PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
7 MAY 1961 NUMBER 2
We Need a National Center for Plant Sciences?
H. WETMORE Harvard University
the United States of America we have probably 35,000-40,000 active plant scientists,
all belonging to at least one of some 25 professional societies. Despite this
large aggregate of scientists responsible for instruction and scientific progress
in plant sciences, there is no single professional body, no common office
nor officers, no place to obtain general information, no common responsibility
for education of our people, young or older, about plants and plant sciences
in our schools or colleges. In fact, in a country in which plants contribute
largely to our economy, there has been too little concern about the core of
knowledge or training necessary to interest people in plants or to train them
to be plant scientists. For their own reasons, the chemists of the nation
have developed a national American Chemical Society with an office in Washington.
The physicists are represented by a national office and organization in New
York, the American Institute of Physics, concerned with national problems.
Other groups in Science are similarly organized nationally. The Council of
the Botanical Society of America considered the problem at its August meeting
of 1958. In the autumn of that year Prof. F. W. Went, then President of the
Society, appointed a Committee to consider the need for a national organization,
and the responsibility of the Society to it. This Committee consisted of Harold
C. Bold, R. H. Goodwin, J. E. Canright, John A. Behnke, and R. H. Wetmore
as Chair-man. Later, A. J. Sharp was added.
first meeting of this Committee was held at Bloomington, Indiana, in January,
1959. After exploring the dimensions of its assignment, the Committee was
forced to recognize that the situation was one it alone could not resolve.
The Botanical Society of America has only some 2,275 members. The greater
number of the 35,000-40,000 plant scientists belong to numerous, separate
organizations with a relatively small overlapping membership with the Botanical
Society. The Committee therefore resolved that, (1) the possible end was worth
an effort to determine the existence of common interests and larger objectives
than those of any single society; (2) the effort could not be made without
financial aid for sampling of opinion, and such sampling could only be obtained
by enlisted personnel provided with time and money for travel and for group
meetings. In consequence, the Committee voted unanimously that the Botanical
Society through its President apply to the National Science Foundation for
a Grant to enable its Committee or its representative to canvass the various
plant societies to determine which ones might be interested in a central organization.
It was thought that such an organization could he concerned with national
problems related to all aspects of plant sciences, and their place in our
educational program in both high schools and colleges, their place in agriculture
and horticulture, in our economy, in the conservation of our national resources
including our forests, and in our national parks and reservations with concern
for wild life and fisheries.
application was filed in December, 1959, by President William C. Steere of
the Botanical Society for a grant to be made to permit the Botanical Society
of America to make such a study within a year of receipt of the Grant. In
early August, 196o, this grant was made. The Committee of the Botanical Society
quickly arranged for a meeting to be held at Stillwater, Oklahoma, at the
time of the A.I.B.S. Meetings in August, 196o. Twelve societies named representatives
to attend the meeting, representing over 15,000 plant scientists.
this Stillwater meeting, the following resolutions were unanimously voted
after an extended free discussion and sampling of opinion:
that the representatives of the several societies assembled recommend
the implementation of the Grant from the National Science Foundation to
the A.I.B.S. on behalf of the Botanical Society of America for a study
of the feasibility of the centralization of the Plant Sciences by appointing
a Coordinator who will explore ways and means of coordinating the activities
of the several plant sciences and their plant societies.
that the representatives of the several societies assembled feel it is
desirable that the coordination and centralization of the plant sciences
and their professional societies be effected within the framework of the
A.I.B.S., if possible.
that it be recommended to each society that it appoint a representative
to a national committee of plant societies to serve on a continuing basis
throughout the duration of this project.
that the original committee of the Botanical Society select and appoint
the Coordinator with latitude in arrangements, according to the commitments
of the appointee, with regard to the time of the initiation and the duration
of the appointment."
resolutions were reported to the annual meetings of
on page 2)
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
SYDNEY S. GREENFIELD, Editor
Rutgers—The State University
40 Rector Street, Newark 2, New Jersey
HARLAN P. BANKS Cornell University
NoRMAN H. BOKE University of Oklahoma
ELSIE QUARTERMAN Vanderbilt University
ERICH STEINER University of Michigan
MAY, 1961 • VOLUME 7, NO.
