PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
June, 1969 Volume Fifteen Number Two
Quo Vadis, Botanicum?
University of Maryland
has been a steadily growing tendency in academic institutions to join separate
life science departments into single departments of biology. Such unions are
usually brought about in the interests of economy based on the assumption
that biological phenomena are universal; ipso facto, it is redundant to maintain
courses which are concerned with the same subjects in separate biological
science departments. In my opinion this is specious reasoning and it is a
myth that there are at all levels widespread and vital and cogent areas of
common substance shared, for example, by zoology and botany.
Admittedly, there are some segments of each science where there are similar
structures and activities, life processes and concepts. Among these areas of
similarity, for example, can be cited cell biology, biochemistry, and biophysics
together with certain aspects of genetics, physiology, cytology, and ecology.
But, on closer observation we find as many or more differences, requiring as
many or more different approaches, between the botanical and zoological sides
of these disciplines, as we find similarities. These differences are usually
highly significant and pertinent, however, for they constitute the inherent
pecularities which separate plants and animals. For example: In genetics, polyploidy
is a common feature of plants; it is rare in animals. Incompatibility and the
chimeral nature of the seed, phenomena so common in plants, are absent among
animals. Plant anatomy is a totally different science from animal anatomy. Animals
have no structures approaching the rigid cellulosic cell wall in plants. Higher
plants are characterized by indeterminate growth; animals have a definite form
and size. Plants are sessile organisms, for the most part, and their experimental
treatment in ecological study is therefore very different from that in highly
mobile populations of animals. The evolutionary relationships between structure
and adaptation in plants and animals is a subject of controversy and it is perhaps
best considered separately in these two groups, by evolutionists in botany and
zoology, respectively. The details of plant nomenclature and plant classifiction
vary considerably from these same subjects in the animal kingdom. Higher plants
are, by and large, autotrophic organisms; higher animals are not. And with more
time and thought, this list could be expanded manyfold. The important point
here is that the thesis which supports the union of botany and zoology because
of their overall commonalty, which fosters the study of life at all strata as
a series of cosmopolitan phenomona, and which holds that the differences among
the kinds of life and life processes are trivial and unimportant and do not
deserve separate and distinct recognition, is a deceptive proposition.
botanists we should be seriously concerned with the administrative and professional
bastardization of our science by persons ignorant of the facts of life, for
that is truly what biology is about. The present conglomerative trend in the
biological sciences is detrimental to each individually and more to the point,
it is demonstrably destroying botany by subjecting it to a kind of managerial
phagocytosis. A parallel movement, which will not be discussed here, is the
continuing emphasis in some sectors of biological academia on what is termed
"molecular biology" to the exclusion of both botanical and zoological sciences
as valid biological disciplines in their own right.
might be asked, where is the outstanding teaching and research in botanical
science going on today? The answer is, where botanical science is supported
by botany departments, not where it exists in biology departments! A 1966
survey by the American Council on Education' (rated on graduate programs and
faculty) reported that the top botany departments in this country are at the
University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, Harvard University, and the
University of California, Berkeley. (Actually, the Harvard University case
is very special: There is no botany department there. Much of the botany at
Harvard is carried out in the private endowed, independent botanical institutions
such as the Gray Herbarium, Arnold Arboretum, Botanical Museum, and Farlow
Her-barium, and to a lesser extent in the biology department.) Other outstanding
botanical research is being pursued at the University of Texas, Duke University,
University of Massachusetts, University of Minnesota, University of North
Carolina, University of Illinois, Indiana University, Purdue University, University
of California, Davis, etc., etc.
from certain misguided plant scientists, botanists almost universally oppose
the fusion of botany and zoology to create departments of biology. They have
learned from bitter experience that separate departments of botany pro-duce
happier and more effective environments for the
Cartier, A. M. 1966. An assessment of quality in graduate education, 131 p.
American Council on Education, Washington, D.C.
of botanists (and probably zoologists) than do departments of biology. The
facts show that wherever biology departments have been formed through fusion
of botany and zoology, sooner or later the biology department becomes, for
all intents and purposes, a zoology department. Instruction favors zoology
and undergraduates leave biology courses with a wholly distorted view of biology,
terribly skewed toward the zoological sciences. This tendency is also noted
in the makeup of departments of biology as it concerns balance of faculty.
Table 1 below presents data on the composition of biology departments as it
existed in 10 institutions in 1959 compared with the situation today.
requires no great insight to appreciate that in these institutions, botany
and botanists constitute a minor segment of biology programs. An even more
pertinent observation is that as the faculty of biology departments has increased
over the past 10 years, the pitifully small number of botanists in these departments
has grown proportionately smaller.
PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
ADOLPH HECHT, Editor
Department of Botany
Washington State University
Pullman, Washington 99163
Harlan P. Banks, Cornell University
Sydney S. Greenfield, Rutgers University
Robert W. Long, University of South Florida
William L. Stern, University of Maryland
Erich Steiner, University of Michigan
June 1969 Volume 15
In 1960, at an Ivy League university, much against the wishes of most of the
botany faculty and the department chairman himself, machinery was set up to
join the botany department wiith the zoology department. Immediately, the department
chairman resigned; shortly thereafter, three of the bright, younger staff members
left. (These three have since become eminent botanists, who resigned largely
in protest of the fusion and not for other reasons. One of these has since returned
to the biology department, but with research facilities in the university's
natural history museum.) Since 1960, there have been several retirements among
the botanists of this university, no one of whom has been replaced. At this
university botany is ignored, rather than "squeezed."
2 was constructed from the course listings and descriptions in the catalogues
of the several colleges and universities under consideration. All numbered
courses in biology are included. In some instances, it should be noted, this
presents a somewhat exaggerated picture of offerings in the biological sciences.
For example, at M. I. T., biology courses and their associated laboratories
separately. Another consideration in evaluating the data above is my inclusion
of courses listed as "Special Problems," "Honors Thesis," etc. However, I
have been consistent in listing these kinds of courses throughout, so, the
ratios of courses in the columns of table 2 are still valid. I felt this a
better procedure than to exclude arbitrarily any courses in biology.
of the problems in gathering these kinds of data from bulletins, that is data
on course content, is the difficulty of determining the real subject material
presented in a given course as it concerns plants and animals. (Certain courses
in molecular-type biology would not be claimed by either botanists or zoologists!)
There appears to be a regrettable trend toward reducing course descriptions
to the title only and in the "Princeton University Official Register," this
ultimate has been achieved. In other cases, course descriptions are so obfuscated
through the loose use of the word biology, that the reader cannot really determine
what kinds of organisms (e. g., plants,
protists) are being considered. It is obvious that the kinds of organisms
in which certain phenomena occur are not deemed important by the faculties
of these departments. In the case of the biology Iistings in the "Bulletin
of the California Institute of Technology, Information for Students," consider
the description of Bi. 1: ". . . A course of lectures, discussion and laboratory
opportunities de-signed to permit a relatively free exploration of biological
topics...." This is the crux of the Cal. Tech. description of "Introduction
to Biology." Consider the Williams College first course in biology, "Selected
Concepts of Modern Biology. Introduction to energetics and metabolism; the
organism and homeostasis; growth and reproduction; the principles of inheritance;
biology of populations and mod-ern concepts of organic evolution." One can
appreciate from these the impossibility of determining what particular kinds
of life are being treated.
in some of the courses offered under the biology title, plants are considered.
But in gathering the data for table 2 it was impossible to separate the biology
courses which are totally zoological from those where both plants and animals
are considered, or to determine whether the emphasis is placed on plants or
animals, or if indeed, any greater importance is given to one group or the
other. However, it is apparent from course descriptions at certain institutions
that courses listed as "Biology" are in truth purely zoological. For example,
the courses in evolutionary biology at Amherst and Harvard are courses in
animal evolution. Biology courses titled "Physiology" are courses in animal
physiology and in some institutions this same title is even more narrowly
construed to mean bnman physiology. Course offerings in biology at Hopkins
are zoologically oriented although the titles do not reflect this. For these
reasons I decided to lump courses which are patently zoological with those
titled "Biology" under the broad caption in column 2, table 2. It seemed to
me a more meaningful and practical way to present these data than to attempt
to sort out of biology-titled courses those segments devoted to botany and
those segments devoted to zoology.
consensus among botanists is what wherever a biology department is established,
botany always loses out —botany is weakened. Thus, from the botanical
stand-point, biology departments have not been a saccess any-where! It has
almost become a dictum among botanists: "If you want to ruin botany, establish
a biology department"! And they point to Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Cal. Tech.,
and lately, even to Harvard and Yale.
most irksome tendency among so-called biologists and some zoologists is to
equate Zoology with Biology. One can understand and perhaps excuse the perpetuation
of this fallacy among lay people where it is particularly prevalent, but the
equation, I think, is intolerable and misleading. A case in point is the recent
establishment of a cooperative graduate program in "Evolutionary Biology"
by the City University of New York and the American Museum of Natural History.
