). In 2013, a 

government tree-servicing program, intended 

to improve tree maintenance in the city of 

Melbourne, took an odd turn. When given the 

opportunity to use unique tree-codes to e-mail 

the city and inform workers of maintenance 

needs, citizens instead wrote thousands of 

love letters to the city’s trees (Lafrance, 2015). 

Then, in the summer of 2018, an agave plant 

in the Halifax Public Gardens became a local 

celebrity and took the city by storm (Berry, 


These examples point to a human desire 

to connect to, and communicate with, 

nature. Though novel in Western thought, 

communication across different species is 

featured in many Indigenous oral traditions 

(Legge and Robinson, 2017). Unfortunately, 

research suggests that modern people 

are more disconnected, both emotionally 

and physically, from nature than previous 

generations (Barlett, 2008; Vining et al., 

2008). With over 80% of Canada’s population 

residing in urban areas (Statistics Canada, 

2014), access to and engagement with urban 

nature is important now more than ever. 

Understanding public values and testing 

engagement strategies is, then, vital to urban-

forest management (Ordoñez et al., 2017).

On July 7, 2019, a team of volunteers and 

I launched Text-A-Tree: one part public 

engagement and one part academic study 

(Figs. 1, 2). Text-A-Tree serves as the final 

project in my Master’s of Resource and 

Environmental Management at Dalhousie 

University, under the supervision of Dr. Peter 

Duinker. An underlying theory behind the 

initiative is that if we want to encourage people 

Old Trees Meet New Technology

By Julietta Sorensen Kass 

Dalhousie University 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










to develop relationships with trees, we should 

emulate the way we develop relationships 

with each other. For many of us, that now 

involves texting. So, from July 7 to August 31, 

visitors to the Halifax Public Gardens can text 

several trees and receive unique responses 

within 24 hours. Participants can also engage 

through our social media platforms using  


Text-A-Tree hopes to determine whether 

texting and social media can be used to 

engage people with urban trees. The results of 

the study will help inform future engagement 

strategies relating to urban forests or urban 

nature. As described by Ordóñez et al. (2017), 

understanding public values relating to urban 

forests can help guide and broaden effective 

management. The project will determine the 

utility of text-based engagement compared 

with Instagram and Facebook engagement, 

providing insight into communication 

strategies. Analysis of text conversations will 

add to the growing research on how Canadians 

perceive and value urban forests (Ordóñez et 

al., 2016). 

“Texting trees” are denoted by wooden signs 

(Figs. 3 and 4). Each sign displays the tree’s 

phone number and information regarding the 

project, study, and consent. Fourteen trees, 

each with their own volunteer tree-speaker 

and personality, are spread throughout the 

Gardens. There is also a silent Wish Tree, 

which people can send their wishes to via text. 

Communication is enabled through a cloud-

based system called Zendesk and monitored by 

the project head. Each volunteer was provided 

with training on the communications system. 

Figure 1. Julietta Sorensen Kass (left) and 

Anna Irwin-Borg spent many an hour discuss-

ing logistics and media strategies.

Figure 2. When Text-A-Tree was first conceived, 

it was a crazy idea and a few sketches. We wanted 

our logo to reflect where the journey began.

Figure 3. The first tree we named was a yellow 

birch called Tree Tree O’Hara, named after a 

famous drag queen, due to the tree possessing 

both male and female flowers.

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Volunteers were also briefed on urban forest 

research, biological and cultural information 

regarding their tree species, and facts 

pertaining to their unique tree. Using this 

information, volunteers created personalities, 

complete with pronouns. The entire process 

was designed to help participants in the project 

recognize trees as individuals, allowing them 

to develop a relationship with trees, and view 

them as living members of the community. 

Attributing trees with personhood may appear 

strange in dominant Western culture, but 

such a view has roots across time and space 

(Boyer, 1996; Bird-David, 1999; Tam et al., 

2013; Tam, 2014; Legge and Robinson, 2017). 

One example with particular significance to 

Halifax is that of the Mi’kmaq concept of Msit 

No’kmaq (translated to “all my relations”). 

In this, animals, plants, and even geographic 

locations are recognized as having an identity, 

personality, and spirit (Robinson, 2014). These 

entities are considered persons, in that they 

experience their existence in the first person 

(Legge and Robinson, 2017).

Mi’kmaq culture was further incorporated 

into the project, with 4 of the 15 trees being 

selected due to their cultural significance. 

These trees boast both their English and 

Mi’kmaq names on their signs and initiate 

texts to participants with the word “Kwe,” a 

Mi’kmaq greeting meaning “I am here” (T. 

Christmas, personal communication, June 

2019). Through their conversations with 

participants, the volunteers representing 

these trees share how trees have contributed 

to culture in Nova Scotia.  

Both the Halifax Public Gardens and the 

City of Halifax itself also have a connection 

to Japan, which made Japanese culture 

important to incorporate as well. Again, 

4 of the 15 trees were selected based on 

significance to Japanese culture, and these 

trees now greet participants with Kon’nichiwa 

(hello!) and share cultural information (Fig. 

5). As an additional recognition of Japanese 

Figure 4.  Volunteers were heavily involved 

from the beginning. Here we are preparing all 

15 signs for our textable trees at the Halifax 

Public Gardens.

Figure 5.  An early summer shot of Maggie the 

Magnolia, one of our 15 textable trees, and a 

nod to Japanese culture.

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










culture, Text-A-Tree was launched on July 

7 to coincide with the Tanabata festival. We 

partnered with the Dalhousie Japanese Society 

to put on a small celebration, including 

Japanese crafts, games, and stories. In keeping 

with tradition, members of the public were 

invited to wish upon the Wish Tree, although 

with their phones rather than the customary 

tanzaku (long strips of paper). The Wish Tree 

has continued to receive wishes and will do so 

throughout the project. Anonymous wishes 

are posted daily on Facebook and Instagram 


The emphasis on culture is intended to make 

Text-A-Tree accessible to the diverse peoples 

living in and visiting Halifax. By celebrating 

different cultures, we hope to create a space 

for people from any background to participate 

and share their values. Previous studies have 

engaged in street-side interception surveys, 

which, by necessity, capture information 

from individuals old enough (over 18) and 

comfortable with surveys (e.g., Ordóñez et 

al., 2016, 2017). Building on the foundation 

of this work, we propose that text messaging 

might allow younger participants and those 

less comfortable with English, or perhaps 

intimidated by the prospect of an interview 

with university members, to express their 

views as well.  

Though proper analysis has just begun in 

September 2019, initial engagement seems 

promising. One week after the launch of 

Text-A-Tree, volunteers had engaged in over 

1000 unique conversations from participants. 

While some have been clear in voicing why 

trees are of value---for example, through 

comments on beauty, shade, and health---

others have responded with questions and 

have been delighted by the information 

provided by our volunteers. The data will 

likely reveal more surprises still, but for now, 

it seems there is hope that technology may 

help people reconnect with urban nature. 


This project was made possible thanks to 

the support of the Nova Scotia department 

of Communities, Culture, and Heritage, the 

Suellen Murray Educational Bursary, and The 

Friends of the Public Gardens.   


Barlett, P. F., E. N. Anderson, J. C. Boyer, D. Brunck-

horst, T. Princen, and P. B. Barlett.  2008.  Reason  

and reenchantment in cultural change: Sustainabil-

ity in higher education.   Current Anthropology 

49(6): 1077-1098. 

Berry, S. 2019, Jan 30. Grow your very own Agave 

Maria with seed from celebrity plant. CBC News, 

Nova Scotia. Retrieved from:



Bird-David, N. 1999. “Animism” revisited: person-

hood, environment, and relational epistemology. Cur-

rent Anthropology 40(S1): S67-S91.

Boyer, P. 1996. What makes anthropomorphism natu-

ral: Intuitive ontology and cultural representations. 

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 2(1): 83-


Galle, T. 2016, Aug 8. Talking tree case video. [Video 

file]. Retrieved from:


Lafrance, A. 2015, July 10. When you give a tree an 

email address. The Atlantic. Retrieved from: https://


Legge, M., and M. Robinson. 2017. Animals in In-

digenous spiritualities: Implications for critical social 

work.  Journal of Indigenous Social Development 6(1): 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Ordóñez, C., T. Beckley, P. N. Duinker, and A. J. Sin-

clair. 2017. Public values associated with urban for-

ests:  Synthesis  of  findings  and  lessons  learned  from 

emerging methods and cross-cultural case studies. Ur-

ban Forestry & Urban Greening 25: 74-84.

Ordóñez, C., P. N. Duinker, A. J. Sinclair, T. Beckley, 

and J. Diduck. 2016. Determining public   values 

of urban forests using a sidewalk interception survey in 

Fredericton, Halifax, and   Winnipeg, Canada. Arbori-

culture & Urban Forestry 42(1): 46-57.

Robinson, M. 2014. Animal personhood in Mi’kmaq 

perspective. Societies (4.4): 672-688.

Statistics Canada. 2014. Canada’s rural population de-

clining since 1851. Canadian Demography at a Glance. 

Catalogue No. 98-003-X. Retrieved from: https://


Tam, K. P. 2014. Anthropomorphism of nature and ef-

ficacy in coping with the environmental crisis. Social 

Cognition 32(3): 276-296.

Tam, K. P., S. L. Lee, and M. M. Chao. 2013. Saving 

Mr. Nature: Anthropomorphism enhances connected-

ness to and protectiveness toward nature. Journal of 

Experimental Social Psychology 49(3): 514-521.

Vining, J., M. S. Merrick, and E. A. Price. 2008. Hu-

man perceptions of connectedness to nature and ele-

ments of the natural and unnatural. Human Ecology 

Review 15(1): 1–11.




60 years ago:  “A survey has been made of what bacteriology teaching and research assistants were being 

paid at 34 colleges and universities during the year 1958-59 [. . .] 

For teaching assistants the number of hours of work per week ranges from 8 to 22 with most places re-

quiring 15 to 20. Just half of the institutions use teaching assistants for 9 months. About half of the remainder 

have 10 months appointments, the rest 12 months. There is great variation in the number of hours of graduate 

work that assistants are allowed to carry, but an estimate would be that two courses through the year is what 

the figures mean. Fifteen institutions charge teaching assistants no fees. In the others, particularly those with 

charges for out-of-state students, fees may run as high as $400 for the academic year (and these institutions do 

not necessarily have the highest stipends for teaching assistants). [. . . ]

The stipends for Teaching Assistantships for 9 months run from under $1000 (2 institutions) to just over 

$2000 (1 institution). 

- Creighton, Harriot B. “ASSISTANTS’ SALARIES 1958-59” PSB 5(5): 7

[Editor’s Note: Online inflation calculators (e.g. indicate that this would be approximately 

$8,700 to $17,500 in 2019 dollars.]

50 years ago:  “Dr. Charles Heimsch, retiring Editor of the American Journal of Botany, presented a report 

on the current status of the Journal and a summary of certain aspects of the Journal operation during his 5-year 

tenure as Editor.” In 1969, 153 manuscripts were published and 28 were rejected. 

- Starr, Richard C. “Minutes of the Business Meeting” PSB 15(4): 7 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 











ature study, as we have come to 

understand it in the 21st century, is an 

umbrella term used to encompass education 

about our environmental world. It is a course 

of biological study that introduces the curious 

student to introductory levels of botany, 

zoology, entomology, and the study of other 

living systems. Nature study may be  the 

initiation of an educator’s enthusiasm, in any 

of these disciplines, to raise his or her students' 


Here, I seek to tell the story of a collective 

group of nature educators, with a predilection 

toward botany, who were inspired and 

influenced by Cornell University nature study 

educator, Anna Botsford Comstock, and her 

husband John Henry Comstock, entomologist 

and educator, at the turn of the 20th century. 

The three notable educators—Liberty Hyde 

Bailey, Anna Botsford Comstock, and John 

Walton Spencer (Fig. 1)—mentored four 

young women to seek their own paths 

and establish their botanical legacy. (It is 

noteworthy that Bailey was an early member 

Inspirational Voices in  

Early Botanical Education

and past-president of the BSA.) The stories, 

or at least the botanical marks, of Alice 

Gertrude McCloskey, sisters Julia Rogers and 

Mary Rogers Miller, and Ada Eljiva Georgia 

are preserved in Mrs. Comstock’s original 

unpublished autobiographical manuscript. 

The 1953 autobiography, The Comstocks of 

Cornell, was drastically altered when Mrs. 

Comstock’s manuscript was culled in the 

years following both Comstocks’ death by 

several Cornell personalities who sought 

to elevate Prof. John Henry Comstock’s 

entomological legacy (St. Clair, 2017) at 

the expense of Anna B. Comstock’s own 

legacy. The collective botanical and nature 

study work of this group of seven educators 

overlapped in their individual projects and 

through collective ventures. Following their 

stories is a bit convoluted, yet astonishing in 

the closeness of their connection. Here I hope 

to bring their stories back into the light, and 

to recognize them for their contributions, as 

Anna B. Comstock intended. 

By Karen Penders St. Clair 

School of Integrative Plant Science, Plant 

Biology Section, Cornell University, Ithaca, 

NY 14853    


Figure 1. John Walton Spencer, Anna Bots-

ford Comstock, and Liberty Hyde Bailey circa 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 














Anna B. Comstock began her career at 

Cornell University in the late 19th century, in 

collaboration with the entomological research 

of her husband, John Henry Comstock, and 

spread collaterally when she partnered with 

the agrarian zeal of Bailey. The scope of 

Bailey’s work is an article unto itself.  For our 

purposes here, it will suffice to say that Bailey 

came to Cornell in 1888 as Chair of Practical 

and Experimental Horticulture. His work 

in nature education and outreach, during 

the early 20


 century, came at the heels of 

an accomplished botany and horticulture 

education, including a two-year herbarium 

assistantship to the distinguished botanist, 

Asa Gray, at Harvard University (Lawrence, 

1955).  Bailey wrote six botany textbooks 

between 1898 and 1909; however, one of his 

first books, Talks Afield (1885), was a botany 

book written for the farmer and non-scientist. 

Bailey founded the College of Agriculture at 

Cornell, and served as the dean of the New 

York State College of Agriculture from 1903 

until his retirement from the University in 

1913 (Lawrence, 1955).

The ink of the Nixon Act of 1896, which 

allowed funding for extension courses in 

horticulture, had barely dried as Bailey and 

Anna B. Comstock traveled by horse and 

buggy visiting rural schools of New York 

State (Anna B. Comstock, unpublished). 


In meeting with teachers in Cattaraugus 

County, New York, they discovered John 

Walton Spencer in Westfield, New York, and 

believed him to be a man who seemed to 

have the qualities needed to develop further 

work on the Nature Study


program (Palmer, 

1944). Spencer came to Cornell University 

on a voluntary basis in 1896, at the behest 

of Bailey. The Nature Study movement from 

Cornell took off like a firestorm around the 

country upon Spencer’s inclusion. Letters 

from superintendents around the country 

proclaimed enthusiastically to procure from 

Spencer every copy of the Nature Study 

circular letter for all their teachers (Spencer, 

1898). This circular was developed by Spencer 

while at Cornell University.

Spencer was passionate about his work in 

Nature Study and lectured around New York 

State in various schools of local townships. 

