PLANT SCIENCE BULLETIN
A Publication of the Botanical Society of America, Inc.
March, 1970 Volume Sixteen Number One
Plants, People and Polotics1
anyone teaching at a university or college in the United States or anywhere
in the Western World, one of the key words of everyday conversation has come
to be relevance. Students are questioning as never before the relevance of
their studies to the real world outside the academy. While many of them recognize
that important improvements in man's estate have stemmed from undirected,
ivory-tower type pure research, they are also aware that many professors deliberately
turn their backs on pressing social problems for which their expertise would
be useful. They criticize modern academics as inheritors of a tradition which
glorifies the impractical, which demeans the applied and excuses almost any
kind of intellectual effort on the grounds that it may one day become important.
Witnessing the huge gap between our advanced science-technology and our imperfect
social order, our students find it difficult to understand why we, who possess
the knowledge that might contribute toward the solution of these pressing
social problems, fail to volunteer our services. They wonder what it is that
we find so all-encompassing in our laboratories that keeps us from the problems
which are close at hand and which cry urgently for solution. In their inability
to understand our apparent indifference, their voices grow more strident,
their actions more violent. Their attitudes toward science change: science
no longer promises the better life, but rather a harsher, depersonalized overtechnologized
existence, devoid of higher social values. They turn away from science, to
we be concerned by a generation "turned off" on science? Are we not forging
ahead technically, educationally, and scientifically as rapidly as we can
afford to do? Is our society not, in fact, the most prosperous in the history
of man? Must we in any way respond to the cries of those who are disaffected
with the present order? I suggest that to ignore the requests for dialogue
from a large, or even a small, group of our student col-
Address of the Retiring President of the Botanical Society of America, presented
at the Society's annual banquet, and held in conjunction with the International
Botanical Congress, August 27, 1969, at Seattle, Washington.
leagues in educational adventure is not only impolite, possibly arrogant, but
also dangerous. For when discontent is not channeled into proper constructive
path-ways, violence and destruction frequently occur. So, I think we must delegate
some of our best talent to grapple with the problems of society for which our
expertise is relevant, and we must all be prepared to maintain long and searching
dialogues with those who seek to change our institutions through democratic
means. We must engage in a meaningful dialogue not only with this new generation
of students, but also with the society which supports our work. We must face
our responsibilities, not only as the elders and teachers of students, but also
as citizens of our communities, our country, and of the world.
can one say to students who urge their professors to leave the quiet and solace
of the research laboratory for the hurly-burly world of pressing practical
problems and the debilitation which flows from confrontation and argumentation
in the area of politics? In the first place, it must be clear that not all
of us can easily shift from one role to the other, and so not all of us should
be expected to. This, of course, may be construed by our critics as a convenient
cloak behind which all of us can hide. But I hope that in the large community
of world botanists, sufficient practitioners of the various aspects of their
science will step forward to assume socially responsible roles as to gain
social acceptability for the entire field. Our critics must be made to understand
that it is extremely important that we not all leave our lab-oratories for
the political and social battlefield. It has been said that a society that
cares only about the present has no future. Some of those who remain in the
laboratory conducting their apparently aimless researches, unrelated to the
solution of any social problems, may, as we well know, be the most practical
of all men. We need only recall the importance of Charles Darwin's researches
on phototropism in the discovery of plant hormones and thus, indirectly, of
herbicides. Had Darwin been in the employ of a chemical company that put him
onto the job of developing a new herbicide, he might never have come up with
anything new at all. In the same way B. O. Dodge and later G. W. Beadle and
E. L. Tatum, investigating the life cycle and inheritance in the apparently
useless red bread mold Neurospora, have probably contributed more to our knowledge
of genetics, with its great potential for improving the lot of mankind, than
platoons of some animal and plant breeders dedicated to the solution of practical
problems. So, I think the
thing we need to tell our young friends who are challenging us to climb down
out of the ivory tower into the cobble-stone strewn streets is, "Fine, we
will send you a delegation. But some will have to stay up here to keep the
we are going to send a delegation, clearly some criteria are required for
the establishment of proper credentials for our representatives. In setting
up these credentials I think we shall discover paradoxically that we will
want to call on the older, rather than the younger, members of the profession,
and thus perhaps those who feel least sensitively attuned to the demands of
the young proponents of change. Clearly, if our representatives are to retain
their credentials with the scientific community, and be able to influence
the outside world as well, they must have demonstrated competence in their
field for some extended period. Since ventures into the socio-political arena
are somewhat distracting from scientific work, it is to be expected that such
men would be, in a sense, diminishing their scientific productivity. Since,
also, they will be venturing into areas in which opinions are frequently not
decisive, and where opinions may impinge on political prejudices, it might
be well for them to enjoy the security which academic tenure affords. All
this says that our representatives should probably be mature, respected, scientifically
productive and stably placed members of our profession.
are some of the major and pressing problems for which the skills of the botanist
are relevant tools? Certainly if the botanist can make any one special claim,
it is that he understands the plant. Since "all flesh is as grass" it is at
once clear that the ability of this earth to sustain human life stands in
direct relation to its ability to grow sufficient plants, especially food
crops, to satisfy the requirements of man. Heretofore, this has not been much
of a worldwide problem. While it is true that in the preagricultural era,
man's ability to increase his numbers was probably limited by his food supply,
ever since the industrial revolution food has not been limiting to man's increase
in numbers, at least not on a world scale.
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
December 1970 Volume 16
is now reproducing at an absolutely catastrophic rate. There are now about
three and a half billion humans on earth, increasing at about 1.8 per cent
per annum, with a doubling time of about 38 years. This means that by the
year 2000, there will be almost seven billion of us on this planet, and by
that time we will probably be doubling our numbers every generation. How long
can this go on? Guesses have been made and can continue to be made. There
are, of course, some ridiculous outer limits. If we go on at this rate for
about another three thousand years, then there will be about 1023 people on
earth. Since this approximates Avogadro's number, we might say that at that
time the earth will have become one molar with respect to people. If we allow
one hundred pounds per person in such a crowded world, then the total weight
of mankind on earth would exceed 1025 pounds, or just about the weight of
the earth. At this point all of the lithosphere, hydrosphere, and atmosphere
would have been converted into one representative of the biosphere, and the
earth would have become a true monoculture!
are the real limits to the human population on earth? Let us note first that
with our present population of 3.5 billion people, and with technology intruding
into agriculture in most parts of the world, we are still chronically short
of food, even if one assumes adequate means of distribution from areas of
surplus to areas of hunger. Even if we were able to double total world food
production, our progress would be annulled in 38 years in the next round of
world population doubling. Let us remember that doubling agricultural productivity
is no easy task. It takes not only the work of the plant breeder to produce
new high yielding genotypes, the plant pathologist to help us ward off diseases
and predators, the agronomist to help us plan productivity rationally, the
physiologist to develop new growth regulatory compounds and regimes, and the
agricultural engineer to devise the apparatus required for rationalized production,
it requires the raw materials as well. Plants cannot grow without such elemental
requirements as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and as we go to more and
more submarginal lands for a greater productivity, successively higher and
higher quantities of these materials are required. But, as we do that, we
must also remember that we have by now exhausted the highest grades and easily
available supplies of such materials as phosphate rocks. It now becomes necessary
to go to second and third rate sources which require more and more energy
and technology before they are fit for agricultural use. Thus, while I think
it is realistic for us to say that we can certainly do much to improve overall
productivity on the earth's surface, there are limits to what we can perform,
limits imposed by the earth's resources. We foresee in the not too distant
future, certainly within another century, the moment of truth after which
our efforts will perhaps be to no further avail. Any rational program for
linking food supply to expanding population must necessarily deal with problems
of population regulation as well.