The principal research advisory faculty is made up entirely of zoologists
and the program of study is obviously zoological. What prompts scientists
to distort the meaning of the science of life into the science of zoology
by ignoring botany? There is no need here to belabor the traditional definition
and usage of the term biology; it is well established as the study of life—all
life—and Lamarck, who first introduced it as a scientific term in 1802,
meant it that way.
the facts and comments above thus arrayed, one can easily appreciate the growing
dominance of zoology over botany in biological situations in academic institutions.
It may very well be asked why this should always be so. I would not argue
that zoologists and other non-botanical biologists are always evil and that
botanists are invariably virtuous. I would, however, like to suggest that
some zoologists and other biologists do not always understand the nature of
botany and more especially the importance of certain unique and special areas
of plant science. There is a suspicion among botanists, at least, that non-botanical
biologists secretly, and sometimes all too openly, feel that botany is of
less importance than animal science. Regard-less of whether these statements
are valid, it still remains true that botanists are outnumbered in biology
departments. Thus it is in biology departments that whenever an appointment
is being considered and whenever there is competition for funds and for space,
or for subjects to be treated in courses, there is an unfortunate tendency
to make decisions in favor of some area other than botany.
the basic philosophy which often leads to the establishment of courses in
general biology, it usually starts with the premise that plants and animals
are fundamentally alike. But, the advocates of biology courses become victims
of their own propaganda for they place major emphasis on those areas in biology
where the similarities exist and they minimize the differences, or disregard
them completely. Thus, little or no time is devoted to the structure and physiology
of higher plants or to the survey of diversity in the plant kingdom. This
blind avoidance of the differences between plants and animals then extends
to the upper level courses where no attention is given to plant morphology,
plant taxonomy, paleobotany, mycology, and plant pathology. One has only to
look at the biology curricula of Cal. Tech., Johns Hopkins, M. I. T., Princeton,
and so on, to see that this is true. Botanists are mystified by this attempt
to make biology merely the study of similarities. The question may very well
be asked: Are not the differences as important?
beginning course in biology is an especially sore point with botanists. In
a newly formed biology department, it usually begins with an approximately
even split with respect to coverage of plants and animals. Gradually there
is a shift in the direction of more zoology, usually on the grounds that there
are more animals, or that the imagined needs of premedical students requires
this, or that- students are more interested in animals. In any event a chain
reaction is set off involving less and less exposure to botany, fewer faculty
members in botany, less space for botany.
important, perhaps, than the vigor of animal scientists and other non-botanical
biologists to support their own fields of interest (with which I cannot quarrel)
often creating this imbalance in biology, is the frequent lack of vigor—indeed
passivity—among sonic botanists to support their own science in the
face of aggressiveness by well-meaning but naive administrators and by certain
over-zealous and equally uninformed zoologists. Some-times, the cause for
a decline in academic botany is not
a lack of vigor among botanists, however, but an alarming unawareness of the
scientific penalties to be awarded for complicity in supporting the establishment
of biology departments. One may guess that this is based, at least in part,
on a misunderstanding of botany, the science, by botanists, and its unique and
special role in the economy of life. If we as botanists are content to watch
the demise of botany without taking an aggressive stand to the contrary, we
may consider our action as participatory in bringing about this end just as
surely as though we planned it.
argue here for balance in presenting biology in colleges and universities.
I plead for imparting to students the full significance of botany as well
as zoology and other biological sciences. But the facts show that a balanced
perspective in teaching biology has not been achieved through the realignment
of botany and zoology to form biology departments.
us take stock of the situation now and reassess our values; let us realize
the greater strides to be made by recognizing botany for what it is, a separate
discipline within biological science with a significant history, a productive
present, and an exciting future. Let us cooperate with other biologists, other
scientists, and with social scientists and humanists in advancing with knowledge
of life, but in the firm belief that this is best done by advancing botany
as an independent, though actively contributing, biological science.
Use of Visual Aids
a Plant Anatomy Course
W. Knobloch Michigan State University
have come a long way from the days of Nehemiah Grew and Edward Charles Jeffrey
in our presentation of courses in plant antomy. There are modern textbooks
with the latest information, good laboratory manuals and several kinds of
visual aids including better microscopes and projectors. Even with these advantages,
many of us still lecture, pass out a syllabus and a set of slides and then
hope for the best. In some areas of science, we noted that many have adopted
a set of instructional media including tapes and projectors. These, together
with the microscope, microscope slides and syllabus are placed in carrels
as a unit, each carrel serving one student. Frequently, the name "Audio-tutorial"
is applied to this modern method of presentation. It is claimed that this
method of teaching is superior to the older methods outlined above.
wishing to be out of the mainstream of innovation, we have examined the possibility
of utilizing some sort of aid not ordinarily used in a plant anatomy course.
