PLANT IDIOBLASTS: REMARKABLE EXAMPLES OF CELL SPECIALIZATION
ADRIANCE S. FOSTER
University of California
(NOTE: This paper, slightly abbreviated, is the address of the retiring president
of the Botanical Society of America given at the annual banquet of the Society,
held at Michigan State University on September 8, 1955. Dr. Foster's address
was illustrated with a series of excellent slides of mixed botanical and psycho-entomological
One of the privileges--and certainly one of the penalties--of having served
as President of the Botanical Society is the delivery of a retiring address
at the culmination of our annual meeting. In your present well-fed and relaxed
state, some of you may be resigned to listening to a historical and soporific
resume of some specialized area of modern botanical research. A number of you
perhaps may anticipate--probably with dismay--a much broader non-technical type
of discourse intended to exhibit the retiring President's firm grasp of and
keen insight into such imponderable topics as "The Place of Botany in the
Education of Physical Scientists" or "Is Botany a Unified Science--and
If Not, Why Not?" Still others in my audience may wistfully hope for the
"light touch," a divertissement in the form of a botanical satire
or even a loosely coherent series of repeatable "funny" anecdotes
and stories. In the "Sword of Damocles" atmosphere in which I have
lived during the past year, I assure you that I have indeed considered all of
these possibilities--and several others too! When frustration and dismay were
my bed-fellows, I even contemplated selecting a non-botanical topic such as
"The History of Jurisprudence in Bulgaria." By adopting this form
of "escape"--and with diligent application to the facts discussed
in any good encyclopedia--one might produce a watertight little essay on an
obscure subject and thus avoid the polemical review of his subject by his friends
and colleagues following the address.
In a more relaxed frame of mind, I finally decided to discuss a rather unconventional
aspect of plant histology which has always held a particular fascination for
me. I propose this evening to talk about a variety of highly specialized cells
which do not form coherent tissues but on the contrary occur as isolated elements
in the tissue systems of plants. Julius Sachs in 1874 designated all such isolated
and peculiar cells by the collective term "idioblast" which, in its
literal etymology, means a "distinct" or "peculiar" germ
or sprout. It must be emphasized that the term "idioblast" is one
of convenience rather than of specific morphological or physiological connotation
because this word, as used by Sachs and modern histologists, includes a bewildering
array of cell types. More or less familiar examples of idioblasts are the "secretory
cells" developed in parenchyma tissues, the remarkable cystolith-containing
cells of the epidermis of Fiscus and Urtica and the often grotesque ramified
sclereids found in the leaves of many plants. Unicellular trichomes are epidermal
idioblasts and the guard cells of stomata might be regarded from an ontogenetic
point of view as "paired" or "twin" idioblasts.
My own interest in this motley assemblage of idioblastic cells arose during
my early years as a teacher of plant anatomy. It seemed to me then--as it does
now--that any decision as to the suitable criteria to be used in classifying
and discussing cell types and tissues in plants must consider the disturbing
frequency of occurrence of idioblasts. To the formal descriptive anatomist,
idioblasts prove inconvenient structures because they interrupt the homogeneous
or "simple" morphological aspect of so many tissues. The problem becomes
further complicated from both a morphological and a physiological point of view
when one realizes that some cell types, e.g. non-articulated laticifers or "latex
cells," occur only as idioblasts while other specialized elements, for
example sclereids, may develop either as idioblasts, as clusters of cells or
as components of homogeneous sclerenchyma tissue. From a morphological viewpoint
De Bary (1884) took the position that "all tissue-elements, which correspond
in definite similar properties, are termed collectively a sort of tissue, whether
they be idioblasts, or are connected with like elements. " On the physiological
side, Haberlandt (1914) held a similar opinion and stated that "where all
the idioblasts contained in a given tissue are similar in structure and subserve
the same purpose, they may in a sense be regarded as components of a special
'diffuse tissue'. " These viewpoints of De Bary and Haberlandt are reflected
in Lundegardh's (1922) classification of idioblasts under the "Disperse
Tissue Systems" of the plant.
Regardless of how one decides to assign idioblasts in a treatment of plant
tissues, these remarkably individualized cells pose anew the mystery which still
surrounds processes of specific cell differentiation in plants. Fortunately
there is a noticeable awakening of interest on the part of morphogeneticists
and biochemists in the factors which control the origin and development of specific
types of cells.
In order to awaken your interest in the great diversity of plant idioblasts.
I am going to take you this evening on an "Alice in Wonderland" illustrated
tour through the leaf tissues of some dicotyledons. Like the strange and confusing
world of fantasy which Alice encountered in her journeys through Wonderland,
will reveal many bizarre and extraordinary sights in the microscopic realm
of foliar tissues. Because of the almost "endless" variety of idioblasts
and the difficulties which arise in preparing them for colored photomicrography,
my selection of "types" was both arbitrary and limited. However an
effort has been made to include examples from the following major categories
of idioblasts, viz: secretory, crystalliferous, tracheoid and sclerenchymatous.
