Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 1997 v43 No 1 SpringActions


News from the Society, the Sections and the Committees

Gnetales Symposium Published by Paleobotanical Section and Developmental and Structural Section

For over a century, the Gnetales have been viewed as an enigmatic group of seed plants. During the past ten years, significant advances have been made in the understanding of the fossil history, vegetative anatomy, reproductive morphology, pollination biology, fertilization biology, and ecophysiology of the Gnetales. As a consequence of the recognition that Gnetales are the most closely related extant organisms to angiosperms, an understanding of their biology and evolutionary history is directly relevant to issues associated with the evolution of seed plants and the origin of flowering plants, two topics of considerable interest to plant biologists.

During the twentieth century, only two broadly-based works have been published on the Gnetales: "Gnetales" by H. H. W. Pearson (1929) and "Les Gnétophytes" by Pieffe Martens (1971). "Biology and Evolution of the Gnetales" is being published as a supplementary issue of the International Journal of Plant Sciences. The original presentations by the authors took place at a Botanical Society of America symposium in 1995, that was cosponsored by the Paleobotanical and Structural and Developmental Sections and organized by W.E. Friedman. This volume will serve as an excellent reference work for graduate students, postdoctorals and faculty whose interests are focused on plant diversity and evolution.

 Contents: W.E. Friedman, Introduction to biology and evolution of the Gnetales; J.A. Doyle, Seed plant phylogeny and the relationships of Gnetales; R.A. Price, Systematics and biogeography of Gnetates; P.R. Crane, The fossil history of the Gnetales; S. Carlquist, Wood, bark and stem anatomy of Gnetales: a summary; W.E. Friedman and J.S. Carmichael, Double fertilization in Gnetales: implications for understanding reproductive evolution among seed plants; L. Hufford, The morphology and evolution of male reproductive structures in Gnetales; P.K. Endress, Structure and function of female and bisexual organ complexes in Gnetales. 125 pages, I color plate, 21 halftone plates.

Order information: Individual copies of "Biology and Evolution of the Gnetales", supplement to International Journal of Plant Sciences, volume 157:6, November 1996 are available from the University of Chicago Press, Journals Division, P.O. Box 37005, Chicago, IL 60637. Individuals, $11.00; Institutions, $33.65. Outside USA, please add $7.50 for postage; Canadian Residents, please add postage and 7% GST.

ISSN 0032-0919
Published quarterly by Botanical Society of America, Inc., 1735 Neil Ave., Columbus, OH 43210
The yearly subscription rate of $15 is included in the membership dues of the Botanical Society of America, Inc. Periodical postage paid at Columbus, OH and additional mailing office.

POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:

Kim Hiser, Business Manager
Botanical Society of America
1735 Neil Ave.
Columbus OH 43210-1293

Phone/Fax: 614/292-3519      email: hiser3 @ osu . edu

Mid-Continent Section of BSA to Meet with SWARM Division of AAAS
18-22 May 1997

The Mid-Continent section of BSA will have its annual meeting with the SWARM (Southwestern and Rocky Mountain) division of AAAS from 18-22 May at Texas A & M University in College Station. The BSA Mid-Continent section includes the states of. NM, CO, WY, TX, OK,AR,KS,MO,NE, IA, SD, ND, and MN. Botanists in the region are strongly encouraged to attend the meetings and to contribute papers or posters. AAAS and the mid-continent section are sponsoring a fullday symposium organized by Hugh Wilson (Texas A & M) entitled: Biodiversity and the World Wide Web: Problems and Prospects. The section also presents awards for outstanding student papers and organizes fieldtrips at the meeting. Although deadline for submission of abstracts was 15 February, information on programs, registration, scheduling, and room reservations can be obtained from: Dr. Donald Nash, Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO 80523 (phone: 970/491-5481, e-mail: dnash @ lamar . colostate . edu).


Botanical Society of America members and their families are reminded that contributions to the BSA are tax-deductible. Gifts to special funds and to the Endowment help support current and future Society projects, including travel to international botanical congresses, the "Botany for the Next Millennium" project, botanical education materials for the K- 12 classroom, a Washington D.C. presence for the BSA and coordination with other scientific societies.

Members and friends are also invited to remember the BSA when planning their estates. Memorial gifts and bequests are gratefully accepted and may be in the form of cash, stocks, bonds, and other real property. If you have questions about how to arrange such gifts, contact the Business Office, 1735 Neil Avenue, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210 Telephone/Fax: 614/292-3519

Developmental and Structural Section Is "On-Line"

The Developmental and Structural Section of the Botanical Society of America is now connected through email. All current members of the section (with email addresses) will be able to receive infrequent, but important information about our discipline, job opportunities, and upcoming meetings. In order to prevent this new mode of communication from becoming junk mail, notices will be sent out from the chair of the section no more frequently that once a week, and in all likelihood, about once a month. Almost 300 members have replied to the first attempts to connect the members of our section. The goal is twofold: to maintain communications among our membership beyond the confines of our annual meeting, and to facilitate the transmission of information about professional opportunities to our younger members.

If you have a faculty job notice or a postdoctoral opportunity that you wish to be publicized, please send the information to William (Ned) Friedman at ned @ colorado . edu. Also, if you (or anyone you know) are currently not connected (i.e. have not received any email transmissions) and are a member of the Developmental and Structural Section, please email to the above address and you will be connected.
- William (Ned) Friedman Chair, Developmental and Structural Section

Editorial Committee for Volume 43
James D. Mauseth (1997)
Department of Botany
University of Texas
Austin, TX 78713
Allison A. Snow (1998)
Department of Plant Biology
Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
Nickolas M. Waser (1999)
Department of Biology
University of California
Riverside, CA 92521
P. Mick Richardson (2000)
Missouri Botanical Garden
P.O. Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166
Vicki A. Funk (2001)
Department of Botany
Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C. 20560


Personal Library Needs Home


After a 50-year career of teaching and research, I am now faced with the problem of disposition of my sizable personal library. Areas emphasized include morphology, anatomy, palynology, paleobotany, systematics and economic botany. I also have bound volumes of the reprint edition of the American Journal of Botany (Vols1-7, 1914-20), plus green buckram-bound volumes of AJB 29-70 (1942-1983). Persons interested in specific titles should contact me at the address listed below. Phone: 602-965-1762; Fax: 602-965-6899; E-mail:

      James E. Canright, Professor Emeritus

      Department of Botany

      Arizona State University

    Tempe, Arizona 85287-1601

U.S. National Herbarium Wood Collection Now On-Line


Label information associated with the Wood Collection (U.S. National Herbarium, US) is now available electronically. The Wood Collection of the Sniithsonian's National Museum of Natural History (USw) contains approximately 42,500 specimens representing almost 3000 genera. In addition, approximately 5000 microscope slides are associated with the Wood Collection. The label information associated with these collections has been WAIS indexed and interested parties are encouraged to access this information electronically at the following URL: gopher:// where they should first select <Botany at the Smithsonian Institution>, then <Wood Collection (U.S. National Herbarium, US)>. This will give them a choice to read either more information about the collection or initiate a search of the database. The "about" file also provides information regarding formal requests for material for sectioning.

- Laurence J. Dorr
Department of Botany
Smithsonian Institution

Announcements, Nominations and Applications

In Memoriam


Longtime member Lenette Rogers Atkinson, 97, a resident of Bellvue, Washington, passed away November 26,1996. Dr. Atkinson had been a member of the Botanical Society of America since 1921, longer than any current member. Born March 30, 1899, in South Carver, Massachusetts, she was a graduate of Mt. Holyoke College. She received the Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in 1926. She taught briefly at both those institutions.