Heeding the advice of certain psychologists that most of our knowledge is
imported to us via our visual organs, we set up units in our laboratory best
described as "The tri-visual unit." ` This system consists of a rear-view
Funds for the projectors and slides were given by the M.S.U. Educational Development
Program, and the microscope and exposure meter were financed by the Undergraduate
Teaching Program of the National Science Foundation.
a microscope and a laboratory manual. We use the COC Rotator projectors now
made by the Graflex Corporation, as seen in the illustration. This type has
an inclined viewing screen which can, if necessary, be used for tracing. The
entire projector folds down into a small suitcase-sized unit for easy carrying.
of projectors can be used. When the course is finished, all of the units can
be taken down and stored, leaving the room free for another type of course.
The cost of carrels and their fixed position decided us to use the projectors
present we have ten of these projectors and they are placed so that two students
can use one projector. This is another advantage over the carrel system. For
each machine we have three drums, each drum holding 36 slides. Thus for the
course in plant anatomy, each student looks at 108 slides.
months preceding the beginning of the course, we selected a large number of
microscope slides previously used for the course. These were chosen to illustrate
the major concepts ordinarily dealt with in a plant anatomy course. Two-by-two
color transparencies were then made from these slides by photographing the
slide under a microscope fitted with a camera and a Sage exposure meter. Sometimes
only low power was used, sometimes both low and high power and occasionally
a picture was taken under oil immersion. We now had 2x2 slides of the same
slides to be looked at under the microscope. The laboratory manual was rewritten
giving the basic concept to be learned, then calling the students' attention
(in the manual) to the concept on the 2x2 and then asking them to find the
same item on the microscope slide. In most cases, the 2x2's could be explained
in their original condition. When a part was difficult to interpret, symbols
such as letters, numbers or arrows are drawn upon the transparency (this is
not as easy as it sounds).
many of us have spent most of the laboratory time "running" around from student
to student, answering questions or interpreting what they are seeing under
the microscope? Good 2x2 transparencies clearly explained and/or marked eliminate
most of this "unnecessary" activity.
summary, we make the following observations:
carrels need not be constructed, (2) each projector serves two students, (3)
the projectors can be removed at the end of the course freeing the room for
other activities, (4) students can proceed at their own pace, (5) learning
is enhanced, (6) questions of interpretation seldom arise with a consequent
saving in time either to the assistant or the instructor, (7) the course moves
along with alacrity and more materials or concepts can be covered, (8) the
projectors can be used for review, (9) although not tried as yet, we feel
that this "tri-visual" setup could be used to eliminate the lecture entirely,
and (10) this totally visual setup could be used in many other areas such
as morphology or taxonomy.
FROM THE EDITOR
International Conference on Pollen and Pollen Physiology will be held at Washington
State University, August 20-23. This conference will be held in conjunction
with the Pacific Division, AAAS meetings to be held in Pull-man, Washington
the week before the Botanical Congress, and will begin with the AAAS Divisional
Symposium ("Pollen Studies") on Wednesday evening, August 20. Plenary sessions
of the Conference will be held all day Thursday and Friday, August 21 and
22. Botanists on their way to the Congress in Seattle are welcome to stop
in Pullman and attend the Pollen Conference as well as other sessions of the
Pacific Division meetings. Dormitory housing can be provided at $4.00 per
night single or $3.00 per night double. Registration fee is $2.00 if paid
in advance (mail to C. D. Moodie, Department of Agronomy, Washington State
University, Pullman, Washington 99163) , or $3.00 at the time of the meetings.
organizations scheduled to hold sessions in Pull-man that week include the
American Society for Horticultural Science (National Meeting), American Nature
Study Society (Western Section), American Society of Plant Physiologists (Western
Section), Biometric Society (West-ern North American Region), Botanical Society
of America (Pacific Section), Society of Systematic Zoology (Pacific Section),
Western Society of Soil Science, and Section F (Zoological Sciences) of AAAS.
For additional information about any of these meetings please write to the
Secretary of the Pacific Division, AAAS, Dr. R. C. Miller, California Academy
of Sciences, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California 94118.
