PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
SPRING 2006 VOLUME 52 NUMBER 1
The Botanical Society of America: The Society for ALL Plant Biologists
Table of Contents
It's Finally Here - - Our 100th Anniversary
Year! Botanical Society of America, 1906-2006........................................................2
C.J.A. - The Last Mycologist Who Was BSA President...........................................................2
Truman State University's Solar Clock Garden.....................................................................11
News from the Society
Looking to the Future- Conserving the Past..........................................................15
100 Years of Service to the Plant Sciences - What is the
BSA Doing in "Looking to the Future?"...........17
BSA Plant Science Mentors Making a Difference..................................................20
The Financial Well Being of the Botanical Society of
Grady L. Webster, 1927-2005...................................................................22
Guanghua Zhu, 1964-2005.......................................................................23
Tom O'Neil, 1923-2005..............................................................................24
Mark Bierner is New Director at Boyce Thompson Arboretum..........25
Russell Chapman Named New Executive Director for Scripps Marine
Biodiversity and Conservation Center.........26
Letters to the Editor.....................................................................................................27
Botanical Society of America's
"Statement on Evolution."...................................27
Graduate Fellowships in Ecological Genomics at Kansas
Botany References Available....................................................................................30
Symposia, Conferences, Meetings
The Fifth International Symbiosis Society Congress...........................................30
BSA Contact Information...........................................................................................................38
Published quarterly by Botanical Society of America, Inc., 4475 Castleman Avenue,
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Address Editorial Matters (only) to:
Marsh Sundberg, Editor
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POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:
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Editorial Committee for Volume 52
Douglas W. Darnowski (2006)
Department of Biology
Indiana University Southeast
New Albany, IN 47150
Andrea D. Wolfe (2007)
Department of EEOB
1735 Neil Ave., OSU
Columbus, OH 43210-1293
Samuel Hammer (2008)
College of General Studies
Boston, MA 02215
Joanne M. Sharpe (2009)
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
P.O. Box 234
Boothbay ME 04537
Nina L. Baghai-Riding (2010)
Division of Biological and Physical Sciences
Delta State University
Cleveland, MS 38677
It's Finally Here - - Our 100th Anniversary Year!
Botanical Society of America 1906-2006
- - and we almost have our timing right. Our featured Past-President in this
issue is Constantine Alexopoulos and to my surprise he was born almost
exactly100 years ago this month (March, 1906)! Meredith Blackwell and many of
her fellow "Dr. Alex" students have collected a series of anecdotes
and stories that put a real personality behind the author of my old Mycology
textbook! That textbook is a classic, and it sounds like Dr. Alex was too! I
hope you enjoy reading about him as much as I did.
And then, to help all of us keep better track of time so we're not late
getting to the BSA Centennial Meeting in Chico
this JULY, Steve Carroll, has provided directions for constructing a solar
clock that you and your students can install on your campus. It may not be
portable or have an alarm, but the Swiss would be jealous of the (plant)
movements this clock employs!
Have a GREAT 2006 - - the Editor.
C.J.A. The Last Mycologist Who Was BSA President
At the American Institute of Biological Sciences meeting in San Diego in 1995 I
learned that earlier strong ties that had existed between botanists and
mycologists were severed. BSA members wondered who was the John S. Karling, who
had made a generous bequest to the BSA (and also MSA)? That incident has been
rectified by a short Karling biography and the notice of the Karling Award that
was established with the gift on the BSA web site. I recalled this incident
after I discovered that C. J. Alexopoulos was the last person to have served as
president both of the BSA (1963) and of the MSA (1958-1959), marking a lost
connection. Also gone is the Department of Botany at the University of Texas
and the diverse group of botanists who had written all the textbooks I used
there as a student in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Plant Biology/Botany
graduate program link on the Texas
web site leads to "The page cannot be found." Mycology, however, is
still present at Texas
in Paul Szaniszlo's lab in the Department of Molecular Genetics and
Microbiology. As I recall that is where it was (as the Department of
Microbiology) before Jim Maniotis, and then Dr. Alex, inhabited the Department
of Botany. Dr. Alex was happy at Texas, commenting on the luxury of walking out
on a December day without a top coat, having lunch with Harold Bold, having
lunch and coffee with his students, and with Mrs. Alex, taking advantage of the
musical programs available on the campus certainly not the music of the Austin
scene that was becoming so popular nationally around him.
One item on the Texas
web site was a happy discovery:
Dr. Alexopoulos was a lucid, enthusiastic and inspiring teacher of both
undergraduate and graduate students. During his career he supervised nine M. A.
students and twenty-eight Ph. D. students, eighteen of the latter at The
University of Texas. He was greatly respected and beloved by his graduate
students who demonstrated their loyalty clearly and to an unusual degree.
— Harold Bold, Jerry J. Brand, and R. Malcolm Brown
The quote is from the memorial resolution, prepared by a committee made up
of Dr. Alex's good friend and former BSA president [see below], as well
as two younger faculty members, one a graduate student in Dr. Alex's time (who
involved him in an air-borne spore project that was the beginning of my own
association with Dr. Alex), and the committee designed a cogent resolution
<http://www.utexas.edu/faculty/council/pages/memorials.html>! Today his
students are mostly mycologists; one, a lawyer; many retired or nearing retirement;
several untimely dead; none resides in a botany department, although one
mycological grandchild comes close as the member of a Department of Botany and
Plant Pathology. Most of the students followed him as academics, six followed
him as MSA president, and one, as IMA president —but not one has been a
BSA president. All of the students remain loyal "to an unusual
degree," but it is only the later Texas
students that could be contacted easily, making this piece very Texacentric.
The Texas students, however, were linked to
earlier students from the University
of Illinois, Kent
State University, Michigan State
University, and University
of Iowa, because we saw
their photographs on Dr. Alex's office wall daily a rogue's gallery he referred
to with great affection (Fig. 1).
Figure 1. Dr. Alex was the mycological great, great
grandson of A. H. de Bary, a notable lineage.
In addition to the memorial resolution that appears on the University of Texas
web site, two biographies were published soon after Dr.Alex's death (Brodie,
1987; Blackwell, 1988). The Brodie biography was published in Mycologia
at a time when society notables oftenmade a last appearance on the first page
of an issue of that journal. The other biography in the journal of the British
Mycological Society memorialized the society's Honorary Member. His last, slightly
updated CV is posted at <http://lsb380.plbio.lsu.edu/LabPersonnel/cja.html>.
He name was given to the MSA Alexopoulos Prize "awarded annually to an
outstanding mycologist early in their [sic] career. The nominees will
be evaluated primarily on the basis of quality, originality, and quantity of
their published work." His students established the prize at the time of
his retirement from teaching at Texas, and over the years some students continue
to contribute to the gift. In fact one year the fund mysteriously swelled, and
I learned later that Henry Aldrich (Ph.D. Texas (1966) contributed the excess
profits he had had to accept as a principal of the "non-profit corporation"
of organizers of the Second International Mycological Congress at Tampa. There
also is an MSA student travel award named for Dr. Alex, again mostly with contributions
from former students.
Almost 20 years after his death (15 May 1986) in the month of the
ninety-ninth anniversary of his birth (17 March 1906), the assignment is to
bring Dr. Alex to life for a new generation of botanists. His students remember
him vividly with true affection. Below you will find a collection of anecdotes,
excerpts from Christmas letters and notes "from the desk of C.J.
Alexopoulos notes," being his usual form of written daily communication
with the students in his lab some kept more than 35 years.
John E. Peterson (Ph.D. Michigan State University, 1957) was Dr. Alex's first
Ph.D. student, although he did not finish first; that honor was won by Sung
Huang Sun, who was the first illustrator of his textbook, Introductory Mycology.
Former Dean and Professor, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, wrote
a tribute to Dr. Alex that appeared with a photograph in "Life of the Mind,
the Newsletter of the Emporia State University Honors Program," No.
54, December, 1985 "The original of the picture you see on the reverse
side of this page hangs on the wall directly above my desk. I see it whenever
I raise my eyes. It has hung above whatever desk I have worked at for a good
many years. It is a picture of one of my teachers my main teacher, I would say."
Anecdotes recalled November—December 2005:
Dr. Alex seemed formidable on first meeting, but once one got past that he
was warm and generous. Several of us remember our first meetings with him. I
met him when I was desperate for a job; he needed someone to look for slime
molds in air samples in the project with Malcolm Brown. He had one applicant
for the job, a reject from the zoology department, and I was reluctantly hired.
I was addressed formally as "Mrs. Blackwell," and I remember the
happy day about a month later when he finally called me by my given name. I had
joined the club.
Steve Bratteng* recalls, "When I first became interested in grad school
to study slime molds, I stopped by Dr. Alex's office just to touch base. After
a short discussion in which I revealed that my knowledge about slime molds was
based entirely on lectures and reading, Alex dropped everything and took me on
an impromptu field trip. It was summer in Austin
so, of course, the pickings were rather slim, but in 3 stops around town we did
find some at a golf course." S.B.
[*Dr. Alex was conservative in many ways, but extremely tolerant of personal
freedom; this was evidenced by the fact that he never complained about the
tarantulas that Steve kept in the research lab!]
Joanne (Judi) Tontz Ellzey remembers her first meeting with Dr. Alex. "My first year in Austin
I was walking down the hall of the building near Dr. Alex's office. I
stopped to look at a specimen that was displayed on newspaper. He walked by and
asked me to identify the fungus. I did not hesitate —I believe that it
was a Daldinia. Dr. Alex became very blustery and asked me if I had read
the identification written on the newspaper. I said "No, this fungus grows
in my parents' backyard in North
Carolina. My mother-in-law has elaborated on this
often told story and told friends and relatives that this was a test for
acceptance in the Botany Department!" —JTE
Also, the first year that I worked with Dr. Alex, I was standing in a narrow
walkway outside of his office door talking with him about my research when one
of my contact lenses popped out of my eye and landed on the floor between us. I
had to bend down and retrieve it before someone stepped on it. His reaction was
"Vanity, vanity!" —JTE
Dr. Alex was a wonderful teacher, lecturing with only an occasional glance
at a 3 X 5" note card, urging us on to greater accomplishments with the
use of sardonic humor, and holding to the highest standards. We all remember
his classes, especially the fact that he was always in the laboratory the
entire four hours. Learning was so much fun.
"In a lab in the clas on ascomycetes some students were tittering about
the scientific names of some organisms that had been described by Karl Fuckel.
The species names were followed by the reference to the author minus the last
two letters of his surname. Alex was, or pretended to be, totally oblivious to
the reason for the students' amusement." S.B.
"On his exams in general mycology* he occasionally asked for drawings of
various things. On one my drawing was perhaps a little less than accurate,
prompting a written comment: `What is this? some
psychedelic art!!'" S.B.
[* CJA taught an introductory and three advanced (myxomycetes,
zygomycetes, and ascomycetes mycology courses) there was no course on
basidiomycetes, because he said often confused them with paint splotches.]
"While taking introductory mycology from Dr. Alex, the class had a
field trip to collect slime molds near Bastrop,
Texas. We were to meet outside
the botany building at a certain time and ride over in a van. All of us were
milling around the van when Dr. Alex appeared. He had on tan riding pants with
knee high brown leather boots, a black beret*, a pair of thick magnifying
glasses that flipped down from under the beret, and a huge knife with a 10 inch
blade in a scabbard on his belt. Needless to say, the class was in shock about
going out in rural Central Texas with him
dressed like that. However, we loaded in the van hoping that no one would see
us. Things went well until we started home and he announced that he wanted to
stop at a little eating place to get some buttermilk pie. The parking lot was
filled with pickup trucks the biggest "redneck place" you've ever
seen! We bit our tongues and went inside the best pie I've ever had in spite of
all the looks we attracted!" C.W.M.
[*His black wool beret was standard cool weather grab.]
Wayne Rosing remembers, "As a Myxomycete class project, Dr. Alex had us
check the identifications of myxos in the Creager collection by bringing the
specimen, our slide, and our ID to him for his perusal before specimens were
placed in the UT Herbarium. I brought him a beat up specimen that both Creager
and I had identified as Comatricha typhoides. When Dr. Alex looked at
the boxed specimen, he said, `NEVER!' When I said, `It has the spores.' He
replied, `If this is C. typhoides, I'll take everyone to coffee.' He
looked at my slide and I presume he felt that I'd somehow mixed up slides from
different specimens. He made his own slide from the boxed specimen, examined it
microscopically and said, `Tell everyone to get their coats, we're going for
coffee.' As a young know-it-all, I oft times disagreed with Dr. Alex. But, in
the five years I knew him, he was right perhaps 1000 times to the 3 times that
I can vividly recall, I was right. I think that he actually liked the fact that
I'd disagree with him on occasion (in an agreeable way of course)."
remembers the only impersonation he ever heard Dr. Alex do —Ernst Athern
Bessey. "According to Dr. Alex, Bessey's reputation at Michigan State
University was legend. He
knew everything botanical there was to know. A young colleague was going to
test Bessey and had planted some grapefruit seeds in a flat. These had
germinated and the junior faculty member was taking them to campus intending to
tell Bessey they were weeds that had come up in his Michigan back yard. The flat of seedlings
was on the floor of the car behind the driver's seat as the young Ph.D. drove
to campus. As luck would have it, Dr. Bessey was walking to campus. His young
colleague pulled up to the curb and asked Bessey if he'd like a ride. Bessey
then got into the car. Suddenly, his nose began to twitch. It was at this point
that Dr. Alex told us that Bessey lisped. When Bessey's young
colleague asked him, `What's wrong Dr. Bessey?' Bessey replied, `I
thmell grapefruit theedlings.'" —W.C.R.
Ralph Gustafson was one of several students impressed by the buzzer.
"Dr. Alex's office was some distance from the two labs where the graduate
students had their desks and research space. He installed a buzzer* in each of
two the labs and posted list above the buzzer button that all of our names on
it and the number of times he would press the button for each of us. We all
lived in fear of that system as getting buzzed meant that we were to
immediately go to his office to `get the word' about something, usually bad
news for the student buzzed. It was not a quiet buzz and all would jump when it
went off." R.G.
[*The buzzer code was dependent on the total number of graduate students,
and some students were signaled by no fewer that seven buzzes. We always had to
remain alert to count the number of buzzes accurately.]
"I got buzzed into Dr. Alex's office one day and found him conversing
with a long-haired, bearded fellow. The guy had brought bits and pieces of
dried mushroom to Dr. Alex. These were being sold on the street as Psilocybe
mexicana. The guy was from a drug-counseling center in Austin. He wanted to know if they were the
genuine article. Dr. Alex looked at the debris under his dissecting scope and
made a slide or two. He told the fellow that he thought that the mushroom
remains were indeed those of P. mexicana but that he wasn't going to
tell anyone to eat them. When the fellow left, I heard Dr. Alex swear for the
first and last time. He said, `Damn hippies*, I wish they'd leave the fungi
alone.' And so it goes…." —W.C.R.
[*Dr. Alex was conservative about certain things! He did, however, coauthor
a paper on a species of the genus of hallucinogenic mushrooms that certainly
helped to insure correct identification (Jackson, R. E. and C. J. Alexopoulos.
1976. Psilocybe cubensis (Agaricales): A comparison of Mexican and Texas types.
Southwestern Naturalist 21:227-233)]
Don Reynolds wrote, "Dr. Alex's European manner was part of his
demeanor. One of the "imperial" attributes was to have a call buzzer
for the graduate students. The room buzzer* was just under my foot space. It
seemed to buzz all day with a signal of from one to several blasts depending
who was being summoned. Once I just got tired of it and kicked it off the wall.
Within what seemed like a very short while, he was down the hall finding out
what was wrong for a quick fix. The Grand Old Man was soon again being served
by those he deemed could do his bidding." D.R.R.
[*Again, there goes that buzzer!]
In his second year at Stephen F. Austin State University Charles Mims
invited Dr. Alex to come over to give a seminar. "There was no way to fly
in to Nacogdoches,
so he and Mrs. Alex drove over —about a 5 hour drive. They were very late
in arriving, and we were getting worried. When they finally pulled up to my
home after dark, he explained that they had had two flat tires on the way over
and that various kind people had helped them with the flats —the last man
had suggested that they needed to get new tires right away but Alex wanted my
advice on the matter. The next morning I looked at the tires and none of the four
had any tread left —the worse looking tires I'd ever seen! When I pointed
this out to him his response was that he was too busy with his work to worry
about getting new tires! The next day I went with him to the tire store to have
four new tires installed before they started home." C.W.M.
It was not only tires, but also Dr. Alex's car engine that was often not in
good condition. I once recognized it parked on the side of a road that I also
used each morning. I headed for the nearest service station and there he was
with his guest, G. W. Martin*, who was visiting as outside committee member
for Mary Henney's (Ph.D. Texas, 1966) dissertation defense. Dr. Alex stayed
to deal with the car and I had the great privilege of driving Dr. Martin in
to the university.
[*George Willard Martin was long retired from the University of Iowa at
the time, but was still active and was at the time collaborating with Dr. Alex
on the Myxomycetes.]