Since some of the most striking types of idioblasts occur in plants of subtropical
or tropical areas of the world, herbarium specimens provided much of the material
which was used. The technique of clearing leaves by treatment with sodium hydroxide
and chloral hydrate--and subsequently staining the cleared organs with safranin--often
yields remarkably instructive three-dimensional views of idioblasts.
In the difficult and confused times in which we live. I think even botanists
tend to become overly tense and perhaps unduly preoccupied about the "future"
and the "significance" of their research. This often leads to a rather
rigid frame of mind and the loss of that sense of wonder and astonishment at
nature which, after all, is the chief stimulus to all our investigations. It
is my hope that my travelogue may serve as one example of an uncharted and astonishing
aspect of the cellular organization of plants which invites the combined efforts
of histologists, taxonomists, morphogeneticists and biochemists for its ultimate
The plant idioblasts which you have seen this evening demonstrate to the thoughtful
botanist an amazing range of morphological and physiological specialization
which isolated cells may attain in the leaves of dicotyledons. In what appears
to be a relatively simple condition, the idioblastic cell is distinguished from
neighboring tissue-elements by its larger size and by the various types of metabolic
products such as oils, fats, mucilage or crystals which it contains. Idioblasts
of this sort illustrate various levels of physiological modification and sometimes
are not sharply demarcated in form, size, or even wall structure from ordinary
parenchyma cells. More complex and bizarre levels of morphological specialization
are exemplified by the so-called "spiral cells" or "storage tracheids"
and by ramified sclereids. In these, a conspicuous secondary wall is formed
and the idioblast is greatly enlarged and strikingly different in form and size
from adjacent cells. Ramified sclereids are often extremely individualistic
in character since their branches may extend into the epidermis and may even
penetrate the pores of stomata.
When one attempts to think broadly about the morphological and physiological
diversity shown by idioblasts, a comment made by Pliny, The Elder, comes to
mind. Pliny remarked: "Whereas Nature is to be found in her entirety nowhere
more than in her smallest creations." From this philosophical point of
view, questions inevitably arise concerning the function, ontogeny and "casual
aspects" of idioblasts:
1. Are the various types of idioblasts of functional importance to the living
plant? I have been repeatedly asked this question, and I regret my inability
to give an answer based on sound experimental evidence. Haberlandt has discussed
the role of idioblastic cells from the physiological-anatomical viewpoint, but
it is evident that many of the supposed "functions" which he assigns
to them are based upon conjecture rather than upon demonstrable "utility"
or "need" to the plant. It is probable that idioblasts which contain
crystals or other byproducts of metabolism may simply represent excretory reservoirs
for waste products. Whether such idioblasts are essential components of a given
leaf tissue, however, remains to be shown. Other types of idioblasts, for example
branched sclereids, are assumed to have a "mechanical" significance
and hence to serve as strengthening cells in leaves and other organs.
2. How do idioblasts arise and become differentiated during the histogenesis
of a given plant organ? Is the distribution of idioblasts in a mature leaf,
for example, actually the result of random cell specialization, or can it be
related to a definable "pattern" in histogenesis? At least partial
answers to these important questions have emerged from recent work on the ontogeny
of idioblastic sclereids and deserve brief consideration.
In some leaves, any cell in the young spongy parenchyma may become a branched
sclereid. Such a diffuse and apparently "random" pattern of idioblast
origin is characteristic of Trochodendron and some other dicotyledons. In contrast,
a remarkably specific pattern of origin and distribution characterizes the foliar
sclereids of certain other plants. Here the young idioblasts are predominantly
restricted to procambial terminations of the veinlet ends. This results, in
the mature lamina, in the distinctive patterns of "terminal sclereids"
which have been illustrated in some of my slides.
Further insight into the factors which may regulate idioblast origin has been
gained from the intensive study of so-called "differential divisions"
during histogenesis. Bloch (1946) found that the branched sclereids in aerial
roots of Monstera originate from the "polarized" and unequal divisions
of certain cells at the basal ends of the vertical files of young cortical parenchyma
cells. Following the unequational division of each "mother cell,"
the smaller of the two daughter cells is densely cytoplasmic, possesses an enlarged
nucleu, and ultimately develops into a ramified sclereid; the larger of the
two daughter cells becomes a parenchyma cell of the cortex. Bloch (1948) has
expresed the view that further study of differential and unequal divisions
"is one of the most hopeful approaches to the problem of differentiation."