Isozyme Bulletin, conceived at the second annual Isozyme Conference in 1967,
is a publication for the in-formal exchange of information relevant to scientists
interested in isozymes at any level and from any point of view. The format
is similar to other informal information
bulletins, and it is presently published annually. For further details write:
Dr. John G. Scandalios, Editor, The Isozyme Bulletin, Atomic Energy Commission
Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lan-sing, Michigan
List of Crosses in the Gramineae
booklet of 176 pages contains the names of about 2400 crosses and has a bibliography
of 1131 titles. It should save many hours of literature searching for those
doing research in the grass family. To receive a copy send a negotiable money
order or bank draft drawn on U.S. funds for $2.50, and made out to: Dr. Irving
W. Knobloch, 336 University Drive, East Lansing, Michigan 48823.
International Congress of Plant Protection
congress is scheduled to be held in Paris, September 21-25, 1970. It will
follow the same line as the other important Plant Protection Congresses, the
first of which took place in Louvain in 1946, the Vlth at Vienna in 1967.
Persons wishing further information should write to Societe Francaise de Phyiatrie
et de Phytopharmacie, VII` Congrēs International de la Protection des
Plantes, 57, Boulevard Lannes, 75—PARIS XVI"—France.
of Interest to Conservationists
year The President's Council on Recreation and Natural Beauty prepared
a report entitled "From Sea to Shining Sea. A Report on the American Environment
—Our Naniral Heritage." This report is available from the Superintendent
of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402,
for $2.50. This beautifully prepared report has the following stated objectives:
1. To outline progress in environmental improvement programs since the
1965 White House Conference on Natural Beauty. 2. To present proposals
and recommendations which will stimulate Federal, State, local, and private
action to enhance further the quality of our environment. 3. To present
a guide for action by local officials and citizens. There are excel-lent
appendices which list literature, films, and organizations which deal
with the general theme.
new journal, "Biological Conservation," has been announced by the Elsevier
Publishing Company, Ripple Road, Barking, Essex, England. Dr. Nicholas
Polunin is editor, and Dr. F. Raymond Fosberg, a consultant editor.
Division of the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the
State Geological and Natural History Survey, of Connecticut, is issuing
a series of pamphlets describing the plant communities of the preserved
natural areas of the state. The three studies which have been issued so
far have been prepared by Drs. W. A. Niering and Frank Egler. These informative
studies provide excellent models for the kind of public service field
biologists can provide.
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is a non-profit group of scientists and
other citizens dedicated to protecting the quality of the environment.
This organization is waging a vigorous campaign, utilizing legal means,
to protect the environment from pollution. They
have been involved in court suits aimed at con-trolling air pollution from
pulp mills in Montana, the use of DDT in Wisconsin, and dieldrin in Michigan.
Dr. Charles F. Wursrer, of the Department of Biological Sciences, State University
of New York, Stoney Brook, New York, is the chairman of the Scientists Advisory
Committee for this organization.
Advisory Board on Wildlife Management of the National Wildlife Refuge
System, which is chaired by A. Starker Leopold, has issued a report outlining
a plan for the future development and management of the system. This report
has been reprinted in recent issues of the Sierra Club Bulletin.
Your World—the Grassroots Conservation Story" is the U.S. Department
of Interior's conservation year-book No. 5. It is on sale by the Superintendent
of Documents for $2.00.
organizations involved in conservation activities, of one viewpoint or
another, are proliferating. Three recent additions are: The Open Space
Action Institute, 145 East 52nd Street, New York, New York 10022; People
for Open Space, 126 Post Street, Room 607, San Francisco, California 94108;
and Council for Planning and Conservation, 522 North Foothill Road, Beverly
Hills, California 90210.
sketch of a noted conservationist; Gaylord Nelson, U.S. Senator, member
of Senate Interior Committee, formerly Governor of Wisconsin. Senator
Nelson has provided outstanding leadership in the field of conservation,
as evidenced by the following examples of important legislation he has
introduced into Congress:
Ecological Research and Surveys Bill;
to preserve and protect various rivers and lakes;
Quality Preservation Act;
to prohibit sale or shipment for use in United States of DDT;
Management Research Bill;
record indicates how effective Senator Nelson has been in suggesting legislative
solutions to many of our environmental problems.
L. PORTER has retired after 25 years as Professor of Botany and Curator of
the Rocky Mountain Her-barium at the University of Wyoming. He has been succeeded
by JOHN R. REEDER, formerly Curator of the herbarium at Osborn Botanical Laboratory,
Yale University. Dr. Reeder is also serving as Acting Head of the Department
of Botany at Wyoming.
L. REVEAL will join the faculty of the Department of Botany, University of
Maryand on August 1, 1969. Reveal has been appointed Assistant Professor of
Botany and will take part in teaching in general botany as well as in the
development of a series of undergraduate and graduate courses in plant taxonomy.