Whether we were his research assistants or teaching assistants, we worked hard.
I remember that I was required to work 20 hours a week on his NSF grant-related
research not my own slime mold research. At that time the IRS apparently did
not require R.A.s to pay taxes as long as they were paid to pursue their own
research. We envied Dr. Bold's R.A.s who not only got more of their thesis work
done during the day, but also escaped paying taxes on the meager wages. Ralph
and Wayne remember how hard they worked as T.A.s.
Dr. Alex taught graduate introductory mycology every fall term at UT-Austin.
He wanted living cultures ready for the labs and he wanted them to be axenic
and ready to show whatever they were to show at the lab that day. Timing was
That meant having:
Allomyces male gametangia ready to open and spew forth the male
gametes when the students added water to the culture
Mucor and Phycomyces + and strains in the same dish
with zygospores where they met in the center of the dish.
Myxomycete swarm cells swimming in the dish at the start of the lab.
Sordaria perithecia ready at the moment that they had mature
Pilobolus ready to shoot off their sporangia as soon as the students
put the culture under the lights of their dissecting microscopes.
And the list went on and on. He wanted the cultures in his office one hour
before the class session so that he could examine them before he used them in
the lab. Was there pressure? He was very disappointed when I came in and said
so-and-so is not ready or I could not recover it from the culture collection.
The T.A. was also responsible for maintaining the culture collection that
contained well over 200 cultures of myxomycete mating types and molds.
Don Reynolds, the T.A. before me had developed a calendar
with the days indicated as to when one needed to start the cultures so that
they would be ready a week or so later for lab. I followed his calendar and
modified it to meet the next term's class schedule. Yes, I was probably the one
that Dr. Alex alluded to in his memo to the graduate students about using too
much agar (see below) because I started at least a dozen plates of each culture
to make sure that I had at least one dish with the organism ready to go." R.G.
to Ralph as they were discussing Alexopoulos anecdotes "Remember, I
followed you as Dr. Alex's T.A. He would always tell me, "Ralph had
cultures of Pythium with sporangia releasing a vesicle." When I
consulted you, you'd say something like: "Like hell I did." I was the
T.A. the semester Dr. Alex went into the hospital with his first brain tumor*.
I not only did the labs ALL semester (he wouldn't come downstairs), I had to
teach the last 1/3 of the lectures as well since some of Bold's and Delevoryas'
grad students were taking the course. The grad school looked the other way
while someone with only a B.S. taught a significant part of a graduate-only
class. For all my efforts, the department gave me the Bold Teaching Award and a
check for $50 - talk about slave labor. I had two botany labs to teach as well.
Ralph, thanks for the memories!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]"
[*Dr. Alex had medical tests in fall 1963. The diagnosis of myasthenia
gravis, a neuro-muscular disease, was discovered to be incorrect more than
ten years later when he suddenly could not find his way home after a day's work
actually a benign brain tumor, the "first" brain tumor. There was at
least one more to be removed and several spinal tumors as well. A terrible
infection caused him to be very slow to recover from the second brain tumor
surgery, and a square portion of bone was removed from the front of his skull.
After that he had a square depression in the front of his head. Because he had
spinal arthritis in the last few years of his life he and was bent over, and
the depression could not be missed.]
Soon after a second brain tumor surgery, Dr. Alex wrote to a student,
"I am recovering slowly, but I am sure I will be unable to come to Indiana
[MSA Fiftieth Anniversary meeting, Bloomington,
Indiana, August 1981] for the
meetings. I had counted on it but the gods willed otherwise. I guess I should
be glad to be alive…."
["From the desk of C. J. Alexopoulos" memo pads were a staple
on his desk. He used these memos in the way we use Post-it notes today. These
are from the collection of Ralph Gustafson]
October 10, 1969
All mycology graduate students:
I have reason to believe that very few of you make an effort to keep up with
current literature in mycology.
I suggest that you set a definite time once a week to visit the Biology
Library and read articles related to research or to mycology in general and
scan the new issues of all periodicals received. It is imperative that those of
you working on physiology or biochemistry of fungi or myxomycetes consult
Chemical Abstracts in the Chemistry Library.
Perhaps we should meet weekly to discuss current literature.
October 21, 1969
We have been using agar at an extraordinary rapid rate and I am sure that we
could drastically reduce our consumption if we followed the following rules:
1. Do not pour large quantities of petri plates at one time to store for use
at some future date. The agar dries before you know it and is wasted.
2. Use small petri dishes whenever feasible (most of the time). If a
shortage develops let me know and I shall buy more.
3. Reduce the amount of agar used in each dish. We all use much more
than is needed. Even if you save 1 or 2ml per dish it will make a big
difference in consumption.
I have recently read somewhere that the algal beds of California from which
most of our agar comes from are being rapidly depleted and that a considerable
jump in price is inevitable in the near future. Our resources are not
inexhaustible; neither are our grant funds. PLEASE TAKE THE ABOVE SERIOUSLY,
OTHERWISE I SHALL HAVE TO RATION THE AGAR AND THAT WILL SLOW DOWN YOUR
November 10, 1969
Please come to my office weekly on the designated hour to discuss progress
in your research.
Don -Friday 10:00 a.m.
Ralph -Tuesday 10:00 a.m.
Tim [Tim T. Ellis (Ph.D. Texas, 1975)] -Monday 10:00 a.m.
Wally [Wallace M. LeStourgeon (Ph.D. Texas, 1970)] -Wednesday 10:00 a.m.
If these times conflict with classes please let me know immediately."
July 17, 1970 (A note from Dr. Alex from the University of Washington
where he was teaching for a summer to R.G.)
Nothing seems to be going right here. I have a very dumb class of 35
undergraduates who sleep through my lectures and who after 4 weeks of mycology
can't tell a sporangium from a perithecium and don't particularly care.*
Good luck on your German.**
[*Dr. Alex could never understand why, when given the opportunity to
learn, few students took advantage.]
required a reading knowledge language exam for the Ph.D.; Dr. Alex sometimes
remembered to administer an exam he required in a second language.]
May 10, 1971
I am reporting a grade of A for all of you in research although none of you
has made significant progress in your research for this semester. I would be
ashamed to do anything less for my majors.
I will expect those of you that are here this summer to devote all of your
time to research and make much progress. Those who will be away will be
expected to work twice as hard next fall.
Please take this note seriously. I could have talked to you individually
about this but I wanted you to have it in writing. C.J.A.
From a letter to Meredith Blackwell from Dr. Alex
10 December 1974
One of the boxes in the UTMC [University
of Texas Myxomycete Collection]
bears the inscriptions:
Do you, by any chance, have that box or do you know anything about it? I do
not have it filed under either L. alexopouli or L. scintillans.
Have a nice holiday.
[Dr. Alex worked very hard, and continued to do microscope work late into
his career. During the time of "myasthenia gravis" he had
constant double vision and worked by covering one eye with a hand. We all had
ready access to the slime mold collection and his library. All of the sign-out
systems he devised failed, and he was never certain if things were borrowed or
mislaid on his very messy desk and work benches.]
Meredith's last "from the desk of C. J. Alexopoulos" note mailed in an envelope long after leaving Texas
24 March 1976
Happy birthday and thanks for your card*. I usually do not support the
greeting card racket except at Christmas, so this will have to do for now.
[*Our birthdays were ten days apart, so he always was reminded of mine
when he got a card. His birthday was always easy to remember because it
was on St. Patrick's Day.]
Ralph recalls the Christmas letters and writes: "After we graduated and
moved to our new positions Dr. Alex would send a Christmas Season's Greeting
letter with updates of how he was doing and where he and wife Juliet had
traveled that year and how they were doing health wise. These continued up to a
couple of years before he died. Some quips from some of these letters show he
did have a sense of humor and was more political than he showed when we were
there in graduate school." Ralph's files produced the quotes from the
Christmas letters that are interspersed below:
February 9, 1977 (Ready for retirement and his standard reply to
I retire officially on May 31, 1977 but actually when I give
my final exam in this course I am teaching this semester, i.e.,
on May 16, 9-12 a.m. That, if my mathematics are correct, is exactly 96 days
from now, it being noon at the time I am writing this. I can hardly wait! I
shall still have my office and the small private lab space next to it so that I
may come at will and work on my myxos, but the key words here are `at will.' No
more: `How much of all this do we have to know"
(Standard reply: `You don't have to know anything, so far as I am
concerned. You can remain ignorant all your life'!)*
I hope to see all of you in Tampa next August  at IMC2 **
*[Dr Alex had added the following hand written statement
"This is why no one has ever called me a "nice
[**Many Alexopoulos students went to Tampa and saw Dr. Alex there to open
the congress as the first President of the International Mycological
Association. The evening of the opening, however, he had a mild heart attack
and missed the rest of the meeting.]
But Dr. Alex did go to many meetings where he was always surrounded by his
students. He made certain we were introduced to prominent mycologists whose
papers we had read in his courses. Judi recalls, "In the last meetings he
attended with us we had dinner parties where he would refer to us as the `stars
in his crown' —and assure us that the glory days were over for mycologists."
From a short letter to Meredith —17th May 1977
I have given my last exam*, and am about to turn in my grades. After that I
am a free man.
*[Late in his career Dr. Alex offered a new course that he
had always wanted to teach economic botany. He worked hard to prepare
for the course and had a huge number of files on all aspects of economically
important plants. He was helpful to me and copied all of the materials for me
when I did a similar course.]
December 1980 Christmas letter (three years after retiring)
"Speaking of our new [US]
president, one of you (was it you, Don [Reynolds]) asked me how I thought
science research would fare under the new regime. Since I supported Ron Reagan,
I think I'll write him a letter and tell him I support his policy of cutting
down government expenses and that he should start with NSF and NIH. After all,
who wants taxpayer's money to help investigate the sex life of the myxomycetes
or the ultrastructure of sooty molds or the Myxomycetes of Hawaii? (Hawaii went to Carter in
November, anyway). As for the desert myxomycetes, they don't belong there at
all, so let them be.*
Enough chatter —Happy New Year"
P.S. Another sad piece of news —We lost our
cat** to some horrible disease. Had to have him put away.
*The conservative streak showed as well as acerbic wit.
**At Texas we all knew Melanie, adopted in Ames, Iowa,
she lived to be about 18. She was buried under the big fig tree on Calithea Drive.
There were cats that preceded Melanie, and this one followed because Melanie
was not a "him."
R.G.'s last Christmas letter from Dr. Alex.—November 29, 1983
My body is getting weaker all the time, and I hardly get up from my Lazy Boy
chair until bedtime. I pass my time reading whatever I can lay my hands on.
Please send me your reprints as your papers get into print. I am always happy
to see your work, and so many of you have done so well I am proud to have been
Juliet and I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas. May 1984 be a happy
Non-Orwelian Year for all of us, but watch out for Big Brother (the I.R.S.)!
From a letter Dr. Alex wrote to Henry Aldrich*.12 December 1983.
Dear Henry, All the student letters [see immediately above] have been
signed and mailed. Just in case we do a 1984 letter or for your own information
when the time comes to notify my students of my demise, I want to make a few
corrections in your list as follows…. [He noted the death of a first
T.A., updated an address for one and a name for another, and noted loosing
track of a student.]
*Henry Aldrich, who defended his thesis at age 24 and spent the rest of his
life at the University of Florida, continued to do many small favors for Dr.
Alex after he left Texas.
In addition to helping with the Christmas letters noted above, Henry kept Dr.
supplied with tangerine marmalade from Stucky's, a gift shoprestaurant chain
with a store on a highway near Gainesville.
From a letter to M.B.—10 July 1983 (Sunday noon).—The card with all the signatures and news from the MSA
meeting* arrived yesterday afternoon.… This has been a great meeting for
our mycological family and I am so happy to still be alive to see so many of
you being honored. I have always felt I was primarily a teacher and it gives me
the greatest pleasure to see so many of my students doing so well. Keep it up
all of you!
[*Ames, Iowa, June 1983]
Soon after Christmas 1985 I met Henry Aldrich in Lake
Charles where he had spent Christmas vacation with family, and we
drove to Austin;
we packed up Dr. Alex's office and sent all his correspondence to the
university archives to be sealed for fifty years. The books and journals were
taken to Calithea Drive;
the journals were packed away in a storage building on the property. On the
first day of packing Mrs. Alex was sent to lunch with friends so we could get
the packing done. Early the next morning Billie Turner [UT plant
systematist extraordinaire] found Mrs. Alex in the dumpster behind the
botany building checking to see what had been thrown away. At his home we added
bars around the bath and raised the bed so that Dr. Alex might be able to
manage a little longer with only Mrs. Alex's help.
Even at that time she was concerned about finding a simple pine casket
required for a Greek Orthodox funeral. Because neither of them had seemed
especially religious when I knew them, I was surprised by her insistence about
the requirement. The day after Dr. Alex died, a young
orthodox priest with an oddly Scots surname came to discuss the funeral. Mrs.
Alex was still worried about the casket. He finally set her worry to rest by
saying one must be practical and went on to discuss material for the eulogy.
Dr. Alex was committed to us for life. We relied on him for more
recommendation letters, general advice, and information on all things
mycological. Here George C. Carroll relates an exchange about a negative.
"Although at times a hard taskmaster and a rather formal person, Dr.
Alex took great pride in his students' accomplishments and went to considerable
lengths to help with publications and give useful advice. As a young assistant
professor Dr. Alex provided both to me in generous measure.
I particularly remember an incident in 1972 dealing with an
EM negative I needed for a publication. As a graduate student in the cell
research institute at the University
of Texas I had worked on
the fine structure of ascospore development for my Ph.D thesis. Not all of my
thesis work was published when I took a job at the University of Oregon,
and several years later I found that I needed a good print from a particularly
difficult negative to submit for publication. All negatives from the Cell
Research Institute EM lab at the University
of Texas were considered
property of the institution and stayed on site. What to do? I certainly had
neither time nor money to travel to Austin from Oregon to get the needed
print. So I wrote to Dr. Alex with an improper suggestion could he snitch the
negative I needed, send it to me, and then surreptitiously replace it after a
Alex replied that he did not think he could visit the negative archive
unnoticed and that he, understandably, did not want to damage cordial relations
he had established with colleagues in the EM lab over a 10 year period. Instead
he asked the powers that were to make a print. The print materialized and Alex
kindly sent it on to me. Unfortunately, as expected, it was completely
unsatisfactory for publication. I wrote again, explaining my dilemma.
I received a letter on November 3rd expressing his dismay as
You are certainly pushing your luck or rather mine. I did not tell Joyce the
prints were for you. I let her understand they were for me, something I was
publishing. When she brought them I told her they were fine! Now, how do I go
back and tell her to redo them? I'll have to think of something but right now
my mind is a blank and my pessimism at its zenith. Anyway, this is Friday
afternoon and nothing can be done until Monday at the earliest.
I suppose I should not be so chicken and should invade the sanctum sanctorum
and snitch the negative for you, but at my age I have lost all desire for
adventure and have become ultra-conservative and law-abiding to a disgusting
degree. Don't give up; I may think of something.'
I must have replied in even more plaintive vein. On December 1 came the
Your letter stirred me into action. First I asked myself the obvious
question: Are you a man or a mouse? The reply came loud and clear: I am a
mouse! But not so much of a mouse as not to be a skunk at the
same time. So I did what any skunk would do, i.e. ask one of my students
to get the negative for me. He did. Here it is. He is now responsible to CRI, I
to him, and you to me. Let's break the chain as soon as possible by returning
the negative to its folder or whatever they keep it in.
Remember, the mouse will worry until the negative has been replaced.
One more thing. In your acknowledge-ments, don't
thank me for stealing the negative from CRI. My student should get the
credit, but I shall not give you his (her) name!
All of this is to say that Alex could be generous and very funny when the
occasion demanded. This must have contributed greatly to his success as a
teacher. Needless to say the negative got printed and returned in a matter of a
In addition to his students, another person in Dr. Alex's life at Texas was phycologist
and department chairperson [chairman in those days], Harold Bold,
mentioned earlier as a member of the committee that wrote the memorial
resolution. Dr. Bold was instrumental in luring Dr. Alex to Texas, but he
always said he took the job because of several offers for Fall 1962, Texas was
the only one in which he was not be required to be chairperson. They maintained
a close friendship. Dr. Alex once compared himself with Dr. Bold by saying that
Harold wanted to be loved by everyone, implying that he himself was not
—likely because he was too scrupulously honest.
On August 1, 1966 the two friends went to lunch as they did several days a
week; this was the day of the Texas tower sniper, and we assumed a phone call
from Mrs. Alex inquiring about Dr. Alex indicated that she knew about the shots
fired from a high-powered rifle on the campus. Unfortunately, we inadvertently
broke the news to her, and worse yet, we did not know
if they had had avoided the shots that hit several people just outside the
building. As we looked out windows toward the Union, we saw several injured
people, and hoped that Drs. Alex and Bold had not walked to the Union at the wrong time. They later returned from an
unusually long off-campus lunch, never even knowing what was happening until
they tried to get into the campus.