He wrote about several topics regarding 

Nature Study, and particularly with plant-

based lessons such as The Apprentice Class 

in Gardening out of door work; Elementary 

Gardens out of doors; Sowing a Seed; Plant 

Life; Soils; Autobiography of a Corn Stalk; 

Fall Planting for Outdoor Growth; Plants 

that prepare lunches for their offspring; Seed 

dispersal; Perennials for the School Ground; A 

Bulb Garden; and How to Help Plants Grow 

(Spencer, 1898)  

In addition to impact among adults, Spencer’s 

essays and circulars were important for 

promoting gardening and nature study 

among the youth.  In his essay What is Nature-

Study?, Bailey stated that Spencer was largely 

responsible for the fruition of the children’s 

garden movement in New York largely due to 

his efforts to put children in touch with nature 

in their daily lives through the development of 

Junior Naturalist Programs. This program was 

a subscription-based incentive for teachers 

and students to get pamphlets and information 

about nature studies. It is here where we are 

first introduced to Alice Gertrude McCloskey, 

who, with Spencer, organized Junior Naturalist 

Clubs with the idea of organizing children 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










into clubs for the study of plants and animals, 

and other outdoor subjects (Bailey, 1897). 



John Spencer first met Alice Gertrude 

McCloskey in Saratoga Springs, NY during 

his travels around the state for his Junior 

Naturalist Programs. She had so impressed 

Spencer with her work in nature education in 

the schools that he recruited her to come to 

Cornell University to assist in answering the 

inquiries that were coming in from his junior 

naturalists.  McCloskey came to Cornell in the 

fall of 1899 and was appointed an Assistant in 

Nature Study (Cornell Alumnae Club, 1915).  

At the instigation of Bailey, Spencer, with 

McCloskey, encouraged Cornell agricultural 

faculty to write to children in the country in 

an effort to build comradery between farm 

families and the University.  McCloskey was 

the one “who first used the phrase” Cornell 

Rural School Leaflet (quote from Palmer, 


In an unpublished account from July 1900, 

during a summer session at Chautauqua 

Institute for Nature Study teaching, Anna B. 

Comstock observed, “Mr. John Spencer and 

Alice McCloskey were also there for the Junior 

Naturalist and gardening work.  I saw Mr. 

Spencer give a practical lesson in gardening 

to kindergarten children and I marveled at 

this success and his charm for the little folk.” 

(Anna B. Comstock, unpublished).

Overlapping this work, from 1899 to 1904, 

McCloskey was co-editor of the Junior 

Naturalist Monthly with Comstock, and 

worked with Spencer on developing and 

implementing lessons (Anna B. Comstock, 

unpublished Chapter 10, p. 18). McCloskey, 

Anna B. Comstock, Rogers, and Spencer also 

collaborated on the Cornell Reading-Course 

for Farmers as part of their extension work.  At 

the time a group of 20 people represented the 

New York Experiment Station and University 

Extension Staff.  In 1900, members of this 

staff were already working together on the 

Home Nature-Study Course as part of the 

Cornell Reading-Course for Farmers (Cornell 

University, 1902 [Cornell Ag Exp St, 1894-


The Reading-Courses were precursors to 

the  Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets, which 

were later distributed by Bailey. McCloskey 

contributed 20 of the 30 leaflets written for 

children with Bailey, Anna B. Comstock, 

Spencer, and others covering the remaining 

10. The individual educational leaflets were 

succinct and guided the educator through 

basic methods of instruction and encouraged 

observation by the child. Half of the 30 

children’s leaflets are botanically focused. 


McCloskey wrote half of these botanical 

modules herself, which included Maple Trees 

in Autumn (1903), A Corn Stalk (1903), In the 

Corn Fields (1903), Jack-in-the-Pulpit (1903), 

Twigs in Later Winter (1904), Pruning (1904)

The Hepatica (1904),  and Dandelion [with 

Bailey] (1904) (New York State Department 

of Agriculture, 1904). 





The Comstock-Bailey association was the 

synergistic catalyst that also pulled Martha 

Van Rensselaer to Cornell. Recruited by 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Bailey, at the request of Anna B.  Comstock, 

to come help organize a reading course for 

farmers’ wives, Van Rensselaer was a New 

York State native in her third term as School 

Commissioner for Cattaraugus County. She 

already had early contact with Spencer, asking 

for circulars to distribute at a forthcoming 

meeting of the Teacher’s Association (Fig. 

2). Van Rensselaer held such a staunch 

commitment to the Cornell nature and rural 

education programs that she wrote Spencer of 

her readiness to answer the call to come help 

(Spencer, 1897-1912, Box 2).

Figure 2. 

An etching gifted to Martha Van 

Rennselaer by Anna B. Comstock (“To Mar-

tha Van Rennselaer – with love – from the en-

graver & artist-”).

Under Spencer, part of the reorganization of 

educational efforts in 1902 included Anna 

B. Comstock and Van Rensselaer with their 

collective venture of the Boys and Girls 

magazine. It is at this point that McCloskey 

returned to her classes at the University, 

although she also contributed eight articles 

to Boys and Girls magazineon other nature 

topics, until it ceased publication in 1907. 

Anna B. Comstock, Spencer, and Van 

Rensselaer’s early nature writing, through their 

joint publication of Boys and Girls, maintained 

their educational base in nature study at 

Cornell.  This annual publication served as 

a platform for botanists, horticulturalists, 

zoologists, and agricultural specialists to 

interact with parents, teachers, and children 

in distant communities.  The Boys and Girls 

nature magazine was not only an important 

source to reach children outside of New York 

State, but also served as a stepping stone 

of publication for young women under the 

direct influence of both Spencer and Anna B. 

Comstock. First published in 1901, Boys and 

Girls was the brain-child of Van Rensselaer in 

conjunction with Spencer (Percival, 1956).  At 

the beginning of her auspicious career, Van 

Rensselaer, already acquainted with Spencer 

from her early Commissioner days, approached 

him with the idea of producing a publication 

about garden, home, and nature education. 

Anna B. Comstock, in turn, was approached 

by Spencer with a proposal to join as editor, 

adding not only her own stories and artwork, 

but the “Comstock” name to the venture. 

Unlike the Home-Nature Study Course, under 

the general direction of Mary Rogers Miller 

(see below), running concurrently at the time, 

the idea for the Boys and Girls publication was 

one that would interact directly with children.  

Building on the “Uncle John” precedent of the 

Junior Naturalist Clubs, the goal of this new 

format would be to endeavor to reach children 

beyond New York State. 

The little magazine was published for five 

years with Van Rensselaer taking over as 

editor in 1903 as Anna B. Comstock shifted 

her energies to the Home Nature Study 

Course leaflets at Miller’s resignation (Anna 

B. Comstock, 1907).


 Comstock maintained 

her influence on Boys and Girls not only with 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










her own submissions, but also as a direct 

channel for other young women to have a 

means to have their own writing published. 



 Miller (

“Woodland Flowers 

in Spring,” Boys and Girls, April 1904)

, and 

Julia Rogers (

“A Winter Landscape,” Boys and 

Girls, February 1904)

 all submitted articles 

and essays to Boys and Girls, contributing to 

nature study education movement into the 

early 20th century.   



Mary Farrand Rogers Miller was the younger 

of the two Rogers sisters who held a lifelong 

relationship with the Comstocks (Fig. 3). 

Miller was born and raised on a farm in Dallas 

County, Iowa in the mid-1860s.  Her strong 

roots in rural life gelled compatibly with the 

surging nature study education movement of 

the time. Miller taught in rural, village, and 

city schools both in Iowa and Minnesota from 

the age of 17 (Cornell Alumnae, 1909). Miller 

came to Cornell University in 1893, choosing 

to “study the facts of life in biology laboratory 

with men and women working together 

matter-of-factly” (Miller, 1954).  Miller met 

John Comstock almost immediately at the 

beginning of the Spring 1893 session at Sage 

Hall, where Miller lived and Comstock took 

his meals when his wife traveled (Anna B. 

Comstock, unpublished Chapter 9, pp. 14–

15).  An excellent student, Miller became 

determined by the following spring of 1894 

to study entomology. She and her colleagues 

kept the professor on his toes as he met the 

demand for his growing department in what 

was the largest ever registered for the third 

term in entomology (Anna B. Comstock, 

unpublished Chapter 9, pp. 25-26). In 1896, her 

senior year at Cornell, Miller was appointed 

to the position of laboratory assistant in the 

department of entomology and continued in 

the capacity of an instructor for the summer 


In the following fall of 1896, winds of change 

began to blow for the College of Agriculture 

at Cornell.  As stated previously, it was in this 

year that the Ways and Means Committee of 

the New York State Legislature appropriated 

funds to Cornell University to expand the 

nature study education initiative at the College 

of Agriculture.  This appropriation was an 

expansion from the 1894 establishment of 

extension courses in horticulture with 

Cornell teachers in Chautauqua County of 

New York (Anna B. Comstock, 1953; Anna 

B. Comstock, unpublished, Chapter 10, p. 3). 

The Bureau of Nature Study began an issuance 

of leaflets immediately in December 1896. 

The early leaflets were known as the Teacher 

Leaflets with both Anna B. Comstock and 

Miller contributing articles accordingly.  The 

Teacher Institute leaflets that Miller oversaw 

reached 30,000 teachers (Palmer, 1944). 

In 1897, Miller was appointed Lecturer in 

Nature Study as Cornell began its extension 

Figure 3. Mary Farrand Rogers Miller (Cor-

nell Alumni News, 1909) and Julia Ellen Rog-

ers (Class of 1892, University of Iowa).

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










work in the College of Agriculture, and for a 

brief time commanded a higher salary than 

Anna B. Comstock herself (Kohlstedt, 2005).



It was a position that Miller held for six years 

during which 

time she also taught at Cornell 

Summer School with the rank of Instructor. 

Miller also appeared on the programs of the 

National Education Association of the New 

York State Science Association, and of the 

American Association for the Advancement 

of Science (Cornell Alumnae, 1909). Miller’s 

relationship with Anna B.  Comstock 

intertwined as they both taught nature study 

at the State Normal School at Chautauqua, 

and she, along with her sister, Julia, lived with 

Anna B. Comstock during these summers 

away from Ithaca. The Rogers sisters were not 

just any students with a marginal relationship 

to the Comstocks; they formed an important 

part of the Comstock household (Comstock, 

unpublished Chapter 10, pp. 10, 17, 23).  

Miller’s name appeared at the onset of the 

project as the Nature Study educator as part of 

the organization of the Station and University 

Extension Staff. She contributed annually to 

the Teacher Leaflets until their publication 

ceased in 1901 (

New York State Dept. of 

Agriculture, 1904

). With the cessation of one 

project, Miller was free to complete another. 

Her book, The Brook Book: A First Acquaintance 

with the Brook and its Inhabitants Through the 

Changing Year, was first published in 1901.  

Dedicated to “John Henry Comstock”


, the 

book is expressive with its execution of a prose 

of deep reflection and introspection.  Miller 

wrote in a semi-autobiographical format, 

as her unnamed protagonist hiked through 

wooded wetlands with “the Professor.” Her 

writing anthropomorphized the brook with 

the courses of a human life.  The wife of 

Cornell horticulturist, William (Wilhelm) 

Tyler Miller,


 Miller’s The Brook Book has 

an appeal to the botanist, entomologist, and 

naturalist alike as the chapters alternately 

weave each discipline in concert with each 

other. The symbiotic relationship of plant, 

insect, and animal in this slim volume is a 


The termination of the Teacher Leaflets 

program in 1901 was more of a hiatus than 

an end-point for the educators involved 

with its writing. Each educator evolved their 

direction, guided by the demands of the 

teachers for whom they wrote their nature-

education modules. The nature study work at 

Cornell continued with Liberty Hyde Bailey 

appointing Miller as the general director of 

the Home Nature Study course in 1902 as well 

as assistant editor of the magazine Country 

Life in America (a position she maintained 

through October 1909) (

Cornell Alumnae, 


Miller contributed several articles to 

the Home Nature study course, but her tenure 

was short-lived as her husband’s career pulled 

the couple in a new direction, away from 

Ithaca, New York in 1903.


 For several years 

before her death, at age 103, in 1971, Miller 

was noted as the oldest living Cornell alumna 

(Edward D. Cobb, personal communication). 


Little is known of Julia Ellen Rogers, the 

older of the two sisters, whom the Comstocks 

took to their hearts. At the end of the 19th 

century, Julia was known as a prominent 

nature study educator in the state of Iowa. 

Her collaboration with members of the Iowa 

Agricultural College was part of the nature 

study education movement being introduced 

in the west as well as an early attempt to 

compile seven nature study lessons in booklet 

form for classroom teachers. Her contribution 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










of “A Nature Study Lesson on the Grasshopper” 

to the Iowa-based booklet hints to the 

collaboration that lay a decade in her future.



Scant documentation exists to indicate 

exact dates of Rogers’ migration east. The 

pull eastward may have been great with the 

prospects of a college education influenced by 

Julia’s younger sister, Mary (Farrand) Rogers 

Miller, and her senior thesis work with John 

H. Comstock.  The notoriety of both the 

Comstocks’ work in nature study education, 

particularly of Anna B. Comstock, would have 

been known to Rogers as well and may have 

been an incentive to come to Cornell.   

Rogers enrolled in Cornell in 1900 and 

worked closely with John H. Comstock on her 

master’s thesis of Materials for Winter Work 

in Nature-study (1902) (Rogers, 1902; Cornell 

University, 1908). In what is one of the few 

existing documents to reflect Rogers’ voice, 

the introductory remarks of her thesis speak 

directly toward the influence and importance 

of the Nature Study Program lauded by Anna 

B. Comstock at that time. She emulated 

Anna B. Comstock both with positive and 

encouraging paragraphs about the importance 

of the thoughts of a child’s own observations, 

and of the knowledge such observation incurs.  

Rogers with her sister Mary Miller were 

considered members of the Comstock 

household. Both young women traveled with 

Anna B. Comstock to southern New York 

State for the summer nature study lectures at 

Chautauqua Institute.  Julia would stay with 

Anna B. Comstock when John H. Comstock 

would travel for his work (Anna B. Comstock 

unpublished, Chapter 10, p. 23). A self-

described publisher, Rogers was a prodigious 

writer; her article, “Boys & girls, as naturalists, 

gardeners, home-makers, citizens,” contributed 

to Boys & Girls: A Nature Study Magazine, was 

to be the first of several articles and books that 

Rogers was to write in her career (Comstock, 



 Rogers’ entomological beginnings 

took a decidedly botanical turn with seven of 

her ten publications following her botanical 

interest. These include:

• Among Green Trees: A Guide to Pleasant 

and Profitable Acquaintance with Familiar 

Trees (1902; A. W. Mumford: Chicago); 

• Tree Book: A Popular Guide to a Knowl-

edge of the Trees of North America and to 

Their Uses and Cultivation by Julia Ellen 

Rogers (1905; Doubleday, Page & Com-

pany: New York); 

•  Book of Useful Plants by Julia Ellen 

Rogers. Illustrated by Thirty-One Pages 

of Half-Tones from Photographs (1913; 

Doubleday, Page & Company: New York); 

• Useful Plants Every Child Should Know 

(1913; Doubleday, Page & Company: 

New York); 

• Tree Guide: Trees East of the Rockies by 

Julia Ellen Rogers (1916; Doubleday, Page 

& Company: New York); 

• Canadian Trees Worth Knowing (1917; 

The Musson Book Co.: Toronto); 

• Trees Worth Knowing (1917; Doubleday, 

Page & Company: New York); 

• Trees (1926; Doubleday, Page & Com-

pany: New York).