She was married in 1928 to Geoffroy Atkinson, professor of romance languages at Amherst College in Massachusetts. They had met in Belgium while they were both on Guggenheim and Belgian-American Foundation fellowships.

Dr. Atkinson's research was in classification of ferns. She was an honorary member of the American Fern Society, a member of the Linnean Society of London, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She was secretary of the American Fern Society from 1963-1968. In her 70's she was invited to present results of her research in London.

Her survivors include two daughters, five grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. The family suggest remembrances Dr. Atkinson's name be made to the American Fern Society.

(Based on material from the Eastside Journal, Bellevue WA, and from Dr. Atkinson's family).

Educational Opportunities

Eagle Hill Field Seminars, 1997

The Humboldt Field Research Institute offers a number of I or 2 week seminars which involve intensive practical field experiences, follow-up lab work and discussions, and are taught by leading national and regional authorities. Topics of botanical interest include Mosses, Liverworts, and Sphagnum Mosses, June 8-14; Lichens and Lichen Ecology, June 15-21; Bryophyte Ecology, June 22-28; Systematic Botany, July 20-26; Sedges, Rushes, and Grasses, July 27 - August 2; Marine Macroalgae and their Microscopic Forms, August 24-30; and Field Ethnobotany: Medicinal Plants, September 7-13. The seminars are offered for an advanced and professional audience, well-qualified university and college students, and amateur naturalists. Seminar participants in the past have included independent scholars, university professors, serious amateur naturalists, professional field biologists and consultants, foresters, teachers, as well as personnel from museums, botanical gardens, various federal and state agencies, and numerous environmental organizations.

The seminars are offered at the Humboldt Field Research Institute (formerly know as Eagle Hill Field Research Station), which is located on the coast of Maine on the summit of the peninsula just east of the Schoodic Pt. section of Acadia National Park and just west of Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge. Most seminars may be taken for 2 or more graduate or undergraduate credits by registering through the University of Maine. A detailed brochure is available from Humboldt Field Research Institute, PO Box 9, Steuben ME 04680-0009, (207) 546-2821, fax: 3042, e-mail:, WWW:

Recombinant DNA Lab Courses 1-13 June 1997

During the summer of 1997, Indiana University's Department of Biology, in cooperation with the I.U. Division of Continuing Studies, will offer two week-long laboratory courses focusing on the techniques and procedures used in recombinant DNA research and their application. Participants also have the opportunity to work with a DNA sample of their own research organism. Both courses will be taught on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington.

Recombinant DNA Technology - The first course, "Recombinant DNA Technology," will introduce participants to procedures involved in recombinant DNA work and to the molecular aspects of genetic engineering. Most of the procedures that are taught to biology graduate students in the recombinant DNA section of a graduate techniques course at Indiana University will be covered. Participants can make arrangements to isolate genomic DNA from their own research organisms during the course.

The following techniques will be included: DNA and cloning vector manipulation, PCR technology, preparation of recombinant DNA, transformation of bacterial cells, selection and assay of cloned and amplified fragments of "foreign" DNA, transfer of DNA for probing (Southern blot), preparation of nonradioactive DNA probes, and use of web sites in research and teaching. "Recombinant DNA Technology" is designed for those with a basic understanding of the structure of DNA and elemental genetics and with a minimal understanding of enzymes and biochemistry. The course is scheduled for June 1-6, 1997. Registration deadline is May 16.

Application of recombinant DNA Technology: RFLP and Fingerprinting Analysis, RAPD Analysis and DNA Sequencing - This course will provide participants with the opportunity to learn about the materials and techniques used in recombinant DNA research. Participants may bring a DNA sample to sequence during the course. This course will emphasize the following techniques: DNA sequencing using non-radioactive methods, RAPD analysis of genomic DNA, fingerprinting and RFLP analysis of genomic DNA, electroporation of bacterial cells, chemiluminescent detection of nucleic acids, application of computers to DNA sequencing data analysis, preparation of random fragment sequencing libraries and double-stranded DNA for sequencing, use of bioneb cell and bipolymer disruption systems, and use of web-based sites for molecular biology.

A basic understanding of the structure of DNA and elemental genetics is assumed for participants in this short course, as is a minimal understanding of enzymes and biochemistry. Previous experience with PCR or RFLP analysis and DNA sequencing is not a prerequisite, nor is completion of "Recombinant DNA Technology." This course is scheduled for June 8-13, 1997. Registration deadline is May 16.

The instructor for both courses is Dr. Stefan J. Surzycki, Associate Professor of Biology at Indiana University. The registration fee for each course is $995. The fee for those enrolling in both courses is $1,615. The fees include all instruction, laboratory supplies, use of equipment, and lab manuals. For additional information, contact Jane Clay, Division of Continuing Studies, Owen Hall 204, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405, phone (812) 855-6329, internet, web:

Call for Nominations

The 1997 Greenman Award

The Greenman Award, a certificate and a cash prize of $1,000, is presented each year by the Missouri Botanical Garden. It recognizes the paper judged best in vascular plant or bryophyte systematics based on a doctoral dissertation published during the previous year. Papers published during 1996 are now being accepted for the 29th annual award, which will be presented in the summer of 1997. Reprints of such papers should be sent to Dr. P. Mick Richardson, Greenman Award Committee, Missouri Botanical Garden, P. 0. Box 299, St. Louis, Missouri 63166-0299, U.S.A. In order to be considered for the 1996 award, reprints must be received by 1 June 1997.

Call for Applications

Kleinhans Fellowship for Research in Tropical Non-Timber Forest Products

The purpose of this award is to promote research into the practical means of managing and using tropical forest resources without destroying the integrity of the forest ecosystem. The research will synthesize elements of conservation and business and must lead to the development of a product or marketing technique that can provide incomes for community-based groups living in or near tropical forest areas. A thoroughly documented paper suitable for publication is required.

The Kleinbans Fellowship research area is restricted to Latin America, though projects that can eventually be replicated in other parts of the world are encouraged. Research involving any tropical forest type, wet or dry, in Latin America is eligible. Anyone with a master's degree in forestry, ecology, environmental science or appropriate related fields may apply; doctoral candidates or post-doctoral researchers preferred. Applicants may substitute relevant experience for degrees.

The fellowship provides a grant of $15,000 (US) per year, for two years. Please note that the Fellowship will not subsidize academic tuition and fees, nor will it cover costs of purchasing transport vehicles or unnecessary or unreasonable equipment. The Kleinhans Fellowship is administered by the Rainforest Alliance, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of tropical forests. This fellowship is part of the Rainforest Alliance's program to develop ecologically and socially sound alternatives to the economic practices that cause tropical forest destruction.

For more information and guidelines for application, please contact Rain Forest Alliance, c/o Ina F. Chaudhury, Kleinhans Fellowship, 65 Bleecker Street, New York NY 10012, USA; tel. (212) 677-1900; fax (212) 677-2187; Application deadline is April 3, 1997.

1998-99 Fulbright Awards for U.S. Faculty and Professionals

Opportunities for lecturing or advanced research in over 135 countries are available to college and university faculty and professional outside academe. U.S. citizenship and the Ph.D. or comparable professional qualifications required. For lecturing awards, university or college teaching experience is expected. Foreign language skills are needed for some countries, but most lecturing assignments are in English.

The deadline for lecturing or research grants for 1998-99 is August 1, 1997. Other deadlines are in place for special programs: distinguished Fulbright chairs in Western Europe and Canada (May 1) and Fulbright seminars for international education and academic administrators (November 1).

Contact the USIA Fulbright Senior Scholar Program, Council for International Exchange of Scholars, 3007 Tilden Street, NW, Suite 5M, Box GNEWS, Washington, DC 200083009. Telephone: (202) 6867877. Web Page (on-line materials):; e-mail: (requests for mailing of application materials only).