Along with Dr. Alex came Juliet Catherine Dowdy Alexopoulos. Born in Lincoln, Illinois, on
September 1, 1904, Mrs. Alex died at their home in Austin, Texas,
on July 20, 2000 at the age of 95. She was an accomplished pianist with a B.S.
degree from the University
of Kansas and an M.S.
from the Eastman School of Music. In fact she and Mrs. Harold Bold, her good
friend, had similar musical backgrounds, a basis for their close friendship
apart from the association of their husbands. She had joined the music faculty
at Kent State in 1936, the year after Dr. Alex
had become a faculty member there. They met soon after and were married August
26, 1939. She supported and promoted him fiercely throughout the rest of his
life. Periodically, she entertained the graduate students with great
hospitality and wonderful food, and we aspired to a beautiful home such as the
one she had designed. Their home was filled with thick Turkish (literally)
carpets and tasteful artwork, including a Greek icon over five hundred years
old. I once was told by a visiting professor that I would be welcome as a
postdoc in his lab, but probably would not like it, because I would never be
invited to his home that just was not done in his country.
After Dr. Alex died Mrs. Alex bought her first computer to revise for
publication a manuscript they had worked on intermittently "Collector's
Items, " including a "On the Trail of the Slime Mold," chapters
describing various trips the work with the United Nations Relief and
Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) in Greece (1946-1947), another year
(1954-1955) on a Fullbright Fellowship to Greece, various collecting trips,
including one made unforgettable by a robbery under the pseudonym Alex Kosta!
One chapter I enjoyed most described his work with the Rubber Development
Corporation during World War II, when he traveled far up the Amazon from Manaus
to the vicinity of Benjamin Constant in a largely failed attempt to improve
harvesting of the native Hevea latex badly needed for tires on military
vehicles; importation of rubber from the plantations of southeastern Asia had
been cut off by war perhaps reason for certain of his conservative views with
parallels in today's world.
Although he was born in Chicago, the
Alexopoulos family returned to Greece
when Dr. Alex was a young boy, so that his father could do mandatory service in
the Greek army. They all returned to Chicago
when Dr. Alex was began high school, but his parents and sister returned to Greece some
time later. Dr. Alex's parents lived into their 90s and died in Athens not so many years
before he did. His only sibling, Theodora ("Dora") Pantos and her
husband, a businessman, also lived in Athens
where she worked for an international charitable organization. Dora died in Athens September 29,
1993. Her husband had died somewhat earlier. Neither Dora, younger than her
brother, nor Dr. Alex had lineal heirs.
Juliet's nephew, Ellis Smith, his daughter Leslie, and Leslie's two
daughters are the last of Juliet's close relatives.
Meredith Blackwell (Ph.D. Texas, 1973), Department of Biological Sciences,
Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803
Ralph Gustafson (Ph.D. Texas, 1973), Department of Biology, Winthrop University,
Rock Hill, SC 29733
Wayne C. Rosing (Ph.D. Texas, 1975), Biology Department, Middle Tennessee
University, Murfreesboro TN37132
Charles W. Mims (Ph.D. Texas, 1969), Department of Plant Pathology, University of Georgia,
Joanne Tontz Ellzey (Ph.D. Texas, 1969), Department of Biological Sciences,
University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas 79968
Steve Bratteng (M.A. Texas, 1968), Teacher, Westwood
High School, Austin, Texas 78750
Don R. Reynolds (Ph.D. Texas, 1970), Natural History Museum of Los Angeles
County, 900 Exposition Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90007
George C. Carroll, (Ph.D. Texas, 1966), Department of Biology, University of Oregon,
C. J. A. 1906-1986. <http://lsb380.plbio.lsu.edu/LabPersonnel/cja.html>.
Blackwell, M. 1988. C. J. Alexopoulos. A brief history. Transactions of
the British Mycological Society 90:153-158.
Brodie, H. J. 1987. Constantine John Alexopoulos, 1907-1986. Mycologia
79: 163-165, frontispiece.
Truman State University's Solar Clock Garden
Students at Truman
now have less reason to be late for class. In spring 2005, a sundial and floral
clock were installed on campus. Now students always know what time it is
especially if the sun is shining.
This large project, which occupies approximately 3500 square feet south of
Magruder Hall, Truman's newly renovated and expanded science building, includes
two main elements, a horizontal sundial constructed of low concrete walls and a
floral clock garden planted within the sundial. Together they comprise the Gaber Solar
named for Drs. Ron and Elsie Gaber, local residents who generously provided
funding to get this project off and into the ground.
Construction of the sundial was completed last spring. The design emerged
from an interdisciplinary class taught by Associate Professor of Physics, Dr.
Matt Beaky. He took ideas proposed by student groups and modified these to fit
the available site. The sundial's concrete walls were built by Truman's
physical plant staff. A 12-foot tall post the gnomon was milled from a red cedar
tree that formerly grew on the site but that had to be cut to accommodate
construction of the building. The gnomon indicates time by casting its shadow
across "hour lines" that radiate across the site. An interesting
addition is the presence of three cross walls (see photo). These walls
intersect the hour lines and are positioned such that the tip of the gnomon's
shadow follows the far arc on the winter solstice (shortest day, longest
shadow!); the close arc on the summer solstice (longest day, shortest shadow);
and the single straight path on the two equinoxes. These three cross walls, as
well as the "local noon" hour marker, were made wider than the others
to allow visitors to walk out into the garden.
Looking down on Truman's solar clock garden
from across the street; the time is approximately 4 p.m. in late summer. Some
plants have gone by and have been removed, making the sundial walls clearly
visible, including the winter solstice arc, the summer solstice arc, and the
straight equinox path. Image by Courtney Robbins.
Design of the sundial presented numerous challenges, not least of which is the
fact that the ground is not level, but slopes slightly from northeast to
southwest. This made the calculations of angles and arcs more challenging which
is why I'm a botanist and not a physicist!
The Floral Clock
Carl Linnaeus is best remembered for his development of the binomial system
of nomenclature, but he also wrote and lectured on many other topics. One of
his observations, mentioned in Philisophia Botanica, was the idea that
carefully selected plants could be arranged such that the plants' flowers would
open and close sequentially through the day. He referred to this type of
planting as a horologium florae, or
floral clock. Although Linnaeus did not actually plant such a garden, he did
recommend a number of plants that could be used.
When I learned of plans for our sundial, I immediately realized that the
"cells" formed by its intersecting walls would make wonderful garden
beds. I was familiar with Linnaeus's idea for a floral clock, and given the
theme of time inherent in a sundial, this seemed a perfect opportunity to
attempt a floral clock. And of course, operating under the tenet true at most
universities "s/he who suggests, does" responsibility for the
gardening project fell to me.
The solar clock garden viewed from the west,
taken early in the season. The flowers of Gazania are open in the
foreground, and the gardens "cells," or planting beds, are evident.
Inclusion of the equinox wall divided each hour into two smaller planting
areas. Image by Tim Barcus.
The solar clock garden viewed from the east,
taken before planting was complete. The garden slopes slightly from northeast
(far right, in photo) to southwest. Image by Tim Barcus.
I quickly recruited then-undergraduate Abbie Smith to work on the project, and
we began a search for candidate plants. We started with Linnaeus's list, but
realized some of his selections would do poorly in the climate and clay soils
of northeast Missouri.
Other plants on his list were invasive species that we did not wish to include,
while still others were difficult to obtain. We also had a large area to plant,
and for any given section, we wished to have at least one species in flower
at all times, meaning we needed several species for each time slot. We also
quickly learned that although it's easy to find out when during the growing
season a plant is in flower a piece of information important to gardeners and
farmers it's another thing altogether to find out what time of day a plant's
flowers are open.
The author (far left) with his
ecology class. The view is across
the garden from west to east. The prominent, straight sidewalk is the path
followed by the tip of the gnomon's shadow on the two equinoxes. Plants in the
foreground include flower-of-an-hour (Hibiscus trionum) `Luyona' and Calendula
officinalis `Radio'. Image by Tim Barcus.
And so the search began. We scoured the botanical and gardening literature;
we looked in seed and nursery catalogs; and we searched the web. We consulted
local gardeners, fellow Master Gardeners, and horticulturists across the country.
I even developed a lab for my botany class in order to get them involved. In
the end, we uncovered many dozens of candidate species with sometimes contradictory
information. Then we moved into the greenhouse…
Fortunately, part of the expansion of Magruder Hall included the addition of
a large, new greenhouse, and the solar clock garden project usurped as much
as we could in order to start plants from seed. Most of this greenhouse work
was done by undergraduates. We began and nurtured many of our candidate plants
under glass, in the process rejecting some species that didn't behave as anticipated.
Abbie and I actually started work in the fall of 2003, expecting to plant
the following spring. Unfortunately, construction of the sundial was delayed
and the project was postponed a year. Finally, last spring, the sundial was
completed and the site was turned over to us, though at that point it was
nowhere near ready for planting. Although the walls of the sundial were in
place, the soil within the cells was hard-packed and difficult to work,
reflecting its recent history as a construction site. Pitchforks and shovels
especially those wielded by aging Associate Professors of Biology barely
penetrated this hardpan. Nonetheless, virtually all dirt work was done by hand.
Fortunately, many volunteers stepped forward, including Truman administrators,
faculty, staff, and family; community members; and many students. These ranged
from Truman students taking classes or doing summer research, to Junior High
students on campus for a special program, to some very strong members of
Truman's football team.
Piles of rubble and excess soil were removed, and two truckloads of aged
horse manure were brought in from Truman's farm and worked into the soil. Then,
on Saturday, June 4, 2005, the first specimens were planted. Abbie, having
already graduated, drove back to Kirksville
for a long weekend of hard labor in order to be on hand for the inaugural
planting. Other students who had worked with me during the school year also
came back from their summer homes to help with this final push and initial
planting. Then, over the next several weeks, we added plants while we completed
work on the last few cells. By the time we were done, we had planted more than
30 species in the garden, fewer than planned but not bad for the first (hot,
dry!) year, especially given our late start.
Time Will Tell
Of course, the first question people usually ask is, Does the clock garden
work? The sundial works extremely well, especially for those willing to adjust
for the "precession of time." (Sundial enthusiasts know what this
Overall, the floral clock also "worked," though with some
qualifications. Our placement was nearly perfect for some species but a bit off
for others; in addition, some species were more consistent in their time of
opening than were others.
Among the more reliable plants were the Gazania hybrid cultivars,
which were planted in front of the "equinox wall," in the 9 a.m. to
10 a.m. cell. These were among the stars of the garden; not only did they contribute
color during nearly the entire growing season, but they consistently opened
during their "appointed" time. It wasn't until late summer, perhaps
due to cooler temperatures, that these plants began sleeping later in the morning!
hybrid cultivars. These multi-colored composites opened reliably between 9 and
10 a.m. through most of the summer. Image by Tim Barcus.
We planted two cultivars of blue pimpernel (Anagallis monellii),
and we hedged our bets. We planted `Blue Lights' in the 9-10 a.m. section, and
that's when it opened; a smaller-flowered cultivar was planted in the 10-11
a.m. section, but it also tended to open before 10:00. We planted the Missouri
native rock pink (Talinum calycinum) in the 2-3 p.m. section,
and its buds would begin unwrapping "like clockwork" each afternoon,
right on cue.
One of the garden favorites was the native passionflower (Passiflora
incarnata), which we grew on two trellises in the back of the 11-noon
and noon-1 p.m. sections. (Remember, during Daylight Savings Time, the shadow
falls along the "local noon" line at 1 p.m., not at noon.) The spectacular
flowers of these climbers would usually begin opening around 11:30 or so, and
depending on conditions (temperature? humidity?), the length of time required
for these flowers to open tended to vary. One day I watched a flower go from
closed bud to fully open in less than five minutes. Not only did I watch the
petals and corona uncurl and flatten, I watched the stamens flip over and I
could hear the parts moving against each other! I got in the habit of
going out to the garden to observe and photograph this spectacle and I think
students got in the habit of walking on the other side of the street so I wouldn't
drag them over to watch this show yet again! Each flower on this plant lasts
but a single day, after which it partially closes and fades. We got our plants
into the ground late, but they still had sufficient time to set fruit, although
not quite enough to fully sweeten.
The late afternoon section of the garden was also popular, for it was here
that we planted species whose flowers either opened or secreted nectar late
in the day or during the evening. The combined aroma of flowering tobacco (Nicotiana
alata `Lime Green' and `Grandiflora'), night phlox (Zaluzianskya
capensis `Midnight Candy'), and night-scented stock (Matthiola
longipetala) would sometimes stop passersby in their tracks. We also
planted the Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa),
whose flowers are macro very large indeed. This spring we will add moonflower
(Ipomoea alba), evening catchfly (Silene noctiflora),
The solar clock garden at about 9 a.m. The tall
plants in front of the vent pipes are okra; those on the far right are passionflowers
(Passiflora incarnata). The portulacas in the foreground are just beginning
to open. Image by Courtney Robbins.
Two edible species, okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) and a dwarf summer
squash (Cucurbita pepo `Zephyr') added another somewhat unusual element
to the garden. These each have large flowers that open in the morning and close
later the same day, and they provide a nice link between horticulture and economic
botany. I got in the habit of placing the day's harvest in a basket next to
the sidewalk along with recipes.
Undergraduate biology major Nicole Asal and the
author spreading mulch. Mulch was added to suppress weeds, conserve soil
moisture, and add organic matter. Image by Tim Barcus.
We had successes, but we also had disappointments. The moss roses, or eleven
o'clocks, (Portulaca grandiflora) were nice to look at but were unpredictable
in their opening; on sunny days they almost always opened earlier than 11:00.
The four o'clocks (Mirabilis nyctaginea and M. jalapa) were
similarly unpredictable, sometimes opening early, sometime late but they did
add nice color and texture to the afternoon section of the garden. By spending
as much time as possible in the garden and taking note of what each species
was doing, we can make adjustments this year, especially since many of the plants
are annuals and will need to be replanted.
Are We There Yet?
As all gardeners know, a garden is never finished. Because we got a late
start last year, we didn't plant the entire bed, which increased the need for
weeding. As mentioned above, we also placed some plants in the
"wrong" cells, and they must either be moved or planted in different
sections this spring. And there are new species to include, new cultivars to
try, compost and mulch to add, weeds to pull, and the list goes on…
We have also been busy this winter. Four undergraduates in Dr. Steve Chappell's
Design & Layout class developed a descriptive brochure and web site for
the clock garden. The brochure will be printed and placed in a box within the
garden, much like one sees at state and national parks. And by the time this
issue of the Plant Science Bulletin is available, the garden's
web site should be active at //solarclockgarden.truman.edu. We have
a permanent sign to install, and benches and a table to place behind the garden
to encourage visitors to linger and eat lunch. Undergraduate Katrina Brink and
I are currently developing garden-based curriculum materials for elementary
school teachers and their students to use, and we are seeking additional funding
for this outreach effort. In the meantime, biology, art, and other Truman classes
as well as Kirksville city residents out for a walk are already taking advantage
of this new campus garden as are the bees, dragonflies, birds, squirrels, rabbits,
and other wildlife.
And how else will this sundial and clock garden be used by students,
faculty, and city residents? Only time will tell…
Steven B. Carroll, Division of Science, Truman
Kirksville, MO 63501.
News from the Society
Looking to the Future
Conserving the Past
July 28 - August 3, 2006, Chico, California
The annual Botany Conference brings together a broad spectrum of
researchers, professors, educators and motivated students, all focused on
what's new and vibrant in plant biology. Botany 2006 promises to be the most
stimulating to date as we celebrate one hundred years of promoting and
advancing the rich and diverse fields of plant sciences. This Centennial Celebration
brings together our four leading professional societies, namely the Botanical Society
of America, the American Bryological and Lichenological Society, the American
Society of Plant Taxonomists, and the American Fern Society. The meeting will
focus on the important achievements of our members and will highlight prominent
botanists whose contributions have shaped and advanced the varied fields of
An anticipated 1000 participants will present over 700 scientific
contributions including papers, posters, special lectures and 15 symposia. A
full slate of field trips and scientific workshops and social events will round
out the program.
Botany 2006 is being held on the campus of Chico
Saturday, July 29, will feature the 5th Educational and Outreach Forum. This
successful component of the Botany conference is designed to draw educators
and researchers involved in the teaching of biology and plant science from kindergarten
through college. The day will include a range of engaging interactive sessions,
a keynote lecture and a concluding reception that will provide an opportunity
for attendees to discuss and network in a social setting. For the first time,
teachers will be able to apply for California Continuing Professional Education
Credits to participate in Forum activities.
Sunday, July 30th, will be an active day of scientific workshops, and
fieldtrips. Sunday evening will open the scientific meeting with the
conference-wide Plenary Lecture, followed by an All Society Mixer.
Monday morning, July 31st, kicks off the scientific sessions and symposia.
Tuesday afternoon, August 1st, will feature a conference-wide Poster
Session, with an expected 400 posters featuring current research and recent
topics. Scientific Sessions will conclude on Wednesday, August 2nd.