Little more is known of Julia Rogers save for 

her writing. It is known that Rogers eventually 

settled in later life, first in New Jersey, near 

her sister Mary, and then in California where 

her interest turned to seashells and their 

identification (Cornell University, 1908). 

After her death in 1958, Rogers’ remains were 

interred in her home state of Iowa.     


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 












Ada Eljiva Georgia came to Ithaca, NY, to join 

John Spencer as his assistant in the early days 

of nature study education in 1896 (Fig. 4).  

Spencer discovered Georgia as a teacher in the 

city schools of Elmira, New York, engaged in 

nature study work with her classes (New York 

State College of Agriculture, 1921).  Little is 

known about Georgia’s background up until 

this time; however, her affiliation with Cornell 

University was through nature study initiatives 

she worked on in collaboration with Anna B. 

Comstock and others. 

Figure 4.  Alice Gertrude McCloskey and 

Ada Eljiva Georgia  

(Images from Cornell Nature Study Leaflets, 

Fall 1956, Vol. 50, No.1.)

Georgia joined Anna B. Comstock in 

producing the Home Nature Study Course 

leaflets in 1906 when she was transferred to 

Anna B. Comstock’s office. With her, Georgia 

brought a sound knowledge of plants that 

added tremendously to the writing of the 

leaflets and assisted in the answering of letters 

that Anna B. Comstock had been diligently 

working on alone, in the three years before the 

arrival of both Spencer and Georgia.  Georgia’s 

memory was vast, her interests many, and her 

love of literature provided many of the literary 

references to Anna B. Comstock’s superb 

Handbook of Nature Study (Trump, 1954).  

Through her associations with Spencer, Anna 

B. Comstock, and in turn with Bailey, Georgia 

published a large tome with the MacMillan 

Company in October 1914 that was edited by 

Bailey. The book, A Manual of Weeds (1914), 

was part of a collection of books called The 

Rural Manuals edited by Bailey. Georgia’s book 

contains 385 illustrations from wildflower 

author F. Schuyler Mathews and is dedicated 

to the memory of her mentor, Spencer, who 

died in 1912.


  Georgia describes herself as 

an assistant in the farm course” on the front-

piece of her book, yet Spencer and Anna B. 

Comstock’s influences are evident in that 

Georgia endeavored to make her book “less 

technical and easier for the general reader to 


The preface of A Manual of Weeds safeguards 

the only words that are truly Ada Georgia’s 

own thoughts or philosophies. The writing is 

lyrical and resonant of both Bailey’s and Anna 

B. Comstock’s own writing styles:

“... Dame Nature is an ‘eye-servant’; only by the 

sternest determination and the most unrelaxing 

vigilance can her fellow-worker subdue 

the earth to his will and fulfill the destiny 

foreshadowed in that primal blessing, so sadly 

disguised and misnamed, when the first man 

was told, ‘Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in 

sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 

thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to 

thee; and thou shalt eat of the herb of the field.’  

A stern decree.” (Georgia, 1914)

Working with Anna B. Comstock up until her 

sudden death in 1921, Georgia was described 

by her colleague and friend as a woman of 

remarkable character and indomitable spirit 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










(Anna B. Comstock, unpublished, pp. 17-



 Additionally, Georgia is saluted by 

Anna B. Comstock’s successor, E. Laurence 

Palmer, over 20 years after Georgia’s death in 

the Cornell Rural School Leaflet of September 


A debt of gratitude is due to some of those who 

served during the early days of Cornell nature 

study but who did not have the opportunity 

to assume conspicuous places of leadership.  

Foremost of these is Ada Georgia, a tireless, 

careful, outdoor person with a fundamental 

love for children that was not always obvious 

to casual acquaintances.  As an inadequate 

monument to her careful, useful work she left 

her Manual of Weeds that was for years a 

classic in its field.” (Palmer, 1944)  

In the Preface of her Manual of Weeds, Georgia 

lastly acknowledged the desire for her work to 

be published for the public-at-large as “one of 

the few wishes that ‘come true’ …” (Georgia, 

1914).  This final statement of Georgia’s book 

gives a nod toward the importance in which 

precedence, influence, and mentoring have 

toward the next generation of nature educators, 

including botanists, and particularly women, 

with the motivation to push forward toward 

legacies in their own names.   


This brief historical review of the rich tapestry 

of Nature Studies, conducted by dedicated 

women and men associated with Cornell 

University, attests to the profound influence 

that these pioneers had during the early part 

of the 20th-century America. Sadly, most of 

their writings have gone neglected. Yet, even 

a casual reading of the bulletins and books 

produced by these once influential scientists 

and educators shows that the love and concerns 

about the welfare of the natural environment 

predates current concerns about the erosion 

of our ecosystems and the sustainability of 

our world’s biodiversity. It would be remiss of 

me not to encourage re-reading the literature 

produced by these forward-looking scholars, 

for much would be re-learned and perhaps 

not forgotten. 


A special word of thanks, and appreciation, is 

extended to Edward D. Cobb, Karl J. Niklas, 

and Randy O. Wayne in the School of Inte-

grated Plant Science/Plant Biology section 

of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY for their 

mentorship and assistance with photographs. 

I also thank two reviewers for the many posi-

tive and constructive comments regarding 

my manuscript.


“Boys and Girls.” “v. 1-6, v. 7, no. 1-6; 


1903-July 1907. Caption title: Boys & girls, as 

naturalists, gardeners, home-makers, citizens. 

Official organ of the Chautauqua junior 

naturalist clubs, June 1904-Nov. 1905. Editors: 

Jan.-Mar. 1903, Mrs. Anna B. Comstock. --Oct. 

1903-July 1907, Martha Van Rensselaer.”

What Happened to Freckles: March 1904 

(Volume 2, Number 3); A Riddle! Who Can 

Guess It?: April 1904 (Volume 2, Number 

4);  Required Reading for Chautauqua Junior 

Naturalists: November 1904 (Volume 


Number 3); Required Reading for Chautauqua 

Junior Naturalists: December 1904 (Volume 3, 

Number 4); Bird Houses: May 1905 (Volume 

4, Number 5); For Chautauqua Junior 

Naturalists: May 1905 (Volume 4, Number 5); 

June 1905 (Volume 4, Number 6); December 

1905 (Volume 5, Number 4); Winter Birds: 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 











1906 (Volume 6, Number 1); Carrots 

in the Schoolroom: January 1907 (Volume 7, 

Number 1); Cats: January, 1907 (Volume 7, 

Number 1); The Brook and the Brookside: May 

1907 (Volume 7, Number 5) (Cook, 2005).

The following year, Anna B. Comstock was 

appointed Assistant Professor of Nature Study 

in the Cornell University Extension Division 

on November 10, 1898. This designation was 

rescinded in 1899 by the Board of Trustees. 

Comstock was then appointed Lecturer in 

Nature Study by Cornell President Gould 

Schurman (Comstock, unpublished, 10-8).


Philosopher and Friend ALL THAT IS WORTHY 


DEDICATED (Miller, 1901).”

Wilhelm (William) Miller received his 

three degrees from Cornell University (18


BS; 1897 AM, 1900 PhD) (Cornell Alumni 

News, 1922), and worked on chrysanthemum 

research with Liberty Hyde Bailey.

State of 

New York Department of Agriculture, 

Cornell Nature-Study Leaflets. “Mosquitoes” 

(1902), “About Crows” (1902), “Pruning” 

(1902), “The Life History of a Beet” (1903) 

(New York State Dept. of Agriculture, 1904).

Iowa State Horticultural Society, John Craig, 

and Julia E. Rogers. 1890. Suggestive Outlines 

Bearing upon the Introduction of Nature Study 

into the Schools of the State / Authorised by the 

State Horticultural Society and Prepared by 

Members of the Faculty of the Iowa Agricultural 

College, Assisted by Julia E. Rogers. Iowa State 

Horticultural Society: Des Moines, IA.

“To  the revered memory of John Walton 

Spencer: My employer, teacher, and friend to 

whose first suggestion and encouragement the 

beginning of this book is due.” (Georgia, 1914).

“On  January 8th [1921] Miss Ada Georgia 

died.  She was a remarkable character. 


She suffered hardships all her life and her 

indomitable spirit carried on despite them. She 

was a passionate lover of books, a keen observer 

of nature, and an indefatigable worker.  She had 

been my greatly prized assistant in conducting 

the Home Nature Study Course for eight 

years. Her devotion to the work and loyalty to 

me had made her an important factor in my life 

and a valued friend.” (Comstock unpublished, 



Bailey, L. H. 1885. Talks Afield: About Plants and the 

Science of Plants. Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA.

Bailey, L. H. 1897. “What Is Nature-Study?” Cornell 

Nature-Study LeafletsTeachers’ Leaflets, No. 6 (May 

1): 11–19.

Comstock, A. B. 1907. Boys and Girls: A Nature Study 

Magazine. (Edited with Martha van Rensselaer and 

John W. Spencer, v. 1-6, v. 7, no. 1–6.) The Stephens 

Publishing Co., Columbia, MO. 

Comstock, A. B. 1953. Comstocks of Cornell: Biogra-

phy and Autobiography of John Henry Comstock and 

Anna Botsford Comstock. (Edited by Ruby Green Bell 

Smith and Glenn W. Herrick.) Comstock Publishing 

Associates, New York.

Comstock, A. B. unpublished. The Comstocks of Cor-

nell:  Biography  and  Autobiography  of  John  Henry 

Comstock and Anna Botsford Comstock.  #21-25-27, 

Box 8. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, 

Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY.

Cook, F. W. M. 2005. “Core Historical Literature of 

Agriculture (CHLA),” January 3, 2005.

Cornell Alumnae Club of New York, 1909. “Mary 

Rogers Miller: Biographical Sketch of a Candidate 

for Alumni Trustee,” Cornell Alumni News, March 3, 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Cornell Alumnae Club of New York. 1915. “Alice G. 

McCloskey,” Cornell Alumni News, October 28, 1915.

Cornell Alumni News, 1922. Vol. XXIV, No. 23 March 

9, 1922, p. 274.

Cornell University. 1902. Agricultural Experiment 

Station, Annual Report of the Commissioner of Agri-

culture (New York State) Dept. of Agriculture (State of 

New York, Dept. of Agriculture, 1894-1911), ix.

Cornell University. 1908. The Ten-Year Book of Cor-

nell University IV 1868-1908. Vol. IV. Ithaca, NY. 

Georgia, A. E. 1914. A  Manual  of  Weeds:  With  De-

scriptions of All the Most Pernicious and Troublesome 

Plants in the United States and Canada, Their Habits 

of Growth and Distribution, with Methods of Control

The Macmillan Company: New York.

Kohlstedt, S. G. 2005. “Nature, Not Books: Scientists 

and the Origins of the Nature‐ Study Movement in the 

1890s.” Isis 96, 3 (September 1): 324–352.

Lawrence, G. H. M. 1955. Liberty Hyde Bailey 1858-

1954: an appreciation, Baileya 3: 26-40. 

Miller, M. F. R. 1901. The  Brook  Book: A  First Ac-

quaintance with the Brook and Its Inhabitants through 

the Changing Year. New York: Doubleday, Page & 


Miller, M. R. 1954. “Mary Rogers Miller letter”, 

#41\5\m.264, Box 12. Division of Rare and Manuscript 

Collections, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY.

New York State Department of Agriculture. 1904. Cor-

nell Nature-Study Leaflets, 80 leaflet/vols. J. B. Lyon 

Company, Printers, Albany,



New York State College of Agriculture, Cornell Uni-

versity. 1921. Cornell  Rural  School  Leaflet, vol. 14, 

1-62 vols. 1, 3.  New York State College of Agriculture, 

Cornell University, Dept. of Rural Education, Ithaca, 


Palmer, E. L. 1944. Cornell Rural School Leaflet, vol. 

XXXVIII, 1.  The New York State College of Agricul-

ture at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Percival, C. M. 1956. Martha van Rensselaer. Alum-

nae Association of the New York State College of 

Home Economics at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY.

Rogers, J. E. 1902. Materials for Winter Work in 

Nature-Study. Thesis 1902 355, Division of Rare and 

Manuscript Collections. Cornell University Library, 

Ithaca, NY.

Spencer, J. W. 1898.  (Letter archived in) John W. Spencer 
Nature Study Papers 1897-1912, #21-24-238, Division of 
Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University 
Library, Ithaca, NY.

St. Clair, K. P. 2017. Finding  Anna:  The  Archival 

Search for Anna Botsford Comstock. Available at:

Trump, C. K. 1954. “From Mrs. Comstock’s Secre-

tary.” Cornell Alumni News, April 1, 1954. (Article 

archived in) Clara Keopka Trump Papers, 1909-1986, 

#13-6-2082. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collec-

tions, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY. 

background image




By Dr. Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

BSA Science Education News and Notes serves 

as an 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 Catrina Adams, Education 

Director, at

Where do you send students or people 

interested in exploring a career in botany? 

As Education Director, I often get e-mails 

asking me for advice on getting into a career in 

botany, or in switching careers to something 

aligned with an interest in plants. Many years 

ago, BSA created a very nice online resource 

highlighting our members, which is usually 

where I will send people to learn more: https:// 

While this is still a valuable resource, I’m 

interested in updating and expanding what 

we offer in this area. We’ve also been asked for 

printable resources that can be shared with 

“Botanists: See Zoologists and 

Wildlife Biologists”:  

Seeking Resources on Careers for 

Plant People

the public at a career-day type outreach event. 

In preparing to expand the career resources 

on, I’ve been taking a look at how 

plant careers are addressed in general career-

exploration resources aimed at students, such 

as the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics Career 

Exploration tool (


htm) and the Missouri Department of 

Elementary and Secondary Education’s Career 

Clusters paradigm (



These sorts of career exploration tools make 

me very curious about how and why certain 

specific occupations rise to the top while 

other fields are completely invisible. Many 

times it seems quite arbitrary which careers 

end up in which “cluster.” For example, in 

the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Career 

Exploration Guide, “Agricultural & Food 

Scientist” and “Landscape Architect” are 

listed under the heading “Interest in Nature,” 

whereas “Environmental Scientist” and 

“Microbiologist” are under the heading 

“Interest in Science.” 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










As a sad but telling example of how difficult it 

can be to find information on plant careers, I 

looked up “botany” in the U.S. Bureau of Labor 

Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 

and found this redirect: 

·Botanists, see: Zoologists and 

wildlife biologists. 
What Zoologists and Wildlife 

Biologists Do  

Zoologists and wildlife biologists 

study animals and other wildlife 

and how they interact with their 


Work Environment 

Zoologists and wildlife biologists 

work in offices, laboratories, or 

outdoors. Depending on their 

job,they may spend considerable 

time in the field gathering data 

and studying animals in their 

natural habitats.

I found myself humming the theme song 

to Chris Martine’s “Plants are Cool, Too!” 