Reveal's major monographic interests are in the western United States genus
Eriogovum, He will continue his research on plants of the Intermountain Region
of the United States as well as in the local flora of Maryland and vicinity.
S. LACEY, Visiting Professor of Botany at Southern Illinois University 1963-64,
has been awarded the degree of D.Sc. of the University of Wales and promoted
to the grade and title of Reader in Botany in that university. Dr. Lacey is
continuing his teaching and re-search in palcobotany in the School of Plant
Biology (former Departments of Botany and Agricultural Botany) at the University
College of North Wales, Bangor. In recognition of his active interest in wildlife
conservation Dr. Lacey has been invited to serve on the Committee for Wales
of the Nature Conservancy (Natural Environment Research Council).
C. DICKISON will become a member of the Department of Botany at the University
of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, beginning the fall of 1969. He had been an
Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
McNEILL of the University of Liverpool, England has accepted a permanent appointment
beginning October 1, 1969 as Chief of the Vascular Plant Taxonomy Section
of the Plant Research Institute in Ottawa, Canada. Dr. McNeill has been on
study leave at the University of California, Irvine, where he will remain
until mid-June; between then and the end of August he will be at the University
of Washington, Department of Botany, Seattle.
new appointments have been recently announced at the University of Alberta.
Department of Botany. PAUL R. GORHAM, formerly with the National Research
Council of Canada, has been appointed as Full Professor. Dr. Gorham, a Fellow
of the Royal Society of Canada since 196], is especially noted for his work
in plant physiology as it relates to the water supplies of cities and range
areas. DAVID D. CASS and JAMES M. MAYO have been appointed as Assistant Professors.
Dr. Cass, formerly a Lecturer at the University of California at Berkeley,
will join the department as a plant anatomist. Mr. Mayo, formerly a teaching
assistant in botany at the University of Washington, will join the university's
team of ecologists.
A. Y., AND C. W. BARNEY. Forest Tree Planting
Arid Zones. Ronald Press Co., New York. 1968. 409 pages + vi. 515.00.
practical textbook for land managers is concerned with establishment and care
of trees and forests in arid and semiarid regions anywhere in the world. All
aspects are covered, including seed collection (with gratifying emphasis on
provenance), nursery practice, field planting, types of forest plantations,
and choice of species. Perhaps of greatest interest to a botanist are: (1)
the cram course on arid zone ecology (chapter 1) which covers climate, soils,
and vegetation in a concise but reasonably accurate fashion; and (2) capsule
summaries of the ecology and use (in arid zones) of 116 tree species. Some
genera are well represented for obvious reasons—Acacia, Cupressus, Eucalyptus,
and Pains, for example. Others, such as Tixodiuna distichum, may come as a
surprise. Site requirements and seed handling practices are summarized by
species in a useful appendix. This is a desirable reference volume for ecologists,
horticulturists, and other botanists concerned with arid regions.
TRAITI DE PALĒOBOTANIQUE. Vol. 2, Bryophyta (S. Jovet-Ast), Psilophyta
(O. A. Hoeg), Lycophyta ( W. G. Chaloner, with the collaboration of E. Boureau).
Boureau, Ed. Masson et Cie, Paris. 1967. Volume 2 of the Traite is an invaluable
work for those who are teaching about, or are starting to investigate, bryophytes,
psilophytes, and lycophytes. The mere bringing together in one volume of excellent
illustrations of these fossils would be considered a major accomplishment.
The extensive increase in our knowledge of these plants during the past quarter
century makes it abundantly clear that bryophytes are not "too delicate to
be preserved," that Psilophyta includes a wide range of types of vascular
plants now known from considerable anatomical and morphological detail, and
that the earliest records of Lycophyta reveal most of the basic features found
in their modern representatives.
features of this volume are particularly significant. One is the attention
given by the authors to microfossils. This reflects the rise of research in
palynology and it is safe to predict that in future revisions the role of
spores and pollen will be substantially increased. The second notable feature
is the care with which stratigraphical data are presented. Only when the precise
time of occurrence of fossils is known with some accuracy can any safe conclusions
be drawn about rates of evolution. Progress in this area is being made steadily
and it deserves all the emphasis it can get. For an extensive, modern, synthetic,
well-referenced, superbly illustrated account of the geologic history of three
major groups of land plants this volume is a "must." It is expensive but the
cost must be balanced against the time that would be involved in searching
out even a fraction of the information for oneself. No less important is the
stimulus to students provided by the opportunity to see so many good illustrations
in one source. Some of the illlustrations, in fact, exceed the originals in
quality. The authors have earned our gratitude for their arduous labors and
the Editor is to be congratulated for his dedication to the task of making
all of this available.