botanists we can claim no special competence in human population dynamics,
but because we can say authoritative things about the earth's capacity to
produce foodstuffs to support mankind, what we say about population also has
some relevance. I think we need to say clearly and in unmistakable terms that
the earth's capacity to support mankind is not unlimited, that it is up to
man to decide what kind of world he wants and then to so regulate the number
of individuals permitted to come into that world that the kind of society
which is considered most desirable can be brought about through the best workings
of man's mind and hands. Our failure to take such a step will not prevent
a decision from being made, but rather than being made rationally it will
be imposed by the four horsemen of the apocalypse: hunger. disease, starvation
and possibly war.
is alleged by some prognosticators that because it is so much less efficient
to produce animal foods such as beefsteak and eggs than plant foods, it may
be necessary for us in the crowded world of the future to be largely vegetarian.
This is a prospect which few of us can face with equanimity, and I would like
to ask us to consider whether there may not be any other alternatives. For
example, large acreages are now devoted to crops which are either not necessary,
not beneficial to mankind, or easily supplantable by substitutes. One such
crop is tobacco, whose high cash value causes it to be grown over many thousands
of valuable acres in our own country as well as other parts of the world.
Let us leave aside for a moment the question of the harmful effects of tobacco
on health, which by now have been firmly established. Can we in all good conscience,
in a crowded world hungering for more food, permit the use of many acres of
potential food crop land for the production of a crop which yields absolutely
no food value? In the years ahead we may need to make a decision on such questions.
Botanists might therefore be well advised to consider possible substitution
crops for the areas which might- be displaced from tobacco production, either
because of its menace to public health or because it has become a luxury which
man feels he cannot afford. Other crops with marginal food value for man,
such as celery and lettuce, might have to go. Also rubber and fiber-producing
plants may become marginal as synthetic substitutes become cheaper and better.
only must botanists be aware of the inefficient allocation of land for the
production of the greatest quantity of food for the greatest number of hungry
people, but they must also sense and be prepared to correct our inadequate
planning for catastrophes which could strike us in the future. Historians
of agriculture tell us that modern Western man has failed to introduce a single
important new food crop.' Almost all of our staple cereals, vegetables, fiber
plants, spices, and beverage plants are heritages from the native peoples
whose lands were conquered by the invading Westerners. It is true that in
the hands of modern Western man, the rather primitively cultivated, poorly
yielding original genotypes have been much improved into the highly efficient
photosynthetic machines of the present day. Yet, we must all be aware of the
fact that our dependence on restricted genotypes of the major food plants
of the world could contribute
a catastrophe of astounding proportions. What, for example, if a new pathogen
should arise for our highest producing strains of corn, or rice, or wheat?
Would we have the resources to dip into new genotypes for the production of
reasonably high yielding strains resistant to the new predator? In a world
sensibly geared to meet the needs of people everywhere, much more extensive
international genotype banks of the world's most import-ant crops should be
maintained and fostered for diversity and hardiness to all known pathogens.
Some such efforts are now conducted in various parts of the world by separate
national, state and local governments as well as by universities, research
institutes and private breeders. I believe that some organization such as
the International Union of Biological Sciences should take official cognizance
of this problem, and that an international body of scholars should plan and
maintain such an ongoing effort.
area of public responsibility to which the botanist, among others, owes some
responsibility is, of course, the preservation of the environment in which
we all live. Of the immediate necessity for purifying the air which we breathe
and the water which we drink, I will say little, since this topic has been
well popularized in recent years and is beginning to receive official govern-mental
attention. I would suggest, however, that we might lend ourselves to a revolutionary
rededication to the ideal of a healthy, clean and beautiful environment in
many small ways that do not require national campaigns for implementation.
The concept of the world outside one's house and automobile as a huge garbage
pail available for deposition of all of one's waste must be altered. It is
estimated that each day, each American produces 5 Ibs. of garbage, a total
for the U.S. alone of one billion pounds per day. To preserve the spaceship
earth as a fir environment for life, we must become dedicated to orderly and
complete disposal of these wastes, and to recycle many of them, through new
technology, back into production.
particularly insidious aspect of pollution of the environment is that which
flows from man's desire to rationalize agricultural productivity by the use
of ever increasing quantities of chemicals which are dumped, sprayed, or dusted
onto land and plants. We have be-come so dependent upon such chemicals for
our continued high level of agricultural productivity that to advocate a return
to the hoe or tractor as the sole means of con-trolling weeds and other pests
would be folly. But we should be aware that just as chlorinated hydrocarbons
like DDT, dieldrin and aldrin are now regarded as public menaces because of
their persistence in the biosphere and their potential poisoning of various
kinds of creatures, so may some of our present highly regarded herbicides
and plant growth regulators come to seem less desirable. Research in this
important area must continue. New products must be constantly developed, and
they must be adequately tested as to agricultural effectiveness, ready biodegradability,
lack of ecological side effects, low persistence in harvested foods and non-toxicity
of the quantities which do persist. Our current herbicidal chemicals may be
likened to rather crude buckshot blasts; what we need are more precise weapons
with a much more restricted range of damage.
example of a highly successful, fairly specific, non-toxic and easily biodegradable
herbicide is, of course, 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and its relatives.
Under normal conditions of agriculture, and under proper formulation, these
herbicides may be applied in appropriate dose rates to achieve desired broad-spectrum
selective herbicidal action. So far as we can now tell, this can be done without
harmful side effects; the applied herbicide is completely degraded and largely
converted, in fact, into microbial bodies, so that soil fertility is not disturbed.
of the other more recently introduced herbicides, while they have impressive
toxicities and even desirable specificities under proper formulation, do not
give one the same feeling of comfort concerning their lack of undesirable
perpetuated effects. In fact, some of them may be potential herbicidal analogs
of DDT. I suspect that one such compound is 4-amino, 3, 5, 6-trichloropicolinic
acid, also referred to as picloram or Tordon. While this material certainly
has impressive credentials as a herbicide, and can even be used to denude
an area of conifers, which are insensitive to the halogenated phenoxyacetic
acids, its persistence in soils is so great as to constitute a source of worry.