YouTube channel (

com/watch?v=7F1lYVtuySw) and wishing 

more plant people had found careers with the 

Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

One group that has been trying to increase 

the profile of plant-related careers is the 

American Society of Horticultural Sciences, 

and the non-profit “Seed your Future” (https:// As part of their 

research, they conducted surveys on various 

U.S. demographic populations and found 

that 0% of the middle school students could 

tell you what a “horticulturalist” does. The 

middle school students (ages 11-13) strongly 

recommended rebranding horticulture as 

“Plantology.” Phone surveys of adults showed 

that 72% of adults over the age of 35 were 

familiar with the term “horticulture,” but only 

48% of adults 18–34 knew the term. It would 

be interesting to see how many middle school 

students and adults in that age bracket are 

familiar with the term “botany.”

In order to develop an interest in plant careers, 

you need to have some exposure to plants or 

people who have plant careers. A worrying 

trend I’ve noticed among our U.S.-based 

PlantingScience middle and high school 

teachers is that it’s becoming increasingly 

difficult for teachers to include plants in 

their curriculum, even if the teachers already 

consider themselves to be “plant people” and 

enjoy sharing how interesting plants are with 

their students. The 2018 National Survey 

of Science and Mathematics Education 

(NSSME+) confirms that the lack of teacher 

autonomy over curriculum is a national 

trend. According to the NSSME+, 24% of 

middle school teachers and 11% of high 

school teachers perceive that they have no 

control over selecting content, topics, or skills 

in their classes. Only 27% of middle school 

teachers and 34% of high school teachers 

felt they had strong control over this area. A 

PlantingScience teacher commented to me 

that all the teachers at her school had been 

told by administrators that they must stick 

to the curriculum and schedule precisely and 

that there was no room for “love lessons”—

spending more time on a subject of particular 

interest to the teacher.

Given the limitations that secondary school 

teachers face in using plants in their classroom, 

and the odd way plant careers are fractured 

in career planning guides, it’s especially 

important for us all to reach out and share our 

passion for plants and our career experiences 

any way we can. 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










If you know of particularly good (or bad) 

existing plant career resources, or exemplary 

career resources from a different field, please 

pass them along to me at cadams@botany.

org. I would like to get a broad idea of what 

is already available to have the best chance 

of building new resources that can make the 

most difference. 

I know that some of you have developed 

novel ways to share botany career-related 

information. For example, you may have 

seen Maryville University junior Emily Vago 

filming a 360 VR image during the Botany 

meeting in Tucson. Her “Veronicastrum 360 

Project” (


index.htm, or scan the QR code below) 

walks viewers through the entire process 

of a research project in plant ecology, from 

fieldwork to poster presentation. I would love 

to share links to similar projects as we revamp 

the education and career areas of the botany.

org website. 

Finally, if you have the opportunity to 

participate in a career fair or career day at 

a local school or community event, please 

consider it as a service to the future of the field.









This fall, PlantingScience has a new 

investigation theme, thanks to a collaboration 

with the American Phytopathological 

Society’s Office of Public Relations and 

Outreach. Check out the new theme and 

resource guides at https://plantingscience.


The new theme is based on a module 

published in the American Biology Teacher by 

Lou Hirsh, Seth Miller and Dennis Halterman 

(“An Inquiry-Based Investigation of Bacterial 

Soft Rot of Potato”). The journal has made 

this article open access, so you can read it at

Plant disease is definitely an important but 

underrepresented topic in secondary and high 

school curricula, so we are glad that we can 

offer a theme that introduces students to the 

basics of plant pathology. The potato soft rot 

pathogen—the organism under study in this 

new investigation theme—can easily be grown 

in any secondary-school lab (or kitchen) and 

gets around difficulties with shipping plant 

pathogen materials to teachers.

An additional advantage to using potato 

soft rot: it should be extremely memorable 

due to the incredible odor! As scent and 

memory are so closely linked, we anticipate 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










that any inadvertent potato abandonment 

in participating students’ lifelong culinary 

adventures is almost guaranteed to bring back 

memories of their PlantingScience experiences 

(Figure 1). Beta-testing high school students 

Grace and Summer—from the team “Potat-

bros” (


described the unique odor during 

conversations with their scientist mentor 

Donna Hazelwood: “It smelled like a gross, 

uncleaned fish tank or burnt old people.” 

We are anticipating a lot of interest in this 

new module for spring, and we can use more 

mentors who are comfortable mentoring for 

this new module. Scientists of all career stages 

are welcome, and you can choose which 

sessions you are available to mentor. Sign up 

to mentor here:


We are also recruiting middle and high school 

teachers to participate in PlantingScience 

with their classes for the spring session. The 

program is free to teachers; we provide basic 

materials and online mentoring support. 

Please direct prospective teachers here to learn 







A program like PlantingScience requires a 

lot of personalized attention and monitoring 

to ensure that the hundreds of active student 

teams get mentor attention and that teachers 

know where to turn when they run into 

issues. Keeping all the conversations between 

mentors and students going strong requires a 

strong support team. 

We are very lucky to have had Cari 

Ritzenthaler from Bowling Green, Ohio as 

our PlantingScience intern since the Fall 2017 

session. This session, Cari is joined by new 

intern Jessi Griffard from St. Louis, MO. Jessie 

is an experienced teacher with a background 

in ethnobotany and environmental education, 

and we are excited to have her help this fall. 

Our interns help to set up the website for 

teachers and students, coordinate the work 

of the Master Plant Science Team, and help 

make sure all teams are getting timely mentor 


Figure 1. Students beta-testing the new “Plants 

Get Sick, Too!” PlantingScience module prepare 

themselves for working with the stinky soft rot-in-

noculated potatoes by using both eye and nose pro-

tection. Check out the new module here: 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










We’d also like to recognize the cohort of 

graduate students and postdocs who make 

up our Master Plant Science Team (MPST). 

These scientists serve as mentors to teams of 

students and as liaisons for PlantingScience 

teachers. They help teachers make mentor 

matches for their teams and ensure good 

communication between a teacher and his or 

her mentors, as well as step in to help keep 

all the student/scientist conversations going 

strong. BSA is supporting 14 scientists on the 

MPST for 2019-2020:

• Alina Avanesyan  

• Auyudh Das  

• Aline Rodrigues de Queiroz  

• Chloe Pak Drummond  

• Kelsey Fisher  

• Sonal Gupta  

• Laura Klein  

• Josh Kraft  

• Jill Marzolino  

• Funmilola Mabel Ojo  

• Carlos Pasiche-Lisboa  

• Chelsea Pretz  

• Elizabeth Stunz 

• Luiza Teixeira-Costa

These graduate students and post-docs help 

teachers to teach more plant biology in the 

classroom, which is so essential to capturing 

student interest and increasing appreciation 

for plants. Please thank them for their service 

to the field!

Learn more about the benefits and 

requirements of being on the Master Plant 

Science Team and consider joining next 

year’s MPST cohort of graduate students 

and postdocs:

joinmpst. Applications will open at the end of 

this academic year.

background image



By Min Ya and Shelly Gaynor 

BSA Student Representatives

The Botanical Society of America has been a 

society for botanical research and education 

for 126 years, and the student portion of its 

membership is growing stronger over the 

years. For our Botany 2019 meeting in Tucson, 

Arizona, we had 497 students (40.7% of the 

total!) registered at the conference. BSA is 

committed to supporting its student members 

in every feasible way. Starting this year, BSA 

increased the amount awarded to support 

graduate student research from $500 to $1500 

per person without decreasing the number 

of award recipients. In addition, to keep the 

cost of student memberships affordable, 

BSA urges professional members of the 

society to provide gift memberships to their 

students. This year we started to offer 3-year 

student memberships for only $50, which 

stays effective even if one were no longer a 

student during those three years. This year, 

BSA also initiated a brand-new paid position 

for students to be BSA social media liaisons. 

BSA is incorporating students’ perspectives to 

stay connected and is trying to shape botany’s 

future with its student members!

Students of all levels are also encouraged 

to get engaged in the Society, and students’ 

voices are welcomed in every BSA committee. 

Serving as a student representative or on a 

BSA committee is an invaluable experience, 

and it is a great way to know how professional 

societies work and how to organize 

conference events. If you are interested in 

becoming the next student representative, 

serving on a committee (a list of committees 

can be found at


officers.html), or nominating someone for 

any of the positions—or even if you have any 

questions regarding the positions or BSA in 

general—feel free to contact your current 

student representatives: Minya (yamin@g.,  @0_minyaaa) and Shelly 

(,  @ShellyGaynor). 

Of course, make sure to follow and connect 

with us on Facebook, Twitter (@Botanical_), 

and Instagram (botanicalsocietyofamerica)!





When did you join BSA and what motivated 

you to do so? 

I stumbled upon during my 

sophomore year of undergraduate at the 

University of Central Florida (UCF). I was 

tasked with looking for funding sources for my 

research project and found the undergraduate 

research grant.  I started to explore the BSA 

website, but I didn’t join BSA until my awesome 

summer NSF REU (Research Experience for 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Undergraduates) advisors, Drs. Robert Laport 

and Julienne Ng brought me to the annual 

meeting in 2016. At this meeting, I met so 

many people and became excited to be a part 

of this field. I felt like I belonged. 

What motivated you to run for the position 

of Student Representative to the Board of 


During my first BSA meeting, I found out 

about BSA student chapters. At the time, 

I felt very isolated in my interest at my 

undergraduate institution. We did not have 

any faculty that were doing active botanical 

research or members of BSA. Luckily, UCF 

filled this gap and hired a botanist and BSA 

member, Dr. Chase Mason, in Spring 2017. 

With Dr. Mason’s support and the help of 

another student, we established a BSA chapter 

at UCF. By establishing this chapter, I realized 

I wasn’t alone and was able to help create a 

community for the numerous students who 

shared my interests. Establishing this chapter 

of BSA at my alma mater was extremely 

rewarding, as it enabled me to see others 

become excited about botany (six of the UCF 

chapter’s members were even at Botany 2019!). 

From this experience, I became passionate 

about making fellow students feel welcome 

and excited to be a part of BSA. Having 

the opportunity to help support students 

in BSA motivated me to become a student 


What have you gained from being a student 

member of BSA? 

I have gained so much from being a member 

of BSA. As an undergraduate, BSA gave 

me confidence; I was very fortunate and 

was awarded a number of research and 

presentation awards by BSA. Through the 

annual meetings, I met most of my current 

collaborators, including my graduate advisors, 

Drs. Pam and Doug Soltis. 

What’s your research about and how did you 

discover your research interest?

Broadly, my research focuses on polyploidy 

evolution and ecology.  I discovered my 

research interest while working in a turf 

grass lab as a high school student, where I 

encountered polyploidy for the first time using 

a slide I prepared. I discovered that the grass 

had undergone multiple rounds of genome 

duplication, resulting in triple the number of 

chromosomes, and I wanted to know why. 

What sorts of hobbies do you have? 

I’m truly a cat lady and like to spend my 

evenings watching Netflix with my cats. I 

spend a lot of time with my two cats, Mabel 

and Gus, and post many photos of them on 

Twitter (@ShellyGaynor). Like most botanists, 

I love hiking and traveling. I also enjoy 

spending time with my family and make time 

to go see them as often as I can. Other things 

that fill my time include cooking, baking, and 


background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        



BOTANY 2019  


We would like to extend a huge “thank you!” 

to everyone who attended Botany 2019 in 

Tucson, Arizona. It was an excellent meeting 

filled with great field trips, workshops, talks, 

posters, arts and mixers. We hope you enjoyed 

the beautiful Tucson summer, connected 

with old friends, made new friends, and were 

inspired by all the amazing science during the 


We are very grateful to Erin Dokter and Nick 

Cenegy from the University of Arizona Think 

Tank, as well as Gordon Uno and Melanie Link-

Perez, for co-hosting the Statement Writing 

Workshop with the student representatives. 

We want to thank all the panelists in our 

Careers in Botany Luncheon, and our keynote 

speaker Betsy Arnold from the University 

of Arizona gave an especially touching and 

inspiring talk about the paths she took to get 

where she is today. We also had a blast in our 

undergraduate mixer and student social and 

networking event, which was kindly sponsored 

by Wiley; students were able to meet and 

chat with editors of the American Journal of 

Botany and Applications in Plant Sciences. This 

year we also had a brand-new CV reviewing 

session during the conference. We are very 

grateful for all the professional members that 

volunteered to be the CV reviewers, and spent 

their time helping students to tailor their CVs 

and resumes to their desired career paths. 

We also loved seeing all the tweets and 

pictures shared on social media during the 

conference—let’s keep the good vibes for 

botany going! We look forward to seeing all of 

you again, or getting to know you for the first 

time, at #Botany2020 in beautiful Anchorage, 

Alaska, on July 18-22, 2020!

background image


New BSA Social Media Liaisons 

Selected for 2019-2020

BSA is pleased to announce that two Social Media Liaisons have been selected for 2019-2020: 

Taran Lichtenberger and Jared Meek. Earlier this year, the BSA Student Representatives asked 

the BSA Board to approve the creation of these roles to better engage with and provide a 

community for BSA members (both current and potential) via our social media platforms of 

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here they are to introduce themselves!

Taran Lichtenberger 

Northwestern University and 

Chicago Botanic Garden

Hi! I’m Taran Lichtenberger, a Plant 

Biology and Conservation Master’s student 

at Northwestern University and Chicago 

Botanic Garden. I currently conduct research 

on plants from the Colorado Plateau region 

using micropropagation techniques and 

studying intraspecific diversity. I am also 

very passionate about sharing science with 

others and helping everyone recognize how 

awesome plants are! I have contributed to 

other organizations’ social media pages and 

am looking forward to interacting with BSA 

members and growing the community of 

interested botanists, plant science researchers, 

and plant enthusiasts.

Jared Meek 

Columbia University 

Hello! My name is Jared Meek, and I’m a 

Master’s student at Columbia University in 

the Ecology, Evolution and Environmental 

Biology Department. I love learning about 

plants, mountains, and plants in mountains! 

I’m currently studying a beautifully diverse 

genus called Pedicularis (lousewort) in the 

Hengduan Mountains of SW China and Tibet. 

I’m excited to join BSA’s social media team to 

help students have a deeper connection with 

the wonderful world of botany.


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 













Annually Harvard University awards a limited 

number of Bullard Fellowships to individuals 

in biological, social, physical, and political 

sciences and the arts to promote advanced 

study or the integration of subjects pertaining 

to forested ecosystems. The program seeks to 

allow mid-career individuals to develop their 

own scientific and professional growth by 

utilizing the resources and interacting with 

personnel in any department within Harvard 

University. 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. Stipends up to $60,000 are 

available for periods ranging from six months 

to one year and are not intended for travel, 

graduate students, or recent post-doctoral 

candidates. Harvard Forest is an equal 

opportunity employer. We are committed to 

establishing and plan to maintain a diverse 

and inclusive community that collectively 

supports and implements the Harvard Forest 


Additional information is available on the 

Harvard Forest website 


Annual deadline for applications is 

December 15, 2019.

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 














On February 11, 2019, the botanical society 

and the broader scientific community suffered 

the loss of one of our most esteemed members, 

Dr. Winslow R. Briggs, an exceptionally 

productive scientist, extraordinary mentor, 

and beloved colleague.  As but two 

representatives among many former students 

and scientists to have been mentored by 

Winslow, we hope to convey our sense of his 

ongoing impact on the scientific world, and 

on individuals that are fortunate enough to be 

included in the long list of associates, mentees, 

and friends influenced by this generous and 

gifted man. 