The Rupert Barneby Award

The New York Botanical Garden is pleased to announce that David S. Seigler of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is the recipient of the 1996 Rupert Barneby Award. Dr. Seigler will be working on the acacioid legumes of North America and Mexico.

The New York Botanical Garden also invites applications for the 1997 Rupert Barneby Award. The award of $1,000.00 is to assist researchers to visit The New York Botanical Garden to study the rich collection of Leguminosae. Anyone interested in applying for the award should submit their curriculum vitae and a detailed letter describing the project for which the award is sought. Travel to NYBG should be planned for sometime in 1998. The letter should be addressed to Dr. James L. Luteyn, Institute of Systematic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY 10458-5126 USA, and received no later than December 1, 1997. Announcement of the recipient will be made by December 15th. Anyone interested in making a contribution to The Rupert Barneby Fund In Legume Systematics, which supports this award, may send their check, payable to The New York Botanical Garden, to Dr. Luteyn.

Symposia, Conferences, Meetings

Wildflowers of Baker Prairie:
Botanical Paintings by Kate Nessier
27 March - 30 May 1997

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation of Carnegie Mellon University will display "Wildflowers of Baker Prairie: Botanical Paintings by Kate Nessier" from 27 March through 30 May 1997.

Kate Nessler's paintings depict approximately 50 of the wild plants that grow in the Baker Prairie Natural Area, a tract of 71 acres (most of it virgin grassland), in Harrison, Arkansas.

The traveling exhibition is a joint endeavor of Ms. Nessler, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, and the Arkansas Arts Council. Nessler began painting the prairie wildflowers in April 1993 and completed the last painting in the fall of 1994. In documenting the wildflowers and grasses of the prairie through the seasons, she intended to "create a traveling exhibit for artistic and educational purposes ... [and] increase public awareness of the beauty and fragility of such a prairie."

Kate Nessler lives in Kingston, Arkansas. Throughout her 15 years as a botanical artist, her botanical subjects have included wildflowers, garden bouquets and orchids, and she has won numerous awards, including three gold medals from the Royal Horticulture Society (RHS) in London. Both the Hunt Institute and RHS hold Nessler artworks in their permanent collections, and her paintings are also in many private collections around the world. Telephone (412) 268-2434 for additional information.

13th Symposium Morphology, Anatomy and Systematics
6-11 April 1997

A symposium will be held in Leuven, Belgium at the University of Leuven from April 6-11, 1997, entitled "13th Symposium Morphology, Anatomy and Systematics." Further information can be obtained from the Symposium Secretariat, Laboratory of Plant Systematics, Botanical Institute, KU Leuven, Kardinaal Mercierlaan 92, B-3001 Leuven (Belgium) - Telephone: (**32)16 321545; Fax: (**32)16 321979.

ASC Annual Meeting
24-26 April 1997

The 1997 ASC Annual Meeting will be held in Atlanta, Georgia, on April 24-26, 1997. The meeting will immediately precede the 1997 meeting of the American Association of Museums (AMM). The Meeting will be held jointly for the first time with the Association of Science Museum Directors (ASMD).

The theme of the meeting, "The Collections Based Mission of Natural History Collections," is meant to focus on the core mission of institutions with natural history collections, which is to maintain those collections for use in research and the education of a broad public constituency. The connection between the collections, research derived from the collections, and public programniing will be explored by several nationally-known speakers, and will be the subject of a workshop session cosponsored by the AAM Education Committee.

Information on hotels and registration forms will be available shortly from ASC. Contact us at our web site,, ask for information by email to or wait for our mailing to members, if you are an ASC representative.

Southwestern Botanical Systematics Symposium
23-24 May 1997

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden is pleased to present its 13th annual Southwestern Botanical Systematics Symposium on 24 May 1997.  The topic, "Evolution and Taxonomy of Southwestern Plants", will address advances in our understanding of plant groups occurring in the southwestern United States and adjacent area. The keynote speaker is Billie L. Turner, University of Texas, Austin. Other presenters are J. Curtis Clark, California State Polytechnic University (on Encelia and relatives, Asteraccae), J. Travis Columbus, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (Bouteloua, Gramineae), Gerald J. Gastony, Indiana University (cheilanthoid fems), Jennifer A. Matos, California State University, Northridge (Pinus, Pinaceae), J. Mark Porter, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden (Polemoniaceae), and Robert S. Wallace, Iowa State University (Cactaceae).

Early registration (prior to 30 April) is $45 ($25 for students). After 30 April registration is $65 ($40 for students). This fee includes the Friday evening mixer and Saturday lunch. The Saturday evening banquet, featuring Dr. Turner's keynote address, is $35 (16 May receipt deadline). Registration brochures, containing information on housing, may be obtained from or Ann Joslin, Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, 1500 N. College Ave., Claremont, CA 91711-3157, (909) 625-8767 ext. 251, fax (909) 6263489, e-mail:

American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta Annual Conference
28-31 May 1997

The 1997 Annual Conference of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta will celebrate the magnificent and innovative gardens in New York City. It will be held at the Hotel Millennium May 29-31, with field trips, workshops, and study tours scheduled at various sites in the area. Sessions will feature well known experts and opportunities to discuss issues in many areas of interest, including garden design, new plant introductions and information management; woody plant care and historical site enhancement; the National Science Education standards, learning theory as it relates to gardens; administrative management and fundraising, working with volunteers, and innovative public programming; and conservation, research, and graduate education in gardens. Early bird registration deadline is March 29. To receive a registration brochure, write AABGA, 786 Church Road, Wayne, PA 19087, fax 610/293-0149.

Conference on Siskiyou Ecology
30 May - 1 June 1997

The First Conference on Siskiyou Ecology will be held on May 30 - June 1, 1997 in Cave Junction, Oregon. The conference will include presentations on a broad spectrum of topics, including past and current research on regional flora and fauna, the botanical significance of the area, unique geological features, and historical changes influencing the integrity of the region. Keynote speakers will include Dr. Art Kruckeberg of the University of Washington, and Dr. Frank Lang of Southern Oregon State College. We encourage anyone interested in presenting talks or posters at the conference to send an abstract of 300 words or less by March 1, 1997. Send abstracts and/or requests for registration information to: attn: Jennifer Beigel and Erik Jules, Conference on Siskiyou Ecology, c/o SREP, P.O. Box 220, Cave Junction, OR 97523, or email The conference is sponsored by the Siskiyou Regional Education Project, Southern Oregon State College Biology Department, and the Oregon Caves National Monument.

Missouri Ozark Forest Ecosystem Project (MOFEP) Symposium
3-5 June 1997

A symposium will be held June 3-5,1997 in St. Louis, Missouri, to present pre-treatment findings of a long-term, multi-scale, multi-disciplinary, operational research effort focused in the oak-hickory and oak-pine hills in the southeast Missouri Ozarks. Approximately 25 papers will be presented by scientists from throughout the Midwest who are conducting research on the same experimental sites. An optional field trip to the MOFEP sites will be available for those interested on the last day of the symposium. For more information and registration materials contact Brian Brookshire, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0180, tel. (573) 751-4115, extension 304, or e-mail

In Vitro Biology Congress
14-18 June 1997

The Society for In Vitro Biology will hold its annual meeting 14-18 June 1997 in Washington, D.C. The theme for the Congress will be "Defining Cellular Mechanisms In Vitro." The abstract deadline is 17 January 1997, and the Hotel and Meeting registration deadlines are 14 May 1997. For further information, contact Tiffany McMillan, tel (410) 992-0946, fax (410) 992-0949.