Participating Societies will also hold social events and meetings throughout
Fern Society (AFS)
American Society of Plant Taxonomists
Society of America
New at Botany 2006
Advertise at the Fair - A new feature that will be incorporated into this
year's meeting is a Graduate School-Post-Doc-Job Fair. This event will occur on
Sunday, July 29, 2006 prior to the Plenary Talk. As professional members of the
BSA, you are invited to represent your department or research program to
interact with and recruit quality students and professionals. Stay tuned to the
Botany 2006 website for details and information on how you and your institution
can become part of this new event.
Increasing Undergraduate Diversity in Botany
The Botanical Society of America (BSA) is pleased to announce the fourth
year of a program entitled "Increasing diversity at the annual Botanical
Society of America meeting," This program is supported by the National
Science Foundation (Undergraduate Mentoring in Environmental Biology (UMEB)
Program) and will provide financial and professional assistance for 10 minority
(African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native Americans/Alaskan Natives and
persons with disabilities) undergraduate research students to attend the Botany
2006 conference. Through a supportive mentoring network and orientation
activities, the students will be integrated into professional and social
activities of the Botany 2006 conference (www.botanyconference.org/). If you know of an eligible and deserving undergraduate who would benefit
from this experience, or if you would like to serve as a mentor, please contact
Karen Renzaglia (email@example.com)
or Jeffrey Osborn (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A call for applications and application guidelines are available on the BSA
(www.botany.org) and Botany 2006 (www.botanyconference.org) web sites. The deadline
for applications is May 15, 2006. This program is an important step towards
strengthening the science workforce by utilizing the full range of intellectual
talent from diverse ethnic and minority populations. We encourage and welcome
100 Years of Service to the Plant Sciences - What is the
BSA Doing in "Looking to the Future?"
In the late 1990s the Society went through a planning process to ensure a
focused approach to the future. The outcome was the report Botany in the
Next Millennium (www.botany.org/bsa/millen/). From there the Society began to take up the
challenges the document posed. One of its major recommendations was the
establishment of a permanent staff to give us the ability to meet our future
needs and respond to the remaining recommendations. In late 2002 the BSA set up
its home at the Missouri
Many positive changes have occurred over the past several years with the
establishment of the BSA Business Office. You now have a multi-talented staff
team of seven dedicated people, who do everything from processing memberships
to running professional Botany Conferences, managing (and improving) journal
publication processes to acting as a membership support team, and to creating
and implementing educational materials and activities with members through
website development. We feel we have improved the way the Society operates and
how it serves you, the members. In saying this, we also want you to know we are
looking for ways to do even more. Please consider it important to let us know
how we might better serve you and your colleagues. Take a few moments and send
us your comments and ideas when you see something that might be improved.
We'd like you to know that your dues, donations, energy and support are
having a direct impact on the BSA and enhancing our ability to deliver on our
mission and objectives. Wise decisions by BSA leaders and the generosity of
members have put us in a good position to focus on the future. At the same
time, the environment for science and scientific societies continues to change.
Careful planning and prudent fiscal development will be needed to keep us
strong. In essence, we are building on, and adding to, the foundation
established over 100 years ago.
Yes, YOUR Society is on the move, and it is due to the many committed
members, like yourself, who volunteer their time, talents, and financial
support to the many facets of the Society. Your ideas, assistance and continued
support are essential.
So what has changed in the last few years? Acting on input from members, here
are a few of the things staff have enacted:
· Reducing or eliminating AJB page charges for
· Reducing or eliminating AJB color images charges for BSA
· Online manuscript submissions;
· Improving "time to print" for the AJB by two
months in 2005;
· Improving delivery time of the AJB by over 15 days (online
· Funding of $25,000+ per year to support conference activities
· Providing 60+ awards per year to support student development;
· Keeping membership costs (dues, subscriptions and meeting
registration) at reasonable levels;
· Adding online member services, www.botany.org/newsite/membership/;
· Instituting almost instantaneous response times for member
support from the BSA Business Office;
· Developing educational activities (we are just getting
Inquiry through Plants (Sip3),
· Developing the BSA website, www.botany.org;
AJB archive abstracts and full article access online, www.botany.org/ajb/
PSB archive online, www.botany.org/PlantScienceBulletin/;
the BSA online image collection, www.botany.org/PlantImages/;
· Developing the Botany Conference website, www.2006.botanyconference.org;
conference abstract submission & registration.
And who, you might ask, are the people making things happen and what their
roles? This is your staff team.
Johanne Stogran Conference & Meeting
Johanne is the longest-serving BSA staff member. She joined the BSA in 2001
and soon found herself running the show as the only member of staff, working
from an office at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.
Since the addition of her professional colleagues at the World Headquarters,
Johanne has moved to serving the BSA in her area of expertise, conference
management. She works to offer you best possible conferences, ones that are vibrant
and focused on what's new in botany. This entails selecting sites, managing the
conference website, producing the meeting documents, recruiting exhibitors and
tending to a myriad of other details.
The meeting annex of the World Headquarters of botany is in Johanne's home
in Columbus, Ohio. It is also important to mention her
family, the unofficial staff at the meetings, who help ensure that everything
happens as it should. As we move forward in the future of botany, plans are in
place to meet with a variety of societies and associations that share the same
focus. Visit the meeting website often to catch the latest
news. Also, any ideas you have to make the meetings more meaningful
to you as professionals, please let Johanne know - email@example.com.
Lovan, Administrations Officer
Wanda joined the team in 2003. She leads the BSA's membership and
institutional support services. During the past three years, she has
revolutionized BSA business operational and accounting procedures. She
represents the "engine room" of Society activities. Timely and
efficient membership services and subscription fulfillment to institutions
remain her top priority. Her management of the web-based financial and
registration processes for the Botany Conference is extremely important.
It is also important to note her leadership role in supporting other plant
groups (Solanaceae 2006 conferences as well as providing American Fern Society
with membership support). This offers us the opportunity to share our
"best administrative practices" and well-developed
"administrative tools" with other botanical organizations. Membership
or subscription questions, interest in learning more about BSA support, Wanda
is the person to contact - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Claire joined the team in November of 2004 as Managing Editor for the American
Journal of Botany. A large part of her early role, in conjunction with
Editor-in-Chief Judy Jernstedt and Production Manager Beth Hazen, was to
transition the AJB from Ithaca to St. Louis. She did so on the proviso that, when the BSA was ready, she could
move to a role more suited to her passion, education outreach. She is currently
leading the Scientific Inquiry through Plants program, which connects
BSA scientists as online mentors to students investigating plant biology in
classrooms across the nation.
To promote the education objectives of the BSA, Claire will work on many
fronts. Over the coming year, look for new and revised materials on the BSA
website. Updating the Careers in Botany brochure and developing the
Carnivorous Plants webpages (www.botany.org/Carnivorous_Plants/)
are priorities. Additional education initiatives are in the planning stages,
including a collaborative project with the Northwest Indian
College on traditional
food plants. If you would like to know more about the BSA's
new education efforts (or know how to contribute to them), Claire would love to
hear from you - email@example.com.
Hazen, Production Editor, American Journal of Botany
AJB production time cut in half!!Beth has served the Journal and the BSA
since August 2002. Initially, she served as lead copy editor, and in 2004 she
also took on the role of Production Editor. She played a big part in the
transition of the editorial office from Ithaca
to St. Louis
and in putting manuscript and image services online. Along with shortening the
production schedule and ensuring earlier mailing of the journal, her efforts in
the past year have been directed toward training copy editors and helping
authors solve problems with figure preparation and online submissions. What is
her main advice to authors to facilitate publication of their papers? Read and
follow instructions, and respond within the time frames set by AJB.
Beth lives in central New York
and manages the production functions from home. In addition to her quest for
perfection in print, Beth also has a passion for education. She teaches
workshops on writing and editing and encourages members to send in questions on
writing, English, and preparing tables and figures. Your questions may be
included in a workshop at the BSA annual meeting, on the BSA website, or in an
article for the Plant Science Bulletin. What help would you like to receive?
Please let her know - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amy McPherson, Managing Editor, American
Journal of Botany
Amy is the most recent addition to the BSA team, having joined in August
2005 after 16 years as Managing Editor of the Missouri Botanical Garden Press.
She has truly hit the ground running. Joining in the efforts of Beth, Claire,
and Editor-in-Chief Judy Jernstedt, she has helped to reduce the time from
manuscript submission to print in AJB by two months. From her office at the BSA
World Headquarters in St. Louis,
she is eager to work with reviewers, authors, and editors to reduce the time
even further and to encourage authors from all areas of botany to submit their
best papers to AJB - email@example.com.
Brandt, Manager, Technology Development
Rob joined the Botanical Society staff in 2005 after working on various BSA
projects as a consultant since 2003. We were pleased to offer him a permanent
position and even happier when he accepted! Projects he is actively working on
are the web sites for past, present and future Botany Conferences, the main www.botany.org web site, the Scientific
Inquiry through Plants www.plantbiology.org web site, and a membership data application for
the BSA. Pending funding availability, future projects include an image
management application and redevelopment of all existing projects as products
that societies similar to the BSA can use.
Rob works out of the BSA's Western Regional Office in Santa Barbara, CA. Ideas we can use for
future web-based development or the improvement of existing items - firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dahl, Executive Director
I came to the BSA (and St. Louis) from Christchurch, New Zealand, in late 2002 to open
the World Headquarters for the Society. Starting from an office
in the "Possum Trading Building"
of the Missouri Botanical Garden, with a desk and a phone,
it has been a pleasure working to build a dedicated staff team focused on the
needs of the BSA and its members. We are a team of seven with varying, yet
complementary skills. We continue to operate under the BSA's "3M"
concept of improving our delivery to Mission,
providing excellent Member service and ensuring Member
recognition. My main role is weaving our various efforts together in a manner
that best accomplishes our commitment to the 3Ms.
With a century of BSA history as a foundation and an admirable mission to
guide us, our roles are clear. We are here to assist you in taking the BSA
forward, keeping it relevant and taking the plant sciences to a much broader
audience. If I can be of any assistance please contact me - email@example.com.
We look forward meeting you all at Botany 2006 and the BSA Centennial
Celebrations in Chico!
Bill Dahl, BSA Executive Director
BSA Plant Science Mentors Making a Difference
Does fertilizer have an effect on seed germination rate? Is the whole seed
needed for germination? Those are some of the questions students around the
country are investigating with input from plant science mentors in the
Botanical Society of America's education outreach program, Scientific
Inquiry through Plants (Sip3). This innovative online
scientific learning community provides opportunities for students to communicate
with scientists and peers in real time as they experience the adventure of
"Having scientists comment on our project was cool," said Sean, a Pershing County
High School student in Lovelock, Nevada. Sean is one of
the many students discovering the excitement and challenges of plant research
for the first time. The pilot projects, based on the Wonder of Seeds Inquiry,
rolled out in 2005 with student teams in middle school through college
designing investigations on seed germination and seedling growth. Some 500
students, 8 teachers, and 40 science mentors have participated thus far.
The BSA's online mentorship program is well on its way to improving
education about plants and encouraging basic plant research, both of which have
long been central objectives of the Society. "Programs like this have the
real potential for improving science literacy. As a long-time BSA member, I see
this as one of our best educational outreach initiatives in some time,"
said Peter Raven, Director, Missouri Botanical Garden, Engelmann Professor of
Botany, Washington University in St. Louis, and BSA Past President.
"I really enjoyed seeing the students' comments, and thinking about how
to respond in a way that would guide them in conducting a scientific experiment
and thinking about what is happening. The amount of time invested was small.
Their enthusiasm was neat to see," said Pat Gensel, Professor of Biology, University of North Carolina, BSA Past President, and Scientific
Inquiry through Plants mentor.
Online mentoring offers the added convenience of interacting with students
without having to leave the office or lab. Several BSA members are reaping
benefits twice over by volunteering as plant science mentors and running the
inquiry projects with their classes. Beverly Brown, BSA Teaching Section Chair
and author of the Wonder of Seeds Inquiry said: "I hear some students say
they think plants are boring. If you question students further, you find that
most have had very little exposure to plants. This project is an exciting way
to introduce students to the fascinating lives of plants. They can't love what
they don't know!"
Connecting students, teachers, and experts in the field is the feature that
sets Scientific Inquiry through Plants apart from most other web-based
education efforts. Mentorship has the potential to make classroom learning more
meaningful and to inspire lifelong learning. Encouraging curiosity, motivating,
deepening understanding—the positive outcomes are numerous. Online
conversations with science mentors and peers help students observe closely, ask
testable questions, gather information carefully, evaluate evidence critically,
and present data effectively. Teachers across all education levels see building
these skills as critical for student success.
Science literacy is a growing concern in the current atmosphere of
test-driven K-12 education. Past issues of the Plant Science Bulletin remind
us that botanical literacy in particular has a long history of neglect. In a
recent survey, around one-third of biology teachers reported they did not feel
qualified in plant biology. With leaders committed to improving science
education, BSA has forged strong partnerships among K-12 teachers, science
education researchers, and other societies to address these significant needs.
Scientific Inquiry through Plants provides teachers and students with
the resources and support to improve their understanding of plant biology and
to enhance the quality of their experiences with scientific inquiry. This participatory
science program incorporates the latest learning theory in curriculum design
and professional development activities. Current research shows that
student-centered, inquiry-based learning leads to improved student thinking
skills and conceptual understanding. As plant biologists, we work with ideal
organisms for inquiry-based science education. This program gets plants back
into the classroom in fresh new ways.
How does the online scientific learning community work? Classrooms across
the nation are connected online where students share their research and
communicate with peers and plant science mentors. Students work in small
cooperative learning groups to design and run experiments centered on a common
theme. They post their thoughts, observations, and findings online. Scientists
facilitate student thinking and provide insights about what scientists know and
how they think. Visit the Scientific Inquiry through Plants website at
www.plantbiology.org to see the potential of this approach for learning and
"I feel strongly the project is worthwhile and needed; it provides
teachers with a good inquiry-based botanical investigation that students of
different ages can conduct; the questions have real-world applications and
students can relate readily to them," said Pat Gensel.
Carol Packard, of Sisters Middle School in Sisters, Oregon, relayed at the Botany 2005
Educational Forum that the inquiry project makes it easy to teach because her
students are motivated. Posting work online can also prompt students to take
greater ownership and responsibility for their work. As part of a network of
professionals, teachers have support for implementing inquiry-based,
technology-rich experiences and sharing teaching tips and knowledge. There are
benefits to all participants in this scientific learning community. The program
offers mentors multiple opportunities to share their knowledge and passion for
plant science while meeting outreach requirements of granting agencies.
Following two successful pilots, further developments for the Scientific
Inquiry through Plants program include developing new inquiry units,
securing external funds, preparing for a spring 2006 project, and beyond. The
American Society of Plant Biologists (ASPB) will be a key partner as this
Judy Jernstedt, Professor, University of California-Davis, Editor-in-Chief, American
Journal of Botany, and BSA Past President, summarizes her experience as an
online mentor: "It has been both enjoyable and challenging to be a
scientist mentor for Sip3—enjoyable because the students are enthusiastic
and appreciative, and challenging because one has to resist overwhelming the
students with information and suggestions as they develop their ideas and projects.
It seemed like I could have saved them a lot of time, but a big part of the
student benefits comes from thinking things through, sometimes in response to
judicious questioning from the scientist. I recommend this experience to
everyone who is concerned about the state of science education in the U.S."
If you have some time to donate (about 1 hr per week when
experiments are running), please volunteer. Being an online mentor is a
great way to inspire a budding plant scientist.
For more information, contact Claire Hemingway , BSA Education Director - firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Financial Well Being of the Botanical Society
There are at least three things that an organization needs to ensure its
success: A Mission (a goal), A Committed Membership (followers), and Financial
Support to succeed (money). These three things are helping the BSA to
grow and succeed in its mission "…to promote Botany…," to
increase its membership, and to provide financial stability and support to the
Society initiatives that promote the field of Botany through education,
research, and outreach.
As a Society we have a great mission: "The Botanical Society of America
exists to promote botany, the field of basic science dealing with the study and
inquiry into the form, function, development, diversity, reproduction,
evolution, and uses of plants and their interactions within the
biosphere." Coupled with our stated objectives to: "sustain and
provide improved formal and informal education about plants; encourage basic
plant research; provide expertise, direction, and position statements
concerning plants and ecosystems; and foster communication within the
professional botanical community, and between botanists and the rest of
humankind through publications, meetings, and committees," we have a clear
We also have a committed membership.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, the Society began an investment program that
was directed to increase reserves, through investments, for its financial stability.