Several recent tributes have enumerated 

many of Winslow’s achievements. His 

scientific productivity and the importance 

of his contributions to plant biology are 

indisputable; for more than seven decades, 

Winslow contributed a tremendous amount 

to our understanding of light-mediated 

regulation of plant growth and development, 

and of the biochemical and physiological 

mechanisms underpinning those responses.  

Throughout his career, from his doctoral work 

at Harvard University, an eight-year stint as 

a faculty member at Stanford University, his 

return to Harvard as a Professor of Biology, 

and his subsequent recruitment as Director 

of (and ultimately Emeritus positions in) 

the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s 

Department of Plant Biology and Professor 

at Stanford University, Winslow’s scientific 

accomplishments and impact across 

many fields cannot be overstated. For his 

groundbreaking work on auxin redistribution, 

phytochrome function, and blue-light 

receptors, Winslow was inducted into the 

In Memoriam

Winslow Briggs (center) with Ann Briggs and Tim Short at a Carnegie conference in 2014.

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










prestigious National Academy of Sciences, 

the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 

the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher 

Leopoldina, and the California Academy 

of Sciences. As further testament to his 

outstanding influence in scientific endeavors, 

he earned numerous awards, including:

• The Distinguished Fellow of the Botani-

cal Society of America Award “for pre-

eminence in research ranging from ver-

nation in ferns and hormone transport 

to the chemistry and biophysics of light-

mediated growth of plants”

• The Alexander von Humboldt Award to 

U.S. Senior Scientists to pursue scientif-

ic research in Freiburg, Germany

• The Stephen Hales Prize for “serving 

plant physiology as a teacher and mentor, 

as an investigator of how light interacts 

with internal metabolic and hormonal 

controls, and as a senior spokesperson 

for science” and the Adolph E. Gude, Jr. 

Award “…in recognition of outstand-

ing service to the science of plant biol-

ogy”, both from the American Society of 

Plant Biologists, for which he served as 

President in 1975-76

• The U.S. Department of Agriculture – 

American Chemical Society Sterling B. 

Hendricks Memorial Award

• The Japan Society International Prize 

for Biology 

There can be no doubt that Winslow was 

widely recognized throughout his career as a 

brilliant scientist. 

While it was through his substantial scientific 

achievements that we were initially drawn to 

work with him, we soon came to understand 

how much more there was to Winslow beyond 

his superb research reputation, and we wish to 

convey the deeply personal connections that 

make Winslow’s a life to celebrate.  Winslow 

was an inspiring mentor, and the environment 

he fostered made going into the lab everyday a 

joy.  Unless he was traveling, one could expect 

him to appear at least once a day in the lab to 

look at the latest autoradiographs or consider 

the next experiment; and several times each 

day he would suggest brewing a cup of tea 

as an excuse to talk about the manuscripts 

we were outlining, discuss recent papers that 

might be relevant to our work or that were 

important scientific milestones, or simply 

float ideas for possible future experiments.  

On multiple occasions he donned a lab coat 

and parka to help harvest pea epicotyls or 

maize coleoptiles in the cold room under 

“reagent grade” darkness, in preparation for 

large-scale membrane extractions and protein 

phosphorylation experiments—and used 

the opportunity to exchange awful jokes and 

puns.  At the same time, he gave us enormous 

latitude to try novel experiments or take new 

approaches, allowing us to succeed on our own 

terms or to fail and learn from our mistakes. 

To wit, when it was suggested that Arabidopsis 

might be a good addition to our model species 

for biochemical studies, Winslow’s initial 

response was, let’s say, less than enthusiastic, 

yet he yielded gracefully. After this little 

weed proved to be precisely the plant we 

needed to finally identify what turned out to 

be the phototropin photoreceptor, Winslow 

became one of the greatest advocates of using 

Arabidopsis as a genetic and biochemical 


What these examples have in common is 

that Winslow treated us not as underlings to 

be directed, but as colleagues with valuable 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










insights that could alter his preconceptions.  

He did not have to push us because he inspired 

us to push ourselves.  And like co-workers, 

rather than leaving us in the lab while he 

presented our work, Winslow often gave us 

the opportunities to not only attend meetings 

with him, but to give the talks and field the 

questions on our work.  He gladly introduced 

us to other members of the community 

without regard to their prominence or to the 

“sexiness” of their work, and when walking 

through poster sessions, he made a point of 

stopping at posters that had had few visits 

and asked, to the delight of the lonely student, 

“Take me through it.” In the same vein, when 

sitting in the audience listening to others’ 

presentations, he would invariably whisper 

enthusiastic and positive appraisals of each 

talk.  He made his own joy for scientific 

exploration contagious, and in so doing 

was widely respected and revered across the 

community.  In fact, after presenting new and 

unpublished data, attendees would often point 

out to us that larger labs would never try to 

“scoop” us because his peers held Winslow in 

such high regard. Indeed it will be interesting 

to watch the field and attitudes within it in 

Winslow’s absence; we hope his legacy of 

collegial interaction and respect will continue 

to live on. 

Winslow’s guidance did not end when 

we left his lab.  He served as a principled 

mentor, leading by example.  Both of us have 

commented frequently on how we strive to 

lead our laboratory groups in the manner 

exemplified by Winslow: providing criticism 

respectfully but clearly, maintaining high 

scientific and ethical standards, supporting 

resourcefulness in our students, and treating 

the lab members as scientific associates in 

ways that encourage them to take ownership 

of their projects. Whether initiating a local 

gathering of plant photobiologists that he slyly 

Winslow Briggs with Mannie Liscum, preparing 

for his keynote address at his 90th  birthday 

celebration symposium in April 2018 at CIW-

Plant Biology


dubbed the Bay Area Regional 

Photomorphogenesis (BARPH) meeting, or 

at the annual Carnegie Institution hog roast; 

on a lab hike at Henry Coe State Park, where 

he and his wife Ann were honored for their 

extensive conservation efforts, research, and 

volunteer work that was instrumental to 

saving the park from closure, or at one of the 

many Chinese banquets he (often aided by 

one or more of his daughters) prepared for as 

many of the extended lab family and visiting 

scientists as he could gather; sharing his love 

of art and for nature, or demonstrating his 

exceptional talent as a pianist, he made us 

feel we were part of his life, and we saw him 

as part of ours.  And, of course, many of his 

former students, including both of us, still 

adhere to the “Briggs Rule,” stipulating that 

under no circumstances should a meeting last 

more than an hour!  

His mentoring also included a fearless and 

unwavering advocacy for his students and 

colleagues.  He called out the academic 

administration that had unjustly denied 

advancement to one of his former students 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










based on gender, and he worked hard to ensure 

fair treatment of not only his mentees, but of 

faculty and staff with whom he worked. He 

fought to protect and expand the “Carnegie 

model” that allowed exploration of innovative 

ideas and interdisciplinary research, 

collaborations with labs across the globe, and 

funding to support graduate students and 

postdocs built into the institution’s budget.  

Yet, despite all the difficult decisions and 

complications of heading one of the most 

distinguished institutions for plant biology, he 

always made time for lunch in the Carnegie 

woods or a cup of tea to talk science or to help 

with a personal issue—and he never missed 

an opportunity to make us laugh. 

Although we grieve with his wife Ann, and 

their daughters Caroline, Lucia, and Marion, 

we also celebrate the scientific and personal 

legacy that will hold Winslow in our memories 

and propagate in his scientific family for 

generations.  Winslow was a devoted scientist, 

an incomparable mentor, and a dear friend. 

We believe we speak for so many whose lives 

were touched by Winslow: we were blessed 

to have crossed paths with such a unique, 

accomplished, humble and gracious humans 

beings to have walked this Earth. We will miss 

him enormously.

Donations in memoriam can be made to 

support the ASPB-Carnegie Winslow Briggs 

Mentorship Award at https://carnegiescience.

- Timothy W. Short and Emmanuel Liscum 



Arthur Oliver Tucker, III, retired Research 

Professor of the Delaware State University 

(DSU), died on 5 August 2019, in Dover, 

Delaware, after a short illness. 

He was born on 22 June 1945, in Allentown, 

Pennsylvania, son of Arthur Oliver Tucker, 

Jr., and Clara Tucker. He attended Fountain 

Hill High School in Bethlehem, graduating 

in June 1963, then graduated from Kutztown 

State College (now Kutztown University) in 

Kutztown, in June 1967, after majoring in 

Biology with a Botany emphasis (B.A.). 

Art entered graduate school at the Rutgers 

University, New Brunswick, NJ, and 

studied plant systematics under Dr. David 

E. Fairbrothers, with whom he maintained 

friendship until Dave’s death in 2012. His 

master’s degree (M.S., 1970) research 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










involved the variation of leaf proteins in 

three species of Mentha (Lamiaceae). He 

continued with studies for his doctoral degree 

(Ph.D., 1975) studying the morphological, 

cytological, and chemical basis of the Mentha  

 gentilis L. hybrid complex.

After a short period (1974-1976) of teaching 

a biochemistry laboratory at the Rutgers 

University Medical School, he began 

his long career (1976-2012, 36 years, on 

retirement, becoming Professor Emeritus) at 

the Department of Agriculture and Natural 

Resources at the Delaware State University, 

Dover, DE.

The 36 years at Del State involved teaching, 

research, and outreach to the scientific 

community and the general public.  His 

professional interests included ethnobotany, 

especially plants used for flavor, fragrance, 

medicine and culinary use; systematics 

of the mints, Mentha, and especially the 

Lamiaceae, flora of the DelMarVa peninsula; 

plant essential oil chemistry and analysis; and 

botanical and gardening history, including his 

latest book (with Jules Janick) on the biota of 

the Voynich manuscript.

During the late 1970s he and Prof. Norman 

H. Dill formed the beginnings of the Claude 

E. Phillips Herbarium (DOV). A new two-

floor facility for the herbarium was erected 

near the agricultural and natural resources 

research building, which became the center 

for collecting and development of the field 

botany program in the state of Delaware. 

Several historic collections of specimens were 

added to the collection, now amounting to 

over 150,000 sheets plus specimens of wood, 

potpourri, fibers of plant origin, and beads 

made of plant materials. Among the more 

prominent associates in the herbarium were 

Dr. Susan E. Yost, who was the Herbarium 

Educator; Dr. Robert F. C. Naczi, his first 

successor as curator of the herbarium; and 

then Dr. Cynthia Hong-Wa, current curator 

of the herbarium.

His teaching load over the years at DSU, 

at the undergraduate or master’s degree 

student level, included general biology, 

general horticulture, horticulture and plant 

materials, general botany, plant physiology, 

population biology, evolution of vascular 

plants, taxonomy of ornamental plants, plant 

anatomy and morphology, and systematic 


Among his outreach activities at DSU were 

the exhibitions of materials of plant origin 

at the herbarium, involving volunteers in 

the herbarium activities such as mounting 

plants and filing of specimens. Special days of 

programs for children were a favorite of his 


Art was a long-time and prominent speaker at 

local herb society meetings, the Herb Society 

of America, and the International Herb 


The Tucker Research Laboratory, run for 

many years with the assistance of Michael 

J. Maciarello, studied the flora and rare and 

endangered plants of Delaware and Maryland 

and undertook the analysis of essential/

volatile oils of culinary and aromatic plants. 

Michael was a coauthor on publications with 

Art from 1979 through 2011.

Numbering among his many hundreds of 

scientific and popular publications are these 


Tucker, A. O. and T. DeBaggio. 2000. The big book 

of herbs: A comprehensive illustrated reference to 

herbs of flavor and fragrance. Interweave Press, 

Loveland, CO. 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










McGuffin, M., J. T. Kartesz, A. Y. Leung, and A. 
O. Tucker. 2000. Herbs of commerce. American 
Herbal Products Association, Washington, DC

Tucker, A. O. and T. DeBaggio. 2009. The 

encyclopedia of herbs: A comprehensive reference to 

herbs of flavor and fragrance, ed 2. Timber Press, 

Portland, OR, 2009.

Belsinger, S. and A. O. Tucker. 2016. The culinary 

herbal: Growing and preserving 97 flavorful herbs

Timber Press, Portland, OR.

Janick, J. and A. O. Tucker. 2018. Unraveling the 

Voynich Codex. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.

Belsinger, S. and A. O. Tucker. 2019. Grow your 

own herbs: The 40 best culinary varieties for home 

gardens. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

The broad scope of his interests is represented 

by the awards he revealed during his very active 

career: Faculty Excellence Award in Research 

(DSU, 1988); Medal of Honor (Herb Society of 

America, 1990); Outstanding Scientist Award 

(Association of Research Directors (1994); 

Distinguished Research Award (National 

Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher 

Education); Scientific Award (American 

Herb Society, 1996); Industry Achievement 

Award (Texas Herb Growers & Marketers 

Association, 1996); Professional Award 

(International Herb Society, 1997); Excellence 

in Research/Creativity Award (DSU, 1998); 

Award for Excellence in Horticulture (Herb 

Society of America, 1998); 2002 Book Award 

(International Herb Association, 2002); 

Certificate of Achievement for Positively 

Outrageous Service, Delaware (Cooperative 

Extension, 2008); Award for Excellence in 

Herbal Literature (Herb Society of American, 

2004); and Friends of Extension Award 

(Delaware Cooperative Extension, 2016).

Art met his wife Sharon Smith (Ph.D., animal 

ecology) while they were graduate students 

at Rutgers, and they were married for over 

48 years. They have three children: Melissa 

(husband, Eric Klinker), Angelica (husband, 

Jonathan Glatt), and Arthur Oliver IV (wife, 

Ana Paula), and four grandchildren.

His non-professional interests included folk 

painting and stencil painting; home gardening; 

going through phases of collecting old 

cultivars of roses and irises, a traditional herb 

garden, and a wooded area with small ponds 

and wooden arbors; sour-dough bread baking; 

cement garden planters; and sculptures. He 

also collected antique hand-painted metal 

trays, green-man facial sculptures, narwhal 

figures, and egg-cups (the last two, his most 

recent pastimes).

[Note: The College of Agriculture, Science 

and Technology of Del State recently issued 

a special commemorative edition, Summer 

2019, “Humble giant: Dr. Arthur Oliver 

Tucker, III, 1945-2019: A fond farewell to 

our paragon of plant science.” [https://indd.

71ab6724f720, consulted 6 Sep 2019.]
-Thomas A. Zanoni (retired), New York Botan-

ical Garden

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 












Mark Whitten passed away suddenly on 11 

April 2019. 

Mark was an amazingly talented 

botanist. He was an experienced field botanist 

who knew the flora of Florida as well as that of 

eastern North America extremely well; he was 

also equally comfortable in the molecular lab. 

In fact, Mark was working regularly both in 

the field and in the molecular lab in the days 

before his sudden death. He will be missed 

by all who knew him for his helpfulness, 

botanical expertise, and cheerful nature.

Mark was an extremely warm and friendly 

person who readily gave much of his time to 

help other scientists. He took undergraduates 

as well as graduate students and visiting 

scientists in to the field. He also trained 

students and visitors in molecular methods. 