Under optimal conditions in some soils, of the order of 20 to 50 per cent
of applied Tordon disappeared after 467 days." However, on other soils, poor
in inorganic matter, low in moisture, and low in aeration, only 3.3 per cent
of the applied material disappeared in a similar period. Repeated application
of such a material to productive crop lands could lead to the build-up of
a dangerous titer of herbicidally active material, which could diminish growth
in desirable as well as weedy plants. In view of the fact that no micro-organisms
arc now known which can degrade Tordon as a sole carbon source, and in view
of the fact that between 10,000 and 100,000 parts of exogenous carbon are
required to oxidize one part of Tordon," it would appear important that the
further introduction of this herbicide into agriculture be delayed until the
problem of its persistence in soils can be further clarified. Similarly, atrazine,
which has performed so well as a selective herbicide in corn fields, is currently
causing some worry, since it appears to have produced a diminution of yield
in soybeans rotated onto the same soil in subsequent years.
certain circumstances, even 2,4-D can become a menace. It has been reported
that applications of 2,4-D can cause such a massive increase in the nitrate
content of pasture plants as to sicken animals eating these plants.4 The toxicity
presumably has to do with the fact that nitrate is reduced to nitrite in the
tissue of the animal, and it is the latter compound which causes the symptoms
of malaise. The safe use of 2,4-D also depends on proper environmental conditions
surrounding its application. For example, if much of the applied material
is carried off into streams which find their way into quiet lakes, then 2,4-D
may persist in the cool relatively anaerobic environment of the bottom muds
where the aerobic bacteria that degrade it cannot prosper. Whether such an
accumulation could cause eventual alteration of the algal components of the
lake is unknown. We do know that 2,4-D can affect the vigor of Daphnia and
other lake animals which serve as food for fish.5
is difficult to avoid the conclusion that no herbicide is without its dangers
to the ecology, and must be used under carefully regulated conditions.
currently used pesticides are fabricated around heavy metals, such as lead
and mercury, or around elements such as arsenic, which although relatively
benign in one valence state (+5) may become very toxic if reduced (+3 valence
state). The important difference between such pesticides and the completely
organic ones is that there is no way to achieve complete detoxification after
application. The metal remains, no matter to what form it is converted after
metabolism by plant, soil or animal. Once deposited in the biosphere it may
persist for longer than we would like to admit. We should note, in this connection,
the growing concern in public health circles over the rising quantities of
lead and mercury in the environment surrounding man.
I propose to discuss in closing involves a some-what more difficult problem.
It is the deliberate application of botanical knowledge for destructive, rather
than constructive ends; for the production of barren areas, devoid of vegetation,
rather than rich, green rolling fields; for the destruction of food crops,
rather than their enhanced growth; for the desecration of a natural environment,
rather than its preservation. This misapplication of botany for destructive
ends is a relatively new phenomenon. Not so long ago to be a botanist was
to be assured of being included in the ranks of those whose works could only
benefit mankind. The botanist worked for the discovery of new plant resources
useful to man. He selected the most desirable varieties of such materials,
and by careful breeding brought them into commercial production. He studied
their growth, rationalized their agriculture, devised useful chemicals to
control their growth, and to ward off predators. All these activities could
only improve man's estate. With knowledge, how-ever, comes power, and with
power conies the ability to control events in destructive as well as constructive
ways. Society must continually be on its guard against the misapplication
of science. For our normal peace time activities we have many safeguards built
into the legal structure to protect us against the wrongdoer. In war, when-
there is a breakdown in the fabric of law, harmful practices which have been
banned may suddenly emerge to be used against the enemy as a potent weapon
of war. It is unfortunate, I believe, that herbicides which have done so much
to improve man's productivity have recently been used in a massive way to
create ecological havoc.
the years since 1962, we have dumped more than one hundred million pounds
of herbicides into Vietnam ro defoliate the jungles, to prevent ambush along
roads and waterways, to foil build-up and infiltration by the Vietcong and
their allies, and to deprive outlying communities of the food which they derive
from cultivated rice patches. The chemicals used in this operation have been
largely herbicides which are in use all over the Western world in peacetime
agriculture. These include 2,4-D and its relative 2,4,5-T, picloram, about
which we have spoken earlier, and the arsenical cacodylic acid, which has
been used exclusively to kill rice, elephant grass, and other materials largely
insensitive to the halo-
phenoxyacetic acids. The use of these materials has conferred upon the United
States forces certain military advantages. The removal of dense cover from
around encampments and along roads and rivers has certainly spared American
lives. As such, it must be adjudged a successful military weapon. Yet some
aspects of our use of herbicidal chemicals as instruments of war in Vietnam
have been unwise, and could react in the future to the disadvantage of the
militarily useful weapons are not employed in warfare, either because of the
sense of abhorrence that their use produces or because of fear that retaliation
in kind might do the initial user more harm than good. Thus; for example,
we have not used even small tactical nuclear weapons in Vietnam because of
the suspicion that the introduction of this new quantum jump in destructiveness
would bring us that much closer to a possible confrontation with other nuclear
powers such as the Soviet Union. Like nuclear weapons, chemical and biological
weapons have seen scattered use in warfare. Biolo,gicaI weapons are said to
have been used by Lord Jeffrey Amherst who, in the French and Indian wars,
distributed amongst the Indians blankets which had been previously used for
smallpox patients.'' The resulting smallpox epidemic is said to have been
severe and of military advantage to the British. But that was more than two
hundred years ago, and there are happily no authenticated reports of the use
of biological weapons since then. Chemical weapons have seen greater use.
In World War I, chlorine, phosgene and mustard gas took more than a hundred
thousand lives, and maimed many others. In the Yemen, poison gas was apparently
used by the Egyptians on behalf of their allies the Yemeni Republicans against
the Yemeni Royalists as recently as 1963.' In Vietnam in addition to chemical
warfare against plants we have used more than 14 million pounds of so called
riot control gases, especially CS (ortho chlorobenzalmalononitrile) against
personnel.' The Geneva Protocol of 1925, which was drafted by the United States,
signed by the United States, but never ratified by the U.S. Senate, prohibits
the use in warfare "of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases, and all analogous
liquids, materials or devices." While we never became party .to the Geneva
Protocol of 1925, President Roosevelt, in a statement dated June 12, 1943,
stated categorically that "We shall under no circumstances resort to the use
of such weapons unless they are first used by our enemies." On December 5,
1966, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution calling
for strict observance by all states of the principles and objectives of the
Protocol signed in Geneva in 1925. While resolutions of the General Assembly
are normally not binding as such on member states, they do provide clear evidence
of the state of the law. This UN resolution was passed unanimously, with only
three abstentions, from Cuba, France and Gabon. Thus, the United Nations resolution
of 1966, to which we are a party, declares that the Geneva Protocol today
constitutes general international law, and is no longer a mere contract for
the actual parties to it. It extends both to chemical and bacteriological
warfare. The question then arises, whether in the eyes of the world, the United
States by its use of chemical weapons in Vietnam has contravened these limitations.
Our United Nations Ambassador Nabrit specifically stated his views to the
contrary as follows:9
Geneva Protocol of 1925 prohibits the use in war of asphyxiating and poisonous
gas and other similar gases and liquids with equally deadly effects. It was
framed to meet the horrors of poison-gas warfare in the First World War and
was intended to reduce suffering by prohibiting the use of poisonous gases
such as mustard gas and phosgene. It does not apply to all gases. It would
be unreasonable to contend that any rule of international law prohibits the
use in combat against an enemy, for humanitarian purposes, of agents that
Governments around the world commonly use to control riots by their own people.
Similarly, the protocol does not apply to herbicides, which involve the same
chemicals and have the same effects as those used domestically in the United
States; and the Soviet Union and many other countries to control weeds and
other unwanted vegetation.
Ian Brownlie of Wadham College, Oxford University, states10 "Practices which
must result in depriving peasant communities permanently of their food resources
constitute a crime against humanity, and if persisted in, when large scale
distress is manifest, would amount to genocide. Large scale destruction of
the fertility of the countryside is an operation which is probably more strikingly
indiscriminate as between combatants and noncombatants than any technique
other than resort to nuclear weapons. . . . Large scale crop destruction must
fall foul of these rules, especially when it is carried out from the air."