In the 1980s, there was a concerted effort by the BSA officers to create a
formal plan by which a professional investment firm would help the Society
better manage these funds. About ten years ago, the funds the Society had
accumulated (about $800,000) were moved into what we now call the BSA
Endowment Fund, and placed under an oversight committee, the BSA
Financial Advisory Committee, and an outside financial investment
firm. In this short time of 10 years, the Endowment Fund has grown to
more than $3.1 million dollars. Its growth has occurred through continued
financial support from you the membership, wise investments, and prudent
decisions from our member leaders. The most important part, however, is
that the Endowment Fund has reached a point where some of its growth is serving
as a resource to fund Society initiatives such as in education, awards, and
infrastructure development. As the Endowment Fund continues to grow, the
payback to the Society and its many activities will grow even more.
This year, 2006, is the Centennial Year of the Society. Its history is
illustrious in obvious ways: there are many renowned botanist members
worldwide; there are excellent sister plant societies whose beginnings came
from the BSA; there are highly recognized Society publications; and there are
renewed enthusiasm and spirit that are permeating Society activities and
programs. The membership can be proud of its Society, the stature it
holds in the world scientific community, and the fact that it continues to
effectively serve the mission of the Society.
During this Centennial Year the Financial Advisory Committee, who manages
your Endowment Fund,would like to encourage you as a member to respond by
meeting the challenge of helping to increase the Endowment from its present
$3.1million to >$5 million by the end of this Centennial Year; a major but
doable goal. At this new level, the Endowment Fund will be eligible to be
structured for even more rapid and protected growth through a new investment
program. As such, we will be in an excellent position to continue providing
funds to the Society in support of activities and initiatives that fit with our
mission, well into the future. A strong endowement also provides protection and
strength for our important assets such as the AJB, PSB, conferences,
educational programs, and the BSA website.
The Financial Advisory Committee encourages YOU to consider contributingto
the Endowment Fund this year through a monetary gift or through other ways that
can be discussed with any member of the committee. YOUR contribution is
completely tax deductible and, even more importantly, it will support the
mission of the BSA _ to promote Botany.
Harry T. (Jack) Horner, Chair - for the BSA Financial Advisory Committee
Grady L. Webster, 1927-2005
Grady L. Webster, professor emeritus at the University
of California, Davis, died Oct. 27 from the effects of a
stroke suffered a week earlier. He was 78 years old. He is survived by his wife
of nearly 50 years, Barbara Donahue Webster, by daughter Susan Verdi Webster,
and by generations of students who became colleagues.
"Grady inspired young people with his passion and energy for seeing
plants in their natural habitat and his global knowledge of vegetation,"
said Michael Barbour, a UC Davis professor of plant sciences and a colleague of
Webster's for 38 years. "We will remember him for the importance of his
contributions to our knowledge of tropical and subtropical plants; his
infectious, wry sense of humor; and his warm and constant support of his
friends and family."
Webster's awards and achievements included National Science Foundation (NSF),
Guggenheim, Smithsonian and Rackham fellowships; the Engler Medal from the International
Association for Plant Taxonomy; the Merit Award from the Botanical
Society of America (BSA);
and the Asa Gray Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT).
He served as president of the Botanical Society of America, California Botanical
Society, and American Society of Plant Taxonomists, and was director of NSF's
Program for Systematic Biology.
He was elected as a fellow of the California Academy of Sciences and of the
Linnaean Society of London, and appointed as a research associate at the UC
Berkeley Jepson Herbarium and the Plant
of the University
of Texas. His extensive
publications include major contributions to the knowledge of and relationships
among plants in floras of North America, California, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela,
Nicaragua, Ecuador and Panama, as well as four books, more than 100 journal
articles and more than 70 book reviews.
Webster was born on April 14, 1927, in Ada,
Okla., to Irena Lois Heard and Grady Webster Sr. While he
was still a child, his family built a home on 100 acres of cedar-oak woodland
near Austin, Texas. His father was a newspaper publisher,
and Webster's first boyhood jobs were in the newspaper's office — experience
that no doubt contributed to his lifelong loves of reading and keeping informed
about world affairs. He first became interested in plants in high school, largely
due to one teacher, Fred Barkley. He enrolled at Stanford
University, where he was
commissioned an ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1947. He completed a bachelor's degree
in botany at the University of Texas two years later and went on to finish a Ph.D.
in botany at the University
of Michigan, under the
supervision of Professor Rogers McVaugh.
Following his doctoral work, Webster received one of the first post-doctoral
fellowships offered by the National Science Foundation. It allowed him to spend
four years at Harvard
University, working with
Professor I.W. Bailey. There he met Barbara Anne Donahue, who was then a Ph.D.
student in plant morphology. They were married in 1956.
In 1958, Webster accepted an assistant professorship at Purdue University,
a position that allowed him to accelerate the pattern of extensive travel
already begun while a student at the University
of Texas. Global field
research to areas of difficult access was to characterize his entire career as
a plant systematist. This travel was fueled by his research focus on spurges
(Euphorbiaceae), a large and complex family of flowering plants widely
distributed throughout the tropics and subtropics, containing nearly 9,000
Grady, Barbara and their 7-year-old daughter Susan moved to Davis in 1966, where he accepted an
appointment as professor in the Department of Botany and director of the
University Arboretum. Later, he also became director of the university's Tucker
Herbarium. His major teaching activities were in systematics, biogeography and
pollination ecology, and in the supervision of approximately 20 doctoral
students, many of whom went on to academic positions of their own on several
continents. He conducted major research expeditions to Mexico (including Baja
California), the Caribbean islands, Central America, South America, Hawaii,
Australasia, Pakistan, Africa and Europe, collecting more than 34,000 plant
specimens that today are deposited in major herbaria throughout the world.
Although he technically retired in 1993, his mentorship of students, research
activities, pace of publication, and miles of travel continued undiminished.
Several research papers were in-press at the time of his unexpected death.
Colleague Bruce Baldwin, a professor at UC Berkeley, recently wrote that
"Grady's contributions have been truly monumental and constitute a massive
body of work that rivals anything produced through the initiative and influence
of a single individual in the recent history of plant systematics." Piero
Delprete, a past graduate student, fondly recalls several trips he shared with
Webster to Ecuador's
remote and pristine tropical preserve, Maquipucuna. "Grady was a walking
botanical encyclopedia. It was just incredible to me how he could have
accumulated so much information. I have learned from him an exemplary
professional life, human integrity, and appreciation for the beauty and
diversity of nature."
A fund has been established in Grady Webster's memory to support graduate
students in plant systematics and plant geography in their travels to visit
collections and attend research conferences. Contributions may be sent to the
UCD Foundation, care of the Davis Botanical Society, Section of Plant Biology,
UC Davis, One Shields Ave., Davis, CA 95616 (Attn: G.L. Webster Memorial Fund).
(Source: M. G. Barbour, UC Davis News & Information Service)
Guanghua Zhu, 1964-2005
Guanghua Zhu was a botanist at the Missouri Botanical Garden,
where he worked on the Flora of China project. He was central to the
liaison between Chinese and Western partners in the project, and was editor of
the Flora of China Illustrations series. His research interests
included the family Araceae, especially the genus Dracontium, as well as
the Orchidaceae, Poaceae, and Ranunculaceae.
Guanghua was born on 17 January 1964 in Manzhouli, Inner Mongolia, China,
son of Zhenxi Zhu and Shifen Guo. He gained a Bachelor's degree in botany at Inner Mongolia Normal University
in 1985 and a Master's degree at the same University in 1988. In September 1990,
Guanghua came to St. Louis in order to join the
Ph.D. program at the University of Missouri St. Louis and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Tom Croat, curator of Araceae at the Garden, supervised Guanghua's thesis on
the systematics Dracontium, which was successfully defended in September
1995. Immediately afterward, Guanghua joined the staff at the Missouri Botanical Garden
working on the Flora of China project, of which he became Co-director in
On 8 October 1999, at St. Louis City Hall, Guanghua married Dr. Yuxing Feng, whom he
had met at the Institute of Botany, Chinese
Academy of Sciences, in Beijing. On 5 December
2000 their son, Yifu, was born.
Very bad luck intervened in the fall of 2002, when Guanghua was diagnosed
with lung cancer. After treatment, he gained over two years of remission, but
he became ill again in the summer of 2005. Guanghua died on 2 November 2005 at Barnes-Jewish Hospital
in St. Louis.
He is survived by his wife and son, and also by his father, Zhenxi Zhu, his
mother, Shifen Guo, an elder brother, Jianhua Zhu, and three elder sisters,
Guihua Zhu, Lihua Zhu, and Yuehua Zhu.
Volume 22 of the Flora of China will be dedicated to Guanghua, with
the agreement of the Joint Editorial Committee of the flora. This will be the
largest of the 25 flora volumes, consisting entirely of the family Poaceae,
with some 1850 species. Guanghua is a co-author of the genus Poa and the
tribe Triticeae and this work will contain some his last nomenclatural
The Missouri Botanical Garden has established a
scholarship fund for Guanghua's son, Yifu Zhu, who turned five years old on 5
December. If you would like to give to this fund, please send your contribution
to Michael Olson, Controller's Office, Missouri Botanical Garden,
P.O. Box 299, Saint Louis, MO 63166-0299, U.S.A.
The Garden will hold the money for a time and then turn it over to Yuxing. Your
contribution would not be tax deductible, but would be very much appreciated.
Checks should be made payable to the Missouri
Tom O'Neil, 1923-2005
Tom began his tenure at Ventura
College in l955, the year
the college moved to its current campus, and retired in 2000 after a service
of 45 years, the longest serving faculty member in college and District history.
Tom came to the college with a Ph.D. in Botany from UC Davis where he was a
student of Dr. Katherine Esau. At that time he was one of the few faculty members
at a junior college to have earned a Doctorate degree. He taught a demanding
and ever-changing microbiology course throughout his career and was a vital
adjunct to the College nursing program, where micro was the most difficult and
important prerequisite course required for program entry.
While Tom was working at Ventura College, he was actively affiliated with the Navy
Department as a part-time research microbiologist at Port
Hueneme. His research focused on finding means to prevent
woodborers from invading and destroying wooden sea pilings and other submerged
wood materials and on preventing other small ocean animals from affixing
themselves to pilings and ship hulls. In the process of his work with creosote,
he incidentally discovered an important bacteria,
which could consume oil and be used in the clean-up process in fighting oil
spills. The Navy owns the rights to Tom's contributions to pure and applied
For many of us coming into Community College teaching directly from graduate
studies and not, yet, established in the standards and expectations of our
profession, Tom was a role model whose deportment, and example, conveyed what
we owed to the classroom and our students academically and professionally, what
we owed to one another as colleagues in terms of intellectual integrity and
credibility and a willingness to stand up for principles and beliefs, and what
we owed the college in terms of participation and earnest involvement in all
relevant areas of governance and operation.
Tom's dedication to education and to the students of Ventura College
was remarkable. He has left a challenging legacy for current and future faculty
members to measure themselves against. Tom was a "teacher's teacher"
and profoundly proud of his chosen profession in education.
Angela Marquez, Executive Assistant
Office of the President
Mark Bierner is New Director at Boyce Thompson Arboretum
As 2005 drew to a close staff and volunteers welcomed a new director who
took the helm at Boyce Thompson Arboretum: Dr. Mark Bierner. An Austin resident, he earned his Ph.D. in botany at the University of Texas and has been involved with
cutting-edge plant genetic research during recent years. He's also a proponent
of something you're unlikely to hear discussed around a gene-sequencing
machine: "the Oooh and Aaah Effect."
"My immediate goals? I want our visitors to
have an instant positive reaction to BTA from the moment they turn into the
parking area. When they walk through the entrance area into the grounds, I want
everything to be so wonderful and so beautiful that they are wide-eyed, saying
"Oooooooh, Aaaaaaah!" "I want them to have an outstanding time
during their visit and to leave BTA feeling as if they have had a truly
exceptional experience. Management expert Peter Drucker says that the true
product of the not-for-profit organization is a changed human being. I
Bierner was chosen to lead Boyce Thompson Arboretum after a nationwide
search. He leaves the University of Texas at Austin where
he has been a lecturer since 1999; for five years prior to that he was
Executive Director of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida.
Among the many accomplishments he's credited with at Selby Gardens
are preparation of a master site plan and earning accreditation from the
American Association of Museums. His most prominent University of Texas
work includes the publication of several taxonomic revisions, creation of a new
botany course (Plants, Environment, and Human Affairs), and helping with
initial organization of the Center for Computational Biology and
Bierner was raised in Dallas
and gravitated towards botany as a teen. "Like so many people, I was
influenced by a high school teacher. I thought that Jerry Thompson, who studied
botany at The University of Texas, was a very cool guy, and I got interested in
plant taxonomy when I went on several field trips to Mexico with him and other students
from St. Mark's."
"My dissertation work was a taxonomic study of Helenium
section Tetrodus, which is in the sunflower family, Asteraceae. Several of
these species occur in Arizona.
In more recent years I've worked on other genera in the Asteraceae, including
Hymenoxys. In 1993, I described a new species from the Mogollon Plateau of
Arizona and named it Hymenoxys jamesii for my wife, Cassandra James."
Bierner has also lived in Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee; Richmond, Virginia; and
Each of the past two summers he spent a month in Sevilla (Spain) teaching a study abroad course for the University of Texas. During his travels Bierner has
visited the Arboretum several times, meeting some of the people responsible for
building BTA into a world-class institution that is toured by about 85,000
visitors each year.
"The first time I visited Boyce Thompson Arboretum was the spring of
1969 during my first collecting trip as a graduate student. I remember thinking
at the time that BTA was a terrific place. Another memorable visit was much
later, 1990, when I visited with my wife Cassandra and our children, Gann
Bierner and Jameson James. We were treated to a wonderful tour by [former
Curator of Botany] Frank Crosswhite."
Mark and Cassandra Bierner
"The twists and turns of life being what they are, I ended up in Austin as
Executive Director of Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve and went on to several
other wonderful positions from there. When I saw that BTA was looking for a new
Director, I simply couldn't resist."
In fact, years before accepting this invitation to helm the
Arboretum, Bierner showed his dedication through estate planning. "We
revised our wills in 1995 and included bequests for our favorite organizations.
I included three organizations for unrestricted gifts, including Boyce Thompson
Arboretum. I now have five organizations in my will. Planned giving ranks toward
the very top amongst the many important things we can do to protect the future
of not-for-profit organizations such as BTA."
Bierner's wife, Cassandra James (seen with him in the photo above at right),
is a painter who does large oil-on-canvas landscapes and is represented in
galleries in Santa Fe, Tampa, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin. IBM, Motorola
and other corporate collections include her work; private collectors who have
her paintings include Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and also Luci Baines
Johnson (daughter of President Lyndon Johnson). She is also an accomplished
pianist and cellist.
Bierner and James are enthused for life in the Southwest,
they are renovating a home in nearby Globe and are enthused to get acquainted
with Arizona artists.
Copper Baron and Roaring 20s philanthopist Col. William Boyce Thompson
founded this collection of plants from deserts across the world "to
instill in people an appreciation for plants," and that remains the Boyce
Thompson Arboretum mission to this day. The Arboretum is located at Highway 60
milepost 223, one hour's drive due east of Phoenix via Highway 60.
It is cooperatively managed by the University of Arizona College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences in partnership with Arizona State Parks. Take a virtual tour
or read more about the Arboretum at the website http://ag.arizona.edu/bta
Russell Chapman Named New Executive Director for Scripps
Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
Scripps Institution of Oceanography enhances its academic and research
Russell Chapman, founding dean of the School of the Coast and Environment at
Louisiana State University (LSU), has been named the new executive director of
the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (CMBC) at Scripps
Institution of Oceanography, University
of California, San Diego.
In his new role, Chapman coordinates research and education efforts within
CMBC, and in collaboration with other UCSD programs. He plays a key role in
scientific and institutional policy and fund-raising, and guides CMBC in
program planning and development. His focus also involves establishing new,
innovative and interdisciplinary biodiversity and conservation programs at
Chapman brings a wealth of experience to this position, having been
responsible for general management and long-range planning of the academic
business and research activities of the School of the Coast and Environment at
LSU. He created a Corporate Partners Program to generate private-sector funding
for the school and established special endowments. He also served as associate
vice chancellor for research and economic development at LSU and was
responsible for the development of interdisciplinary programs within the campus
and between LSU and other institutions and the private sector.
"Russ' creativity and perseverance will certainly help elevate Scripps'
scientific biodiversity and conservation programs to a higher level of academic
excellence and achievement," said Nancy Knowlton, director of CMBC.
"His accomplishments in both scientific research and academic
administration will truly serve us well."
Chapman earned a bachelor's degree in biology at Dartmouth
College and an M.S. and Ph.D. in
botany from the University of California, Davis.
He has published widely on the ultrastructure and molecular evolution of algae
and has advised scores of graduate students during his distinguished scientific
Established in 2001, the Scripps
Center for Marine Biodiversity
and Conservation has played a major role in addressing the challenges facing
marine conservation on a global scale. The center's scientific goals include
assessing the state of marine ecosystems now and in the past and developing
predictive models for the future; devising novel approaches that effectively
link scientific fields, and designing technically sophisticated, regionally
appropriate strategies to prevent and reverse biodiversity collapse. Through
its educational programs, CMBC scientists are training new marine biodiversity
and conservation researchers in the U.S. and around
the world. As part of its public service goals, CMBC is strengthening public
understanding of scientific issues and providing sound scientific analyses to
Letters to the Editor
From: Carl Leopold
Subject: evolution statement
Hello Prof. Sundberg
I have just finished reading the Plant Science Bulletin winter issue, and I
felt compelled to comment on the elusive statement of the BSA position on
The bulletin simply says that the BSA approved a statement.