The German physiologist, Erwin Bunning (1953) in the latest edition of his
stimulating book, "Entwicklungs--und Bewegungsphysiologie der Pflanze,"
has emphasized the significance of unequal cell divisions as a basis for the
experimental study of cell determination. He cites many interesting examples
of the way in which such unlike structures as root-hair forming cells, the "mother
cells" of stomata, idioblastic sclereids, etc., arise from the smaller
of the two cells produced by an unequal division. Such small, embryonic cells
are termed "meristemoids" by Bünning. In his view, all meristemoids
are fundamentally equivalent and hence "it depends upon later factors,
which as yet have not been analyzed, whether a meristemoid of the epidermis
forms a hair or a stoma, or whether one in the inner tissue gives rise to a
raphide, to an oil, or to a sclerenchymatous idioblast." The problem of
"pattern" in histogenesis is clearly important, and the suggestions
made by Bloch and Bunning hopefully may provide a starting point for future
exeprimental investigations of cell types and tissues.
3. What are the factors, genetical and physiological, which induce the development
of idioblasts in plant tissues? This question is obviously only a part of the
broader mystery which still surrounds our attempts to understand differentiation
of organisms and their parts. Commoner (1949), in a recent review and analysis
of the biochemical basis of growth and differentiation of single cells, has
pointed out the difficulties at present inherent in this line of approach. He
makes the interesting suggestion that "cellular differentiation may result
from the segregation of specific biochemical systems within the parent cell
and that this separation becomes finalized by the laying down of the wall between
the two sister cells. If this were true, one would need to look for the fundamental
agency of cellular differentiation in mechanisms capable of sorting out the
biochemical processes of a single cell and rearranging them in a spatial pattern
with reference to the plane of division."
As to the direction or directions which future ontogenetic and experimental
studies on cell differentiation should take, I turn for my final remarks to
the illuminating conversation between Alice and the Cheshire Cat.
Alice, it will be recalled, was proceeding through the woods when she was startled
at seeing the Cheshire Cat sitting on a bough of a nearby tree.
"Cheshire Puss," she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all
know whether it would like the name: however, it only grinned a little wider.
"Come, it's pleased so far," thought Alice, and she went on, "Would
you tell me, please, which way I ought to walk from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the
"I don't much care where--" said Alice.
"Then it doesn't matter which way you walk," said the Cat.
"--so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.
"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk
The Editor has just received word of the death of Professor John E. Potzger,
Butler University (Indianapolis), on September 18, following a heart attack.
A Memorial Scholarship in Botany is being established at Butler University in
memory of Dr. Potzger, head of Botany at Butler until his death and recent president
of the Ecological Society of America. Persons wishing to make donations should
send checks to the Botany Dept., Butler Univ., Indianapolis 8, Indiana, made
payable to J. E. Potzger Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Treasurer will be on sabbatical leave during the second semester of 1955-1956
and will be away from the U. S. from February through July of 1956. He bespeaks
the cooperation of all members of the Society in sending in their dues checks
as soon as possible after their receipt of dues notices for 1956. These notices
will be in the mails about Thanksgiving-time. Thank you very much.
Repeat Research Item Wanted!
The July 1955 number of this bulletin contained a request from A. R. Kruckeberg.
Botany Dept., Univ. of Washington, Seattle, for seeds or living plants of any
native, perennial species of Silene. Interested in the effectiveness of such
requests, the Editor asked Dr. Kruckeberg for a report of results. Answer: no
results. Come, gentlemen and ladies, you may have a research request some day!
Bring sunshine into the lives of Dr. K. and of the editor with some seeds and/or
plants of Silene consigned to the Univ. of Washington.
The Weed Society of America was founded at Fargo, North Dakota, in December
1954. All persons who join this society during 1955 will be listed as charter
members. Annual dues are $6.00; this includes a subscription to the journal Weeds. Dr. W. C. Jacob, Ill. Agric. Exp. Sta., Urbana, Ill., is accepting memberships.
Manuscripts for publication in Weeds should be sent to K. P. Buchholtz, Univ.
of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisc.
New Books In Plant Sciences
Merrill, E. D.-- The Botany of Cook's Voyages. Chronic a Botanica,
Wardlaw, C. W.-- Embryogenesis in Plants. Wiley, New York.
James, W. O.-- Plant Physiology. Oxford Univ. Press, New York. (5th
Hayes, H. K., F. R. Immer, and D. C. Smith-- Methods of Plant Breeding. McGraw-Hill, New York.
AMERICAN BOTANIST IN JAPAN
Report of the Botanical Society of America's Delegate to the 1951 Annual Meeting
of the Botanical Society of Japan
EGBERT H. WALKER
Smithsonian Institution, Washington
Relatively little intermingling of American and Japanese botanists has occurred,
a condition which has been detrimental to the best interests of both. It was,
therefore, a happy circumstance which enabled me to accept the invitation of
Dr. Yudzuru Ogura, President of the Botanical Society of Japan to attend their
annual meeting at Tsuruoka. Yamagata Prefecture, in September 1951, and to represent
the Botanical Society of America and the Pacific Science Board of the National
Research Council, National Academy of Sciences. I was then in Okinawa as the
first scientist of the program of Scientific Investigation of the Ryukyu Islands
being conducted by the Pacific Science Board for the U. S. Civil Administration
of the Ryukyu Islands. Accordingly I adjusted my return from this assignment
so that I could be with my Japanese botanical friends on this annual occasion.