Environmental Stewardship Workshop
24-26 July 1997

"A wide variety of people are entrusted with the crucial mission of teaching our youth about trees and the environment," says Mimi Wickless, Education Director for The National Arbor Day Foundation. "We designed our How To Teach Youth About Trees and Environmental Stewardship Workshop to bring together those individuals who have the opportunity to educate youth, regardless of whether they do their teaching in classrooms, parks, nature centers, museums or scout meetings."

Participants will receive a variety of top-notch, kid-tested environmental education materials and learn how to adapt them to meet their specific needs. The How to Teach Youth about Trees and Environmental Stewardship Workshop will be held July 24-26, 1997 at Arbor day Farm's Lied Conference Center in Nebraska City. The stream and woodlands at Arbor Day Farm make a perfect laboratory for this type of workshop.

"This promises to be an intense, exciting experience for participants," Wickless says. "In just three days, we plan to give to give them a lot of material that they can put to immediate use." For more information, please contact The National Arbor Day Foundation at (402) 474-5655.

American Society of Plant Physiologists and Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists Annual Meeting
2-4 August 1997

The Joint Annual Meetings of the American Society of Plant Physiologists (ASPP), and the Canadian Society of Plant Physiologists will be held August 2 through August 4, 1997 in Vancouver, British Columbia. Participating in the meeting will be the Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists and the Australian Society of Plant Physiologists, lnc. For more information and to register, please contact Sharon Mulheron, American Society of Plant Physiologists, 15501 Monona Drive, Rockville, MD 20855; phone: (301)251-0560; fax: (301) 297-2996; e-mail:

Advances in Plant Molecular Systematics
13-15 August 1997

This three-day meeting ofthe Systematics Association at the University of Glasgow, U.K. will explain recent developments in the rapidly expanding field of plant molecular systematics. A broad spectrum of the taxonomic hierarchy will be included, ranging from infraspecific variation and population differentiation to high level phylogeny and developmental genetics. Particular attention will be given to the applicability Of different approaches at different taxonomic levels, and the meeting will reflect the importance of the contribution of molecular population genetics and phylogeny reconstruction to the understanding of evolutionary processes and patterns among plants.

Speakers are J. Davis, R. Olmstead, W. Hahn, J. Doyle, V. Albert (USA), S. Barrett (Canada), WPowell, R. Ennos, C. Ferris, R. Gomall, K. Wolff, R. Abbott, C. Stace, P. Hollingsworth, S. Harris, T. Pennington, F. Bakker, R. Bateman, C. Morton, M. Chase, T. Hedderson, Q. Cronk (UK).

Further information can be found at or obtained from Pete Hollingsworth, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G 1 2 8QQ, U.K. Fax: + 44 (0)141 330 5971; e-mail

XIII International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry
21-27 September 1997

XIIlth International Symposium on Environmental Biogeochemistry (ISEBXIII) "Matter and Energy Fluxes in the Anthropocentric Environment." September 21-27, 1997, Monopoli (Bari), Italy. Contact person: Prof. N. Senesi, Instituto di Chemica Agraria, University of Bari, Via Amendola 165/A, 70126 - Bari, Italy. Tel. +39.80.5442853, fax +39.80.5442813, e-mail

Brassica 1997
23-27 September 1997

The ISHS Symposium on Brassicas and the Tenth Crucifer Genetics Workshop are scheduled 23-27 September 1997 at Rennes, France. Brassica 1997 is sponsored by the International Society for Horticultural Science, the Crucifer Genetics Cooperative, Institut National de la Recherche Agrononiique, and Ecole Nationale Sup6rieure Agronomique de Rennes. For information, contact Secretariat Brassica 1997, ISHS Symposium on Brassicas/Tenth Crucifer Genetics Workshop, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Rennes, Dr. Grégoirenomas, Science du Végétal, 65 Rue de Saint Brieuc, F-35042 Rennes Cedex, FRANCE, Telephone (33) 99 28 54 76, Telefax (33) 99 28 54 80, e-mail

Plant Evolution and Domestication
26-27 September 1997

Indiana University will hold a weekend symposium in honor of Dr. Charles Heiser's prominent contributions to Botany during his 50 years at IU. The symposium is entitled "Plant Evolution and Domestication," and will take place Friday evening, September 26 and all day Saturday, September 27. Speakers include Greg Anderson, John Doebley, Jeff Doyle, Don Levin, Barbara Pickersgill, Charles Rick, Loren Rieseberg, Doug Soltis, and Herb Wagner. Registration fees are $75.00 for regular participants and $25.00 for students. For further information contact Angi Bailey or Jennifer Jones, Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 474056801. Phone: (812) 855-6705, email:

Sixth International Mycological Congress
23-28 August 1998

The Sixth International Mycological Congress - IMC 6 is scheduled to take place from August 23-28, 1998 in Jerusalem at the ICC Jerusalem International Convention Center. The Congress Program encompasses a wide array of themes structured of symposia sessions and workshops, daily plenary lectures, social activities, and a special program for accompaning persons. For further information please contact: Congress Secretariat, P.O. Box 50006, Tel Aviv 61500, Israel. Tel: 972 3 5140014, Fax: 972 3 5175674/514007. E-mail: for Compuserveusers: ccmail:MYCOL at Kenes; for Internet users: Information on the Sixth International Mycological Congress may be found on: the WWW at:

Book Reviews

Book Review: Ecological

The Ecological Risks of Engineered Crops. Jane Rissier and Margaret Mellon. 1996. ISBN 0-262-68085-8 (paper US$16.95) ISBN 0-262-18171-1 (cloth US$30.00) The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA 02142 - This short book (168 pages) by Jane Rissler and Margaret Mellon presents some of the important and controversial issues associated with the commercialization of genetically engineered crops. As of 1996, transgenic crops approved for commercialization include insect-resistant potato and cotton, virus resistant squash, and herbicide-resistant soybean. Within the next decade or so, many more kinds of transgenic vegetables, grains, fruits, trees, fiber crops, and ornamentals are likely to be produced and potentially be available for use on a global scale. With this in mind, it is particularly appropriate to consider potential environmental risks of engineered crops.

Rissler and Mellon's book focuses on two main categories of environmental risk: (1) the potential for certain transgenes to confer or enhance weediness in some crops (either by enabling the crop to persist in the field or by increasing its ability to invade new habitats) and, (2) the movement of transgenes via pollen from engineered crops into populations of nearby wild relatives. In either case, if the transgenes are for traits that may confer higher fitness, such as resistance to herbicides, disease, or insects, then it is possible for the transgenic crop/wild relative to gain a selective advantage and thereby result in a "better" weed that is more difficult to control. In addition to exacerbating weed problems on a farm, transgenic wild weedy plants potentially could invade natural communities causing local extinction of native populations and thereby alter community composition. The authors rightly point out that of particular concern are transgenic crops that already have weedy tendencies or that have cross-compatible wild relatives that are weeds. The authors also briefly discuss the potential environmental risks of virus-resistant plants and suggest that the widespread use of transgenic crops could adversely impact centers of crop diversity and thereby diminish the genes available for breeding new characteristics into crops.

Rissler and Mellon recommend a number of steps to address these concerns and propose a workable three-tiered scheme to (1) evaluate whether a transgenic crop will become a weed and, (2) to evaluate the potential for transgene flow via pollen from an engineered crop to a wild relative and subsequently, to assess the wild relative for increased weediness. Moreover, the authors indicate that the United States government should strengthen its regulatory programs regarding the commercial release of transgenic crops.