Look, this religious challenge of evolution is the most pivotal component of
the structure of our science, is certainly one of the most challenging issues
facing biological sciences today. I am truly disappointed that the bulletin
does not even give the reader a clue about what the statement might say. Or, my
computer was unable to respond to the address given at the end of the
By the way, the article on Harriet Creighton by Lee Kass is excellent.
In response to Dr. Leopolds letter, the complete Botanical Society of America
Statement on Evolution follows for those not able to access it on the BSA web
Botanical Society of America's "Statement
The Botanical Society of America has as its members
professional scientists, scholars, and educators from across the United States and Canada, and from over 50 other
countries. Most of us call ouselves botanists, plant biologists, or plant
scientists, and members of our profession teach and learn about botanical
organisms using well established principles and practices of science. Evolution
represents one of the broadest, mostinclusive theories used in pursuit of and
in teaching this knowledge, but it is by no means the only theory involved.
Scientific theories are used in two ways: to explain what we know, and to
pursue new knowledge. Evolution explains observations of hared characteristics
(the result of common ncestry and descent with modification) and adaptations
(the result of natural selection acting to maximize reproductive success), as
well as explaining pollen:ovule ratios, weeds,
deceptive pollination strategies, differences in sexual expression, dioecy, and
a myriad of other biological phenomena. Far from being merely a speculative
notion, as implied when someone says, "evolution is just a theory,"
the core concepts of evolution are well documented and well confirmed. Natural
selection has been repeatedly demonstrated in both field and laboratory, and
descent with modification is so well documented that scientists are justified
in saying that evolution is true.
Some people contend that creationism and its surrogate, "intelligent
design," offers an alternative explanation: that organisms are well
adapted and have common characteristics because they were created just so, and
they exhibit the hallmarks of intelligent design. As such, creationism is an
all inclusive explanation for every biological phenomenon. So why do we support
and teach evolution and not creationism/"intelligent design" if both
explain the same phenomena? Are botanists just dogmatic, atheistic
materialists, as some critics of science imply? Hardly,
although scientists are routinely portrayed by creationists as dogmatic.
We are asked, "Why, in all fairness, don't we teach both explanations and
let students decide?"
The fairness argument implies that creationism is a scientifically valid
alternative to evolution, and that is not true. Science is not about fairness,
and all explanations are not equal. Some scientific explanations are highly
speculative with little in the way of supporting evidence, and they will stand
or fall based upon rigorous testing. The history of science is littered with
discarded explanations, e.g., inheritance of acquired characters, but these
weren't discarded because of public opinion or general popularity; each one
earned that distinction by being scientifically falsified. Scientists may jump
on a "band wagon" for some new explanation, particularly if it has
tremendous explanatory power, something that makes sense out of previously unexplained
phenomena. But for an explanation to become a mainstream component of a theory,
it must be tested and found useful in doing science.
To make progress, to learn more about botanical organisms, hypotheses, the
subcomponents of theories, are tested by attempting to falsify logically
derived predictions. This is why scientists use and teach evolution; evolution
offers testable explanations of observed biological phenomena. Evolution
continues to be of paramount usefulness, and so, based on simple pragmatism, scientists
use this theory to improve our understanding of the biology of organisms. Over
and over again, evolutionary theory has generated predictions that have proven
to be true. Any hypothesis that doesn't prove true is discarded in favor of a
new one, and so the component hypotheses of evolutionary theory change as
knowledge and understanding grow. Phylogenetic hypotheses, patterns of
ancestral relatedness, based on one set of data, for example, base sequences in
DNA, are generated, and when the results make logical sense out of formerly
disparate observations, confidence in the truth of the hypothesis increases.
The theory of evolution so permeates botany that frequently it is not mentioned
explicitly, but the overwhelming majority of published studies are based upon
evolutionary hypotheses, each of which constitutes a test of an
hypothesis. Evolution has been very successful as a scientific explanation
because it has been useful in advancing our understanding of organisms and
applying that knowledge to the solution of many human problems, e.g.,
host-pathogen interactions, origin of crop plants, herbicide resistance,
disease susceptibility of crops, and invasive plants.
For example, plant biologists have long been interested in the origins of crop
plants. Wheat is an ancient crop of the Middle East.
Three species exist both as wild and domesticated wheats, einkorn, emmer, and
breadwheat. Archeological studies have demonstrated that einkorn is the most
ancient and breadwheat appeared most recently. To plant biologists this suggested
that somehow einkorn gave rise to emmer, and emmer gave rise to breadwheat (an
hypothesis). Further evidence was obtained from chromosome numbers that showed
einkorn with 14, emmer with 28, and breadwheat with 42. Further, the chromosomes
in einkorn consisted of two sets of 7 chromosomes, designated AA. Emmer had
14 chromosomes similar in shape and size, but 14 more, so they were designated
AABB. Breadwheat had chromosomes similar to emmer, but 14 more, so they were
designated AABBCC. To plant biologists familiar with mechanisms of speciation,
these data, the chromosome numbers and sets, suggested that the emmer and breadwheat
species arose via hybridization and polyploidy (an
hypothesis). The Middle Eastern flora was studied to find native grasses with
a chromosome number of 14, and several goatgrasses were discovered that could
be the predicted parents, the sources of the BB and CC chromosomes. To test
these hypotheses, plant biologists crossed einkorn and emmer wheats with goatgrasses,
which produced sterile hybrids. These were treated to produce a spontaneous
doubling of the chromosome number, and as predicted, the correct crosses artificially
produced both the emmer and breadwheat species. No one saw the evolution of
these wheat species, but logical predictions about what happened were tested
by recreating likely circumstances. Grasses are wind-pollinated, so cross-pollination
between wild and cultivated grasses happens all the time. Frosts and other natural
events are known to cause a doubling of chromosomes. And the hypothesized sequence
of speciation matches their observed appearance in the archeological record.
Farmers would notice and keep new wheats, and the chromosome doubling and hybrid vigor made both
emmer and breadwheat larger, more vigorous wheats. Lastly, a genetic change
in breadwheat from the wild goatgrass chromosomes allowed for the chaff to be
removed from the grain without heating, so glutin was not denatured, and a sourdough
(yeast infected) culture of the sticky breadwheat flour would inflate (rise)
from the trapped carbon dioxide.
The actual work was done by many plant biologists over many years, little by
little, gathering data and testing ideas, until these evolutionary events were
understood as generally described above. The hypothesized
speciation events were actually recreated, an accomplishment that allows plant
biologists to breed new varieties of emmer and bread wheats. Using this
speciation mechanism, plant biologists hybridized
wheat and rye, producing a new, vigorous, high protein cereal grain, Triticale.
What would the creationist paradigm have done? No telling. Perhaps nothing,
because observing three wheat species specially created to feed humans would
not have generated any questions that needed answering. No predictions are
made, so there is no reason or direction for seeking further knowledge. This
demonstrates the scientific uselessness of creationism. While creationism
explains everything, it offers no understanding beyond, "that's the way it
was created." No testable predictions can be derived from the creationist
explanation. Creationism has not made a single contribution to agriculture,
medicine, conservation, forestry, pathology, or any other applied area of
biology. Creationism has yielded no classifications, no biogeographies, no
underlying mechanisms, no unifying concepts with which
to study organisms or life. In those few instances where predictions can be
inferred from Biblical passages (e.g., groups of related organisms, migration
of all animals from the resting place of the ark on Mt. Ararat to their present
locations, genetic diversity derived from small founder populations, dispersal
ability of organisms in direct proportion to their distance from eastern
Turkey), creationism has been scientifically falsified.
Is it fair or good science education to teach about an unsuccessful,
scientifically useless explanation just because it pleases people with a
particular religious belief? Is it unfair to ignore scientifically useless
explanations, particularly if they have played no role in the development of
modern scientific concepts? Science education is about teaching valid concepts
and those that led to the development of new explanations.
Creationism is the modern manifestation of a long-standing conflict between
science and religion in Western Civilization. Prior to science, and in all
non-scientific cultures, myths were the only viable explanations for a myriad
of natural phenomena, and these myths became incorporated into diverse
religious beliefs. Following the rise and spread of science, where ideas are
tested against nature rather than being decided by religious authority and
sacred texts, many phenomena previously attributed to the supernatural (disease,
genetic defects, lightning, blights and plagues, epilepsy, eclipses, comets,
mental illness, etc.) became known to have natural causes and explanations.
Recognizing this, the Catholic Church finally admitted, after 451 years, that
Galileo was correct; the Earth was not the unmoving center of the Universe.
Mental illness, birth defects, and disease are no longer considered the mark of
evil or of God's displeasure or punishment. Epileptics and people intoxicated
by ergot-infected rye are no longer burned at the stake as witches. As natural
causes were discovered and understood, religious authorities were forced to
alter long-held positions in the face of growing scientific knowledge. This
does not mean science has disproved the existence of the supernatural. The
methodology of science only deals with the material world.
Science as a way of knowing has been extremely successful, although people
may not like all the changes science and its handmaiden,
technology, have wrought. But people who oppose evolution, and seek to
have creationism or intelligent design included in science curricula, seek to
dismiss and change the most successful way of knowing ever discovered. They
wish to substitute opinion and belief for evidence and testing. The proponents
of creationism/intelligent design promote scientific ignorance in the guise of
learning. As professional scientists and educators, we strongly assert that
such efforts are both misguided and flawed, presenting an incorrect view of
science, its understandings, and its processes.
Authored by: J. E. Armstrong and J. Jernstedt, officers of
Approved by the BSA Council: July 27, 2003
Graduate Fellowships in Ecological Genomics at Kansas State
Ecological Genomics: Genes in Ecology and Ecology in Genes
Graduate Fellowships AVAILABLE for admission in Fall
2006 to participate in this newly emerging field at the interface of
ecology and genomics. This research initiative will link responses of
living systems to environmental change at the genetic level. The
overarching goal of this research initiative is to identify the genes that are
involved in organismal responses to the environment.
This Ecological Genomics initiative takes advantage of existing
strengths at Kansas State University in genetics and genomics, ecology
and evolutionary biology to answer cross-cutting questions that lie at the
interface of genomics and ecology. This collaborative research effort
will cross disciplines (genetics and ecology) and departments. In
addition, this initiative will also take advantage of experimental
manipulations at the Konza Prairie Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site.
Research and education opportunities exist for Graduate Students to work
towards a Master's or PhD degree in this large collaborative and
interdisciplinary effort. More information about the Kansas Ecological
Genomics collaborative research groups at Kansas State
University can be found
at www.ksu.edu/ecogen. Twenty faculty with interests spanning from genetics and genomics
of model organisms (Arabidopsis, C. elegans, Drosophila) to microbial,
plant and animal organismic biology, and ecosystem ecology are involved in this
new research initiative.
Applicants should have the interest and willingness to cross disciplines.
Completed applications must be received by January 15, 2006. For more information
on how to apply, please visit our website, www.ksu.edu/ecogen/recruit-GradStudentsApplication.html. If you have questions, please contact email@example.com.
Supported by Targeted Excellence at Kansas State
Wollemi Pine Facts
Age: The Wollemi Pine belongs to the 200 million
year old Araucariaceae family
Relatives: Kauri, Norfolk
Island, Hoop, Bunya and Monkey Puzzle pines.
Discovered: In 1994 by David
Noble, a New South Wales
National Parks and
Wildlife Officer and avid bushwalker.
Where: In a secret location 150 km north-west of
Sydney (Australia) within the Wollemi
National Park, part of the Greater Blue Mountains World Herritage area.
Characteristics: Conifer with attractive,
unusual dark green foliage and bubbly bark. In the wild, the oldest trees are
40 metres in height and may be more than 1000 years old.
To grow your own visit: www.wollemipine.com
-from Royal Botanic Gardens
Botany References Available
I would like to donate the following journals to a university, research institute,
public library, or interested individual: Natural Areas Journal —
complete series of unbound issues from July 1990 through Oct. 2005: Vol. 10(3)
to Vol. 25(4).
Early volumes of American Journal of Botany discarded from the
Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture library — bound, in good condition,
complete unless otherwise indicated, starting with Vol. 1 (1914): Vol. 1-4, 5
(issues 1-9), 6-12, 14, 15 (issues1-3), 19-23, 24 (Dec.), 25.
Larry Klotz, Ph.D.
Dept. of Biology, Shippensburg
1871 Old Main Drive
Shippensburg, PA 17257-2299
tel. 717-477-1402; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
CO-SPONSORED BY THE BOTANICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA & PLANT EXPLORATION, APRIL
8 - JULY 15, 2006
Crime relates to the rule of law, but justice _ an even older concept _
requires placing responsibility for wrongdoing. Savvy criminals can avoid
video cameras or leaving fingerprints, but rarely do they think of plants
giving them away. In this exhibit you'll learn how plant scientists from
various disciplines have provided information that solved some tricky cases.
Shirley Graham, Scientist at Missouri
Spend an hour with Dr. Graham as she shares stories about how plants are
used to help solve crimes. How can specific plants pinpoint a location? How can
pollen provide clues for forensic scientists? After the talk there will be time
to explore the exhibit, Forensic Botany.
Date: Wednesday, May 17
Location: Conservatory Classroom, Missouri
Time: 6:30 _ 8:00 p.m.
SONG Members: Free, Non-Members: $5
Symposia, Conferences, Meetings
The Fifth International Symbiosis Society Congress
The Fifth International Symbiosis Society Congress s set for
the University of Vienna, Vienna,
August 4 - 10, 2006. The Society Congress is unique in that it brings
together a collection of researchers representing a broad array of symbiotic
systems, including mycorrhizal associations, coral-dinoflagellates,
hydrothermal vent organisms, lichens, Wolbachia and other insect-microflora,
cyano-based n-fixers, and so on. Featured keynote speakers include
Margaret McFall-Ngai, Lynn Margulis, Colleen Cavanaugh, Todd Lajeunesse, Luis
Villareal, et al. For more information, including registration and the
process for submitting contributing papers or posters, please access
http://people.bu.edu/iss and http://www.isscongress2006.com, or e-mail ISS
president Douglas Zook at email@example.com or
chief organizer/host Monika Bright at firstname.lastname@example.org
Interactive Encyclopedia of
North American Weeds. Version 3.0. DeFelice, M. S., Byrson, C.T., Evans, A. W. and K. L. DeFelice _ Marcel
Garden History, Philosophy and Design 2000 B.C. -
2000 A.D. Tom Turner- Beverly J. Brown.....31
Handbook of Photosynthesis, Second Edition. Edited by Mohammad Pessarakli-Beronda L. Montgomery.....32
Guide to Tendrillate
Climbers of Costa Rican Mountains. Alexander Krings and Richard R. Braham-Marcel
Flora: Vascular Plants of the Intermountain West, U.S.A, Volume Two, Part B,
Subclass Dilleniidae. N.H. Holmgren, P.K. Holmgren and A. Cronquist.
- Randall Small.....34
and Evolution of Angiosperms. Douglas
E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, Peter K. Endress and Mark W. Chase-Gerhard Prenner.....35
Pines: Drawings and Descriptions of the Genus Pinus,
2nd ed. Farjon, Aljos-James P.
Encyclopedia of North American Weeds. Version
3.0. DeFelice,M. S., Byrson, C.T., Evans,
A. W. and K. L. DeFelice 2004. (DVD US$59.95) ThunderSnow
Interactive. Southern Weed Science Society, 1508 West University Ave., Champaign, IL 61821-3133.
This resource is usable with Windows 98 or later. The program was written
using SumTotalTM Toolbox. It includes descriptions of 447 weedy
species and their US and Canada
distributions. Also, 2,400 color photos of whole plants, flowers, seeds,
seedlings, etc. are provided. Illustrated glossary includes 565 terms.
Interactive, random access, identification key seems to be working quite well.
It includes over 20 characters for dicotyledons and 16 for grasses. As long as
the species is in the program, there is a very good chance that it will be
correctly identified. I tried about 20 species.
This tool is strong in illustrations of plant morphology (grasses' collar
illustrations are very helpful) and may be useful in teaching. However, the
title "Interactive Encyclopedia of North American Weeds" promises
much more than what is actually offered. In spite of the fact that this is
already "Version 3.0," my conclusion is that this is still a
half-done product. Here is just a small selection of problems that I
encountered. First, 447 weedy species is a rather small number for North America. A few important families are not included
at all (Orobanchaceae, Urticaceae, Viscaceae).