T. A. AND PAUL E. NELSON, A Pictorial
to the identification of Fusarium species. Penn. State University Press. University
Park and London. 1968. 151 pages. $5.95.
Anyone who wishes to name an isolate of Fusauiuw ac-cording to the nine-species
system of W. C. Synder and H. N. Hansen will find this paper-back, spiral-bound
book of real value. Spore characteristics of the nine species and the range
of morphological variation exhibition by spores of each species have been beautifully
illustrated with 84 high-quality black and white pictures presented in 15 plates.
Two color plates are provided to show some of the variation in cultural appearance
of each species. Media and temperature and light conditions necessary for sporulation
are presented in detail. The book represents an excellent, comprehensive compilation
of techniques and procedures developed over the years and which have proved
effective in the culture and identification of the fusaria. The authors intend
that isolates of Fusarium can be identified, even by the inexperienced, simply
by following the cultural procedures and then comparing spores of the unknown
cultures with spores from known cultures as depicted.
authors have restricted their treatise, however, to serve as a guide to identification
at the species level only. Identification of isolates to forma specitalis
or race is still dependent on pathogenicity tests. The guide includes photographs
of spore types of strains recognized in the Snyder and Hansen system as "cultivars,"
and in other contemporary taxonomic systems as species, but names for these
strains are not provided. Nevertheless, anyone wishing to identify an isolate
of Fusarium more precisely than is possible through the broad, nine-species
concept of Snyder and Hansen will still find this pictorial guide useful.
For further precision, i.e. below the species, one must consult other literature.
A bibliography of this literature is provided.
unfamiliar with Fusarium and wishing to ac-quaint themselves with the genus,
and with the Snyder and Hansen system of taxonomy, should study this guide.
The Fusarium worker will likewise find the guide informative and helpful in
terms of understanding more fully the range of variation allowed in the nine-species
G. E. Photosynthesis. American Elsevier Publish-
Company, Inc. New York. 1968. 116 pp. $3.95. As the author points out in the
preface, this book is de-signed for the beginning student. As such, it provides
an excellent introduction and a general survey of the field of photosynthesis
with enough detail to encourage further reading. The book is well organized,
starting with a historical account and finishing with future prospects for
more efficient utilization of the sun's energy. In addition to its value for
beginning students, this book should prove very interesting to research workers
concerned with the practical utilization of photosynthesis.
KATHERINE. Viruses in Plant Hosts. The 1968
Charles Walker Lectures. University of Wiscon-
Press, Madison. 1968. 225 pages. $10.00.
this brief, but exceptionally well illustrated book Dr. Esau presents recent
and largely unpublished studies on the morphological relationships between
two plant viruses and their host cells. Tobacco mosaic virus, a virus that
is not selective in its invasion of the host Nicotiana tabacurn. and sugar
beet yellows virus, a virus that is dependent upon the phloem for successful
invasion of Beta vulgaris, were the subjects for detailed observations on
the form and movement of viruses in plant tissues, the relation of virus to
various cellular components and the ultrastructural changes that occur in
cells in response to infection. Results in the form of 135 excellent electron
micrographs are presented and discussed in terms of current theories on virus
transport, the loci of virus synthesis, and pathogenesis in viral infections.
The detailed description of virus-host relations at the subcellular level
makes this book a valuable tool for plant virologists who attempt to interpret
results on virus-host relations obtained by physiological, biochemical and
biophysical procedures. Further-more, the detail and clarity of the illustrations
showing numerous submicroscopic features of the plant cell together with the
discussion of normal and abnormal cell
make this book a valuable reference for a wide variety of plant scientists.
As the book deals mainly with her personal research, an exhaustive review
of the literature is not included. Literature pertinent to the theme of the
book is utilized effectively as a framework for discussing and interpreting
the results presented.
D. GRAY AND CONSTANTINE J. ALEXOPOULOS. Biology of the Myxomycetes. vii +
288 pp. Ronald Press. New York. 1968. $ 12.00.
Myxomycetes were slightly known curiosities until after World War II. Except
for taxonomic treatment, little scientific work had been done with them. Since
the War the picture has changed remarkably; Myxomycetes have been the subject
of intensive physiological investigations and within the last decade have
been studied genetically. Therefore this critical review and distillation
of the literature is a welcome aid to the biologist. The review and writing
was carried up into 1968 (the year of publication) and the bibliography of
over 500 references is one of the valuable features of the book.
style is clear and the authors maintain a level of technicality which makes
Biology of the Myxomycetes available to the advanced undergraduate and at
the same time it is a work valuable to the advanced researcher.
most of its thirteen chapters the plan follows the life cycles of the Myxomycetes.