Although parts are a bit repetitive, this book is well written and informative and the generally nontechnical prose make it accessible to a wide audience. In the classroom, it (along with a second text) would make for an interesting discussion-oriented course on the pros and cons of agricultural biotechnology. For plant ecologists and evolutionary biologists reading this book, potential fitness-enhancing properties of certain transgenes (and their possible environmental consequences) may spark interesting lines of applied research. Perhaps, most importantly, this book should stimulate debate among environmental regulators, policy makers, agricultural biotechnologists and the general public, on the future role of engineered crops. If you are interested in environmental issues related to recombinant DNA technology, I would recommend this book -Timothy P. Spira, Department of Biological Sciences, Clemson University

Book Review: Economic Botany

The Living Fields: Our Agricultural Heritage. Harlan, Jack R. 1995. ISBN 0-521-40112-7 (cloth US$49.95) xv + 271 pp. Cambridge University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011-4211 - The Living Fields: Our Agricultural Heritage is Jack Harlan's overview of agricultural origins based on plant and animal domestications. As usual, Harlan is a master at combining material from diverse disciplines. While many themes and facts appear in previous writing such as "Crops and Man" (1992-2d ed.), this book emphasizes domestication in context of Pleistocene Holocene environment change and its effect on resources available to humans. Hypothesis about the "when", "how" and "why" people developed agriculture frame factual discussion. Harlan includes speculation and many personal reminiscences, especially collecting vignettes. He expresses much respect and admiration for the different peoples whom he visited, and who often helped him. Harlan describes changes he has seen in: I -professions allied with crop evolution studies; 2-personal ideas on locating crop origins, from discrete centers a la Vavilov towards more diffuse regions based on ecological requirements of individual crop ancestors; and 3-agriculture in germplasm collection areas. These are often in lesser developed regions which have transformed themselves with modern technology and infrastructure.

The first three chapters show the wide subject range needed to discuss agriculture's beginnings. Chapter I describes mythic and religious explanations of how people learned to farm. Agricultural knowledge is almost always pictured as some divine gift associated with instruction in useful arts such as ceramics, in laws, and a rise from savagery. (Strangely only the Bible, in Genesis, depicts it as a curse.) Yet modern hunter-gatherers show a great store of practical understanding of local ecology. They often skillfully manipulate environments to encourage useful plants and animals. In some cases, hunting-gathering was the basis for societies rich in food and material goods. Then why bother to farm? The hypotheses mentioned above about agriculture's origins are given; they are returned to in the last chapter.

Chapter 2 treats processes of domestication in plants and in animals, recollections of Vavilov, the famed Russian ethnobotanist, and the sequence of information for studying crop evolution. Domestication differs from environmental manipulation because it genetically alters the organism. Changes are related to the selective screen" that humans create when they harvest, store, and plant, and to the local environment. These locally adapted "land races" were what farmers grew for most of human history. Modern large-scale planting of genetically uniform material increases yield under good conditions, but permits equivalently large-scale losses under unfavorable ones. For years, Harlan and others have pointed out modern agriculture's vulnerability that could be lessened through more ecologically-based management. Interactions of ancestors, weeds, and domesticates are discussed. Gene transfer from crops to weeds does occur, and poses major agronomic problems in weed and disease control.

Chapter 3 deals with archaeology, dating, and identification. Over the last 30-40 years, archaeology has greatly changed. The amount of information from any one site is greatly increased. Current archaeology reconstructs daily lives and social and environmental conditions. Archaeological teams include botanists, geologists, and other specialists. Wider use of flotation recovers tiny organic debris. Increasingly sophisticated dating and identification techniques are available. Calibration within and among methods and understanding of limitations are better. Archaeological and paleoclimatic data show world climate change at the end of the Pleistocene. Megafaunal loss, coupled with habitat change from ice melt and rising sea levels, may have created conditions under which humans found plant foods more important.

Chapters 4 through 7 discuss agriculture's origins in different world regions. Each chapter starts with description of paleoclimate and biomes from which cultivar ancestors are believed to have come. Archaeological evidence of tools, plant remnants, animal bones, and any associated cultural descriptions are included. Descriptions of general domestication patters and then of individual crops and animals follow. These include possible progenitors, genetics, adaptations, and human uses and customs, including linguistic evidence.

Chapter 4 covers the Near East. Agricultural origins seem to have been fairly concentrated in space and in time, 12,000-11,000 YBP. After discussion of possible source habitats, morphology and genomes for wheats, barley, pulses and flax, Harlan uses the fall of the Old and Middle Kingdoms of Egypt to illustrate "agricultural vulnerability". Written records from the first indicate prolonged drought, while during both times major movements of people and societal collapses occurred, probably indicating regional drought. Likewise, Mesopotamian cuneiform tablets record increases of barley harvest relative to emmer wheat, and then, later drop in barely itself. These are linked to salinization losses. When agriculture works, many more people can be fed than through hunting-gathering. But "famine and starvation are ... integral ... and agricultural systems are fundamentally unstable." (pg. 115).

Chapter 5 treats Africa, where most crop domestication seems more diffuse, extending crops across the savanna of the sub-Sahara region. Sorghum and yams in particular are discussed. In Sorghum, linguistic groups coincide with cultivars. Tropical forests and the East African highlands provide very different environments, and likewise, crops. Decrue agriculture uses seasonal rise and fall of water level and drying of the land. It is common along certain African rivers such as the Nile, and in wetlands. Along parts of the Niger River Delta, the irregularity in timing, extent of innundation, and of drying requires particular skill to estimate available water and to select appropriate crops.

Chapter 6 on the Far East includes China, southeast Asia, the Philippines, Indonesia and the smaller southwest Pacific islands, and India. North China seems to have been a center of origin. Domestication in the other areas seems more dispersed. North China agriculture is based on millets (various Panicum species) and soybean. Millet names in the Indian languages of Sanskrit, Hindi, Bengali and Gujarati all suggest a Chinese relationship. Vegetables found in modern markets, some of which originated outside the region, have been modified or are used in local ways. Examples are snow pea pods, stem lettuce, and swollen, smut-infested stems of wild rice from eastern China's coastal plane. While south China's main crop is annual rice, rice agriculture did not dominate until human population density and societal structures permitted large-scale water control projects. In China this was about 400-3 00 BC; the date for start of intensive agriculture in southeast Asia is unknown. Current images of southeast Asia include huge wet paddies. But much of this is relatively recent, in the last 200-100 years, with construction of modern dikes and drainage. Evidence for agricultural start on many islands has probably been drowned by sea level rise. In India, northern crops are closer to those of southeast Asia.

Chapter 7 discusses the Americas. While the exact time and nature of human migrations may not be clear, people were on these continents long before evidence of agriculture. Plant domestication seems to have been as early or even earlier than in the Old World. In general, the Andean highlands, especially parts of Peru, Bolivia and Columbia, were sites for early domestications, while agricultural starts in Amazonia were more diffuse. Beans, cucurbits and Capsicum peppers usually were the first plants to appear, while maize was later. The genera Chenopodium and Amaranthus were widely domesticated, some types for seed as pseudocereals, and others as vegetables. Some can grow at very high altitudes where even wheat and rye fail. More root and tuber crops were domesticated in tropical America than anywhere else. Of these, potato, manioc and sweet potato are now widely distributed. The latter two have become dietary staples in Africa, parts of Asia and the south Pacific. The presence of toxins in certain potatoes and manioc, and the need to appropriately grow, store and prepare especially manioc, mark the mastery of practical cuisine chemistry. When these ways are forgotten, nutritional problems still arise and pose public health difficulties.

Chapter 8 covers traditional agricultural techniques. The ecological efficiency of slash-and-burn agriculture throughout the world and especially in tropical forests is discussed in more detail, as are problems arising from increasing human population pressures on traditional systems. Tools and techniques for soil preparation and water management are discussed, with some comparison of mechanical traction versus animal traction, along with sowing and reaping, drying and threshing, and storage.