Dr. Ralph Chaney, the well-known American palaeobotanist, then in Japan, was
also invited, but illness prevented his attendance, thus leaving me the only
The whole day of September 21st was spent on the train, enroute from Tokyo
to Tsuruoka on the Japan Sea side toward the north end of Honshu, the main Island
of Japan. I was ably conducted by Professor Hiroshi Hara, taxonomist of the
University of Tokyo and Dr. Hisayoshi Takeda, the well known specialist in Japanese
alpine plants, then with the Natural Resources Section, SCAP. Could there be
anything more delightful than a ride through the Japanese countryside at rice
harvest time and up and over the mountains and down to the seashore beyond?
The traditional stay-at-home tendency of the Japanese people was easy to understand
Lodgings were provided in spotless picturesque hotels, which supplied all comforts
in local style. Tsuruoka is a delightful industrial city on an agricultural
plain between superb mountains and the colorful sea. The region abounds in hot
springs and mineral baths most appropriately put to human use. The distinguished
gathering of botanists from all over Japan was given a sincere and hearty welcome
on all sides by the townspeople and their officials, with dinners, speeches
and gifts of local products.
The scientific meetings were held at the Agricultural College of Yamagata University,
a fine large school still showing marks of the austerity imposed by the war.
The formal sessions were conducted much as those at our own conventions, with
many well prepared and illustrated papers, all of course, unfortunately from
my point of view, given in Japanese. Between sessions one could see exhibits
by various educational, scientific, and commercial interests and take trips
to industrial plants, museums, gardens, and temples. There were dinners and
public lectures, small informal gatherings and opportunities to visit with famous
and lesser Japanese botanists, most of whom had previously been just names to
me. Now they became vivid personalities never to be forgotten. It was an especial
pleasure to visit with the most prominent of Japanese taxonomists, Dr. Takenoshin
Nakai, who passed away in 1952, less than a year and a half later, and to enjoy
his delightful personality and his keen appreciation of Nature as we climbed
a mountain together on the post-sessional trip.
At a joint session of all sections of the convention I presented greetings
from the organizations I represented and showed pictures of my work in Okinawa
and the southern Ryukyu Archipelago, familiar territory to some members of my
audience. At an informal gathering of taxonomists much interest was shown in
my other pictures of Japan and Okinawa, and I was assured of needed help in
identifying my Ryukyu collections. The mayor of Tsuruoka, brother of the president
of the Botanical Society, gave a dinner to all delegates, enlivened with entertainment
by professional dancers and with impromptu songs, skits, and remarks by the
dele- gates. making it an occasion long to be remembered. During the final business
session both Dr. Chaney and I were invited to become corresponding members,
honors deeply appreciated.
On the third day came the post-sessional field trip to Mt. Haguro, famous for
its centuries-old avenue of giant cryptomeria trees lining the path leading
up to a large, quiet old temple and monastery, whence was viewed the still snow-spotted
volcanic cone of Chosaisan. Of course there was much plant collecting and photographing
and converse with Professor Nakai and others as we trod upward on this ancient
pilgrim's route. Our hosts of the monastery served an especially appropriate
luncheon for their botanist guests, the food being all vegetarian in accordance
with Buddhistic custom. On returning to the lowlands there was still time for
a visit to a modern distillery in Oyama village and a final chit-chat in a local
park before most delegates entrained for home.
The taxonomists, however, were not yet through. Most spent that night in Atsume
in the mountains, a village famous for its hot springs. There I presented samples
of the aluminum plant driers which I used most successfully in Okinawa, equipment
formerly not used in Japanese plant collecting. A field trip next day in the
mountains and some hours of collecting at the seashore before returning by night
to Tokyo were a fitting close to this botanical convention and excursion.
The outstanding impression gained from the contacts at this convention is that
the Japanese botanists are eager for closer contacts and exchange with American
botanists. The language barriers and the traditions of Japan, and likewise of
America, are obstacles that
can be and are being slowly dissolved. I trust that my appointment as delegate
from the Botanical Society of America and the Pacific Science Board has helped
accelerate a greater accord between the botanists of these two countries.
Editor's Summary Of More Important Items
From Secretary's Minutes of the Business Meeting of the Society--East Lansing,
Mich., Sept. 5-8, 1955
Officers elected for 1956: President--Harriet Creighton (Wellesley); Vice-president--Wm.