The chapters, in order, deal with spores, the uninucleate stage (myxamebae,
swarm cells and microcysts), the plasmodium, the sclerotium, and the sporangium.
Each of these phases is fully discussed in terms of what is known of its formation
followed by a comparative description of the completed phase in one or more
separate chapters (e.g. Chapter 9 "Sporulation," and Chapter 10 "The Sporophore").
The chapter on the nuclear cycle is particularly fine in bringing order into
this jungle of conflicting claims on the location of karyogamy in the life
cycle and whether or not it exists in all cases.
chapters on "Laboratory Cultivation and Nutrition" and on "Geographical Distribution
and Ecology" are valuable to the researcher who wishes to find and grow his
own Myxomycetes instead of depending on the some-what overused laboratory
strains of Physarum polycephalu~zz. This highly atypical Myxomycete has been
accepted as the type for Myxomycetes—because it grows more rap-idly
than any other, is the only one whose nutritional requirements have been fully
worked out, and is the only Myxomycete grown in mass culture.
are very few errors in this book, and these are mostly of omission. Gotrsberger's
1966 paper has " Beitragen" misspelled as "Meitragen." The authors refer to
the popular review of the Frys pere et fille of 1899, apparently unaware that
this unbearably cute bit of popularization ("the myxies!") recurred as a second
edition in 1915.
more serious omission was the unaccountable ignoring of Zopf's Die Pilzthiere
oder Schleimpilze (viii + 174 pp. Breslau 1885) which summed up the physiology,
morphology, cytology, and relationships of the Myxomycetes to that time. Zopf
cites Kiihne's delightful method of stuffing the intestine of a giant waterbug
with powdered dry plasmodium (sclerotium? ), soaking it, and thereby obtaining
a plasma sausage. When stimulated electrically, "the wursr contracted, just
like a colossal muscle fiber."
would disagree with the statement (p. 25) "... with one or two exceptions
there probably are no special problems attendant on the germination of spores
of Myxomycetes in general." The authors make this statement be-cause "a sufficiently
representative number of Myxomycetes have now been germinated." Yet with relatively
few exceptions (e.g. Reticularia lycoperdon) germination is still erratic
and varies from collection to collection. I would agree more with their statement
(p. 27) "The question concerning the factor or factors initially responsible
for spore germination remains unanswered."
as Biology of the Myxomycetes is, it could have been improved by a section
on the general taxonomy and systematics of the Myxomycetes. The systematic
distinctions between the various types of sporangia and plasmodia are scattered
through the text, and the nonspecialist is unable to be oriented in the group.
In the index of genera and species, well-known synonyms which the authors
have rejected should have been listed in the conventionalized italicized form.
Thus all those acquainted with the Myxomycetes know Hemitrichia vesparium.
Few would think to look under Metatrichia vespariuzn. Al-though H. vesparium
is mentioned by this name in the text (p. 9) it is not indexed. These are,
however, some-what minor points, and the authors are to be congratulated for
bringing such a wide variety of physiological, biochemical, cytological, and
ecological material together. Biology of the Myxomycetes is a necessity for
anyone doing or contemplating work with these fascinating organ-isms. Arthur
GIOVANNI. Theories on the Nature of Life.
by A. Stefanelli; translated by D. O. Corsini Olsoufieff. Philosophical Library,
New York. 1969. 374 pages + xii. $6.00.
is not an easy book to read. Philosophical speculations about life, its origin
and purpose, are notoriously difficult to unravel and often impossible to
test experimentally. Nevertheless, it is a useful summary of the more important
theories about life, from materialism and reductionism to panpsychism and
vitalism. It is only by in-direction, however, that the author's own theory
is presented. This is summed up as the belief in the "determinism of the vegetative
biological phenomena and the noncausalism [sc. of those phenomena]" (p. 6).
Unfortunately, this theory is not systematically developed nor are any experimental
data offered in its support.
book is perhaps more useful from the standpoint of the history of biology
and as a critique of previous theories. Extracts from earlier investigators,
biologists as well as philosophers, provide welcome source material for those
interested in the historical development of a complex subject. Jerry
Arthur J. Eames, Professor Emeritus of Botany at Cornell University, passed
away February 13, 1969 at the age of 87 years. A tribute to Dr. Eames appeared
in the Plant Science Bulletin, Volume 13 (4), 1967.