Some important genera are completely missing (e.g., Ailanthus, Anagalis,
Atriplex, Cortaderia, Cytisus, Echium, Foeniculum, Lygodium,
Myriophyllum, Salvinia, Tamarix), other important genera are represented by
a very few species (Aegilops _ 1, Brassica _ 2, Centaurea
_ 3, Cuscuta _ 1, Erodium _ 1, Lepidium _ 3, Lonicera
_ 1, Oxalis _ 1, Pennisetum _ 1, Rubus _ 1). At least some
notes about characters of species closely related to those that are included
would be very helpful. A few synonyms are listed, but they are not included in
the index. All photos of Viola arvensis Murr. are
in fact photos of a very different species - Viola sororia Willd. Most of the photos of Conringia orientalis (L.)Dumort.
correspond to Sinapis arvensis L. Polygonum
aviculare and Eichhornia crassipes are treated as native in North America. On the other hand, Flaveria trinervia,
species native from Arizona to Florida is treated as `introduced' (it is introduced in California). Blades of Silene
dioica are definitely not `deeply bilobed.'
In summary, a lot of space is left for improvements of this product.
Comparison with similar tools (California Weeds 2005, Sharp & Simon 2002, WSSA 2005) makes it even more obvious.
-Marcel Rejmánek, Section of Evolution and Ecology, University of California,
California Weeds 2005. Grass and Grass-like Weeds of California. Expert computer-based guide to 206 weedy grasses in California. California Weeds, P.O. Box 73536,
Davis, CA 95617.
Sharp, D. & B. K. Simon 2002. AusGrass. Grasses of Australia. CSIRO Publishing. Collingwood, VIC 3066, Australia.
WSSA 2005. 1,000 Weeds of North
America: An Identification Guide. Weed Science Society of America
and XID Services.
History, Philosophy and Design 2000 B.C. - 2000 A.D. Tom Turner.
2004. ISBN 0-41531-748-7. US $89.95 (hardcover 10.2 x 10.2
"). ix + 294 pp. Spon Press, New York.
Turner undertook a formidable task when he proposed to explore 4000 years of
garden design and philosophy. Information on ancient garden design had to be
culled from literature, surviving letters and manuscripts, and excavations of
garden sites. Turner has done an superior job of amassing
detailed information on the evolution of garden design and philosophy. The
information is well-documented, making it easy for those who wish to delve
deeper into a specific time period to do so.
The text begins with an overview of design philosophy that defines terms and
creates a conceptual framework within which to consider the diverse reasons and
motivations one might have to create an enclosed green space. This first
chapter would be a useful springboard for discussion in a non-majors botany course
since, by its very nature, the approach must be interdisciplinary,
incorporating art, science, history, literature and, of course, philosophy.
Turner discusses garden theory including design objectives, the importance of
location, garden types, and aesthetics.
The balance of the book is divided into specific time periods which include
ancient gardens (2000 B.C.- 1000 B.C.), classical gardens (1400 B.C.-500 A.D.),
West Asian and Islamic gardens (500 B.C.-1700 A.D.), medieval gardens (600
A.D.-1500 A.D.), renaissance gardens (1350-1650), baroq ue gardens 1600-1750,
neoclassical and romantic gardens (1700-1810), eclectic gardens (1800-2900),
and abstract and post-abstract gardens (1900-2000). Each chapter begins with an
overview of the history and philosophy of the period which is followed by
specific examples of the various gardens and types of gardens. The chapters are
richly illustrated with excellent drawings of garden layouts and photos of
various aspects of the gardens that are discussed in the text.
While the book contains a wealth of information, it is eurocentric
as the author clearly states. The gardens of the orient and the Americas are
totally omitted. However, the most difficult problem is the extremely dry
presentation of the material. The text can be a bit disorganized and the images
are not mentioned specifically in the text. In some instances it is hard to
know why a particular illustration is included. There seems to me to be little
synthesis of the information, except in the first chapter. While the facts are
stunning in their detail, they can be numbing when one after another is
launched at the reader with little in the way of colorful description or
segways. If you want a compendium of information on eurocentric
garden history and philosophy, this text will serve well. If you are looking
for a relaxing and entertaining read, you might want to consider another
-Beverly J. Brown, Biology Department, Nazareth
College of Rochester, New York.
Handbook of Photosynthesis, Second Edition.
Edited by Mohammad Pessarakli. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis
Group, Baca Raton, FL. 2005.
In compiling the second edition of the Handbook of Photosynthesis,
author Mohammad Pessarakli set out to provide an updated, comprehensive
reference guide on photosynthesis for students and educators. The hefty 928
page text includes an expansive range of information related to photosynthesis
that should be of interest primarily to researchers working in the area of
photosynthesis or closely related topics. The text is well edited with balanced
coverage of a wide array of photosynthesis-related phenomena. The book consists
of 46 chapters divided into fourteen sections which address topics including
the basic principles of photosynthesis as well as biochemical, molecular,
genetic and environmental aspects of photosynthesis. Notably, the sections are
entitled exactly as the fourteen parts of the first edition of the Handbook
of Photosynthesis published in 1996, though the range of topics covered in
each of these fourteen sections are markedly different in the second edition as
compared to the first.
In support of its suitability for researchers specializing in
photosynthesis, the Handbook of Photosynthesis opens with a detailed
chapter on the mechanisms of photosynthetic oxygen evolution that contains an
advanced discussion of the photosynthetic unit concept. This is in contrast to
the first edition which opened with a more general discussion of the
relationship between ecophysiology and diverse variations of photosynthesis in
specific plant types. For educators, the lack of a more accessible inroad to
discussing photosynthesis in the second edition makes the book likely to be
used as an instructional reference exclusively by those teaching specialty
photosynthesis courses rather than as a general textbook for students. In
general, the current volume is best used as a reference book to obtain a
general overview of the current state of research on photosynthesis, or
alternatively as a source for examining specific photosynthesis-related topics
of interest. Parenthetically, included in the text is a practical 30-page index
that provides shortcuts to topics of interest for the reader using this volume
as a reference tool.
In depth discussions of plastid morphogenesis and structure, electron
transport, stress adaptations, alternative photosynthetic pathways such as C4
and CAM and photosynthetic productivity are
included in the text. Markedly, the depth of coverage of these topics varies
widely among the independently authored chapters, with some topics receiving a
widely focused overview and other more narrowly focused topics being dissected
in great detail. A variety of different photosynthetic species are covered
including cyanobacteria, lower plants and crop plants. The primary focus,
however, is clearly on higher plant photosynthesis as Section VI entitled
Photosynthesis in Lower and Monocellular Plants consists of a single chapter
exploring the photosynthetic apparatus of cyanobacteria. Considering the many
recent advances that have been made in understanding photosynthesis and its
regulation in photosynthetic prokaryotes, inclusion of a summary chapter on
this topic would have been pertinent. In fact, this is one of the noticeable
omissions from the first edition that was a disappointment for this reviewer.
Other areas such as the impact of environmental stresses on photosynthesis were
given greater priority as evident by the inclusion of nine chapters.
The text covers in sufficient detail the synthesis and regulation of
photosynthetic light-harvesting complexes such as the phycobilisomes of
cyanobacteria and red algae (Chapter 23) and the synthesis of chlorophyll
(Chapter 3). It explores the regulation of photosynthesis, including the impact
of plant growth regulators such as hormones, and the effects of various
environmental stresses on photosynthesis. The stresses examined in Section XIII
include drought and salt stress, water stress, heat and chilling stress, heavy
metal toxicity and pollution. Furthermore, descriptions of how plants deal with
excess light and with damaging UV-B light also are addressed in detail. The
text also incorporates practical information on measuring photosynthesis,
analyzing and quantifying photosynthetic pigment content and determining plant
This edition includes fractional information on classic photosynthetic
phenomena, while including a wealth of information from recent experiments that
provide vital new information on photosynthesis since the publication of the
first edition of the Handbook of Photosynthesis. However, notably
missing from this edition are extensive discussions of fundamental topics
generally associated with photosynthesis such as an in depth discussion of
Rubisco which received more than 100 references in the first edition but only
approximately 20 in this current edition. Such a departure from fully
incorporating historical findings with more recent discoveries results in the
second edition being less comprehensive than the first and more a statement on
current issues in photosynthesis than a comprehensive handbook on the topic.
Though presented as a text for educators and students, this volume is too
extensive a treatment for use as an undergraduate textbook and is likely only
to be used in a highly specialized course on photosynthesis at the graduate
level if used for students at all. Nonetheless, the broad inclusion of a
collection of recent findings undoubtedly renders this text a valuable teaching
tool for the instructor of photosynthesis. Furthermore, the wide-ranging
information on recent advances in photosynthesis makes this a significant
resource for the photosynthetic researcher.
-Beronda L. Montgomery, Michigan State University,
East Lansing, MI 48824
Guide to Tendrillate Climbers of Costa Rican
Mountains. Alexander Krings and Richard R. Braham 2005. ISBN 0-8138-0758-1 (Cloth US$99.90) 182 pp. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, UK.
Recent studies have recognized the role of woody vines as important
biodiversity components and driving forces in the dynamics of tropical forests
(e.g., Mascaro et al. 2004, Phillips et al. 2005). However, vines, and
particularly woody vines (lianas), are notoriously known as being difficult to
identify, especially sinse reproductive structures are often not accessible.
Vegetative keys to lianas are very rare (Rejmánek and Brewer 2001). This
is one of the reasons why lianas are so often comfortably neglected in censuses
of permanent plots (Condit 1998). Therefore, identification manuals to tropical
climbing plants are highly desirable. The book under review represents one of
the rather rare attempts to provide such a manual, at least for a limited group
of climbers (tendrillate) and a limited area (mountains in Costa Rica).
This manual covers 11 families (Bignoniaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Fabaceae,
Loganiaceae, Passifloraceae, Polemoniaceae, Polygonaceae, Rhamnaceae,
Sapindaceae, Smilacaceae, Vitaceae), 50 genera, and
176 species. The limitation to just tendrillate climbers means that several
important families with nontendrillate vines are not covered (e.g.,
Apocynaceae, Combretaceae, Connaraceae, Convolvulaceae, nontendrilate Fabaceae,
Malpighiaceae). Keys to species of Bignoniaceae and Passifloraceae are almost
completely vegetative. The key to 12 Serjania species (Sapindaceae) is
completely vegetative. Keys to species in other families and genera depend
heavily on reproductive structures. Tables contrasting groups of species on the
basis of vegetative characters (e.g., the numbers of arms in the primary
phloem) are helpful. Morphological descriptions of families, genera, and
species are provided together with notes on phenology and distribution of
individual species. Each species is depicted by original hand-drawn
illustrations of leaves and, very often, tendrils, flowers, fruits, and seeds.
Only very few species growing in the area are missing: e.g., two species of Anemopaegma,
two species of Arrabidaea, one species of Mussatia (Burger and
Gentry 2000); Paulinia fournieri (Morales 2003), and, possibly, Serjania
cardiospermoides (Acevedo-Rodrígues 1993). Omission of Bureger and
Gentry's (2000) treatment of Costa Rican Bignoniaceae from the list of
references is surprising.
In summary: This manual is useful, but some other climbing plant
identification manuals (Acevedo-Rodríguez 2005, Hawthorne and Jongkind
2005) are more useful because they are more complete and they are also cheaper.
-Marcel Rejmánek, Section of Evolution and Ecology,
university of California,
Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. 1993. Systematics of Serjania
(Sapindaceae) Part I: A revision of Serjania Sect. Platycoccus.
Mem. New York Bot.
Gard. 67: 1-93.
Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. 2005. Vines and Climbing
Plants of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Smithsonian Institution. Contributions from the United States
National Herbarium 51: 1-483.
Burger, W. and Gentry, A., 2000. Flora
Costaricensis: Family 194. Bignoniaceae. Fieldiana. Botany. New Series,
No. 41: 77-162.
Condit, R. 1998. Tropical Forest Census Plots: Methods and Results from Barro Colorado Island, Panama and a Comparison with Other
Plots. Springer, Berlin.
Hawthorne, W. D. and Jongkind, C. C. H., 2005. Woody
Plants of Western African Forests. A Guide to the
Forest Trees, Shrubs and Lianas from Senegal
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Morales, J. F., 2003. A new
species of Paullinia (Sapindaceae) from Costa Rica. Brittonia
Moscaro, J., Schnitzer, S. A. and Carson, W. P., 2004.
Liana diversity, abundance, and mortality in a tropical wet
forest in Costa Rica.
Forest Ecology and Management
Philips, O. L., Matrínez, R. V., Mendoza, A. M., Baker, T. R. and
Vargas, P. N. 2005. Large lianas as hyperdynamic elements of
the tropical forest canopy. Ecology 86: 1250-1258.
Rejmánek, M. and Brewer, S. W. 2001.
Vegetative identification of tropical woody plants: state of the art and
annotated bibliography. Biotropica 33: 214-228.
Intermountain Flora: Vascular Plants of
the Intermountain West, U.S.A, Volume Two, Part B, Subclass Dilleniidae. N.H. Holmgren, P.K. Holmgren and A. Cronquist. 2005. ISBN
89327-469-0 (Cloth US$100.00) 488 pp. The New York Botanical Garden
Press, 200th Street
and Kazimiroff Boulevard,
Bronx, New York,
This volume of the Intermountain Flora is the seventh to be published in the
series that now spans 33 years, with the first volume having been published in
1972. Volume 2B, Subclass Dilleniidae follows in the excellent tradition of the
previous volumes and is clearly a flora that must be on the shelf of anyone who
works in, or studies plants found in the intermountain west. The geographical
coverage spans the region west of the Rocky Mountains and east of the Sierra
Nevada, encompassing all of Utah, the majority
of Nevada, and portions of Arizona,
Oregon and Wyoming. Maps on the inside front and back
covers show both the political and floristic areas covered.
Following a very brief introduction the book provides keys to the orders and
families covered, and proceeds to taxonomic treatments
for the included families. A total of 464 species (plus numerous intraspecific
taxa) in 17 families are treated in this volume. Treatments are grouped by
order, and then families within orders, and the taxonomy is based on
Cronquist's Integrated System of Classification (Cronquist 1981, 1988). Given
that this project was begun in the early 1970s, and that Arthur Cronquist was a
principal author of the project, it is not surprising that the Cronquistian
taxonomic system was employed. What is somewhat surprising is the authors'
strident defense of this system and dismissal of more modern treatments such as
those proposed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG II, 2003). The downside
of this is that the families treated in this volume do not constitute a natural
group given our current understanding of angiosperm phylogeny. In fact, of the
nine orders treated in this volume, only two (Malvales and Ericales) are still
treated at the ordinal level in APG II (2003), the remaining orders having been
dismantled or subsumed into synonymy based on phylogenetic studies. At the
family level, the treatment is generally in line with current concepts, with
only two of the 17 families no longer recognized at the familial level
(Tiliaceae now subsumed within an expanded Malvaceae, and Cleomaceae now
subsumed within an expanded Brassicaceae), although circumscriptions have
changed considerably for some families. What this means for the users of this
book is simply that once a species has been identified, additional research may
have to be done to determine the most current familial and ordinal placement of
that species. The system, however, is at least familiar to many workers. In the
end, the taxonomic scheme employed for orders and families may be largely
irrelevant for a floristic work. The important information includes the keys,
descriptions and illustrations of the included species, and in those aspects
the Intermountain Flora series succeeds admirably.
For each family an extensive description is provided, followed by a brief
commentary on the number of genera and species, geographical distribution,
taxonomic issues, and ethnobotanical notes. Additionally, a short list of
references and/or websites is provided. Keys to genera within families, and species within genera are sufficiently
detailed to be very useful, and highly technical or difficult characters are
generally avoided making the keys relatively easy to use. Species descriptions
are quite detailed and commentaries on distribution, phenology, and taxonomy
are always provided. Detailed illustrations for all species are also provided
and add considerably to the utility of the volume. All in all, this volume of
the Intermountain Flora series continues to meet the high standards set in the
earlier volumes and will be a critical reference for the flora of the region.
-Randall Small, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary
Biology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville,
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group II. 2003. An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny
Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants. Bot. J.
Linn. Soc. 141:399-436.
Cronquist, A. 1981. An Integrated
System of Classification of Flowering Plants. Columbia
University Press, New York.
Cronquist, A. 1988. The Evolution and
Classification of Flowering Plants, 2nd ed. The New York
Phylogeny and Evolution of Angiosperms. Douglas E. Soltis,
Pamela S. Soltis, Peter K. Endress and Mark W. Chase 2005. ISBN
0-87893-817-6 (Paper US$59.95) 370 pp. Sinauer Associates, Inc., P.O. Box 407, Sunderland,
In their preface, Soltis et al. define the following three major goals of
Phylogeny and Evolution of Angiosperms (PEA): (1) To provide a comprehensive
summary of current concepts of angiosperm phylogeny, (2) to illustrate the
profound effect that this phylogenetic framework has on interpretations of
character evolution and (3) to point to inadequacies in current understanding
of both phylogeny and morphology and to the need for additional study. All
three goals (and even more) are achieved in an excellent manner and PEA is
highly recommendable for anyone involved in plant systematics.