Randolph Taylor (Univ. of Mich.); Member of the Editorial Committee--Paul Kramer
(Duke) . . . . The society will continue to meet with AIBS through 1960. The
1956 meeting will be held at Univ. of Conn. at Storrs, Conn.; the 1957 meeting
will be at Stanford Univ. . . . A report prepared by the Committee on the 50th
Anniversary of the Society (Hiden T. Cox, chairman) presented the following
plans which were approved: 1. Publication of a "Golden Jubilee" volume
of invited papers on historical developments in various fields of plant science
during the past half-century. 2. Award of 50 "Certificates of Merit"
to outstanding American botanists to be selected by a special committee; these
awards will be continued at the rate of at least 1 per year after 1956. 3. Presentation
of a major address to commemorate our 50th anniversary at the Storrs meeting
(possibility that the Secretary of Agriculture might be invited to deliver this
address). 4. Invitations will be extended to distinguished foreign botanists
to attend the Storrs meeting. 5. Reception of special delegates from other plant
science societies. 6. The presidential address at the Storrs meeting will be
of a historical nature. 7. Special symposia will be arranged by Bot. Soc. and
other plant science societies at the Storrs meeting. 8. Special press and possibly
TV coverage of the Storrs meeting will be arranged . . . . The budget for 1956
as proposed by the Treasurer was approved, with one major change, namely, that
the Editor's honorarium of $1,000 will be paid from funds of the American Journal
of Botany, rather than from the treasury. As a consequence of this change, the
treasury should have a 1956 surplus of about $250.00. . . . Officers of the
Society were authorized to cash up to $5,000 of the Society's government bond
holdings, should such action be necessary to finance the Golden Jubilee celebration.
. . . R. E. Cleland, the Society's representative to the governing board of
AIBS, presented the revised constitution of AIBS for approval; approval was
voted. . . . The Society's Committee on Guidance presented a report, which included
material for a booklet suitable for high-school and college students interested
in careers in plant science; an editorial committee was appointed to prepare
the booklet in final form and to make arrangements for its publication and circulation.
. . . The following foreign botanists were elected to corresponding membership
in the Society: T. H. Harris, paleobotanist, England; Irene Manton, cytologist
and morphologist, England; Hiroshi Hara, taxonomist, Japan. . . . Charles Heimsch,
chairman of the Committee on Membership, reported upon the activities of that
committee, which will circulate invitations to members of other plant science
societies to become members of our Society; a new Committee on Membership is
to be appointed by the President. . . . A resolution, expressing the appreciation
of the Society to AIBS, Michigan State Univ., William B. Drew, and other local
botanists for their arrangements, was adopted unanimously. . . . The annual
dinner of the Society was held on Sept. 8 in Brody Hall, with approximately
230 members, spouses, and other impedimenta in attendance. Award of the Darbaker
Prize in Phycology to Richard Starr (Indiana University) was made at the dinner;
Dr. Starr, who was present at the dinner, received a check for $150.00. The
retiring president, Adriance Foster, presented an informative, unexpectedly
literate, and entertaining lecture on "Plant Idioblasts: Remarkable Examples
of Cell Specialization," illustrated with Dr. Foster's usual incomparable
Kodachrome slides. President Tippo, introducing guests and officers of the Society,
fell somewhat short of being liable to a charge of libel. . . . Secretary Bold
presented proposed changes in the by-laws for approval. The approved changes
are these: the last sentence of Article II. 1. (a.) was deleted; in Article
II. 1. (a), the word "Treasurer" was substituted for "Secretary."
. . . Reports were made by the Business Manager and Editor of the American Journal
of Botany, by the Treasurer, by the Editor of Plant Science Bulletin, and by
various committee chairmen. . . . A full report of the minutes will appear in
the next edition of the Yearbook.
The third item listed under "Thoughts for The Day" in the July number
of the Bulletin is from the writings of Thomas Jefferson. Theodore Kozlowski
of Univ. of Mass. won the proffered cigar for being first to identify the source
of the quotation.
At the annual dinner of the Botanical Society held at Brody Hall. Michigan
State University, on September 8, 1955, award of the Darbaker Prize to Professor
Richard C. Starr was announced by President Oswald Tippo. This is the
first time the prize has been given. The award had been recommended by an ad
hoc committee of which Professor William Randolph Taylor served as chairman.
Dr. Starr was presented with a check for $150.00. The Darbaker Prize funds are
available to the Society under the terms of the will of the late Dr. Leasure
K. Darbaker of Wilkinsburg, Pa. The award is made for meritorious work in the
study of algae, particularly the microscopic algae. Dr. Starr has published
a number of contributions dealing with the morphology and taxonomy of the Chlorococcales
and, more recently, papers on the sexuality and genetics of desmids. An assistant
professor of Botany at Indiana University, Starr also is in charge of the Culture
Collection of Algae there. Dr. Starr has served on the staff
of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, Mass. for four seasons. As
Fulbright Scholar, Starr studied with Dr. E. G. Pringsheim at Cambridge University.
Announcement of the date and place for submitting nominations for subsequent
awards of the Darbaker Prize will be made in the near future.