His love for botany was contagious; part of his 

legacy will be the many people who became 

interested in botany because of his enthusiasm 

and love for plants. Part of his legacy is also 

the model he provided for young people by 

helping others while being a hard-working 


Mark was born on 20 October 1954, in 

Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from 

Bishop Byrne High School in Memphis in 

1972 and then from Thomas More College 

in Covington, Kentucky, in 1976, with a 

bachelor’s degree in biology. As a college 

student, he sampled phytoplankton in the Ohio 

River as a consultant to several environmental 

companies. He received his M.S. in botany 

from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville 

in 1979 with a thesis on the pollination 

biology of Monarda (Lamiaceae) species 

and hybrids in the southern Appalachian 

Mountains. He then chose to work with Norris 

Williams, then at Florida State University, on 

euglossine bee-pollinated orchids in 1979. 

When Norris moved to the Florida Museum 

of Natural History at the University of Florida 

in Gainesville in 1981, Mark transferred there 

and spent a summer as a student intern at 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in the Orchid 

Identification Center. His dissertation, 

completed in 1985, was titled, “Variation in 

floral fragrances and pollinators in the Gongora 

quinquenervis complex (Orchidaceae) in 

central Panama.” In addition to Norris’s 

mentorship, Mark received valuable guidance 

on orchids from Robert L. Dressler (Panama) 

and Calaway Dodson (Ecuador and Marie 

Selby Botanical Gardens); that triumvirate, 

along with David Roubik of the Smithsonian 

Tropical Research Institute in Panama, were 

then leading virtually all work on euglossine 

bees and the flowers they pollinate. Mark 

collaborated with them and later, with 

additional collaborators, expanded on their 

work to include osmophores, floral fragrance 

components, flight-cage experiments, and bee 


In the 1990s, Mark began work in orchid 

molecular phylogenetics, using nuclear 

ribosomal ITS and plastid sequence data. 

He managed the molecular lab in the 

Herbarium (FLAS) and collaborated with 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










researchers throughout the orchid community 

on systematics papers involving Laeliinae, 

Stanhopeinae, Oncidiinae, Arethuseae, 

Angraecinae, Zygopetalinae, Vandeae, 

Pleurothallidinae, Sobralieae, Spiranthinae, 

and particularly Maxillariinae, for which 

he wrote most of the generic treatments for 

Volume 5 of Genera Orchidacearum. Mark’s 

expertise in sequencing and his willingness 

to help everyone extended to work on other 

plant taxa such as Polygalaceae, Malvaceae, 

Ericaceae, Melastomataceae, Melanthiaceae, 

Zingiberaceae, the aquatic fern Marsilea

mammals (a study of retrieving DNA 

from small bones of dried specimens), and 

crassulacean acid metabolism. In fall 2013, 

Mark started a project to build a comprehensive 

species list and DNA-barcode plants in the 

Ordway-Swisher Biological Station, along 

with Kurt Neubig and Lucas Majure. 

Mark joined the Laboratory of Molecular 

Systematics and Evolutionary Genetics at the 

Museum in 2015 to work with Pam and Doug 

Soltis and was deeply involved in their National 

Science Foundation grant to determine how 

historical constraints, local adaptation, and 

species interactions shape biodiversity across 

the ancient floristic disjunction between 

southeast China and the eastern United 

States. He led the field work and sampling 

and was also active in the lab. Mark had an 

enormous impact in the Soltis Lab beyond 

that one project. He took undergraduates, 

graduate students, and visitors into the field; 

collected samples requested by colleagues 

in labs around the world; worked in the 

greenhouse; gave sage advice to students; and 

developed new methods for the isolation of 

high-molecular-weight DNA. He seemed to 

be everywhere. Mark had also recently begun 

a floristics project at the Etoniah Creek State 

Forest and was there at least once every week. 

He was never happier than when he was out 

collecting plants and building our knowledge 

of biodiversity. He will be missed by friends 

and colleagues around the world.


Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, and Lu-

cas C. Majure, Florida Museum of Natural 

History, University of Florida, Gainesville, 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










background image

background image





My Father in his Suitcase: In Search of E.J.H. Corner the Relentless Botanist ..................192


Carnivorous Plants  ................................................................................................................................................195

Economic Botany

Tasting the Past The Science of Flavor & the Search for the Origins of Wine .................196


Physiologie der Pflanzen. Sensible Gewchse in Aktion. ....................................................................197


Unique Plants and Animals of the Baja California Pacific Islands..............................................199

Sedges and Rushes of Minnesota: The Complete Guide to Species Identification ........200

Identification of Trees and Shrubs in Winter using Buds and Twigs .........................................201

Grasses of Florida ..................................................................................................................................................203

Dictionary of Plant Sciences, ed 4 ................................................................................................................204

Mountain Flowers and Trees of Caucasia ...............................................................................................205


My Father in his Suitcase: 

In Search of E.J.H. Corner 

the Relentless Botanist

By John K. Corner

2013. ISBN: 978-981-4189-47-7.

Soft cover, £24.99, 431 pp.

Landmark Books Pte Ltd, Singa-

pore 199588

Before and during World War II (WWII) 

a number of excellent, productive, and 

sometimes eccentric botanists roamed South 

East Asia. One of them was Edred John Henry 

Corner (1906-1996), who started his career 

in 1929 as Assistant Director of what is now 

the Singapore Botanic Gardens (SBG). [Full 

disclosure: I visited the Garden frequently 

to work and write the third edition of 

Micropropagation of Orchids with my former 

post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Tim Wing Yam.]
Richard Eric Holttum (1895-1990), who wrote 

an excellent book about the orchids of Malaya 

during the Japanese occupation, despite 

considering himself to be a fern expert, was 

director of SBG at the time, having assumed 

the position in 1925 after being assistant 

director starting in  1922. He also founded the 

Malay Orchid Society, now the Orchid Society 

of South East Asia; produced the first orchid 

hybrid in Singapore, Spathoglottis Primrose; 

and later became the first professor of botany 

at the University of Singapore. [Another full 

disclosure: starting in 1972 I spent many 

months during summers and sabbatical 

leaves working at the Botany Department 

of this university with its chairman, the late 

Professor A. N. Rao, and Professors P. N. 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










‘Danny’ Avadhani and Choy sin Hew, both 

retired now.] It was not long before tension 

developed between Corner and Holttum for 

reasons that are not clear to this day, but may 

well have been due to differences in their 

Corner quickly became very active in 

Singapore and Malaya. He studied fungi, trees, 

and the local flora. One result of these studies 

was the classic Wayside Trees of Malaya. Not 

wanting to climb tall trees to collect study 

material, he trained pig-tailed monkeys, 

Maracus nemestrina (locally known as berok

to collect epiphytes, small branches, flowers, 

and fruits for him. During my first visit to 

SBG in 1969, monkeys still roamed free in the 

During the brutal WWII Japanese occupation 

of Singapore (which the Japanese called 

Syonan-to, meaning “Light of the South”), 

Corner took it upon himself to save and 

protect scientific and cultural institutions. He 

developed excellent working relations with the 

Japanese officials who were in charge of these 

matters. This gave him considerable freedom 

of movement, which he used to carry messages 

that could have resulted in his execution had 

he been caught. He also destroyed nautical 

charts, which could have been useful to the 

Corner’s close association with Japanese 

occupation officials led to accusations of 

treasonous collaboration after the war. 

He exacerbated these accusations by 

strengthening the friendships he forged 

during the war and writing books and articles 

that praised the Japanese men of science 

officials (Corner, 1946, 1981). In reality, there 

was no treasonous collaboration. There was 

collaboration of dedicated scientists working 

together. The Japanese scientists who were 

sent to Singapore to assume high-level 

administrative positions (in civilian clothes 

or military uniforms) were high-integrity, 

principled men of science whose goals were 

the same as those of their British colleagues. 

In fact, some of them ran into problems with 

the Japanese military because of their good 

relations with Corner and Holttum.
Professor Hidezo Tanakadate, who was in 

charge of the Raffles Library and Museum, and 

SBG, announced on his arrival in Singapore, 

“I conserve cultural institutions.” He was 

very kind to Corner and Holtum (Holttum, 

1958, 1964, 1977).  The Marquis Yoshuchika 

Tokugawa, president of the gardens and 

the museum, who was equally devoted to 

protection of such institutions, fell under 

suspicion of being a supporter of the British 

because of his kindness. He was relieved of his 

duties and returned to Japan. Brigadier General 

Professor Kwan Koriba, a plant physiologist 

with an interest in orchids (Koriba, 1913, 1914, 

1926), who was appointed director of SBG, 

held the view that “there is no nationality in 

the field of science” (Arditti, 1989). He allowed 

Holttum and Corner to continue their work 

and treated them kindly; he himself engaged 

in research on the periodicity of tree growth 

(Koriba, 1958). Koriba also treated the SGB 

laborers very well. They called him orang 

yang baik sekali, which roughly translates to 

“perfect gentleman” (Arditti, 1989). When 

food became scarce, Koriba and/or Dr. Yata 

Haneda, who became director of the museum 

in 1942, invited Corner and Holttum for 

lunch following the weekly facilities tours on 

Sundays, to make sure that they had at least 

one good meal every week (Arditti, 1989).
The treasonous collaboration allegations 

were resolved in Corner’s favor once all the 

facts became known, but it took years, during 

which he was employed by UNESCO. In 1965 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










he returned to England and was appointed 

Professor of Tropical Botany in Cambridge. 

Later he was also elected to the Royal Society.
Corner was not an easy man to get along with. 

He was dogmatic and argumentative. The 

price he paid for his personality was high on 

several levels. His son, the author of this book, 

left home in 1960 at the age of 19 and never 

saw his father again. Corner did not forget 

his son. He had a suitcase labeled “For Kay, 

wherever he might be” and kept putting in it 

items he wished his son to see. This suitcase 

came into the son’s possession in 2002, and he 

nearly threw it away. Fortunately, he did not, 

and took it with him on moving to Australia 

where it languished on a shelf in the garage 

until 2006 when he opened it on a dull and 

wet winter day in Melbourne. 
The material in the suitcase plus additional 

information the author gathered are the basis 

of this book, which the author concluded 

with “va pensiero,” two words that mean 

“go, thought” (the same two words start the 

beautiful and touching Hebrew slaves chorus 

in Verdi’s opera Nabucco), “Adieu,” and “I have 

found a father.” Being an admirer of both men, 

I think that a more apt conclusion would have 

been the very personal epitaph Corner wrote 

for Kwan Koriba, 
“In the footsteps of Kwan Koriba 

his one time enemy 

his adopted son 

his admirer”
There is much more in this book about 

a prominent botanist and his life, times, 

work, and wandering around the world.  I 

concentrated on the events in Singapore 

during WWII because they show “devotion 

to duty...and...sympathetic understanding 

of human nature [and] understanding that 

transcended racial boundaries, even in times 

of war and of privation” (Holttum, 1958). 
This is an unusual book that may be of lesser 

interest for some in the current generation, 

which barely remembers WWII and its 

horrors. For me it is interesting, informative, 

and touching, not the least because I spent a 

good part of my life visiting and working in 

Singapore and SBG where the story started 

and much of it happened, and because the 

book deals with great men of science whose 

actions were driven by firm principles and 

high integrity during the worst of times. It is 

a good book to read and maybe even assign 

to students as an example of how good men 

should behave during difficult times.
-Joseph Arditti, Professor of Biology Emeritus, 

University of California, Irvine


Arditti, J. 1989. Kwan Koriba: Botanist and sol-

dier.  The Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 42: 1-17. 

Corner, E. H. J. 1946. Japanese men of science in Ma-

laya during the Japanese’s occupation. Nature 148: 63. 

Corner, E. H. J. 1981. The Narquis–A tale of Syonan-

to. Heineman. Heineman Asia, 10 Kalang Ave., #12-

14/18 Aperia Tower 2, Singapore 339510. 

Holttum, R. E. 1958. Kwan Koriba. The Gardens’ Bul-

letin Singapore 17: 339-340. [This is actually signed 

R. E. H.]

Holttum, R. E. 1964. A revised flora of Malaya. Vol-

ume I. Orchids of Malaya, ed 3. Government Printing 

Office, Singapore.

Holttum, R. E. 1977. A personal view of orchids. In J. 

Arditti (ed). Orchid Biology, Reviews and Perspectives

Vol. I. pp. 15-24. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New 


Koriba, K. 1913. Über die Drehung der Spiranthes-

Ähre. Berichte der Deutsche Botanische Gesellschaft 31: 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










Koriba, K. 1914. Mechanisch-physiologische Stu-

dien über die Drehung der Spiranthes-Ahre. Journal of 

the College of Science Tokyo Imperial University 36: 


Koriba, K. 1926. Observations on a Japanese species of 

Taeniophyllum.  Proceedings of the Pan-Pacific Science 

Congress, Tokyo 2: 1900-1901.

Koriba, K. 1958. On the periodicity of tree-growth in 

the tropics, with reference to the mode of branching, 

the leaf-fall, and the formation of the resting bud. The 

Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 17: 1-71. [Koriba lived 

long enough to read and correct the proofs of this  

paper but died before it was published.]


Carnivorous Plants 

By Dan Torre

2019. ISBN-10: 1789140528; 

ISBN-13: 978-1789140521

Hardcover, £16.00. 240 pp.

Reaktion Books, London, UK.


When I taught general bi-

ology, my audience was primarily pre-medical 

students. For the most part, this group was 

bright and motivated, but they were not very 

interested in learning about botany or plant 

biology. However, when the time came to dis-

cuss carnivorous plants, their interest seemed 

to perk up a bit. Wow, plants can actually do 

something interesting—sometimes they even 

eat animals! I took advantage of this momen-

tary interest to try to make some broader 

points about plant sciences.

It turns out that our society in general has a 

great interest in carnivorous plants—and the 

tales are fantastical. The author considers 

this public fascination in Chapter Four titled 

“Attack of the Killer Plants.” Of course, we had 

the film “Little Shop of Horrors,” with Audrey 

the killer plant and his caretaker Seymour, 

that developed a cult following. This film 

was adapted into a very enjoyable (at least 

from my perspective) off-Broadway musical. 

Many of my students seem to think that there 

were plants in the Amazonian jungles that ate 

humans for lunch!
In reality, plants developed carnivority 

as an adaptation to live in nutrient-poor 

environments (Ellison and Gotelli, 2001) as 

the author points out in Chapter One on the 

natural history of these plants. Carnivorous 

plants are very distinct with only about 700 

species known among all vascular plants. They 

expend energy to develop very specialized 

leaves to capture their prey. The author divides 

these plants into: fast-moving carnivores such 

as the famous Venus flytrap, sticky carnivores 

such as the sundews, and pitcher plant 

carnivores that have fluid-holding vessels. All 

of them secrete digestive fluids with enzymes 

to digest their prey, which usually includes 

insects, but could be larger animals such as 

rodents and amphibians. In fact, the Darwins 

specifically considered insectivorous plants in 

one of their botanical treatises (Darwin and 

Darwin, 1888). 
Carnivorous plants are increasingly featured 

in art and design as summarized in Chapter 

Five, which is illustrated with many images 

of paintings of this plant group. To me, the 

most fascinating art form was the recent 

series of glass and metal sculptures. For 

example, artist Jason Gamrath depicts large 

botanical structures including glass-blown 

pitcher plants that are about three feet tall. 

In addition, Paul Hill has created large public 

sculptures of Venus flytraps made of carbon 

steel and fused glass, which are displayed near 

their native range in North Carolina. The use 

of images of carnivorous plants on stamps 

and coins throughout the United States is also 


background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 











Tasting the Past: The 

Science of Flavor & the 

Search for the Origins of 



Kevin Begos

2018. ISBN 978-1-6162-0577-5

Hardcover, US$26.95.  