OF ADDRESS: Notify the Treasurer of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.,
Dr. A. J. Sharp, Department of Botany, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
for Libraries and persons not members of the Botanical Society are obtainable
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SUBMI'1 IED FOR PUBLICATION should be typewritten, double-spaced, and sent
in duplicate to the Editor.
We Need a National Center
for Plant Sciences?
from page 1)
participating societies. Already a number of members have been named for the
responsible joint committee which will replace the committee appointed by
the Botanical Society. In the meantime, the members of the original committee
and the President of the Botanical Society, Kenneth V. Thimann, have met with
the officers of the A.I.B.S. (Nov. 19, 1960) (1) to determine the attitude
of A.I.B.S. to a proposal of these dimensions if it were to be recommended
for action after study; (2) to explore some-thing of the benefits which might
accrue to plant sciences and plant scientists if a plan of coordination were
approved; (3) to consider the possible financing of the centralized organization,
if the report from the Plant Scientists' committee proved favorable after
study; and (q) to name a Coordinator for the study.
discussion proved satisfying. The Executive Secretary of A.I.B.S. and his
Assistant were strongly hopeful that the study would show that all of the
Plant Sciences are interested in coordinated effort and coordinated representation
in a nationally organized center within the A.I.B.S. organization. In fact
the suggestion was made that, if it materialized, this aggregation should
be recognized as the Federation of Plant Sciences within the American Institute
of Biological Sciences, with a Plant Scientist as Associate Director to the
Executive Directorship of the A.I.B.S.
was felt that the study should be made by a Coordinator named by Plant Scientists
instead of turning it over to the A.I.B.S., for the Grant was made to the
Botanical Society to enable it to be responsible for this study. More-over,
it seemed quite inappropriate and unfair to ask A.I.B.S. to carry out an assignment
not of its own planning.
discussion of the values to Plant Sciences of a central office removed any
present doubts from the minds of the participants as to the undoubted gains
which could result from the coordinated effort of the multiple societies.
A central office with a coordinating officer could direct common effort for
the general good. Such activities as the development of teaching programs
in Biology in the nation's high schools, and of motion picture films and associated
textbooks, presently being supported by grants to the A.I.B.S., could be more
effectively aided if botanists were so organized on a broad basis. Initiative
could also be taken with respect to the improvement of curricula at the college
level, wherever the teaching of botany is involved.
refresher courses have been prepared and offered for teachers in Botany for
some summers under the aegis of the Botanical Society of America is a chance.
The objective was to give an opportunity to catch up for those teachers of
Botany who have been teaching in college for numerous years and who feel that
they are getting further behind each year. With salaries too low to permit
an occasional trip to a summer school, too low to allow the teacher to take
the requisite numbers of journals or buy the necessary books, such teachers
have the right to be discouraged. This move made by the Botanical Society,
financed by the National Science Foundation, giving six weeks of preparation
of the teaching of various aspects of botany by the best teachers in the field
at no cost to the participants is surely in the right direction. But this
move is only a drop in a bucket for 50 teachers a summer is too few. While
many institutes are being run, and all are helpful, institutes run by botanists
for botanists can be aimed higher and made to reach more people, for several
might be run per season, not just a single one. Teachers and teaching, keeping
up-to-date, salaries, production of adequate and proper films in the field,
'representation of Botany in college or high school curricula, assessment
and evaluation of textbooks and many such problems need and should receive
constant action on the part of an organization assigned with responsibility,
and carefully staffed to carry out the assignments. On broader lines, the
increasing importance of conservation, water purification, reforestation,
and scientific agriculture on the national scene make it desirable that the
basic sciences underlying these activities have some representation in the
National Capital. Then too, A.I.B.S. officers pointed out that considerable
membership, financial, and editorial business of individual societies can
be pooled at an efficient and economical level. By the organization for larger
volumes of business through the purchase of more ex-pensive but more efficient
common facilities in one center, a considerable fraction of the time of numerous
officers can be saved for their own investigations. For example, in editorial
work, with individual editors selecting their material for each journal, even
as they do now, it should be true that much of the remainder of the preparation
of copy could be handled in a central office with expert service maintained
because of the number of journals involved. Publication savings, if a dozen
societies participate and modern economical methods are invoked, have been
estimated to be at least 15%. This would mean that joint membership in
more than one society, including receipt of the respective journals, could
then be obtained at a definitely reduced rate.
fact, careful calculation of the cost of running a national office within
the organization of A.I.B.S., of sharing in the facilities offered by a going
concern and of paying only a proportional share suggests that the overall
charge per member will probably not be greater than now. It may even be less.