Statement From The Society's Committee On Membership
Plant Science Bulletin affords an opportunity to direct the attention of the
entire membership of the Botanical Society to considerations relating to the
enlistment of new members. New member enlistment has been the objective of a
continuing program maintained by several different Membership Committees of
the Society during the last ten or twelve years. Whereas many individual members
of the Society have contributed to this program, our full recruiting potential
has not been realized.
Of the many factors which operate in the acquisition of members, personal contacts
of the active members are exceedingly important. Each member has an opportunity
to further the Society's interests and objectives by extending membership invitations
to students and colleagues who are not now members. All members are urged to
take this initiative in behalf of the Society.
Membership application has been facilitated by a recent change in the by-laws
to eliminate the requirement for sponsors and the inclusion of application forms
in the back of some numbers of the American Journal of Botany. If additional
forms are required they may be obtained from the Secretary, Harold C. Bold,
Box 1501, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., or the Treasurer, H. J. Fuller,
Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, Ill.
Current dues for graduate students are $5.00, for all others, $7.50. Family
membership dues for husband and wife are $10.00; this includes but one subscription
to the American Journal of Botany. Completed application forms with payment
for dues should be sent to the Treasurer, Harry J. Fuller, Department of Botany,
University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois.
Rogers McVaugh of the University of Michigan has been granted
a year's leave of absence from September 1st to work as program director in
systematic biology for the National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.
Dr. E. K. Janaki Ammal, director, Central Botanical Laboratory,
Lucknow, India, was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the University of
Michigan in June.
Russell Seibert, director of Arboreta and Botanic Gardens
of Los Angeles County, has been appointed director of Longview Gardens at Kennett
Square, Pennsylvania, beginning July 15. Longview Gardens are supported principally
by members of the duPont family.
Walter S. Beach, professor of plant pathology, Pennsylvania
State University, retired from that post on July 1st, after 37 years of service.
Selman A. Waksman, director of the Institute of Microbiology,
Rutgers University, has been elected a foreign associate of the French Academy
Edgar T. Wherry, member of the faculty of the University of
Pennsylvania since 1930 has retired. Dr. Wherry is known for his contributions
to crystallography, as well as to plant geography, ecology, pteridology, and
other branches of plant science. His "Guide to Eastern Ferns" is perhaps
the most widely used semi- popular work on this subject.
A. G. Vestal, University of Illinois, has been on sabbaticalleave
during the second semester of 1954-55, engaged in field work and collecting
in California, with headquarters at the Dudley Herbarium at Stanford University.
C. R. Orton, emeritus dean of the College of Agriculture of
West Virginia University, died on June 16 at the age of 70. Dr. Orton, known
for his work on rusts and potato diseases, was former president of the American
Samuel L. Meyer, head of Botany and director of the Marine
Station of Florida State University, has resigned those posts to become Dean
of Central College, Fayette, Missouri.
Arthur Galston has resigned his post at California Institute
of Technology to become Professor of Plant Physiology, Osborn Botanical Laboratory,
Yale University, effective July 1, 1955.
Jacob Rietsema, Smith College Genetics Experiment Station,
has been appointed Assistant Professor of Plant Physiology, Forestry School,
Yale University, effective October 1, 1955. James R. Troyer,
University of Alabama, has been appointed Instructor in Plant Physiology, Forestry
School, Yale University, effective September 1, 1955. Both Drs. Rietsema and
Troyer will be stationed at the John Hartford Forestry Research Center, Valhalla,
Elbert L. Little, Jr., Dendrologist in the U.S. Forest Service,
is spending three months in British Guiana to work with International Cooperation
Administration. He will conduct vegetational and ecological studies in conjunction
with a vegetational mapping and soil survey study.
Sterling Emerson of California Institute of Technology will
serve as geneticist with the Atomic Energy Commission in Washington, replacing
Earl Green of Ohio State. Dr. Emerson is on leave from CalTech for this appointment.
Carl LaRue of the University of Michigan died following a
stroke on August 19. Dr. LaRue was widely known for his work in morphogenesis
and in other fields of plant physiology and in morphology. Interested also in
economic botany, he had worked on rubber projects in South America for both
the U. S. government and for the Ford Motor Co. He was not only a discerning
and productive investigator, but was also a stimulating teacher of both undergraduates
and graduate students. His place will indeed be difficult to fill.
John S. Mooring, formerly of UCLA, has joined the botany staff
at State College of Washington. Adolph Hecht is new chairman of botany at that
having succeeded Noe Higinbotham, who will remain in that department as professor
Douglas Post, who just received his Ph.D. from University
of California (Berkeley), has been appointed instructor in botany, University
of Illinois, to succeed Joseph A. Sacher. Dr. Post will teach plant anatomy
and histological technique and will assist in teaching general botany at the
Univ. of Illinois.