In Chapter 9, the last, Harlan returns to the hypotheses of agricultural origins, elaborates on modern agricultural vulnerability, and states his views on germplasm control and use. He compares the hypotheses to evidence from the different world regions. Various processes fit different regions and situations. Using FAO and USDA figures, Harlan documents world-wide dependence on few crops, each with a narrow genetic base. He views germplasm as a critical resource. Current world politics often place control of its dissemination at a national level. People working with germplasm maintenance or breeding should have free access to base collections and lines developed with public funds, whereas advanced lines developed privately may be proprietary. In Harlan's experience, local cultivators were pleased to share seed. Some local researchers could not store seed and were glad to see it done elsewhere. Harlan finishes with the themes of sharing of food and of the traditions associated with its production.

The nature of interweaving subjects, along with the thematic organization, leads to repeated discussion of certain topics, but with variations appropriate for different geographic areas. Examples are fire use, and selective modification of flora by hunter-gatherers. Furthermore, occasionally within text portions close together, phrases or ideas are repeated. This creates an occasional sense of deja vu, and awkwardness in phrasing. As the book is a distillation of life-work, the text in places reads as if the author were speaking to the readers. This keeps the book accessible to general audience.

"The Living Fields" is a good introduction to crop evolution in the broad sense. It is always interesting, flows well, and is fun to read. The bibliography is an excellent source for classic older literature. Because references stop at 1989, more recent research, such as biochemical characterization of specific genes controlling crop morphology, is not included. While the warning about agricultural instability and narrow germplasm base for world food supply are not new, they still have not caused much shift in production habits. This task, along with biodiversity preservation, projections of biome migration or elimination due to global warming, and others, will have to be done by the next generation. - S.H. Costanza, St. Johns University, Staten Island

Book Reviews: General

Green Nature/Human Nature: The Meaning of Plants in Our Lives. Lewis, Charles A. 1996. ISBN 0-252-06510-7 (cloth US$32.95, paper US$14.95) 149 pp. University of Illinois Press, 1325 South Oak Street, Champaign IL 61820 - When I learned of green Nature Human Nature: The Meaning of Plants in Our Lives by Charles A. Lewis, I was quite excited. As someone who has chosen to study plant biology, I am nonetheless interested in the relationship between plants and people. I was expecting a treatise on the psycho-sociological impact of plants on people. However, the book only palely reflects my expectations.

Mr. Lewis does indeed address the psychological and social relationship that exists between plants and people, citing examples of co-transformation of the cityscape and the inhabitants of Chicago, New York and Boston as a result of a growing relationship between plants and people. He documents the advent of community gardens in the inner cities, and then correlates the clean-up of these neighborhoods with the presence of plants, or green nature, against the concrete backdrop. However, he achieves this in an anecdotal manner that is a "straightforward catalog of well-documented and tangible benefits...." Moreover, Mr. Lewis appears to have two voices: one is inspired by his own emotional connection with landscapes and plants in general; the other is dry, reediting an inventory of the various forms of plant therapy. Unfortunately for the reader, there is no integration of these voices.

He writes with inspired passion about the gardens and grounds of the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois. He worked there for many years studying the human perception of landscapes. His prose is quite lyrical at times, perhaps too lyrical as it gets in the way of his overall message that plants and people have an intricate relationship, and that, ultimately, we are dependent upon them for more than just food. The green "background" has been an important force in the evolution of our perception, and the manner in which we respond to our visual environment is inextricably linked to our biology as a result. Lewis is very convincing in this regard, citing his own research into the connection between the perception of landscapes and the emotional response of the study subjects. He covers this in Chapter Two, which is the best chapter in the book.

I had hoped that this book would explore the intangible relationship that exists between man and plants in a manner that would elucidate the mystery, not deepen it. Ultimately, this book remains a catalog of the many ways in which human life is touched by and improved upon during interactions with the plant kingdom. - Pati Vitt, Dept. Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, U-43, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269

An Introduction to the Mathematics of Biology. Edward K. Yeargers, Ronald W. Shonkwiler, and James V. Herod, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-81763809-1 (cloth US$64.50) 417 pp. Birkhäuser, Boston Box 19386, Newark NJ 07195-9386 - Mathematics is a critical tool for understanding modern biological science. And, both students and experienced researchers are finding that the level of mathematical sophistication being used in all fields of biological science is growing explosively. Part of this increase in both the depth of use of mathematics and the level of sophistication of that use is the result of the power of modern desk top computers. And, computer algebra systems such as Mathematica, Maple, and S-Plus allow biologists to rapidly solve and graph the solutions to mathematical models which were once accessible only to specialists.

The authors of An Introduction to the Mathematics of Biology have exploited the Maple system in an effort to present some important mathematical models in biology and their solutions. The selection and organization of topics is generally good. The book begins with a description of the mathematical tools, including discussion of matrices, differential equations, statistics, and probability. The authors don't discuss difference equations, and, in relying on the mathematics of differential equations, fail to discuss some important topics such as oscillations and chaos in population growth. The description of exponential and logistic growth covers topics often omitted from other treatments, including error analysis in fitting data to an exponential.

After a chapter on "Age-Dependent Population Structures", the authors discuss random movements, including molecular diffusion and the spread of disease. The following chapter, "The Biological Disposition of Drugs and Inorganic Toxins" highlights one of the flaws of the book. This chapter begins with a textual description of embryogenesis and organ formation, gas exchange, the digestive system, the skin, the circulatory system, and the kidneys. At the end of the chapter, the authors present the mathematical model. Perhaps it is an equally effective method of presentation as my own, but I prefer greater integration of the biology with the mathematical model. In my own course in mathematical biology, the model is built up in parallel with the discussion of the biological principles. This book takes quite a different approach, usually placing most of the textual discussion at the front of each chapter, followed by a detailed mathematical model.

The chapter on neurophysiology and the following chapter on the biochemistry of cells builds on this approach by presenting fundamental biological concepts at the beginning of the beginning of the discussion. I especially liked the discussion of enzyme kinetics which goes well beyond the usual treatment of the Michaelis-Menten steady state equations. The use of a computer algebra system permits demonstration of the phenomena such as load-up of the enzyme with substrate and the approach to the steady state. In light of the treatment of how to fit data to an exponential, I expected to find some discussion of how to fit data to the model to obtain the Michaelis constant and maximum reaction velocity. I was disappointed not to find it.

An Introduction to the Mathematics of Biology" ends with a chapter on AIDS, including an extensive model, and one on genetics. The chapter on genetics applies some straightforward probability theory to the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium and "The Fixation of a Beneficial Mutation". I was left with the feeling that this chapter should appear closer to other uses of probability in the text and that some additional topics, such as genetic drift, were needed to round out the treatment of genetics.

According to the authors, this text is written for use by undergraduate students of either mathematics or biology and a course using this text would requires only one year of calculus. While in theory a year of calculus should provide an adequate background, I suspect that most undergraduate students of biology would have a difficult time with the mathematics. Most students of biology never quite develop the level of fluency in mathematics required for effective use of this text and the text might overwhelm the student before he or she developed the necessary fluency.

I was also disappointed that the authors did not include an introduction to the Maple language or a commentary on the programs. The Maple programs are listed but neither their development nor their structure are described. There are no comment lines in the listings. One of the advantages of a computer algebra system is that the programs can be modified as the user is working and new ideas and modifications can be tried, making mathematical biology a truly exciting and creative experience. "An Introduction to the Mathematics of Biology" does not encourage an interactive experience, either by explaining the development and structure of the computer algebra programs or by building up the mathematical models in slow, careful steps.