This estimate assumes that the first two years of getting offices organized,
staffed and integrated with A.I.B.S. facilities may be more costly and help
may have to be solicited from an outside agency. But given such a start, we
should be in business at a national level, with proper personnel to recognize
our needs as plant scientists, to meet our challenges and opportunities as
members of the several Plant Societies. We can individually see numerous places
and directions in which our own national organization can be more effective.
have now the privilege of stating that the Coordinator chosen by the Committee
is Professor Richard H. Goodwin, Chairman of the Department of Botany, Connecticut
College, New London, Connecticut. Dr. Goodwin has been released from some
of his responsibility for the spring semester of this academic year by President
Park of Connecticut College to enable him to accept this challenge. He will
make his headquarters in New London, but the survey of opinion as to the desirability,
or, even stronger, the necessity of setting up national headquarters for Plant
Sciences will take him over the United States. It is to be hoped that we shall
all recognize this as an opportunity and a challenge, not just as one more
crack-pot idea. If he visits your campus, talk to him or listen to him, raise
queries, but make up your mind whether this move ought to be made or not.
If you do not see him and have questions, write to him. As he has to prepare
a report indicating society approval or non-approval before the A.I.B.S. meetings
in Purdue, he can do little more than see officials of the several societies,
sample opinion, resolve difficulties and eventually assemble his findings
into a report. He bids for your help when and if he has to solicit it.
original committee entered this investigation with uncertainty and concern.
At present, I believe I speak for each of its members and for all others,
officers of societies, officers of A.I.B.S., etc. who have met with us at
one time or another when I state that the vision of what can be done for Plant
Sciences through the facilities of A.I.B.S. and with our own efforts has engendered
enthusiasm on a Iarge scale. It became clear that at long last plant scientists
have the opportunity to realize the breadth and inclusiveness of their science
as a whole and to participate in organizing it and developing its influence
in a manner consonant with its importance.
is evident that no single plant science society will benefit more than another
if this federation is effected. This should be a coordinated effort in its
broadest sense. Members of societies should be to their group what their group
of specialists wants them to be, but in addition, they will accept new responsibilities
implicit in their national membership. Perhaps the only acclaim any one Society
can get from this effort is a certain satisfaction in being the Society which
"sparked" the move towards possible federation. It does seem that federation
is a necessary move, the only question is whether the timing is correct. The
N. S. F. Grant and Dick Goodwin's assignment would tell us whether all feel
the time has come and we are ready to underwrite the responsibility. We do
not evade this responsibility if we turn certain joint endeavors over to A.I.B.S.
It will be, as it has been, the Center through which actions common to all
biologists are considered and effectively carried through.
United States National Tropical
Botanic Garden in Hawaii
Hawaiian Botanical Gardens Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization incorporated
under the laws of the State of Hawaii on June 29, 1959, by a group of civic
minded men and women for the purpose of encouraging the development of tropical
gardens and horticulture in Hawaii.
major concern of the Foundation is to instigate the establishment of a National
Tropical Botanic Garden in Hawaii.
bill to provide for a study and investigation of the desirability and feasibility
of establishing and maintaining a National Tropical Botanic Garden, to be
located in the State of Hawaii, was introduced in the Senate of the United
States on February 2, 1961.
of the proposed garden is to provide facilities for basic scientific research
and for applied science in the field of tropical botany, available to botanists
and students from all parts of the world, and to develop a living collection
of important tropical plants on American soil.
bill. S. 772, was referred to the Committee on Agri-culture and Forestry.
A similar bill was introduced in the House of Representatives.
E. HARTT, Secretary
Botanical Gardens Foundation, Inc.
NORTHEASTERN SECTION of the Botanical Society of America will hold its 1961
Summer Field Foray at Syracuse University from June 25-28, 1961. Information
regarding the meetings will be sent to members of the Section by Dr. Norman
J. Gillette, Department of Bacteriology and Botany, Syracuse University.
A. LOCKHART has been appointed to the staff of the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment
Station, University of Hawaii, as Associate Plant Physiologist. He will study
some of the basic principles of plant growth and their application to coffee,
papaya, macadamia nuts and other Hawaiian crops.