Raymond J. Pool, professor-emeritus, Univ. of Nebraska, is
serving as Visiting Professor of Botany, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale,
David R. Goddard, Univ. of Pennsylvania, is visiting the Botany
Dept., Univ. of Washington, during the fall quarter as Walker-Ames Professor.
He will give a series of lectures on "Cellular Metabolism." Ralph
Erickson is acting chairman of botany at Penn. during Dr. Goddard's absence.
Robert E. Woodson, Jr., has resigned the curatorship of the
herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden; he will continue as Professor of
Botany in the Henry Shaw School of Botany, Washington University.
George Van Schaack of the Dept. of Math. of Washington Univ.
has been appointed acting curator of the Mo. Bot. Garden herbarium.
Arrangements have been made at Purdue University between the Dept. of Biological
Sciences and the Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology in the School of Agriculture
whereby the elementary courses in botany and the latter department were transferred
to and merged with similar courses in the Plant Science Division of the Department
of Biological Sciences. J. H. Lefforge, S. N. Postlethwait and F. W. Stears were transferred to the latter department
to teach the combined elementary courses. All courses in plant pathology were
transferred to the Dept. of Botany and Plant Pathology. John Merkle,
on leave from Texas A. 8 M. College for 1955-56, will be Visiting Prof. of Botany
in the Dept. of Biological Sciences, where he will do research with A.
A. Lindsey on ecology of flood plains.
Limnological Expedition Of Academy Of Natural Sciences Of Philadelphia
The Limnology Department of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
under the direction of Dr. Ruth Patrick, Curator of the Department will undertake
an expedition to Peru to study the aquatic life in certain headwater tributaries
of the Amazon and of the main trunk of the Amazon. The expedition which will
be carried out in September and October, 1955 is sponsored by the Catherwood
Foundation of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania and the group will make studies in the
vicinity of Tingo Maria and Iquitos.
The purpose of this expedition is to establish whether there is a greater diversity
of aquatic life in tropical streams and rivers than there is in similar temperate
zone streams and rivers. The Limnology Department's scientific staff during
the last several years has established that in natural streams in the temperate
zone a great many different kinds of species of aquatic life exist. The number
of species for each of the various groups of organisms in similar regions of
natural temperate zone streams are of a very similar order of magnitude although
the kinds of species may vary greatly. One would suspect from knowledge of land
plants and animals that there would be a greater number of species in the various
groups of organisms in tropical rivers. This expedition will attempt to establish
whether or not this is true and what is the order of magnitude of difference.
In order to achieve their goal the Academy's scientists will use two methods
of study. In one, various groups of aquatic life in selected sections of the
rivers will be collected, identified as to species and correlated as to numbers,
kinds and ecological types with those which have been found in similar temperate
zone rivers. The second method will concern itself with the diatom flora. The
structure of the diatom population will be studied by means of an instrument
known as the Catherwood Diatometer. This instrument, placed in the stream, collects
representative samples of the diatom flora. Former studies sponsored by the
Catherwood Foundation have shown that the structure of diatom flora in streams
not adversely affected by pollution most nearly conforms to a truncated normal
curve. In temperate zone rivers the height of the mode and the dispersion factor
remain relatively constant. These studies will seek to determine if the height
of the mode and the dispersion factor re- main approximately the same as in
temperate zone rivers and if they do not, what is the magnitude of their variation.
The scientists who will make the study are: Dr. John Cairns, Jr., Protozoologist,
Dr. Frederich A. Aldrich, Invertebrate Zoologist, Dr. Selwyn S. Roback, Entomologist,
Dr. Matthew H. Hohn, Algologist and Dr. Patrick, Algologist and director of
the survey and Miss Yvonne H. Swabey, Chemist. Dr. Cairns and several Peruvian
scientists will carry out the fishing.
Comments Upon "The Responsibilities Contingent Upon The Solicitation of Applications"
The anonymous article on this subject, published in the July number of this
Bulletin, has brought 12 letters to the Editor's desk, 9 of them praising the
viewpoint of the authors, 3 of them reporting very different experiences. Best
letter from the minority is the following, published with permission of its
May I present another side of the picture to "The Responsibilities Contingent
upon the Solicitation of Applications." I hope that it will not weaken
the cause of the two Ph.D.s who remain anonymous. They may be friends and besides
that I can appreciate their positions. I certainly agree that only the most
stubborn stay in the race.
Having mailed about sixty-five "applications" to botany department
heads and having gotten over ninety-five per cent answers in a reasonable length
of time, I felt that my prospective colleagues were interested even though all
of them could not offer positions. In fact, their replies were most encouraging
when my morale needed a boost. It was gratifying to my wife, also, who typed
each application and painstakingly
typed each one a full page letter with no erasures or carbons. We have each
reply neatly filed in our archives.
But the story does not end there. A few weeks later when I arrived for an interview
with one of these correspondents, he met me at three o'clock on a terribly hot
night to drive me to the hotel. There were other cases that led me to think
that these gentlemen were a pretty decent group. As long as a year later, I
received a letter informing me of a second opening at the same institution.