I strongly recommend this book for faculty who are searching for ideas to incorporate in their courses. I cannot recommend it for most undergraduate students, particularly in the biological sciences. - Thomas J. Herbert, Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables FL 33124

Book Reviews: Horticultural

Gardener's Guide to Growing Hostas. D. Grenfell. 1996. ISBN 0-88192-355-9 (Cloth US$29.95) 160pp. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. - When I asked to review this book, I had just moved into a new house, around which are nearly 100 square meters of late-blooming Hostas. I hoped that Diana Grenfell's guide to growing Hostas not only would educate me on the horticultural merits and cultivation of Hostas, but also would provide sufficient botanical and scientific background on the genus Hosta. In both areas, this well-wfitten and lavishly illustrated book succeeds admirably.

The Gardener's Guide to Growing Hostas is aimed principally at amateur gardeners and, to a lesser extent, at professional horticulturists. Chapters on cultivation, propagation, and breeding provide the detailed information necessary to grow and maintain Hostas in virtually all temperate climates. The horticultural varieties appear to be less well-suited for tropical or subtropical gardens, although the brief summary of the state of Hosta horticulture in Australia (1/2 page) illustrates that they can be grown in the antipodal heat as well. The section on garden uses presents a variety of well-conceived plantings that can show off the different foliage types to their best advantage.

Chapters on 'people and their plants', growing Hostas for exhibition (by Richard Ford), and chapters on regional collections and cultivation (Japan, by William Burto; North America, by Warren Pollack; Europe, by Ullrich Fisher; Australasia, by Gordon Collier) provide the reader with an entree into the history of the development of respected horticultural varieties and the current world of Hosta fanciers. Diana Grenfell, as well as all the chapter contributors, are leading members of Hosta societies in their home countries and internationally, and they convey well the excitement that must transpire in gatherings of Hosta aficionados.

The bulk of the book is a comprehensive listing and description of all the varieties of Hosta that are currently in cultivation. Most varieties are illustrated with photographs, either in this section, or elsewhere throughout the book. This section, along with the appendices listing names and addresses of growers and merchants of Hostas, locations and visiting hours of reference collections and notable Hosta gardens, and the three principal Hosta societies (Britain, USA, and the Netherlands) would enable anyone to begin, maintain, or expand their collection of Hostas.

Systematics and nomenclature of Hosta is now reasonably stable. Piers Trehane's short chapter on conventions for naming new Hosta cultivars lays out the current procedures for registering new varieties according to the 1995 edition of the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants. Currently, all cultivars are maintained and registered through the International Registration Authority for Hosta based at the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. 'Good' species and cultivars of Hosta were distinguished by W. George Schmid in his 1991 book, The Genus Hosta, and Grenfell's chapter on the history, habitat, and classification of the genus follows Schmid's division of Hosta into three subgenera (Hosta, Bryocles, Giboshi) based principally on geographical distribution. Interestingly (at least to this horticultural novice), while species are distinguished (as expected) principally on the basis of floral characters, Hostas are valued in gardens for its striking foliage, and virtually every new cultivar is bred for unique leaf characteristics and overall plant shape.

Overall, I was very pleased with this book. It provides adequate scientific background (and sufficient references) to lead any botanist down the garden path into the technical literature on the genus. In addition, that path is lined with beautiful photographs and laid out with enough excitement to convince even the most amateur gardener or budding landscaper to plant some Hostas. - Aaron M. Ellison, Dept. of Biological Sciences Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts

Ornamental conifers for Australian gardens. R.J. Rowell. 1996. ISBN 0-86840-239-7 (hardcover US $44.95) xxviii + 167pp., 107 color photos on 32 unnumbered plates. University of New South Wales Press (Distributed by International Specialized Book Services, Inc., 5804 N. E. Hassalo Street, Portland, OR 97213-3644 - Here is a nice presentation of the cultivated conifers of Australia, the majority of which are imports from the northern hemisphere. It contains generally good non-technical descriptions of the approximately 40 genera, 150+ species, and 350+ additional cultivars included, with useful and interesting notes on native habitat, cultivation, landscape impact, and commercial use, accompanied by very nice silhouettes of habit in youth and age and excellent color photographs of about a third of the species in the book, all by the author.

Two elements are of particular note for North Americans with gardening interests. First, the book includes descriptions of many of the less familiar cultivats that have emerged from the thriving horticultural industry in Australia. Second, there is a full discussion of Australian cultivation zones, based on temperature and precipitation, that reaffirms how little of Australia is climatically similar to any part of North America. This carries implications, of course, for cultivating Australian plants here and vice versa. Perhaps this partly underlies an occasional schizophrenia in the book that contrasts phrases like "...several of the species [of Australian Callitris] outclass many overrated, introduced species "with"...Monterey Pine ... has emerged a clear winner as the most suitable selection for the tablelands region."

Southern conifers are surprisingly underrepresented in this book. Rowell's statement that "the Northern Hemisphere, with its greater land-to-sea ratio than that of the Southern Hemisphere, is similarly superior in native conifers..."better reflects their treatment here than the fact that about half of the world's 70 genera of conifers are southern. Omamental Conifers includes 28 northern genera versus only 18 southern ones (some of which are buried as synonyms), even omitting some Australian genera, like Diselma, Microcachrys, Microstrobos, and the celebrated Wollemia (presumably too recently described for inclusion). Pinus and Podocarpus (even when restricted to just sect. "Eupodocarpus" of Gray and Buchholz) each have about 100 species, however in this book there are about 30 pines and only 10 podocarps (in the broad sense).

Although the practical information in this book is very good, don't turn here for botanical insight. There is occasional misinformation, error, and inconsistency. For example, the introduction presents a diagram of the plant kingdom with solid nineteenth century credentials and Athrotaxis is correctly stated as having alternate leaves while the scale leaves of A. cupressoides are described as decussate. It would have been nice to have had more up-to-date taxonomic views, but we can't really expect practical works to keep up with all the latest nuances. It takes long enough for taxonomists to adopt what are perceived as big changes, so there is some value in gardeners, foresters, and others taking a wait-and-see attitude rather than immediately adopting the new nomenclature that usually accompanies proposed changes in classification. - James E. Eckenwalder, Department of Botany, University of Toronto

Book Review: Molecular Biology

Soybean: Genetics, Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Biotechnology in Agriculture No. 14 D.P.S. Verma and R. C. Shoemaker, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-85198-984-5 (cloth US$90) 270 pp. CAB International, Walingford, Oxon OXIO 8DE, UK - From the first chapter looking at the genetic diversity of soybean through the final chapter reviewing the successes, failures, and limitations of transforming soybeans, the editors clearly attain their goal of increasing the understanding of soybean genetics, molecular biology and biotechnology. There even is a good smattering of biochemistry. This book provides an excellent overview of current knowledge useful to the novice and established soybean researcher alike. Each chapter is evenly paced, beginning with development of background upon which to build current understanding and ending with suggestions for the logical next step. The authors carefully present problems one faces when working with soybean genetics and limitations that must be considered before moving forward to improve soybean as a crop.

This book provides a wealth of information for someone just beginning to work with soybean as well as for the experience soybean breeder. Molecular biologists, and biochemists planning to work with soybean also will find this book very helpful. I found this book particularly helpful in understanding the soybean genome and as a source for mapped markers on linkage groups. My undergraduate and graduate. research students have found the book essential. The compilation of references at the end of each chapter is particularly helpful and the editors have been successful in obtaining an even level of presentation that makes it easy to read this book.