U.S. Field manual (USFM 27.10.1949, paragraph 24, and 1956, paragraphs 40
and 41) is very precise on this point. It states that destruction of food
crops and food supplies is prohibited unless it can be shown that these are
for the use of enemy combatant personnel. The U.S. has said repeatedly that
intended victims of its food destruction campaign are male, combatant personnel
in isolation from the community, and that civilians are warned in advance,
and told where to go. According to Donald Hornig, President Johnson's Science
Advisor, the real purpose of the anti-crop program was directed at moving
the population out of the NLF controlled areas into those controlled by the
Saigon regime. If this is true, and it appears to be borne out by a survey
of de-foliated areas, it puts quite a different perspective on the entire
operation. Crop destruction has been most marked not in the sparsely occupied
areas where the effect would be largely confined to the NLF guerrillas, but
in the densely populated fertile Mekong delta, the rice bowl of Southeast
in fact, are the ecological consequences of the widespread massive application
of herbicides? With respect to Vietnam, it should be noticed that in 1968
approximately a million and a half acres of forested land and a quarter of
a million acres of crop land were sprayed with an average of about three gallons
per acre (or ca 27 lbs./acre) of chemical. This means that almost fifty mil-lion
pounds of assorted herbicides were dumped on the countryside in that one year.
Most of this was in the form of the phenoxyacetic acids; some was in the form
of picloram; some, probably about three quarters of a million pounds, in the
form of cacodylic acid.
is frequently alleged that a single spray with a defoliating chemical, such
as 2,4-D or 2,4,5-T, produces no permanent damage to a forested area. This,
me, is a pious hope in view of the paucity of hard data available and recent
observations on mangrove associations indicate extensive kill after one spray.a•ts
Certainly no experiments have been done previously in Vietnam with its particular
collection of plants, soil and climate, and often-cited studies done in the
Philippines and in Puerto Rico are relevant but not exactly transferable."
Defoliation at the very least promotes the growth of understory vegetation
such as bamboo, which may then gain a competitive advantage. It may also temporarily
deprive soil microflora of photosynthate, which comes to it in the form of
organic matter excreted through the roots. This deficient microbial action
may not be serious but if extended by repeated defoliation operations may
lead to significant loss of productivity, and may also result in soil erosion.
Permanent denudation of an area by repeated spraying can, of course, lead
to more serious consequences, such as the complete transformation of the forest
to a bamboo thicket, and possible larerization of lateritic soils. It is estimated
in a UNESCO report that more than half of the soils of Vietnam are laterizable.14
Although it is widely supposed that 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T are non-toxic, they
may be washed into the anaerobic rice paddy bottoms, and may there do, harm
to vegetation, crustaceans, and possibly fish which are raised as a byproduct.
We have already spoken about the possible long term effects of picloram. With
regard to cacodylic acid, whose lethal dose in mice is one gram per kilogram
of weight, it can only be said that trans-formation of this material to the
more toxic methylarsonic acid, or to some trivalent form of arsenic, is not
excluded in the cycle of nature, and the indiscriminate clumping of large
quantities of this material over the Vietnamese countryside is in no way to
be considered a beneficial exercise. When one adds to this the dangers of
the opening of the Pandora's box of CBW, and the possible indiscriminate damage
done to children, pregnant and lactating women, and the aged and the infirm
of the civilian population by our food deprivation program, then I think the
picture is one with which most Americans will not feel particularly happy.
We must hope that such chemical warfare, committed in the name of the American
people, will never again - be employed. All American citizens, and scientists
and botanists in particular, need to concern themselves with a practice that,
in the eyes of some, is outside accepted international law. One constructive
move at the present time would be to aid and support a House Joint Resolution
No. 691, proposed by Representatives Edward Koch and Richard D. McCarthy of
New York State, which calls for the setting up of an International Commission
for investigation of the ecological damage caused by the widespread use of herbicides
in Vietnam. The same two Congressmen (House Joint Resolution 457) are also pro-posing
that we ratify the Geneva Protocol of 1925. Even at this late date, such a move
would be in the public interest, and in the waning days of the Vietnam war,
might actually spur our disengagement from that area and promote other arms
control measures which we are currently negotiating with the Russians.
closing, let me make the following suggestions. I believe in the collective
wisdom of the people of a democracy to decide important matters concerning
their own fate. The American public has been deprived, by the Department of
Defense, of information concerning our CB\V operations in Vietnam. Only muck-raking
and reportorial snooping activities have caused them to come to light recently.
We should demand that the books on CBW be opened as completely as is consonant
with the national security. We should learn where the annual CBW allocation
of one third of a billion dollars goes. We should learn how, out of this figure,
seventy-one million dollars in herbicidal chemicals were used. We should have
clear statements on the responsibility for the death of the thousands of sheep
in Dugway, the stockpiling of nerve gases overseas and the disposition of
overaged chemical munitions. We should have clear discussions of the desirability
of the continued production of nerve gases, botulinus toxin, and other CBW
Nixon has moved encouragingly in the last months by announcing a high level
review of all CBW operations.° The U.N. has recently released a report
pointing out the need for a ban on all such weapons,'E and Great Britain has
recommended a total ban on the manufacture and use of biological weapons.''
A senate committee has recently seen fit to delete from the budget all funds
for offensive CBW weapons." The move to ratify the Geneva Protocol is being
pushed in some ad-ministration quarters. I believe that we botanists, as citizens
of our country, and citizens of the world, must get ourselves involved with
these important questions. I do not ask that our Societies endorse any particular
piece of legislation, or any particular proposal, but I do believe that discussion
of these matters at annual meetings, at business meetings, and at International
Conventions is entirely essential as a prelude to individual action. To do
less is to fail in our responsibility as socially concerned scientists and
Carrier, L. The beginnings of agriculture in America. Mc-Graw-Hill, New
Youngson, C. R. et al. Factors influencing the decomposition of Tordon
herbicide in soils. Irz Down to Earth (published by the Dow Chemical Co.)
23 (2) : 3-11. 1967.
Tschirley, F. H. Defoliation in Vietnam. Science 163, 779-786, 1969.
Stabler. L. M. and E. I. Whitehead. The effect of 2,4-D on potassium nitrate
levels in leaves of sugar beets. Science 112, 719-751, 1950. (See also Berg
& McElroy. Canadian Jour. Agric. Sci. 33. 354, 1953. Freiberg &
Clark. Botanical Gazette 113, 322. 1952. Prank & Grigsby. Weeds 206-217,
Crosby, D. G. and K. R. Tucker. Toxicity of aquatic herbicides to Daphnia
magna. Science 154, 289-290, 1966.
"Military Biology and Biological Agents." Department of the Army Technical
Manual No. 3-216, March 1964.
Salvia. 1. Gas in Yemen. Scientist & Citizen 9 ( 7) : 149- 152, 1967.
Record, H4775, June 12, 1969.
and Biological Weapons: Some possible approaches for lessening the threat
and danger." Prepared for the Special Subcommittee on the National Science
Foundation of the Committee on Labor and Public Welfare of the U.S. Senate,
I. Legal aspects. In CBW, Steven Rose, Editor, Beacon Press, Boston, 1969.
M. In discussion following reference 10.
E. W. and G. H. Orians. Mission to Vietnam.
Part 1. Scientific Research. June 9, 1969, pp. 22-30.