277 + x pp.

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC


More search than science, this interesting and 

readable book is the odyssey of a journalist 

intrigued with the diversity of wines and 

where they originated.  The search displays the 

author’s prowess as a travel writer and leads us 

to exotic places like the Republic of Georgia, 

villages in the Swiss Alps, heritage vineyards 

in the Palestinian Territories, and more.  Here 

he explores the renaissance in the use of local 

grape varieties for the production of unique 

vines. The science is based on his review of the 

literature and visiting wine researchers.
The enemy in the book is the large, industrial 

wine industry that—as the author constantly 

reminds us—depends upon Pinot Noir, 

Merlot, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc 

grapes, cultivars that produce high yields and 

have been adapted for mass production. Begos 

explores little known grape varieties, tastes 

their wine, and describes the flavor. As the 

author notes, he set off “. . . like a viticultural 

Quixote, traveling ancient wine routes, 

championing obscure grapes and railing 

against the glut of famous French varieties.”
This approach is in line with the movement 

for the utilization of indigenous plants and 

their products produced in small batches by 

local vintners. 

The sixth and final chapter discusses collecting 

and conserving carnivorous plants. In the late 

1800s, specialized nurseries in England and the 

United States stocked this plant group, often 

with a large selection. In the past, the ethics 

of these nurseries was questionable as some 

of them decimated wild populations of Venus 

flytraps and pitcher plants. Carnivorous plant 

societies have been established throughout 

the world to promote the conservation and 

cultivation of these fascinating plants.
This book, written for the general reader, is part 

of a series that integrates information about a 

plant group into broader social, cultural, and 

historical contexts. The books in this series 

typically have a single word title that reflects 

a plant group (e.g., cactus, sunflowers). The 

volume is beautifully illustrated and compact, 

and it comes with a reasonable price. It’s a fun 

and enjoyable read.


Darwin, C. and F. Darwin. 1888. Insectivo-

rous plants. John Murray Publishers, London.

Ellison, A. M. and N. J. Gotelli. 2001. 

Evolutionary ecology of carnivorous plants. 

Trends in Ecology and Evolution 16: 623-

-John Z. Kiss, Department of Biology, UNC-

Greensboro, Greensboro NC 27402

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










I found the short chapter on terroir of particular 

interest; it reminded me of a German wine 

chemist who tasted a wine and told me the 

grapes were grown on volcanic soil. He was 

right. But Begos discusses a new approach 

to understanding terroir, one that considers 

the role of microorganisms in the transmittal 

of flavor into the wine. The widespread use 

of fungicides and other pesticides alters the 

biology of the soil. Although Begos does not 

use the term, his research shows that the term 

ecology could be a stand-in for terroir
Tasting the Past skillfully combines the biology 

of wine with local cultures and colorful 

characters. For example, ethnobotanists 

would agree that cultivation of wine grapes 

originated in Western Asia, then spread to 

such centers as Cyprus, Greece, Italy, France, 

and Spain. He identifies as heroes those who 

often worked against great odds to protect 

and propagate autochthonous vines. The 

author uses grape varietal DNA research to 

document the spread of wine. He also notes 

that the progenitors of the wine grape, Vitis 

vinifera, were unisexual like other species in 

the genus.
There is a discussion of American species of 

grapes and how they are being used to develop 

varieties suitable for differing climates.  As 

someone who lives in an area where the native 

muscadine grapes, Vitis rotundifolia, are 

relished, I was sorry nothing was said about 

the role of methyl anthranilate and its role in 

wine making. I was originally drawn to the 

book because of my work on the ethnobotany 

of the Bible and Qur’an, so I was disappointed 

that the traditional method of growing grapes 

without trellises, as I have seen in Syria, 

Palestinian Territories, and Iraq, was not 

mentioned. Is there evidence (aside from the 

Bible) that this was more common in ancient 

times? Myrrh was added to wine (p. 106) in 

ancient times, but myrrh is not a pine resin, as 

Begos states.
This book nicely combines recent botanical 

research with the saga of wine production 

through the centuries. Buy a copy and enjoy it 

with a glass of one of the highly recommended 

Georgian wines. 
-Lytton John Musselman, Department of 

Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, 

Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0266 


Physiologie der Pflanzen. 

Sensible Gewächse in Ak-


By Ulrich Kutschera

2019. ISBN-13: 978-3-643-


Hardcover, 59.90€, 712 pp. 

LIT-Verlag, Berlin

It is fair to say that “plant blindness” is 

widespread, even among biologists. Sessile 

green organisms are regarded as a kind of 

background for the frolicking of mobile 

heterotrophs. They may be ancient and 

important, but clearly plants not “higher 

organisms.” Indeed, during the first half of 

the 19th century, many scientists believed that 

plants were inhabited by “vital forces.” It was 

the great German biologist Julius Sachs (1832–

1897) who flatly rejected this metaphysical 

idea and replaced it with a mechanistic 

Weltanschauung based on chemistry and 

physics—a worldview showing that plants 

were every bit as alive as animals and fungi.
Now, in a new splendid textbook, the equally 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










in humans vs. plants. In Chapter 4, cell-

water relationships are summarized, with 

illustrations of the water potential concept 

and resurrection plants. In this context, 

climate change, which leads to warming of 

the atmosphere and dryer soils, is discussed. 

In Chapter 6, Kutschera discusses the 

translocation of organic substances (sucrose, 

etc.) and the newly discovered “heart of the 

plant”. To transfer and concentrate sucrose 

into the phloem, molecular pumps (SWEET-

translocators) are active in the leaves of crop 

plants. These ATP-driven “sugar pumps” are 

depicted in a unique model.
In Chapter 9, cell respiration is treated at 

length, with a description of metabolic 

scaling theory, models of the ATP-synthase, 

and the role of reactive oxygen species 

(ROS). In this context, soil respiration is 

highlighted, and the author again discusses 

the topic of climate change (carbon cycle). 

But perhaps the most comprehensive chapter 

deals with photosynthesis; in Chapter 

10, the author describes plants as “living  

sunlight-powerplants and CO



On approximately 70 pages, illustrated by 

38 figures, he describes all key discoveries 

in photosynthesis research over the past 

200 years, with a focus on the work of Julius 

Sachs, Robert Hill (1899–1990), and Melvin 

Calvin (1911–1997). In Figure 10.38, the 

terrestrial carbon-cycle is depicted, based 

on work published in September 2018. The 

author points out that, with reference to 

climate change, approximately one third of 

anthropogenic CO


 emissions is recycled by 

land plants (plus marine photoautotrophs) 

and refers to Sachs’s principle of energy 

conservation in the biosphere via the 

“assimilation of carbonic acid.” Finally, 

Chapter 20 brings the book to closure with 

general conclusions and a general outlook on 

plant physiology. In this chapter, Kutschera 

prominent German biologist Ulrich Kutschera 

(a corresponding member of the Botanical 

Society of America) traces the roots of Julius 

Sachs’ experimental plant science and brings 

each discipline up to date. A few examples 

regarding the content of this expansive book 

will have to suffice for this review.
Chapter 1 provides the history of plant 

physiology with reference to the “vital force-

concept” as proposed by German philosophers 

(Schelling, Hegel, Schopenhauer) and pre-

Sachsian botanists (Meyen, Treviranus, 

Schacht, de Candolle). Kutscher also describes 

the “Sachs-Pfeffer-revolution” in the botanical 

sciences and defines plant physiology, 

with reference to his 2015 paper published 

in  Nature Plants, as “systems biology of 

photoautotrophic organisms (embryophytes, 

algae, cyanobacteria).” The position of 

plants in the Five-Kingdom-System of Life 

is described, and the role of bacteria for the 

development of embryophytes is addressed 

with reference to gnotobiology. Each of the 

subsequent 19 chapters begins with a brief 

description of the research that Sachs pursued 

and published in the respective area of plant 

science. These introductory remarks are 

supplemented by the pertinent woodcuttings 

Sachs created, each reproduced from his 

original papers and textbooks. Thus, Chapter 

2 describes the principles of experimentation 

and deduction of hypotheses vs. theories, with 

reference to the Sachsian principle of Factor-

analysis. Basic and applied research using 

crop plants is summarized, and the pros and 

cons of Arabidopsis as a model organism are 

debated. In Chapter 3, plant cell biology is 

treated in some detail, with reference to tissue 

tension (as described/discovered by Sachs), 

cell wall architecture, aquaporins, as well as 

the organism concept of plant development 

and the significance of stem cells, including 

a comparison between embryonic stem cells 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










explains why Sachs was a genius of biology. 

Then he reproduces a number of unpublished 

aphorisms taken from the notebooks of Sachs. 

Then, a comparison between research in 

medicine and plant physiology is provided, 

with reference to a forgotten paper of Sachs 

(1859), wherein he clearly pointed out that 

we can only feed a growing world population 

based on plant science. Duckweeds as source 

for food are described, and the question 

discussed whether or not it would be possible 

to feed the world based on organic farming. 

The text ends with a description of transgenic 

plants (GMOs) and golden rice. 
The book is dedicated to the memory of one 

of Sachs’ successors of the chair of botany at 

the University of Freiburg i. Br. (Germany), 

where the 1868 book was written: Hans Mohr 

(1930–2016). Accordingly, at the end of the 

book, the author juxtaposes philosophical 

insights published by Sachs on the “art of 

logical thinking” with those of Mohr. Taking 

these aspects into account, it is fair to say that 

this textbook also should be of interest to 

general readers interested in the philosophy 

of science. Kutschera’s Magnum Opus is 

supplemented by 314 high-quality figures, 

inclusive of many color images. Unfortunately, 

comparatively few non-German biologists 

read German. Therefore, a translation of this 

book in English is highly recommended.
- Karl J. Niklas


Unique Plants and 

Animals of the Baja 

California Pacific 


Sula Vanderplank, Anny 

Peralta García, Jorge H. 

Valdez Villavicencio, and 

Carlos A. de la Rosa

2017. ISBN-13: 978-1-889-


Flexibound, US$20. Bilingual, 132 pp.

Botanical Research Institute of Texas Press

Of the hundred or so field guides I own, this 

is one of the most unique. I didn’t have any 

real prior knowledge of these islands, but I 

learned a lot from the background provided 

in this book. It’s unfortunate that introduced 

species have taken such a toll on these islands, 

but a lot of biodiversity remains.
The book includes a foreword, introduction, 

and about this guide and how to use this guide 

sections. The seven islands (Coronado, Todos 

Santos, San Martin, San Jeronimo, San Benito, 

Cedros, and Natividad) are then described 

individually followed by sections describing 

the endemic Plants, Reptiles, Birds, and 

Mammals and what islands they are known to 

occur on. This is then followed with citations, 

author bios, and an index. All text is provided 

in Spanish and English.
The plant section follows family and then 

alphabetical order by genus species. The 

descriptions could use more detail as most 

lack measurements in terms of size, height, leaf 

shape, etc. This may be due to distinct species 

in a narrow geography but could be useful 

characteristics to someone trying to make a 

definitive identification. Line drawings could 

also be a useful addition along with flowering 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










times. The photos are small but clear and 

would likely allow for positive identification.
The reptile section also provides short 

descriptions of each species without 

measurements for the most part, but the photos 

should allow for a positive identification. 

A few of the descriptions do include some 

unfortunate wording in that they list animals 

as non-poisonous. Given the context I believe 

they should have used non-venomous. The 

reference is used for two gopher snakes, which 

are constrictors and non-venomous. 
Given their mobility I would have expected to 

see more birds in the bird section. Introduced 

species have taken a toll on the native animals, 

and populations are struggling to rebound. 

Most species are now protected but have a 

long road to recovery. The descriptions are 

again short but were likely restricted to allow 

for the English and Spanish text. The color 

photos show a lot of detail and should allow 

for positive identifications. 
The mammal section is similar to the others, 

but also includes some of the introduced 

species that the islands are actively trying 

to control and eliminate for reference. All 

sections include a designation in the upper 

right corner if the species is listed by the 

Mexican government or United States of 

America with protected status.
This would be a useful guide for anyone 

planning to visit these islands for ecotourism 

or study.
-David W. MacDougall, CWB® Consulting Bi-


Sedges and Rushes of 

Minnesota: The Com-

plete Guide to Species 


By Welby R. Smith (Photos by 

Richard Haug)


ISBN 978-1-5179-0275-9

Paperback, US$39.95.   

667 pp.

University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, MN

Over the last 10 years, a number of fine books 

have been produced that cover the Cyperaceae 

or  Carex for Midwestern states (Wisconsin, 

Indiana) or other regions that have significant 

overlap with the Midwest (Maine).  Now 

we have a book that covers the family for 

Minnesota, and even includes the Juncaceae, 

which is a welcome addition to the world of 

graminoid field guides.  This book starts with 

the typical “how to use this guide” detailing 

how Smith has approached the difficult task 

of covering these challenging groups.  The 

species descriptions were made de novo, with 

measurements taken exclusively from 25,000 

specimens collected across Minnesota.  So, 

this guide shows the range of variation within 

the covered taxa but based solely on Minnesota 

populations.  This is an interesting approach, 

and one that I greatly appreciate, as it allows 

the reader to see how local populations within 

a species’ overall range may differ from one 

another.  Another feature that I really like 

about the book is the inclusion of three maps 

of Minnesota in the introduction.  These 

depict major substrate types, major vegetation 

zones at the time of public land survey (1847-

1907), and the three major vegetation zones 

distilled into three provinces.  This provides 

a lot of context for understanding species’ 

distributions, and I wish more guides would 

include maps like these.

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










A key to all Juncaceae and Cyperaceae 

genera that occur in Minnesota follows the 

introduction, and then all genera are treated 

separately, in alphabetical order.  One aspect 

of this I don’t like is that the two families are 

not treated separately, but rather Juncus and 

Luzula are included within the middle of the 

Cyperaceae genera.  I would have preferred 

that each family was treated in a separate 

section of the book (this same annoyance 

is in Smith’s trees and shrubs book).  Each 

genus has a description and notes on its range 

worldwide, in America, and in Minnesota.  

Then each species is treated alphabetically, 

with a key to species if more than one occurs 

in the state.  The bulk of this portion of the 

book is filled by Carex, of course, with a key 

to sections; each section then has its own 

treatment and key.  Regardless of genus, all 

species are treated the same way: a two-page 

spread with description, range map and 

notes, habitat notes, comparison with similar 

species, and other facts on the left-hand page, 

and photos on the right-hand page.  This is a 

very welcome layout as it doesn’t require the 

user to flip pages to read about one individual 

species.  The range maps show individual 

specimen dots across a map of Minnesota 

depicting both county borders and the three 

vegetation provinces.  This relays interesting 

phytogeographical information showing 

that many species are found only in certain 

provinces.  The photos are all excellent in 

quality, showing habitats, plant habit, and 

close-ups of leaf and flower features.  The 

highlight of these is that almost every species 

has a close-up shot of all the floral parts 

separated from one another and together.  