Botanical Garden As An Outdoor Teaching Laboratory
following are condensations of papers presented at a symposium before the
Teaching Section of the Botanical Society of America at Stillwater, Oklahoma,
on August 30, 1960. A fourth paper on the botanical garden in relation to
elementary schools was presented by Dr. George S. Avery of the Brooklyn Botanic
Garden. Since it was informal in nature and related to certain demonstration
materials, Dr. Avery felt that it did not lend itself to inclusion here.
APPROACH TO ECONOMIC
Botanic garden has long served as an approach to a better knowledge of Economic
Botany. The earliest botanic gardens were living collections of economic plants.
These were the "physick gardens" of Europe, wherein were to be found medicinal
in the field of Economic Botany is the study of all plants which have been
used in any way by man—whether it be an aboriginal use, a chemurgic
use, a horticultural use, or any other type of use.
upon so many and varied fields, it is not surprising that people in general
have a natural interest in utilitarian plants. Visitors to botanic gardens,
are as much interested in the uses of plants on display as in any other single
I am continually amazed at both teaching and research botanists who still
shy away from discussions of economic species. These very folks, it seems
to me, should bring in economic botany as one of the most useful adjuncts
for initiating and stimulating greater interest in the plant world. The rewards
for botanical science would be great.
gardens (including arboreta, experiment station collections, plant introduction
gardens, etc.) are logical places to see and learn about living plants, including
the economic species. The proper maintenance and display of its living collections
are a botanic garden's greatest responsibility, even surpassing its research
endeavors. The latter activities (including such facets as herbarium and laboratory
research) can be and are duplicated many times over by other institutions
and organizations. On the other hand no other, or few other, institutions
or organizations can maintain living collections of plants.
then, that botanic gardens include economic species among their living collections,
how can these plants serve as "an approach to economic botany?"
prime purpose is to show the visitor the habit and nature of economic species.
How much additional information can be gotten across depends upon the type
of visitor. Presumably, visitors to most botanic gardens fall roughly in the
same categories as those who visit Longwood Gar-dens: i) General Public—the
largest proportion; 2) Special Groups—garden clubs, boy and girl scouts,
and other similar organizations; 3) School Groups—all levels from elementary
year at Longwood we expect close to 500,000 visitors. When you multiply the
total by the visitor totals of our other botanic gardens, you will get an
idea of the great opportunity that botanic garden folks have in acquainting
people, even in a small way, with plants and botany.
type of economic plant collections that any botanic garden can maintain depends
to some degree upon the visitor categories mentioned above as well as upon
the location of the garden with respect to visitor population. The wise botanic
garden administrator has to spoon-feed the general public, but will try to
learn from his more knowledgeable visiting groups what sort of special displays
should be set up. The presence, for example, of a textile school or college
of pharmacy nearby might call for special permanent display gardens of textile
and medicinal plants.
for ease in maintenance and in teaching, most botanic gardens segregate their
economic displays into special economic gardens or conservatory collections,
de-pending upon whether the species are temperate or tropical. There are usually
further subdivisions into specialty gar-dens.
more typical economic species are generally assembled in "economic" gardens
which may be further sub-divided into the several economic plant classifications—oil
plants, cereals, fumitories, etc. This is the classical botanic garden method
of displaying economic species and probably is still the best.
are there not other facts concerning economic species other than merely their
identities that could possibly be brought out in a living demonstration collection?
Although all plants would not lend themselves to such display, it might be
possible to demonstrate specific harvesting techniques or methods of producing
certain plant products. In the northeast we all have sugar maples in our collections,
but what botanic garden has demonstrated how maple sap is collected. In the
same way, either outdoors or in greenhouse collections, it would not be difficult
to show such interesting things as latex production, retting of fibers, or
enfleurage—in all cases using living specimens. In another direction
a map garden, showing geographical origins of important economic plants would,
I am sure, hold much interest. The primitive ancestors of our cultivated species
ought also to be grown side by side with their important descendants to show
what man has done; while along similar lines a living genealogy of the results
of plant breeding (for example, the Peace Rose and its origin) would be very
rewarding to visitors.
the public's interest in the green world has been increasing steadily over
the years, it is obvious that the botanic garden will have even greater future
opportunities to demonstrate the human interest approach to the plant world
through economic botany.