2. Scientific Research. June 23, 1969, pp. 26-30.
of tropical and subtropical woody plants to chemical treatments. Research
Report CR-13-67, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, February, 1968.
R. Review of research on laterites. UNESCO Natural Resources Research
Robert B. Nixon orders study of policy on germs and gas in warfare. N.Y.
Times, June 18, 1969.
York Times, July 3, 1969.
Haven Rezister. July 10, 1969.
John W. Pentagon denied funds to develop gas-germ agents. New York Times,
July 4, 1969.
added in proof:
evidence indicates that 2,4,5-T is teratogenic, at least in mice and rats
(Report of the Secretary's Commission on Pesticides, and Their Relationship
to Environmental Health, Parts I and II, U.S. Department of Health, Education
and Welfare, December 1969, Chapter 8). The toxicity may possibly be due to
an impurity of the dioxin type (FDA fact sheet on 2,4.5-T, 1970). The entire
situation is well reviewed in "Chemical-Biological War-fare; U.S. Policies
and International Effects," hearings be-fore the Sub-Committee on National
Security Policy and Scientific Developments of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
House of Representatives, November-December 1969.
FROM THE EDITOR
III of the By-Laws of the Botanical Society provides that the terms of office
of the Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Botany and the Editor of
the Plant Science Bulletin shall be five years. Dr. Heimsch completed his
five-year term this past year, and Dr. Norman Boke, as most of you know, is
the new Editor-in-Chief of the American Journal of Botany. This present year
is my fifth and last as editor of the Bulletin. Article IV of the By-Laws,
as published in the 1967-1968 Yearbook of the Botanical Society, reads in
part, "To fill each vacancy . . . the President shall appoint a Committee
consisting of the incumbent Editor-in-Chief as chairman and two other members."
The candidate selected by this committee must then be confirmed by the Executive
Committee of the Council. This section was somehow deleted from the By-Laws
published in the 1969-1970 Yearbook, but on the assumption that this, whether
still "official," is a reasonable procedure, I shall be happy to receive any
nominations you may wish to suggest, and shall refer them to the pertinent
committee or council.
the paragraph above was in galley proof I received notification from President
Lincoln Constance of the appointment of the following members to serve as
the nominating committee: William L. Stern, University of Maryland, William
T. Jackson, Dartmouth College, and Adolph Hecht (chairman), Washington State
Prize in Phycology for 1970
committee on the Darbaker Prize of the Botanical Society of America will accept
nominations for an award to be announced at the annual meeting of the Society
at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, in 1970. Under
terms of the bequest, the award is to be made for meritorious work in the
study of microscopical algae. The committee will base its judgment primarily
on the papers published by the nominee during the last two full calendar years
previous to the closing date for nominations. At present, the award will.
be limited to residents of North America. Only papers published in the English
language will be considered. The value of the Prize for 1970 will depend on
the income from the trust fund but is expected to be about $250. Nominations
for the 1970 award accompanied by a statement of the merits of the case and
by reprints of the publications supporting the candidacy must be received
by June 1, 1970, by the Chairman of the Committee, Dr. H. C. Bold, Department
of Botany, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, 78712.
pre-convention conference on "Regulation in Plants: The Plant Hormones and
Their Mechanisms of Action," is being sponsored by the Committee on Education,
Botanical Society of America and the Office of Biological Education, AIBS.
This conference, scheduled to be held in conjunction with the AIBS Meetings
at Indiana University, August 22, 23, 1970, is for college teachers, and designed
to present the current state of knowledge of the topic under consideration.
Where possible, suggestions for supportive laboratory study in the classroom
and demonstrations will be presented. Committee for this conference is: W.
F. Millington, Chairman, Helena Miller and A. W. Ruesink. Registration forms
will be available in BioScience. The program is as follows:
Peter Ray, Stanford University Lecture, questions and discussion. Coffee Break
J. Eugene Fox, University of Kansas. Lecture, questions and discussion. Lunch
3:00 Gibberellins and Abscissic Acid. Dr. Hans Kende, MSU/AEC Plant Research
questions and discussion. Coffee Break
Stanley Burg, University of Miami. Lecture, questions and discussion.
Hormones in Fungi and Algae.
Alma Barksdale, New York Botanic Garden.
questions and discussion.
Regulation in Plants.
Anton Lang, Director, MSU/AEC Plant Research Lab
Mountain National Park Seminars
ninth season of the Rocky Mountain National Park Seminars will begin on June
22, 1970. Courses of study offered include Mountain Geology, Mountain Ecology,
Alpine Ecology, Bird Ecology, Animal Ecology, Plant Identification, Advanced
Plant Identification, and an Ecological Conservation Workshop. The workshop
will be held July 27 through August 8 and will conclude the 1970 session.
will be Dr. Robert B. Johnson, professor of geology and department chairman
at Colorado State University, Fort Collins; Dr. Paul D. Kilburn, associate
professor of biology at Principia College, Elsah, Illinois; Dr. Gustav A.
Swanson, Head of the Department of Fishery and Wildlife Biology, Colorado
State University; Dr. John C. Wanamaker, professor of biology at Principia
College; Dr. Joseph L. Weitz, professor of geology at Colorado State University;
and Dr. Beatrice E. Willard, ecologist and Vice President of Thorne Ecological
Foundation, Boulder, Colorado.
seminars are held in Rocky Mountain National Park, and consist primarily of
field trips in the Park—an area "designed" for study of ecology. Laboratory
work and lectures are also included. Accommodations are avail-able in Estes
Park; Rocky Mountain National Park has several campgrounds. It is possible
to receive credit for the seminars from the University of Colorado Extension
Division if desired. Anyone wishing further information is asked to write
Tom C. Thomas, Executive Secretary, Rocky Mountain Nature Association, Estes
Park, Colorado 80517.
seminars are sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Nature Association in cooperation
with the Colorado State Department of Education, Estes Park Chamber of Commerce,
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, National Park Service, Thorne Ecological
Foundation, and University of Colorado Extension Division.
Summer Session at The University of Oklahoma Biological Station, Lake Texoma
curriculum in botany will be as follows:
State University Corvallis, Oregon 97331 Paleobotany Dr.
State College Weatherford, Oklahoma 73096
Harold Schlichting North Texas State University
Texas 76203 Taxonomy of Dr. James Hardin
Plants North Carolina A &T State University
North Carolina 27411
for admission and financial assistance may be obtained from:
Paul G. Risser
of Botany and Microbiology
University of Oklahoma 770 Van Vleet Oval, Room 134 Norman, Oklahoma 73069
Alpine Flower Tours on Mt. Washington and the Presidential Range, New Hampshire
annual alpine flower tours of the Appalachian Mountain Club will be conducted
at Mizpah Spring Hut June 13-14, 1970; at the Lake of the Clouds Hut June
16-19 and at Madison Spring Hut June 19-23. While conducted for the climbing
public these tours offer an excellent opportunity to see the unique alpine
flora of the region at its peak of flowering. A botanist and a geologist act
as guides. Further details and information about housing may be obtained by
writing to the Appalachian Mountain Club, Pinkham Notch Camp, Gorham, New
geneticist Matthew S. Meselson, appointed by the American Association for
the Advancement of Science to plan a study of the effects of defoliants and
herbicides used in South Vietnam, has named Dr. Arthur H. Westing to be director
of the project. Westing is Associate Professor of Botany and Chairman of the
Department of Biology at Windham College, Putney, Vermont. He holds a Master's
degree in forestry and a Ph.D. in plant physiology, both from Yale University.