For instance, for any given rush, this photo 

will show a single intact flower next to the 

removed capsule, next to removed seeds.  This 

photo approach is greatly appreciated when 

comparing the bracts, achenes, and perigynia 

in  Carex.  Taxonomy is up-to-date in most 

cases (e.g., Schoenoplectiella is split from 

SchoenoplectusLipocarpha is subsumed into 

Cyperus).  The book itself is not too bulky or 

heavy and is easily portable, despite its length.
This is a very well-done, beautiful book that 

will be quite useful to people looking to learn 

these interesting and often intimidating 

plants—I highly recommend it.
-John G. Zaborsky, Botany Department, 

University of Wisconsin – Madison, Madison, 

Wisconsin, USA;

Identification of Trees 

and Shrubs in Winter 

using Buds and Twigs 

By Bernd Shulz

2018. ISBN: 978-1-84246-


Cloth, US$80. 368 pp. 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

This book offers a systematic and 

comprehensive guide to the identification 

of winter twigs and shrubs native and 

naturalized to Central Europe, as well as 

genera in cultivation. Originally published in 

German, this edition is an English translation. 

According to the preface, this second edition 

adds 40 new genera and 60 new species, 

removes approximately 10 species, and 

includes an updated phylogenetic framework.
The introduction to the text presents a brief 

historical overview of the study of bud 

morphology, beginning in 1675, as well 

as a review of early publications for the 

identification of woody plants in winter. It also 

includes a discussion on the biogeography 

and ecology of deciduous woody plants. The 

introduction is suitable for a general audience 

background image

PSB 65 (3) 2019 










with an interest in the topic. It is written from 

a central European perspective with the text, 

including such phrases as “further species 

came to us” or “our climate,” without explicitly 

defining the location the author is referencing 

until a later section of the book. 
The book includes a section on how to use 

the text and a fairly in-depth introduction 

to woody plant structure and development, 

with an emphasis on buds. This section 

is illustrated by many drawings in which 

structures are color-coded. This approach is 

visually engaging and facilitates comparison 

between examples. However, I found myself 

having to flip back to find the relevant color 

key to remember what each color represented. 

Further, the colors used are semi-realistic, 

ranging from reds and browns to greens 

and dark yellows. A colleague with limited 

color perception suggested to me that more 

variation in intensity might make the colors 

easier to differentiate. This section provides a 

succinct introduction to the topic suitable for 

students of botany and serves as a reference for 

traits and terms used in the keys. Included at 

the end of the book are references for further 

reading, an index for scientific and common 

names, an index of botanical terms, and a 

quick reference key treating the 270 most 

common species in Central Europe. 
The heart of the book is comprised of an initial 

identification key and descriptions of each 

family. The initial key leads to genus or, in a 

few cases, species. Line drawings represent 

each taxon in the key, as well as select traits. 

This key relies primarily on bud (vegetative 

and flower), twig, and plant habit characters, 

and I found it relatively easy to interpret. The 

line drawings add clarity. Most, if not all, of 

the characters can be observed with the naked 

eye or a hand lens. The family descriptions 

include identification keys for subfamilies, 

genera, and/or tribes. These keys emphasize 

bud and twigs but sometimes use fruit and 

seed characteristics. In addition, for each 

species, there is a description of the woody 

structures, accompanied by illustrations of 

twigs with buds and sometimes fruits and/

or seeds. The illustrations are stunningly 

beautiful and lifelike such that I was able to 

recognize many of the species I am familiar 

with solely from the drawings. 
Despite the European emphasis of the text, all 

24 of the deciduous tree and shrub species I 

regularly assign to my General Botany students 

at Creighton University, which include a 

mix of trees native to Nebraska and trees 

cultivated on campus, were at least mentioned 

in the text; all but three (Ostrya virginiana

Populus deltoides, and Ulmus americana

were included in keys to species. Oddly, U. 

americana is represented by a fairly extensive 

description with an illustration but is left out 

of the key to Ulmus. I had less luck with a list of 

deciduous trees assigned in General Botany at 

the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, with 

3 of the 11 additional trees (Celtis laevigata

Magnolia grandiflora, and Ulmus alata) not 

included in the text at all. I am not particularly 

experienced in identifying woody twigs, but I 

successfully used the keys for the three winter 

twig examples I had available, identifying Acer 

saccharum and Aesculus hippocastanum to 

species and P. deltoides to genus.
This book is a worthy edition to any botanical 

library. The identification keys and species 

descriptions are accessible and useful, and the 

illustrations are exquisite. Although this book 

is quite comprehensive, the European focus 

means that it may need to be supplemented 

by other sources if used in North America or 

other parts of the world. 
--Mackenzie Taylor, Department of Biology, 

Creighton University 

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        





























Grasses of Florida 

By David W. Hall

2019. ISBN: 9780813056050 

Hardcover, US$80.00. 353 pp. 

University Press of Florida, 

Gainesville, Florida, USA   

Until this year, there 

were not too many recent 

sources to identify grasses in Florida. Besides 

three editions of the Guide to the Vascular 

Plants of Florida by Wunderlin and Hansen (no 

illustrations), there were only two illustrated 

manuals published recently: Yarett (1996) 

and Taylor (2009). The book under review 

represents a substantial improvement of this 

situation. Major features of the three manuals 

can be summarized in the following table.

In the reviewed manual, species are first 

identified into 17 tribes, then to genera, 

species, and (when appropriate) varieties. 

Based on my counting, among 463 species, 

298 are native, 8 are doubtfully native, 155 are 

naturalized or casual, and 2 are just cultivated. 

In total, more than 50 species included in 

this manual (mostly introduced) were not in 

the last edition of the Guide to the Vascular 

Plants of Florida (Wunderlin and Hansen, 

2011). The nomenclature is up to date (e.g., 

Pennisetum is treated just as a section in 

Cenchrus  and  Calamovilfa as a section in 

Sporobolus; some species formerly treated as 

Leptochloa are now in DinebraDiplachne, or 

Disakisperma). The list of relevant literature is 

sufficiently complete. Surprisingly, however, a 

reference to the Manual of Grasses for North 

America (Barkworth et al., 2007) is missing. 

Illustrated vocabulary of morphological terms 

would make this manual more useful for non-

In this decade, some grass identification 

manuals are reaching a completely new level. 

Detailed photographs illustrating hard-to-see 

diagnostic features are becoming the standard 

(Judziewicz et al., 2014; Roché et al., 2019). Still, 

the Hall’s manual, with just classic drawings, 

fills an important gap in our graminological 

literature. It will be an extremely useful source 

of information for all botanists working in 

Florida and for everybody interested in grasses 

of the Southeast.
– Marcel Rejmánek, Department of Evolution 

and Ecology, University of California, Davis, CA


Barkworth, M. E., L. K. Anderton, K. M. Capels, S. 

Long, and M. B. Piep. 2007. Manual of Grasses for 

North America. Intermountain Herbarium and Utah 

State University Press, Logan, UT, USA.

Judziewicz, E. J., R. W. Freckmann, L. G. Clark, and 

M. R. Black. 2014. Field Guide to Wisconsin Grass-

es. The University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI, 


Roché, C. T., R. E. Brainerd, B. L. Wilson, N. Otting, 

and R. C. Korfhage. 2019. Field Guide to the Grasses 

of Oregon and Washington. Oregon State University 

Press, Corvallis, OR, USA.

Taylor, W. K. 2009. A Guide to Florida Grasses. Uni-

versity Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Wunderlin, R. P. and B. F. Hansen. 2011. Guide to the 

Vascular Plants of Florida, ed 3. University Press of 

Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.

Yarett, L. L. 1996. Common Grasses of Florida and 

the Southeast. The Florida Native Plant Society, Spring 

Hill, FL, USA.

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


Dictionary of Plant  

Sciences, ed 4

By Michael Allaby, editor. 

2019. ISBN-13: 9780198833338; 

e-ISBN: 9780191871665

Paperback, $19.95; £14.99. 616 


Oxford University Press, Oxford, 


Michael Allaby is a dictionary writer who 

has delivered many editions about nature 

and environmental science. He is the General 

Editor of the Oxford Dictionaries of Botany

Zoology and Ecology, and co-author of the 

Dictionary of Geology and Earth Sciences

Other publications include The Gardener’s 

Guide to Weather & Climate, The Dictionary 

of Science for Gardeners, the Encyclopedia of 

Weather and Climate; the Facts on File Weather 

and Climate Handbook; and the DK Guide to 

According to Allaby’s foreward to this new 

fourth edition, he adjusted the entries about 

plant taxonomy to make them conform to the 

classification of the Angiosperm Phylogeny 

Group (APG). That necessitated adding new 

entries for plant families and moving some 

of the earlier families +/- unchanged to their 

new locations. Fully adopting the APG system 

has also required adding entries for orders 

that were missing in the third edition. He also 

reproduces APG phylogenies to illustrate how 

they are constructed.  
It certainly is advantageous to have family 

names conform to APG with this new fourth 

edition. This edition increased the entries 

about chemical compounds of medicinal 

importance. Terms about ecology and soil 

types are included, along with some entries 

for fungi and bacteria that impact plants. 

The Geologic Time Scale identifies important 

stages in plant evolution. Common names 

now appear in a 15-page appendix where each 

is cross-referenced to other entries where they 

are mentioned.


Although Allaby asserts that he removed from 

the main dictionary common names of plants, 

other organisms, and products such as timber, 

there are some inconsistencies. For example, 

goat tang, japweed, and sena remain in the 

Dictionary, whereas some everyday terms such 

as apricot, kudzu, mung bean, and yam are 

absent from the appendix of common names. 

Sorghum appears only among the short list 

of crop plants in an appendix that lists names 

with their region and approximate date of 

domestication; that incomplete list could be 

expanded. Two Latin binomials on that page 

are misspelled: both the genus and species 

names of foxtail millet, as well as the species 

name of rye. While the dictionary holds 

“more than 7,700 entries covering aspects 

of plant sciences including biochemistry, 

plant physiology, cytology, ecology, genetics, 

evolution, biogeography, earth history and 

earth sciences,” many terms that I searched 

within my interests were absent (e.g., caudex, 

caudiform, lignan, prickle).


The Dictionary 

of Plant Sciences might be a useful resource 

for plant studies, especially for international 

students, amateur botanists, and gardeners, 

and under conditions where internet access 

is limited; the paperback format makes the 

dictionary portable. (Incidentally, British 

spelling is used [e.g., fibresoya bean].)
–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 


background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


Mountain Flowers and 

Trees of Caucasia

By Shamil Shetekauri, Martin 

Jacoby, and Tolkha Shet-


2018. ISBN 978-1-78427-173-

2 (Pbk); ISBN 978-1-78427-

173-9 (ePub); ISBN 978-1-

78427-175-6 (PDF). 

£29.99; $40.00. 380 pp. 

Pelagic Publishing, Exeter, 


The Caucasus Mountains include “the highest, 

most dramatic, least spoiled and least known 

mountain ranges of the northern hemisphere 

after the Himalayas and Rockies.” The area 

supports about 6400 species of vascular plants, 

of which a quarter are endemic to the region. 

This is the highest percentage of endemism 

in the temperate world, thus one of the most 

important hotspots of biodiversity on earth.
First published privately in 2009, this revised 

edition corrects errors, updates the taxonomy 

to follow the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group 

arrangement, and increases the number of 

species described. The order of genera within 

each family generally follows that of  Flora 

The first and third authors are father and son, 

of Georgian ancestry. Shamil is Professor of 

Botany at Javakhishvili State University, Tbilisi, 

while his son works in the Department of 

Plant Conservation in the National Botanical 

Garden of Georgia, Tbilisi. Martin Jacoby  is 

English; after a career as educator, he led field-

studies tours in Caucasia, Europe, Africa, and 

South America for 20 years. 
Featuring  1049 color photos and 5 color 

maps, the book opens with an essential 

topographic map of the Caucasus, facing the 

Preface. Regarding the book’s organization, 

using numbers to identify each plant family, 

supported by the handy 15-page Species 

Index, makes the field guide easy to use by 

non-botanists, as does the 11-page Botanical 

Vocabulary. A list of synonyms to the names 

used in the guide are included. Seven pages 

are given to a chapter titled Vegetation of 

Georgia with vegetation zones and patterns 

of endemism—reasonable since two of 

the authors are Georgian, but it leaves one 

wondering about the rest of the region. Their 

Bibliography omits a key reference work: Red 

List of the Endemic Plants of the Caucasus: 

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, 

and Turkey, previously reviewed in these pages 

(Bedigian, 2014b).
Mountain Flowers and Trees of Caucasia claims 

to describe and illustrate nearly all the 

wildflowers, trees, and shrubs that can be 

found over 1000 m above sea level—1009 

species—in the Caucasus. It was prepared, 

initially, as a field guide “to encourage you 

to visit the mountains of Caucasia to delight 

in their unique and spectacular assemblage 

of flowering plants, and so contribute to its 

conservation.” The authors narrowed the 

species selected as those that occur at altitudes 

over 1000 m and that are conspicuous, locally 

abundant, or endemic. Omitted are ferns, 

grasses, sedges, and rushes.
However, while the colorful photographs 

are certainly appreciated, the contents are 

not comprehensive. For example, Tulipa 

armeniaca, discussed at length in the review 

of  The Genus Tulipa (Bedigian, 2014a), is 

overlooked. Likewise, although a photograph 

of Iris iberica is included, listing its occurrence 

in Georgia and Azerbaijan, surprisingly, the 

authors failed to mention Iris iberica subsp. 

elegantissima in the Oncocyclus section. That 

is a noteworthy subspecies of Iris iberica—a 

rhizomatous perennial, from Armenia, Iran, 

and Turkey—that was discussed in the review 

background image

PSB  65  (3)  2019        


of the Red List of the Endemic Plants of the 

Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, 

Russia, and Turkey (Bedigian, 2014b).
This close scrutiny should not detract from the 

pleasure of enjoying an illustrated field guide 

to the lovely flowers and trees of the Caucasus, 

until the reader can visit those mountains 

–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 



Bedigian, D. 2014a. Plant Science Bulletin 60(3): 170-

172. The Genus Tulipa. Tulips of the World. Diana Ev-

erett. 2013. Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, 


Bedigian, D. 2014b. Plant Science Bulletin 60(3): 179-


Red List of the Endemic Plants of the Caucasus: 

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, and Tur-

key. James Solomon, Tatyana Shulkina, and George 

E. Schatz, editors. 2014. Missouri Botanical Garden 
Press, St. Louis, Missouri


background image

Plant Science Bulletin

The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership soci-

ety whose mission  is to: pro-

mote botany, the field of basic 

science dealing with the study 

& inquiry into the form, func-

tion, 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: 

Mackenzie Taylor, Editor 

Department of Biology  

Creighton University 

2500 California Plaza 

Omaha, NE 68178 

Phone 402-280-2157

Plant Science Bulletin

                                                                               Fall 2019 Volume 65 Number 3

BSA staff members who arrived early to Tucson to begin 

preparing for Botany 2019 were offered a wonderful 

opportunity: an invitation by long-time BSA member 

and Tucson resident Martha Hawes to tour her 65 acres 

of land! 

Hawes, a professor at University of Arizona who 

specializes in plant pathology, donated the land in 2016 

to expand Tucson Mountain Park, which helps preserve 

the area's wide variety of plants and wildlife. BSA staff 

members were thrilled to hike the land and experience 

the beauty of Tucson up close.

background image

Ll-180 Spectrometer

Capture the spectral compositon
of your light sources
with a single click.

Back to overview