BOTANICAL GARDEN AS AN
OUTDOOR LABORATORY FOR
New York Botanical Garden
is more difficult to prove convincingly than the obvious, and I take it for
granted that a botanical garden is a taxonomic tool so that I cannot imagine
a contrary situation. To be forced by necessity to explore the anatomy of
my conviction that a botanical garden is almost by definition a taxonomic
tool, and that a so-called botanical garden or arboretum without teaching
and research interests is only a park, provides healthy self-discipline for
basic proposition of all botanical gardens is a collection of plants, and
so we immediately perceive the need for some sort of systematic arrangement
of the plants from which taxonomy naturally develops. It is no accident that
the important centers of taxonomic research and teaching grew up around the
various great botanical gardens of Europe.
early recognition of relationships among plants and the consequent development
of the concept of families and orders of plants arose long before the advent
of the theory of evolution and our present-day ideas of phylogeny, just from
the evidence of observing many kinds of plants growing together in botanical
large botanical gardens of the world, then, combine with their recreational
and park functions the creative re-search potential made possible by enormous
collections of living plants outdoors and under glass.
"Illustrated Guide to Kew" says: "Kew Gardens, it must be remembered, primarily
serve scientific purposes. The Institution has as its main objectives the
accurate identification of plants and the provision of information in the
field of botany, both pure and applied...."
a large proportion of those who come to Kew, it is thought of rather as a
place of recreation than as a scientific institution, but valuable as the
former service is, it must be appreciated as a by-product of the Institution's
main purpose, and therefore the usage of the gardens by the public must not
be allowed to hamper its chief functions as a scientific establishment. Fortunately,
the proper safeguarding of the living collections and their efficiency is
the best guarantee that the public will obtain the maximum enjoyment from
them without detriment to botanical science."
systematic gardens at Kew and in other European botanical gardens are excellent
tools for self-instruction in taxonomy as well as for formal teaching purposes.
One sees many visitors in them, both students, and adults, busily occupied
with taking notes. In my own opinion, the systematic arrangements of plants
in some area of a botanical garden is of utmost importance, in spite of disparaging
and irreverent remarks about "botanical grave yards," and the admitted tendency
of even closely related plants to conflict in size and shape, and for their
flower colors to clash. Seeing related plants together—and alive—helps
students understand the concept of plant families and other major taxa more
easily than any other method I know.
use of botanical gardens as outdoor laboratories for taxonomy falls into several
categories based on the intellectual level and the degree of motivation of
the users, as follows:
The casual learning of the names of a few trees or other plants by the inspection
of labels in a park, aboretum or botanical garden. Any botanical garden, even
of the smallest size, can satisfy this "idle curiosity" function, although
it should of course make some attempt to create and to stimulate a real interest.
Carefully planned, informative labels are a "must" at this level.
motivated learning through self-teaching or through organized courses
and educational programs of the names of horticultural and native plants
by serious amateurs. This is a more serious responsibility of botanical
gardens, which requires very considerable preparation and activity by
professional staff members. During the past two summers, The New York
Botanical Garden has conducted a Summer Institute in Botany for gifted
high school students, in which the students were introduced to the field
of taxonomy, among other botanical topics.
teaching for credit, at the high school or under-graduate college level,
whether for students taking a general program or for those planning to
enter the field of botany or some related science. In any elementary course
in botany or biology, the botanical garden is truly an excel-lent outdoor
laboratory for teaching the various types of plants, and their structure
and modifications, as related to taxonomy. For more advanced courses that
center on taxonomy, the identification of plants, learning the local flora,
becoming acquainted with the major plant families, and learning something
about the basis of phylogeny, class work in a botanical garden or arboretum
is so highly desirable as to be essential.
professional training of graduate students, either for some background
in taxonomy or for actual specialization in this field for advanced degrees,
as the master's or doctor's. This level of teaching and the continuing
research in taxonomic problems by staff members places the highest requirements
on botanical gardens, and it is in these areas, as already pointed out,
that the great botanical gardens of the world function most effectively.
Even though plants grown away from their native environment and climate
may not necessarily develop in a completely typical manner, they still
contribute enormously to an understanding of the taxonomy of any group.
of the great botanical gardens of the world, in addition to their collections
of living plants, also maintain excel-lent library facilities and an herbarium
of dried reference specimens representing not only the plants growing in the
garden but also plants from all parts of the world. In fact, the four primary
facilities of any botanical garden that is actively engaged in research and
education in plant sciences are the collections of living plants (both out
of doors and under glass), the library, the herbarium, and the laboratory.
summary, the effectiveness with which a botanical
may serve as a taxonomic tool varies in direct pro-portion with the richness
of its collections. To serve as a research tool, the botanical garden must
have both specialized and representative collections that, in addition to
all the other responsibilities, may reflect the specific research interests
of individual staff members and graduate students.