Dr. Westing has done field research with the United States Forest Service
on the effects of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, herbicides that have been used massively
as defoliants in Vietnam. Recently he returned from Cambodia, where he took
part in an investigation of herbicide damage to rubber plantations and crops.
Westing will coordinate the work of specialists in several scientific fields
in order to prepare a detailed operational plan to investigate the effects
of these chemicals on the long-term ecology and on human welfare in Vietnam.
Dinner for All Botanists
Annual Dinner for All Botanists was held in the Main Ballroom of the Student
Union Building on the campus of the University of Washington, Seattle, Wednesday,
August 27, 1969. President Harlan Banks presided at the head table at which
were seated the officers of the Society. The Ballroom was filled to capacity
with 512 members and guests; numerous requests for tickets had to go unfilled.
In an effort to give an international flavor to the Dinner which was being
held during the XIth International Botanical Congress, the Society was privileged
to have as its guests at the Dinner many distinguished foreign botanists.
Banks introduced the first of these distinguished guests which were Corresponding
Members of the Botanical Society: Professor Hans G. Burstrom (Sweden), Professor
David G. Catcheside (Australia), Professor Jean Feldmann (France), Dr. Albert
F. Frey-Wyssling (Switzerland), Professor Roger Jean Gautheret (France), Professor
Hiroshi Hara (Japan), Professor Eric G. Hulten (Sweden), Dr. Hiroshi Kihara
( Japan), and Dr. C. R. Metcalfe (Great Britain). President Banks also pointed
out that he had received from most of the other 26 Corresponding Members expressions
of regret that they were unable to come to the Congress and the Dinner.
second group of distinguished botanists was then
to the assemblage. President Banks noted that in honor of the occasion of
the International Botanical Congress the membership of the Society at the
annual business meeting held on the preceding Monday had elected to Corresponding
Membership eight foreign botanists preeminent in various fields of plant sciences.
Five of these botanists were present at the Dinner and each was called to
the podium to stand while the President read a citation of his accomplishments:
Ashida, Professor Emeritus of Botany, Kyoto University, Japan
student of leaf movements in Aldravanda, leader of a group studying the inhibitory
action of copper on yeasts and of adaptive changes in yeast and fungi to metal
toxicants, founding father of the Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists
and of its distinguished journal, Plant & Cell Ph}siology, able teacher
and former Dean of Students at Kyoto University.
Buvat, Professor of Plant Cytology, University of Marseilles, France
many years Professor Buvat has studied the processes of differentiation and
dedifferentiation of plant cells. His cytological descriptions of apical and
subadjacent cells of the shoot meristem have led to new concepts of organization
of the stem apex and have defined the roles of subapical cells in leaf organization.
His recent studies with the electron microscope have clarified the structure
and role of the dictyosome, the endoplasmic reticulum and the plasmalemma
of plant cells.
Khristoforovich Chailakhian, Professor and Head of Laboratory for Growth and
Development, Timiriazev Institute of Plant Physiology of the Academy of Sciences
of the USSR, Moscow
Chailakhian more than 30 years ago clearly enunciated the concept of a flowering
hormone in plants and by ingenious grafting experiments placed the concept
on a firm experimental basis. More recently he has recognized the importance
of gibberellins in flower formation and growth regulation in higher plants,
especially in connection with nucleic acid metabolism. His wide ranging interests
led him to formulate original and interesting contributions to the study of
polarity and regeneration in plants and to maintain clear and logically feasible
concepts of the nature of genetic processes.
Eric Holttum, Director-Emeritus of the Singapore Botanical Gardens and active
researcher at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England
Holttum is a world renowned taxonomist and Dean of living pteridologists.
He has made many revisionary studies of fern genera, has stabilized fern nomenclature
and has contributed extensively to fern phylogeny and ecology. His books on
"Plant Life in Malaya," "The Bamboos of the Malay Peninsula," and especially
"Orchids of Malaya" have had very broad influence.
Adolf von Stosch, Professor of the University of Marburg, Germany
Stosch and his students have made important contributions to the culture and
nutrition of numerous diatoms, flagellates and higher algae, both marine and
freshwater. These investigations have frequently led to incisive inquiry into
details of life cycles and cytologic, genetic, developmental, physiological
and ecological questions. All have been ably investigated and have greatly
enriched our understanding of the biology of the lower plant forms.
newly elected members were not present at the Congress, but the President
read the following citations to the gathering:
Collander, Professor Emeritus of Botany at the University of Helsinki, Finland
Collander's work on the penetration of solutes into plant cells is classic
and is cited everywhere. The data gathered by Collander and his associates
furnished the main basis for the theory that penetration is frequently correlated
with liquid solubility. This concept, in turn, has played an important role
in the formulation of modern structures for the differentially permeable cell
Martens, Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium
Martens is well known for his numerous cytological and morphological investigations
and for his founding of the journal La Cc/lute. His wide ranging interests
have led him to studies on division of erratic chromosomes, intercellular
spaces, plasma membranes, life cycles and sexuality of fungi, the cytology
of ferns and most recently, the morphology of the Gnetales. In his spare time
he has written a successful textbook of general botany and has contributed
also to the fields of floral biology, paleobotany and evolution.
Troll, Professor Emeritus at the University of Mainz, Germany
Troll together with his students has undertaken the herculean task of recording,
analyzing and interpreting the great diversity of vascular plant forms and
the principles and mechanisms responsible for this diversity. His "Vergleichende
Morphologie der hoheren Pflanzen" is a masterful summary which stands as a
hallmark of modern botanical literature. Not only do these works stamp him
as the foremost plant morphologist of this day, but his investigations of
the physiological ecology of mangroves and of alpine plant geography show
him to be a man of unusual scope as well.
Xlth International Botanical Congress was rep-resented by its President, Dr.
Kenneth Thimann, who is a Past-President of the Botanical Society of America,
Dr. George Fischer, Executive Director of the Congress, and Dr. Frans Stafleu,
Rapporteur General of the Nomenclature Section of the International Botanical
Congress. In addition all 39 Honorary Vice-Presidents of the Congress had
been invited. Thirty-two of the Vice Presidents were able to be present:
Joji Ashida (Japan), Dr. A. A. Bitancourt (Brasil), Dr. Arturo E. Burkhart
(Argentina), Prof. Hans G. Burstrom (Sweden), Prof. David G. Catchesicle (Australia),
Dr. M. Kh. Chailakhian (USSR), Dr. Pierre Chouard (France), Dr. Jens C. Clausen
(U.S.), Dr. Ralph E. Cleland (U.S.), Dr. John N. Couch (U.S.), Dr. Gunnar
Erdtman (Sweden), Dr. Katherin Esau (U.S.), Dr. Knut Faegri (Norway), Dr.
An. A. Fedorov (USSR), Prof. Albert F. Frey-Wyssling (Switzer-land), Dr. Roger-Jean
Gautheret (France), Prof. Hiroshi Hara (Japan), Prof. J. G. F. Mcichers (Germany),
Dr. Charles it. Metcalfe (England), Dr. Kurt Mothes (Germany), Dr. Philip
A. Munz (U.S.), Prof 'I'. S. Sadasivan (India), Dr. A. L. Takhtajan (USSR),
Sir George Taylor (England), Prof. Wm. Randolph Taylor (U.S.), Dr. M. J. Thirumalachar
(India), Dr. N. V. Tsitsin (USSR), Dr. R. de Vilmorin (France), Dr. John C.