I think they try to do the best they can with a budget that must be stretched
in many directions.
Maybe this report is an exception to the situation. I know there are fewer
agonizing times than those when you wait for a reply which you feel you are
justified in receiving.
The last thing in the world would be to hope for a scientist to fall into practices
of strict business administration. After all, an efficient and well paid secretary
could handle those matters.
Anonymous and very stubborn candidate, EUGENE H. SANDERS
Corn Products Refining Company
Careers In Biological Sciences
The Biological Education Committee of the National Research Council has prepared
a 26-page document, Bibliography of Literature on Careers in the Biological
Sciences. This mimeographed pamphlet is distributed by the AIBS office, 2000
P St. NW, Washington 6, D.C.
Research Items Wanted
Dr. Juan Hector Hunziker, Instituto de Botanica, Araos 2875, Buenos Aires,
Argentina, wishes to obtain viable seeds of North American species of Ephedra.
If you are able to abet the Good Neighbor policy by furnishing such seeds to
Dr. Hunziker, please send them to the above address, preferably by air mail.
Fiftieth Anniversary Contributions Requested
The Council, at its meeting on Sept. 5 at East Lansing, asked the Editor to
request readers of Plant Science Bulletin to make contributions to aid in defraying
expenses of the 50th anniversary orgies at Storrs next September. Therefore,
if you have a wealthy wife, or live in California or Texas, or clip coupons
as an avocation, or are otherwise in the chips, send your check to aid the celebration
to the Treasurer, H. J. Fuller, 203 Nat. Hist. Bldg., Univ. of Illinois, Urbana,
Illinois. Make your check payable to "Bot. Soc. 50th Anniversary Fund."
Last-Minute Personal Items
Nicholas Polunin, who has been at Yale as a private investigator, has joined
the faculty of Univ. of Bagdad, Iraq.
Jose Gurgel, assistant prof. at Univ. of Sao Paulo, Brazil, is spending a year
as a Rockefeller Foundation Fellow at the Univ. of Illinois to work with M.
M. Rhoades. Margaret Emmerling, formerly assistant prof. at Univ. of Missouri,
is also visiting the Univ. of Illinois this year on a National Institute of
Health Fellowship to continue maize investigations with Dr. Rhoades.
Harlan Lewis of U.C.L.A. is on the Stanford campus this fall while on sabbatical
leave from his university. He is working at the Carnegie Inst. with Drs. Hiesey
Winslow R. Briggs has joined the Stanford faculty as instructor to replace
W. C. Steere last spring as graduate dean at Stanford.
Missouri Botanical Garden Symposium
The Missouri Botanical Garden will hold its second symposium on systematics
on Nov. 4-5, 1955. Dr. Robert E. Woodson of the Garden Staff will preside, and
the discussion will be led by Dr. Karl P. Schmidt, Chicago Natural History Museum.
Open house will be held at the Administration Bldg. on Nov. 4, and there will
be a smoker in the same building on the same evening from 7 to 10. Symposium
sessions will be held on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. On Saturday at
8 p.m. there will be an exhibit of publications and an informal meeting to discuss
professional subjects. Inquiries should be sent to Dr. Rolla Tryon at the Garden,
2315 Tower Grove Ave., St. Louis 10, Missouri.
Association of Southeastern Biologists
This association, meeting with AAAS in Atlanta during the Christmas holiday,
is sponsoring the following program:
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. DEC. 28 2 :00 p.m.; Session 1; Committee Room 2, Municipal
Auditorium; Symposium: The Species Problem. Joint session of AAAS Sections F
and G, Society of Systematic Zoology and American Society of Parasitologists.
Arranged by Ernst Mayr, Harvard University.
ERNST MAYR, Harvard University, Presiding
1. Introduction. ERNST MAYR, Harvard University
2. The Geneticist's Viewpoint.
H. L. CARSON, Washington University
3. The Species Problem with Plants. V. GRANT, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, California
4. The Species Problem with Freshwater Animals. J. L. BROOKS, Yale University
5. The Species Problem with Fossil Animals. J. IMBRIE, Columbia University
THURSDAY AFTERNOON. DEC. 29 2: 00 p.m.; Session 2; Committee Room 2, Municipal
Auditorium; Symposium: The Species Problem. Joint session of AAAS Sections F
and G, Society of Systematic Zoology and American Society of Parasitologists.
Arranged by Ernst Mayr, Harvard University.
ERNST MAYR, Harvard University, Presiding
1. The Protozoologist's Viewpoint. T. M. SONNE- BORN, University of Indiana
2. The Embryologist's Viewpoint. J. A. MOORE, Columbia University
3. The Physiologist's Viewpoint. L. PROSSER, University of Illinois
4. Summary, E. MAYR, Harvard University