BOTANIC GARDEN AS A
Angeles State and County Arboretum
role of a Botanic Garden or Arboretum as a research center will vary from
one Botanic Garden to another as much as the objectives of the individual
Botanic Gardens vary. Certainly there are seldom, if ever, two Botanic Gar-dens
with identical objectives, and likewise their role as research centers are
not identical. The privately endowed institution, for example, may have greater
freedom in the choice of its research projects than a tax supported institution
which needs to include applied as well as basic re-search. However, no matter
what the choice of the research program may be; as a research center, the
Botanic Garden should function to stimulate ideas and imagination, which are
the bases for research and new knowledge.
it is both the research and the education program that distinguish an arboretum
or botanic garden from a horticultural park there is no question that the
garden should function as a research center. It is only when this activity
is included that the plant collections and physical plant of the Botanic Garden
achieve their greatest return on the investment and operate at maximum efficiency
and effectiveness for the science of botany and horticulture.
garden, and accompanying herbarium and library, should not be considered as
contributing only to research in taxonomic botany but as contributing to physiology,
morphology, pathology, microbiology, and other fields of botany as well.
research program of tax supported botanic gardens, in addition to basic research
projects in botany, should include projects, of an applied nature, which serve
the community that supports the institution.
are many problems of basic ecology, for example, as we try to discover which
plants can live in association with which others, of physiology having to
do with flowering, nutrition and so on, and of insects and disease. Basic
knowledge concerning all of these aspects of our introduced plants is desirable
not only because basic knowledge always is valuable but also because the growing
populations of our communities wish to have and use the knowledge. Botanic
Gardens and arboreta have a responsibiltiy for developing this knowledge in
their role as a research center for their region. It is a need of the community
to have a place where these research programs can be conducted.
responsibility and trend was formally recognized by the Advisory Council of
the National Arboretum in their statement on research activities of The United
States National Arboreum, October 7, 1957, in reviewing the trends since 1947,
ten years earlier, when they concluded:
developments in home building, the changing over of rural into urban areas,
an increase in leisure time, and the enlargement of interest in the recreational
aspects and value of ornamental horticulture, have greatly increased the need
for applicable information in this field. Interest, too, in the beautification
of roadsides, the development of parks, parkways, and recreational areas,
has in-creased many fold. Intimate, workable knowledge of the problems involved
and the values of different woody and other plants for such purposes is most
desirable. Investigations in this field are well within the aims, scope, and
purpose of the National Arboretum."
activities of a Botanic Garden as a research center for plants is also clearly
recognized by the Russians. In a recent article in the Journal of Horticulture,
the deputy director of the Moscow Botanic Garden stated their three main objectives
to be: 1. Investigations of culture and introduction of new plants of economic
value. 2. Investigations of cultural methods for growing plants and introduction
of new plants for metropolitan areas, and 3. Distribution of this knowledge
the United States the introduction of "new plants of economic value" i.e.
crop plants generally falls under agricultural research by Federal and State
agencies; however, except for Arboreta and Botanic Gardens, there is no agency
responsible for similar research exclusively for the home-owner. To a certain
extent, in regard to applied research Arboreta and Botanic Gardens play their
research center role as an "Experiment Station for Home-owner's."
has been, thus far, on aspects of basic and applied research programs conducted
by the permanent staff of the botanic garden. There is in addition, research
conducted by visiting scientists, student researchers, and not to be discounted,
the devoted amateur scientist.
opportunity for students to use the research facilities at a botanic garden
and their living plant collections for training in research is a further important
activity of the garden as a research center. Training in the scientific method
of research through simple projects with plants can begin in a botanic garden
even at the elementary school level.
summary, Botanic Gardens and Arboreta functioning as research centers serve
the sciences of botany and horticulture in basic research and serve the lay
public directly by their applied research. They serve as a place for training
in research and for a valuable liason between amateur researchers and professional
scientists. They provide facilities through their buildings, plant collections,
herbaria, laboratories, and libraries, for investigators from outside institutions
to conduct research. As research centers they perform, in short, the necessary
and vital function of developing the knowledge (through the imaginative thinking
of the researcher) to answer the communities needs for basic and applied,
botanical and horticultural knowledge.