Walker (U.S.), Prot. R. H. Wetmore (U.S.), Dr. J. Lanjouw (Netherlands), Dr.
Tobias Lasser (Venezuela).
the address of Past-President Gaiston, President Banks introduced Professor
Roger Jean Gautheret of Paris who read the following statement on behalf of
the Corresponding Members who were invited guests of the Dinner:
want to tell you a few personal memories about your Society.
I began my work on tissue culture in 1931 the literature on this subject was
very poor. The principal papers were those of Robbins in the American Journal
of Botany. And, my eldest contact with your Society was the reading of the
results of this pioneer.
your journal played an important role in the early establishment of tissue
culture. As a matter of fact, it has published the more important papers of
WHITE, HILDEBRANT, RIKER, BAIL and later of the many American botanists who
contributed to the development of this subject.
is the past. For the present all chapters of science are so gigantic that
even their founders are no longer capable to cover them completely. May I
give a personal example. When I began my work I had to know less than 30 papers.
And now the field of tissue culture has produced more than 5,000 publications.
Perhaps this does nor prepare some failure but it weakens certainly the pleasure
of research. Therefore, it is essential that the old Societies preserve a
good balance between the new and the traditional aspects of science.
reading the American Journal of Botany I find wonderful that orientation towards
the newest ways of biology, such as molecular biology, has not suppressed
the part reserved to classical aspects of morphology and physiology.
is very satisfactory to remark that the Botanical Society of America respects
its best traditions and this is one of the reasons which makes me proud to
be a corresponding member of your Society. I hope that young people will maintain
your excellent traditions."
Banks noted that time did nor permit introduction of all the many invited
guests at the Dinner, but in order to facilitate the membership's meeting
the guests, identifying badges had been supplied each guest. Following the
Dinner the lounges in the Student Union were open for an informal reception
at which it was possible for many regular members to make the acquaintance
of the Distinguished Guests.
PHII.IP L., AND DOROTHY S. DITTMER (Compilers and Editors). Metabolism. Federation
of American Societies for Experimental Biology. Bethesda, Maryland, 1968.
737 pp. 520.00.
latest addition to the series of FASEB Biological Handbooks should be the
most useful of all to date, particularly to specialists in human or animal
handbook reflects the much greater research activity and completeness of information
in animal metabolism than in plant metabolism. Only 2 of the 9 chapters deal
exclusively with plants (and these mainly with the lower forms), while 5 chapters
are concerned entirely or mainly with animals. The remaining 2 chapters (on
nutrients and metabolic pathways) deal with organisms generally, or with either
animals or plants as appropriate. Plant scientists will be disappointed with
the scanty attention given the Bryophyta and Tracheophyta.
at least in areas familiar to the reviewer, a patent effort has been made
to present up-to-date information in all fields of currently active research,
in addition to the assembling of older data which will continue to be useful.
handbook is exceptionally well indexed, and is especially noteworthy among
biological handbooks in the completeness of its inclusion of plant and animal
names. The handbook will have even greater utility because of the appendixes,
in which there are separate listings of plants and animals, both by scientific
name with corresponding common name, and the converse.
DANIEL. J. The Flowering World of "Chinese" Wilson. The Macmillan Company,
New York, 1969. xv+334 pp. $6.95.
author, a former editor of Horticulture Magazine, has written a foreword,
an introduction and two chapters, one being a short biography of Wilson, the
other an annotated listing of the plants that Wilson had introduced. The remaining
25 chapters are a selection of E. H. Wilson's published writings. Approximately
one-half of these are reprintings of chapters from Wilson's Plant Hunting.
published in 1927. The other chapters are from Wilson's Aristocrats of the
Garden (1926), More Aristocrats of the Garden (1928), Aristocrats of the Trees
(1930), and If I Were To Make a Garden (1931). Most of the 31 pages of photographic
illustrations are not from Wilson's own publications, but illustrate plants
introduced by him or ones that he had written about. An early formal photo-graph
of Wilson and his wedding picture are also included. To one who was fascinated
by Plant Hunting, the present volume also provided delightful reading.
J., R. W. SCHERY, F. W. WOODS AND V. W. RUTTAN. Plant Science—An Introduction
to World Crops, W. H. Freeman and Co., San Francisco, 1969. 629 pp. 512.00.
an-age increasingly dedicated to "relevance" and "immediacy" in all matters
of education and politics, it seems that a good case can be made against most
departments of Botany, and also departments of Biology (with the exception,
of course, of those at Yale and Cal Tech—see P.S.B. 15 (3) :6-7! ),
as regards the relevance of whatever plant material might be mentioned in
their general or introductory courses. Or perhaps the botanical material presented
is indeed relevant, but presented in such a way as to obscure the relevance
from the student, who is most likely not a science or biology major. Such
students may memorize enough specific, often isolated, derail in the form
of plant names, biome types, citric acid cycles, amino acid sequences, etc.,
etc., to pass the necessary examinations. However, these students graduate
from some of our finest schools and—from personal communication—I
know their botanical background is such that they cannot effectively read
a common seed catalog and do not know
applied botany to grow their own grass (sensu stricto! ) .
the other hand, it is amazing how much "pure" botany can be taught effectively
when it is given as a part of, and in relation to, some useful or pertinent
bit of botanical information. The new Plant Science book by Janick, Schery,
Woods and Ruttan takes just such an approach. Here genetics is taught under
crop improvement where it has meaning; ecology and some aspects of plant physiology
are covered under crop nutrition and crop environment; while other aspects
of physiology, structure and development are profitably associated with reproduction
and propagation. An acquaintance is made with many families of plants which
come into relatively sharp academic focus not through a rote study of some
phylogenetic system of classification (so dear to the hearts of all taxonomists!
), but through repeated contact with the family name, and certain characteristics,
in relation to products of interest or value to the beginning student.
book is put out as one of a series in Agricultural Science and I am sure it
will serve its purpose well in this field. Since Parts I, V and VI, comprising
some 325 pages, are essentially "Economic Botany" as it is often taught in
a liberal arts curriculum, the book may be useful to some, as I believe it
will to me, in this context. How-ever, I expect the primary value of the book
lies in its role as a prototype, if used properly, in bringing meaning and
interest to the introductory study of plants, and plant materials, as organisms
relevant to our current culture.
C. C. AND M. L. RIEDESEL, Editors. Physiological Systems in Semiarid Environments.
University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 1969. 293 pp. $9.00.
book consists of a series of papers presented during a seminar of the same
title at the University of New Mexico in November, 1967. The book as a whole
can only be of minor usefulness to the botanist as only about a third of the
book concerns plants. Furthermore, of the ten papers dealing with plants,
two are only abstracts, and two other papers, despite their interesting ecologic
content, do not seem to pertain strongly to the subject of "physiologic systems."
These are the papers by J. S. Williams and R. E. Boche which describe some
vegetational gradients and a mathematical model for predicting plant growth
from environmental data, respectively.
the remaining six papers, the discussion of W. L. Ehfler concerning a stomatal
action in a succulent plant, Agave americana, contains little new information.