The book is divided into 13 chapters, which are: Relationships of
Angiosperms to other seed plants; Phylogeny of Angiosperms: An Overview; Basal
Angiosperms; Monocots; Early-Diverging Eudicots; Core Eudicots: Introduction
and Smaller Lineages; Caryophyllales; Rosids; Asterids; Angiosperm
Classification; Parallel and Convergent Evolution; Floral Diversification; and
Evolution of Genome Size and Base Chromosome Number. Each chapter starts with a
brief introduction and ends with `Future Research'. This is of special interest,
since the authors point to open questions of high priority. The book is
illustrated throughout with line drawings of many of the discussed plant
representatives. Furthermore, scattered SEM micrographs and schematic figures
are provided. The layout as a whole is simple and clear, whereas some spot
tests showed that the subject index is somewhat sparse.
One highlight of the book is that the authors do not only present a
comprehensive summary of the state of art in plant systematics (i.e., a summary
of APG II), but they go a step further in that many new reconstructions are
conducted specially for this book. In this way, PEA provides a wealth of
`original' and new results.
The second outstanding feature is the continuous combination and analyses of
molecular DNA and non-DNA characters (e.g., morphology, phytochemistry or
fossils). In this way the authors created not only a highly informative book
but they also demonstrate how exciting modern plant systematics is. However,
Soltis et al. also mention on p. 41 that `…it is probably fair to say
that attention to the formidable problems of morphological character analysis,
as well as to other non-DNA characters, has tended to wane during the past
decade in the understandable enthusiasm for molecular systematics. It is time
to reverse that trend and encourage integrative training and research in the
analysis of both molecular and non-DNA characters.' This issue was addressed by
Landrum (2001), and we hopefully will see a renaissance of some of the
`classical' fields of systematic botany in the near feature. In fact, PEA
certainly gives an excellent basis in particular for integrative training and future
research, and therefore it should not be missing in University libraries.
As the authors mention, not all readers will agree with all of the provided
nomenclature (e.g., a broadly defined Poales or Caryophyllales), which overall
follows APG II (2003). But a generally accepted naming of the different
categories in plant systematics is highly desirable and important. Therefore it
is very welcome that Soltis et al. discuss their ideas of modern classification
of Angiosperms in a separate chapter (Chapter 10, `Angiosperm Classification')
which gives an overview of the APG Classification and a brief overview of the
discussion of `ranked versus rank-free classification'.
The question of homology and character evolution is stressed throughout the
book. Pseudodiplostemony of Caryophyllales vs. diplostemony in the remaining
eudicots, non-homology of petals throughout angiosperms, the pseudosuperior
ovary in Saxifragaceae, or the question of homology of unitegmic ovules in
asterids are some examples. In fact it will be one of the main issues of future
work, to elucidate what structures are homologous and what are not. In this
context, the chapter `Parallel and Convergent Evolution' focuses on parasitism,
carnivory, and C4 photosynhesis.
Most recent achievements in the field of floral morphology are reviewed in
the chapter `Floral Diversification' and under `Evolution of Genome Size and
Base Chromosome Number' the authors discuss the phenomenon of tremendously
varying chromosome numbers and genome sizes within Angiosperms. Finally an
Angiosperm Supertree is provided as an appendix.
One of the very rarely found weak points is a schematic drawing of ovary
positions in angiosperms (Fig. 6.8., p. 149) which is somewhat poor. In Figure A (hypogynous flower), the stamens insert somewhere between
the ovary and the petals, and in Figure B (perigynous ovary) the stamen inserts
on the petals, which is not a requirement in the perigynous condition. Smyth
(2005) shows a more convenient schema. On page 224 the authors mention that the
`association of Hellwingia and Phyllonoma [both now in
Aquifoliales of the euasterid II clade] is interesting given that they share
the rare character of flowers borne directly on the leaf blades…'
However, Weber (2003) showed that the epiphyllous inflorescences of Hellwingia
and Phyllonoma are the result of ontogenetic displacement. The meristem
of the lateral shoot is produced in axillary position and is displaced onto the
subtending leaf in the course of development. Hence the conditions in Hellwingia
and Phyllonoma are not that exceptional from the point of morphogenesis,
and Weber (2003) highlights that `morphological findings support the molecular
results and vice versa'.
To conclude, I once again would like to highlight the outstanding quality
and importance of Phylogeny and Evolution of Angiosperms. Concerning the
outlined perspectives given by Soltis et al., I am curiously looking forward to
see the results of forthcoming works in the field of a comprehensive systematic
- Gerhard Prenner, Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens,
APG II (Angiosperm Phylogeny Group). 2003. An update f the Angiosperm
Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants.
Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 141: 531-553.
Landrum L.R. 2001. What has happened to descriptive
systematics? What would make it thrive? Syst. Bot. 26: 438-442.
Smyth D.R. 2005. Morphogenesis of flowers - our evolving
view. The Plant Cell 17: 330-341.
Weber A. 2003. What is morphology and why is it time for its renaissance in
plant systematics? In Stuessy T.F., Mayer V. and Hörandl E. (eds.), Deep
Morphology: Toward a renaissance of morphology in plant systematics. Gantner Verlag, Ruggell,
Pines: Drawings and Descriptions of the Genus Pinus,
2nd ed. Farjon, Aljos. ISBN 90-04-139168-8
(hardback US$126.00) 225 pp. Brill Academic Publishers c/o Extenze Turpin
Distribution Services Ltd, Biggleswade,
When I first became interested in pines (Pinus, Pinaceace) one of the
earliest reference books I found relating to the genus was Farjon's original
edition of Pines: Drawings and Descriptions of the Genus Pinus (Farjon
1984). This was the first time I had heard of, let alone seen illustrations of,
many of the species and it served to fuel my interest in pines. Therefore, I
was excited to learn that Farjon has revised this classic of conifer literature
with a second edition. One of the most remarkable things about this book is the
vast number of hand-drawn illustrations prepared by Farjon himself (an
accomplished scientific artist and taxonomist). It is composed of 4 main parts:
Introduction, Drawings and Descriptions of Morphology and Reproduction in
Pines, Drawings and Descriptions of Species, and Phylogeny and Classification
of the Genus Pinus.
The Introduction presents an overview of the genus Pinus, touching on
its placement in the gymnosperms, distinctive features of the genus in relation
to other conifers, and a general description of the anatomy and morphology of
the genus. Farjon, probably the world expert on conifer taxonomy, has
extensively updated the taxonomy of Pinus and he has incorporated the large
body of recent systematic research (his own and others) in this new version of
In the Drawings and Descriptions of Morphology and Reproduction (although they
and the next section are not explicitly treated as chapters in the book), as
well as the next section-on species descriptions, Farjon's presents illustrations
on the left page and descriptive text on the right. First are three pages with
illustrations and text describing the reproductive structures of pines and the
resulting seeds and seedlings. There is a discussion of the root structure of
pines and illustrations of the bark of several different species, a transverse
section of a pine-tree stem, and a branch tip with needles, all with supporting
descriptions and explanations. Following that, are six pages of needle cross
section illustrations and descriptions in which Farjon explains the anatomical
features of Pinus leaves and the differences between leaves of the two
subgenera, Pinus and Strobus. In these needle discussions Farjon
dedicates a pair of pages (illustrations and description) to the diploxyl (Subgenus
Pinus) pines and a pair to the haploxyl pines (Subgenus Strobus).
This section is particularly informative with its detailed discussions on needle
anatomy and the differences between these two major subdivisions of pines.
The Drawings and Descriptions of Species section comprises the vast majority
of this book, 183 pages. Nearly all species of Pinus accepted by Farjon
are illustrated, typically one species per pair of pages. There are some
species that are not sufficiently different to warrant separate illustrations
and Farjon has incorporated these pines' descriptions into those of their
closest relatives (i.e., the 4 species and 3 subspecies of piñon
recognized by Farjon are all described under the entry and drawing for P.
cembroides). In the original 1984 edition Farjon treated 87 species of
pine. Reflecting new species discoveries, updated systematic treatments of the
genus, and his now broader species definition Farjon has increased the number
of species to 109 in this new edition (although he states there are 110 species
in the genus). Many of these new additions required new illustrations and
descriptions (i.e., P. latteri and P. rzedowskii).
Each species description is followed by a small world map showing the species'
distribution. The small (~ 5 cm by 10 cm) world maps are useful for identifying
the general region of each species' distribution but the reader will need to
seek out larger, more detailed maps for detailed distribution information.
Species with small and isolated distributions are often given an adjacent
blow-up map of their local area of occurrence. These serve to better illustrate
the species' limited distributions, but in several cases (i.e., P. elliottii
and P. englemannii) the smaller maps cut off a portion of the
species' plotted distribution!
Following the species description is the Phylogeny and Classification
section. Systematists will find this section the most interesting and Farjon's
critical summary of the recent advances in pine systematics is particularly
informative. The dendrogram of Pinus species (based on van der Burgh,
1973) presented in the first edition is missing from this new edition; it is
replaced by a list of species organized into subgenera, sections, and
subsections reflecting the author's interpretation of the many recent
phylogenetic studies of Pinus.
There is a glossary of technical terms that beginning botanists will find
helpful, followed by a short list of references. There is also a useful index
of botanical names of pines that is coded to reflect accepted species verses
synonyms: accepted species and the page they are described on are bolded while
synonyms are in plain text.
Given the large amount of information Farjon has so accurately summarized,
it is not surprising that I found a few errors. There are several minor
spelling errors and errors in the text layout on several pages. Farjon
indicates that P. mugo occurs in Spain, but it is not illustrated as
such on the accompanying map. The list of species in the Phylogeny and
classification section does not match the species listed in the index or the
species descriptions. There are 109 species descriptions (albeit, some receive
only a one or two sentence note), 2 of which are hybrids (P. densata and
hakkodensis.) These 109 species are also found in the index (P. patula
and its associated description page is not bolded in the index). However, the
species list in the phylogeny section, while recognizing 109 species, includes P.
luzmariae (which is not accepted in the text or index) and omits P.
hakkodensis, which is accepted. It would be useful to know by what
criteria Farjon recognizes P. densata and P. hakkodensis,
which he claims are of hybrid origin, but not any other hybrids. Farjon's
seemingly disparaging comments about other researchers are incorrect and
inappropriate in a scholarly work such as this and detract from the overall
high quality of the book.
The purpose of this book is obviously to give an introduction and detailed
overview of the genus Pinus and instill interest in budding conifer
systematists, which it does admirably. However, it is hard to determine the
intended audience. The price of the book puts it out of reach of all but the
most serious pine bibliophiles and serious conifer researchers will probably
find it too basic. Undoubtedly researchers in developing countries, where much
of the pine diversity exists, will find it difficult to afford this book.
Libraries are probably the most likely customers, and even then this book is
overpriced in view of shrinking budgets at many institutions.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone wanting to become familiar with
the largest genus of conifers in the world. Serious conifer researchers will
find this second edition indispensable for its updated species descriptions and
illustrations and its synthesis of the systematic literature. In lieu of a key
to the genus, the illustrations and descriptions in this book could also be
used to identify pine species. Botanists and ecologists interested in learning
more about pines will find loads of useful information in Pines: Drawings and
Descriptions of the Genus Pinus. Farjon's illustrations are excellent and,
in many cases, are the only depictions of many of these species. This second
edition represents a significant amount of effort on Farjon's part to bring the
book up-to-date and makes it a very useful, if expensive, conifer reference.
-James P. Riser II, USDA
Forest Service, Rocky Mountain
Research Station, Fire Sciences Lab, Missoula,
Burgh, J. van der. 1973. Hölzer
der niederrheinischen Braunkohlenformation, 2. Hölzer
der Braunkohlengruben "Maria Theresia" zu Herzogenrath, "Zukunft
West" zu Eschweiler
und "Victor" (Zülpich mitte) zu Zülpich. Nebst einer
systematisch-anatomischen Bearbeitung der Gattung Pinus L. Review of
Palaeobotany and Palynology 15(2-3): 73-275.
Farjon, Aljos. 1984. Pines: drawings and descriptions of the genus Pinus.
E. J. Brill/W. Backhuys, Leiden.
BSA Contact Information
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Plant Science Bulletin 52(1) 2006
If you would like to review a book or books for PSB, contact
the Editor, stating the book of interest and the date
by which it would be reviewed (15 January, 15 April, 15 July or 15 October).
E-mail email@example.com, call,
or write as soon as you notice the book of interest in this list because they
go quickly! - Editor
Genetic and Production Innovatoins in Field Crop Technology.
Kang, Manjit S. (ed.) 2005. ISBN 13-978-1-56022-123-4 / 10-1-56022-123-2 (Paper
US$49.95) 383 pp. Food Products Press, 10 Alice Street, Binghamton,
An Introduction to Plant Structure and Development.
Beck, Charles, B. 2005 ISBN 0-521-83740-5 (Cloth US$55.00)
431 pp. Cambridge
University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York, NY 11011-4211.
Island: Fact and Theory in Nature. Lazell, James. 2005. ISBN
0-520-24352-8 (Cloth US$49.95) 402 pp. The University of California
Press, 2120 Berkeley Way,
Metacommunities: Spatial Dynamics and Ecological Communities. Holyoak, Marcel, Mathwe A. Leibold, and Robert D. Holt, eds. 2005.
ISBN 0-226-35064-9 (Paper US$38.00) 520 pp. The University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago,
Planting Design: Gardens in Time and Space. Oudolf, Piet and Noel Kingsbury. 2005. ISBN 0-88192-740-6
(Cloth US$34.95) 176 pp. Timber Press, 133 S.W. Second Avenue, Suite 450, Portland, Oregon 97204-3527.
Sulfur Transport and Assimilation in Plants in the Post Genomic Era.
Saito, K., L.J. De Kok, I. Stulen, M.J. Hawkesford, E. Schnug, A. Sirko, and H.
Rennenberg (eds.). 2005. ISBN 90-5782-166-4 (Cloth EURO98.00) 270 pp. Backhuys
Publishers b.v. P.O. Box
321, 2300 AH Leiden, the Netherlands.
Tempting Tropicals" 175 Irresistible Indoor Plants.
Zachos, Ellen. 2005. ISBN 0-88192-732-5 (Cloth US$29.95) 272 pp. Timber Press,
133 S.W. Second Avenue,
Tropical Forests of the Guiana Shield:
Ancient Forests in a Modern World. Hammond,
D.S. (ed). 2005. ISBN 0-85199-536-5 (Cloth US$ ) 528 pp. Oxford University
Press, 2001 Evans Road,
Cary, NC 27513.
Vascular Organization of Angiosperms: A New Vision. André, Jean-Pierre. 2005. ISBN 1-57808-382-6 (Paper
US$ 39.50) 140 pp. Science Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 699, Enfield, New Hampshire 03748.
Demons in Eden:
The Paradox of Plant Diversity. Silvertown, Jonathan. 2005. ISBN
0-226-75771-4 (Cloth US$25.00) 169 pp. The University of Chicago
Press, 1427 East 60th
Street, Chicago, IL 60637-2954.
Drosera (Droseraceae). Flora
Neotropica Monograph 96. Correa A., Mireya D. and
Tânia Regina dos Santos Silva. 2005. ISSN 0071-5794 (Paper US$) 56
pp. The New York Botanical
Garden Press, Bronx,
Durum wheat Breeding: Current Approaches and
Future Strategies, Volumes 1 and 2. Royo, Conxita, Miloudia M. Nachit,
Natale Di Fonzo, José Luis Araus, Wolfgang H. Pfeiffer, and Gustavo A.
Slafer (eds).2005 ISBN 1-56022-333-2 (Cloth US$149.95) 1086 pp. Food
Produces Press, 10 Alice Street,
Embryology of Flowering Plants: Terminology and Concepts, Voume 2: Seed.
Batygina, T.B. (ed.) 2006. ISBN 1-57808-263-3 (Cloth
US$150.00) 786 pp. Science Publishers, Inc. P.O. Box 699, Enfield, New Hampshire 03748.
Ever Blooming: The Art of Bonnie Hall. Hall,
Bonnie, edited by James D. Hall. 2005. ISBN 0-87071-116-4 (Cloth US$25.00) 77
pp. Oregon State
University Press, 500 Kerr
Administration Building, Corvallis,
A Field Guide to the Wild Orchids of Thailand, 4th ed.
Vaddhanaphuti, Nantiya. 2006. ISBN 974-9575-80-6 (Paper US$45.00) 304 pp
Silkworm Books. University of Washington Press,
P.O. Box 50096, Seattle, WA, 98145-5096.
Flora Genérica de los Páramos Guía Ilustrada de las
Plantas Vasculares. Sklenãr, Petr, James L. Luteyn, Carmen Ulloa
Ulloa, Peter M. Jorgensen y Michael O. Dillon. 2005 ISBN
0-89327-468-2 (Cloth US$)
499pp. The New York
Botanical Garden Press, Bronx, NY
Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide. Van
Wyk, Ben-Erik. 2005. ISBN 0-88192-743-0 (Cloth US$39.95) 480 pp. Timber
Press, 133 S.W. Second Avenue,
Science Bulletin 52(1) 2006