ANALYSIS AND FERTILIZER PROBLEMS
Edited by Walter Reuther.
Published by American Institute of Biological Sciences
Washington, D. C., 1961
438 pages. Price $8.00
volume consists of papers presented at the Third Colloquium on Plant Analysis
and Fertilizer Problems, held at Montreal, Canada, in connection with the
9th Inter-national Botanical Congress in August, 1959. A total of 30 papers,
mostly by authors generally conceded to be leaders in this field of investigation,
are included along with a general discussion of the limitations of plant analysis
as a research and diagnostic tool. Papers are grouped into two categories:
one concerned with data that establish the relationship between plant analysis
and plant growth requirements for a variety of plants, and the other concerned
with some of the fundamentals involved in the proper interpretation of plant
analyses in terms of plant needs.
importance of proper sampling techniques, based on a prior knowledge of the
various factors affecting the mineral composition of leaves, is stressed by
several authors and two papers are devoted entirely to discussions of the
error involved in leaf sampling. Virtually all phases of the mineral nutrition
of plants are touched upon in one or more of the papers. Such topics include
the nutrient requirements of various crop plants, the interrelationships between
certain nutrients, plant symptoms of nutrient deficiency, foliar absorption
of mineral nutrients, and the influence of temperature, soil moisture content,
available nutrient sup-ply, disease, and other environmental factors on the
mineral composition of leaves.
showing the influence of certain mineral nutrients on the organic nutrition
of strawberries, sugar cane, and fruit trees are presented. Of special interest
are data indicating an inverse relationship between ribonuclease activity
and zinc level in apple and orange leaves, and the suggestion that a measure
of ribonuclease activity might be used as a test to determine whether or not
plants were receiving sufficient zinc. Such a test would be novel in that
it would be the first instance in which enzyme activity is employed to estimate
the content of a trace nutrient in plants.
data on leaf composition of the 35 species of crop and forest plants listed
below are presented, with critical nutrient levels indicated in many instances:
combined papers reflect the inherent weakness of all symposia in that some
topics receive detailed treatment while others of equal or greater importance
receive less attention, or are not mentioned at all. Extensive data are presented
for citrus and tree fruits and those concerned with the nutrition of these
crops will find the volume a valuable reference source. While data on other
crop plants are more limited, the papers probably report the results of recent
analyses of leaves of a wider variety of plants than are available from any
other single source.
State University New Brunswick, New Jersey
New York Botanical Garden has received a two-year grant from the National
Science Foundation to develop a master catalog of all the plants of the earth,
indexed on punch cards. The program is being directed by Sydney W. Gould at
the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, co-sponsor of
spring, a pilot study proved that an automatic compilation can be done in
a fraction of the time it would take researchers working without machines,
and that it is much less subject to human error. The aim of the program is
to record some 1,700,000 plant names by genera and species, in preparation
for publication. The published volumes will be arranged by plant families.
Cross indexes of authors of plant names and their publications will also be
present, taxonomy is complicated by obscure or conflicting basic information.
Local names vary greatly for the same plant, and sometimes, the same name
is given to different plants. By compiling all basic information on ma-chines,
a true botanical master list should be available to researchers around the
world within a few years.
has been estimated that it would take ten people working without machines
fifty years to compile such an Inter-national Plant Index. The present index,
prepared by the use of punch cards and data processing machines, will be assembled
by two operators and two taxonomists under the direction of Mr. Gould. After
many years of experience with such equipment in the U. S. Army, he adapted
the use of IBM equipment to real estate management in a form later standardized
H. MILLER. University of Wichita, is on leave on a teaching and research assignment
at the Institut Teknologi at Bandung, Java. The project is sponsored by the
U. S. government in agreement with the government of Indonesia, and contracted
by the University of Kentucky Re-search Foundation. Dr. Miller is doing research
on anatomical problems relating to tropical plants.
DANSEREAU, Dean of the Science Faculty and Director of the Botanical Institute
of the University of Montreal, has been appointed Assistant Director of the
New York Botanical Garden, effective April 1, 1961.