J. J. Riley's paper on the physiologic responses of plants to salinity seems
to have only limited usefulness since his conclusions were largely based upon
work with red kidney bean; his approach, however, might prove useful in future
papers by F. W. Went, H. J. Dittmer, I. Mc-Nulty, and L. G. Klikoff seem well
worth reading. Went's discussion of autoinhibition and the possible lack of
plant competition among desert plants is particularly provocative, although
I would strongly question statements like ". . . the laws of classical mechanics
rather than of thermodynamics hold" when considering water movement in the
soil-plant system. Dittmer also presents an interesting discussion of the
role of roots in drought adaptation, while McNulty's conclusions of salt effects
on "succulence" and the resulting effects on gas exchange for respiration
and photosynthesis should certainly be considered in future investigations
of the ecology of saline situations. The Klikoff paper dealing with ecoclinal
and ecotypic differences in mitochondrial oxidative rates suggests a strong
correlation between the temperature conditions of a population and its subcellular
activity. I think this paper is especially noteworthy for its ability to relate
molecular phenomena to questions at the population-community level.
the book as a whole is disappointing in indicating what is known or has been
done with plant adaptation mechanisms in plants to semiarid conditions. Nonetheless,
some worthwhile channels for future investigations seem to be suggested in
BENSON. The Cacti of Arizona. Third Edition. xiv + 218 pages, 110 figures,
17 color plates, 41 maps. University of Arizona Press, Tucson, 1969. $6.95.
BENSON. The Native Cacti of California. xii + 243 pages, 72 figures, 16 color
plates, 23 maps. Stan-ford University Press, Stanford, 1969. $7.95.
two books are by-products of a larger study, all but completed, on the cacti
of the United States and Canada. That will be technical, but these are addressed
to the broadest range of readers: they go far enough for most botanists but
take pains to start at the very beginning.
introduction to each book covers not only the structure, classification, naming,
and identification of cacti but also the floras and vegetation types of the
state and the occurrence of the cacti in these vegetation types. Keys to genera
and species are full and detailed, description concise (with measurements
in feet, inches, and awkward fractions), and synonymies complete, with type
localities but without references. All documented localities in the state
are shown on the maps. When the species includes three or more varieties,
these are compared in a table.
Californian and most Arizonan species are illustrated, though several varieties
are not. Photographs, drawings, and paintings are mostly good to excellent
and are more numerous than the statistics above imply. The 16 color plates
in the California book, for example, include 20 paintings, some with several
parts, and 42 photographs.
nearly parallel in organization, the two books differ in format, in illustrations
(with very few in common), and in wording not only of discussions but even,
to some extent, of keys and descriptions. The California book has a much fuller
discussion of the floras, touching also on their geologic history, and has
sections on world climatic zones, early studies of California cacti, and people
have contributed to the study of these plants. The Arizona book includes new
taxa and new combinations and a short section on how to grow the plants.
cacti are a difficult group, poorly represented in herbaria, the specimens
often hard to interpret. At both generic and specific levels, recent authors
have subdivided them very finely—till "cactusization" has almost become
the word for excessive subdivision. Dr. Benson in his early work, on the contrary,
took a most conservative position on genera, accepting a minimum until he
could study them closely enough to subdivide on a sound basis. In the first
edition of the Arizona book, he accepted five; but now, after 30 years' more
study, he accepts eleven. Only the Cereae are still treated conservatively,
the six species of Arizona and California (and presumably all others of the
United States) kept in the one genus Cereus. Since this group has only a few
outlying species in the United States, the solution of the generic problems
would require extensive study of numerous Latin American species; and this
he has not undertaken.
Arizona book includes 68 species and 55 additional varieties, as compared
to 72 species and 4 varieties in the first edition. Of those 72 species, 52
are retained (often under different names), 16 reduced to varieties, and four
placed in synonymy. Thus 16 species and 35 varieties have been added in 30
years, 14 of them first described by Dr. Benson. The California book includes
35 species and 27 varieties.
every taxonomic work necessarily builds on earlier work, these books are in
every sense thoroughly solid and original contributions, far surpassing all
previous treatments for their areas. The principal work, of which these are
by-products, is therefore awaited with high expectation.
ROBERT H. 1970. Communities and Ecosystems. Macmillan, Toronto. xi -~- 162
pp., illus. $3.95 (paperback edition).
and Ecosystems is designed in the words of the series editors, " . . . to
give the student in general biology, zoology, and botany an in-depth view
of the principal aspects of life science." The aspect of this volume is synecology.
a brief introduction to such terms as ecosystem, natural community, and synecology,
the author discusses community structure and composition. Treatments of horizontal
pattern and vertical structure are adequate. Changes in community structure
with time are discussed, but the work phonology is not mentioned. Niche is
well treated, however, one point of confusion may result. On p. 19 Dr. Whittaker
states, "For space, in application to a community, read niche," while on p.
22 he writes "Occupation of niche space in this community involves first the
relation of species to the vertical height axis." It appears that niche changes
its meaning between these pages, otherwise we must read niche (= space), or
space ( niche) niche. Discussion in this chapter also requires
prior knowledge of Chi-square measurement and Poisson distribution, terms
not likely to be in a beginning student's vocabulary.
importance of environment in shaping communities is emphasized in Chapter
3. At this point the author submits four hypotheses for explaining distribution
of vegetation along an environmental gradient. When these are compared to
field evidence, the continuum approach is found superior to others (including
the discontinuum approach). Examination of the "evidence from the field,"
plus the method of analysis (p. 36), shows this conclusion to be unavoidable,
for no mention is made of successional status. In fact, succession and climax
are discussed 32 pages later. The reader is given the impression in Chapters
2 and 3 that if anything plots as a bell-shaped curve, it correctly portrays
the community. The remainder of the chapter includes a satisfactory discussion
of world vegetation, plus a good selection of photographs.
and marine productivity are considered in depth in Chapter 4, including discussions
of production measurement, food chains, and trophic levels. Here as in several
other places the author forgets the audience for whom the book was intended
by including discussions (pages 90-91) which approach mathematic exercises
in their detail. Difficulty in understanding these examples is heightened
by not using wider spacing in the text, so that symbols and values can be
good discussion of cycling (organic, mineral, and biogeochemical) and pollution
(radioactive isotope, pesticide, eutrophication, and atmospheric) is provided
in Chapter 5. Here again an involved discussion is included (page 124), however,
several terms such as r ("sum of the decimal fraction transfer rates for output
from the pool"), and k ("an instantaneous rate constant") are confusing at
best. In following this discussion of residence time for substances in a pool,
it is not clear whether there are one or two k's, for one is smaller than
the other and appears as an exponent. At any rate, the equations are of dubious
value to the beginning student. Although treated as a point of history in
the text, danger of radio-active pollution by the Hanford Works in eastern
Washington remains a problem even today. In the concluding remarks (Chapter
6), Dr. Whittaker presents an admirable summary on consequences of failure
to consider man as part of the biosphere.
map of world vegetation is included at the end of the text. This untitled
and unreferenced chart apparently indicates formation-types of the world,
however, vegetation denoted as "mountain" is not by that name included in
the discussion on pages 52-64. The map's composition resembles in parr several
standard vegetation maps of the world, with the exception of central China
which is surprisingly lumped as "mountain" vegetation. The cartography is
unsatisfactory even for an introductory text.
spite of the generally critical review, I believe the text could be adequately
adapted for introductory biology courses, and as an introduction for professionals
in other fields, for no other book to my knowledge synthesizes these topics.