Teaching Aids for Biology Teachers
Chairman, Committee on Education, Botanical Society of America
some time the Committee on Education of the Botanical Society of America has
been considering the feasibility of preparing a series of instructional leaflets
on botany to be distributed to teachers of biology in high schools and college.
The Committee on Education of the Society of American Bacteriologists has
been producing and distributing such a series on bacteriology teaching for
several years, with considerable success. At the meeting of the Botanical
Society Committee on Education at Still-water in 196o, however, the Committee
decided against undertaking such a leaflet series at present, principally
because of the cost of publication and distribution. Another factor was the
prospective inability of the Committee to devote the necessary time to securing
contributions for the series and editing them, since the Commit-tee will be
occupied during the next year or two with matters that seem more urgent at
Committee is still convinced, however, of the need for such a series of instructional
leaflets, particularly for teachers of biology in the secondary schools, junior
colleges, teachers colleges, and smaller liberal arts colleges. Many such
teachers have had little training in botany, or have last studied botany some
time ago, and as a result are frequently not in a position to correct all
textbook errors or misrepresentations, are not acquainted with some of the
recent important developments in botany that might be included in their courses;
are not well acquainted with botanical source materials, and are not using
the best available demonstrations and laboratory exercises in botany. Indeed,
general botany instructors in universities may in some cases have similar
needs, though perhaps to a lesser degree.
meet these needs the Committee on Education is proposing a substitute for
the leaflet series: publication of similar materials in periodicals reaching
a substantial pro-portion of the teachers of introductory courses in biology
and botany. The success of this venture will depend largely on the extent
to which members of the Botanical Society assume individual initiative in
the preparation of articles for it. It is our hope that many of you will con-tribute.
This constitutes an invitation to participate; in general, specific invitations
to individuals will not be issued.
following types of articles will make most useful contributions to the series:
I) Descriptions of new, improved or unusual demonstrations or experiments
for use in introductory courses, 2) Improved classroom or laboratory teaching
procedures, 3) Suggestions as to selection of botanical subject matter for
biology courses, 4) A selected list of botanical films, with critical comments,
5) Bibliographies of botany books useful in introductory courses, 6) Reviews
of new textbooks, with particular reference to their botanical content, 7)
Suggestions for making tests, particularly for testing objectives other than
the mere acquisition of information, 8) A directory of sources of free, inexpensive,
and hard to find laboratory or classroom materials, 9) Articles clarifying
botanical topics about which there is extensive misinformation, in texts and
else-where, Io) Review articles of a suitable level in areas of botany where
current research is active, particularly if the developing knowledge is adapted
to inclusion in introductory courses.
publications with best coverage of the desired audience are the AIBS Bulletin,
The American Biology Teacher, and Turtox News. The first is less suitable
than the others for this series since its content is mainly of a different
type. Despite the fact that the Turtox News is a house publication, it has
two definite advantages over the American Biology Teacher: 1) A much larger
circulation, including virtually every high school and college biology teacher
in the country, and 2) Free reprints. We are, therefore, recommending the
Turtox News, even though both periodicals publish the types of articles we
are suggesting. There would be some advantage in having the entire series
in a single publication.
provide some coherence for the series we suggest that all contributions be
sent to Dr. Harriet B. Creighton, Department of Botany, Wellesley College,
Wellesley Sr, Mass. Dr. Creighton is the new chairman of our Commit-tee on
Education. Following review by the Committee and assignment of a series serial
number to the contribution Dr. Creighton will then either submit the manuscript
to the editor of, if any substantial changes are suggested. back to the author
for revision. This procedure should result in the production of a very useful
series of articles, provided that a sufficient number of members of the Society
ANNUAL PLANT SCIENCE SEMINAR of The American
of Pharmacognosy will be held at the University of Houston, College of Pharmacy,
Houston, Texas from June 19-21, 1961. Present officers of the Society are:
President. Varro E. Tyler, Jr., University of Washington; Vice-president,
Norman R. Farnsworth, University of Pitts-burgh; Treasurer, Frank A. Crane,
University of Illinois; Secretary, Rolf S. Westby, Eli Lilly and Company,
ELEVENTH ANNUAL WILDFLOWER PILGRIMAGE Spon-
by Department of Botany of The University of Tennessee was held on April 27-29
in cooperation with the Naturalist Service of the National Park Service in
the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Many hundreds of people from many
states and from foreign countries attend the tours annually.