Because this is so well edited, contains fundamental information, and is easy to read, I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about what approaches might be made to manipulate this important crop to maximum commercial efficiency. - Robert I. Bolla, Department of Biology, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO 63103

Book Review: Paleobotany

Paleobotany: Plants of the Past, Their Evolution, Paleoenvironment and Application in Exploration of Fossil Fuels. Shripad N. Agashe. 1995. ISBN 1-996106-08-8 (cloth US$55.00) 359+x pp. Science Publishers, Inc., 52 LaBombard Road North, Lebanon NH 03766 USA - Fossil plants have been collected and studied in India for the last 150 years. For the last 50 years, Sahni Institute played a significant role in advancing paleobotanical studies in India. However, no one attempted to write a textbook on paleobotany to meet the needs of Indian undergraduate and graduate students who depend on foreign textbooks with only passing references to Indian research. This book is Agashe's attempt to fill this void.

The book consists of 25 chapters. The initial five chapters introduce paleobotanical history, principles of geologic age, types of plant fossils, and the techniques employed to study them. Chapter 6 deals with Precambrian paleobotany and chapter 7 with the classification of fossil plants. Major groups of fossil plants are individually treated in chapters 8-19 and 22. Gondwana and Tertiary floras of India are reviewed briefly in chapters 20 and 21. Applied paleobotany is discussed in the final three chapters (23-25).

Paleontologists throughout the world have a great interest in the origin of angiosperms and in fossil angiosperm records. A huge amount of literature on new discoveries has been published in the last two decades, for example, Triassic angiospermid pollen from Arizona (e.g., Review of paleobotany and Palynology, 1988, 55: 337-356) considered to have an affinity with the family Araceae; or the Early Cretaceous origin of Hamamelidaceae based on the discovery of Hamamelidalean Cretaceous fossil flowers with in situ pollen from the Upper Cretaceous of Sweden (1991, Plant Syst. Evol., 175: 101-114). Nine pages in chapter 22 on "Fossil Angiosperms" do not do justice to the subject. The only significant finding included is the case of Eucommiidites which, however, was proven to be gymnosperinous as early as 1961. In comparing angiosperm pollen exine with that of Cheirolepidacea, the term "tectate" (p. 282) should have been "columellate" or "baculate."

It is well established that most sedimented palynomorphs are mainly transported by water. Wind transported palynomorphs have a negligible role in pre-Quaternary sediments. In explaining the role of palynology in oil exploration (chapter 23, pp. 291 and 293), the author's emphasis on the significance of wind dispersed pollen and spores is erroneous. Recycling of palynomorphs is also explained wrongly as due to "their minute size, pollen and spores are susceptible to removal by waters circulating through the rock strata" (p. 292). Recycling of any fossil occurs by the erosion of older strata and its redeposition in younger formations just like any sedimentary particle. Although the term "acritarch" was proposed in 1963, the author has used the old discarded term "Hystricosphaerids" (sic) for these organic walled unicellular marine algal cysts abundant in pre-Jurassic sediments. Veryhachium sp., illustrated on Fig. 23.6: 1, is an acritarch.

Paleobotanical studies of the last century, such as those of Blanford, Feistmantel, Heer, Medlicott, and Supporta, have been mentioned repeatedly in the text but their full references are not listed. Pioneer studies are the foundation for present and future work and should be referred to fully. The following are examples of the numerous errors throughout the book; references not listed, e.g., Srivastav (sic), 1946; technical mistakes, such as Drimys of "Magnoliaceae" (p. 280) should be "Winteraceae"; Terms wrongly explained, e.g., "nomos, meaning distribution" (p. 9) whereas it actually means "knowledge"; misspellings, e.g., Ephedrites (p. 202) for "Ephedripites", Sahnipusham, (p. 267) for "Sahnipushpam", sapropen (p. 289) for "sapropel". Further, several statements lack clarity. For example, "The exact origin of the earth has puzzled man ever since he appeared on the earth's surface" (italics mine) and "A new hypothesis has recently been added" (p. 9) The nature of "new hypothesis" is not mentioned. Several illustrations are similar to those published in earlier paleobotany texts. Geological principles are explained with simple line diagrams but labeling errors make it difficult to understand the figures. For example, the decayed material is labeled in fig. 4.4 as decreasing whereas it actually increases.

The book is printed on nonglare paper with a hardcover binding. The author could have minimized errors by restricting the scope of the book to plant fossils only. Had he expanded upon Indian paleobotany, the book could have been useful for undergraduate students of Indian universities. Poor reproduction of illustrations and light treatment of the subject will not attract students in western countries where better paleobotany textbooks are easily available. - Satish K. Srivastava, Rowland Heights CA (Department of Earth Sciences, USC)

Book Reviews: Structural and Developmental

Embryogenesis: The generation of a plant. T.L. Wang and A.C. Cumings, eds. 1996. ISBN 185996-065-0 (hardcover U.S.$120.00) 240 pp. BIOS Scientific Publishers Ltd., PO Box 605, Herdon, VA 22070 - The chapters of this book are from papers presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting at St. Andrews University on April 3-5, 1995. The first chapter discusses the use of molecular cytology as a tool for studying embryogenesis. Chapters 2 through 5 discuss the use of Arabidopsis thaliana embryo mutants to dissect developmental pathways. Chapters 6 through 9 are devoted to developmental mutants in grasses (maize, wheat and barley). Chapter 10 discusses the endosperm viewed as a reprogrammed embryo. Chapter 11 is on the initiation of somatic embryos from single cells. Chapter 12 discusses insights gained from pea embryo is mutants.

Taken as a whole the book is a good update on the state of angiosperm embryogenesis research. The chapters cover the full range of embryo development from the asymmetric first division to the development of desiccation tolerance. The chapters by D.W. Meinke ("Embryo-defective mutants of Arabidopsis: cellular functions of disrupted genes and developmental significance of mutant phenotypes"), J.K. Clark ("Maize embryogenesis mutants"), and Brown et al. ("The reprogrammed embryo: the endosperm as a quick route to understanding embryogenesis?") are particularly well written and interesting.

With the exception of the Meinke chapter mentioned above, the Arabidopsis chapters are disappointing. These chapters devote much attention to describing the currently known Arabidopsis embryogenesis mutants and discussing the latest techniques. Little attention is given to connections between the mutations and their roles in the pattern formation, morphogenesis, and differentiation of the embryo. Since this is a book on embryogenesis, I was expecting more discussion of the actual development of the embryogeny and less of a laundry list of mutants and fancy techniques.

My other concern about the Arabidopsis chapters centers on the sloppy use of anatomical terminology. Consider, for example, the following sentence: "During the following division and cell expansion events the globular stage embryo develops, which includes the epidermis precursor, root primordium, ground tissue and elongated vascular cell precursors and two layers of apical cells in the upper part of the embryo." What has become of the three primary meristems? Protoderm is the "epidermis precursor." "Ground tissue" is actually the ground meristem since the cells are not mature in the globular stage embryo. Procambium cells are the "vascular cell precursors." Plant development is a complex process, which demands clear use of terminology to be understood.

As stated on the back cover of the book, the intended audience is "advanced undergraduates, postgraduates, and researchers interested in plant development." I would be surprised if it reaches such a large audience. The chapters of the book are too narrowly focused to be of much interest to people outside of plant molecular embryogenesis. Although this book is a good update on the state of embryogenesis research, I will not be giving up my copy of An Introduction to the Embryology of Angiosperms by P. Maheshwari. - Jim Farrar, Department of Botany, Weber State University, Ogden, UT 84408-2504

Membranes: Specialized Functions in Plants. M. Smallwood, J.P. Knox, and D. Bowles, eds. 1996. ISBN 1-85996-200-9 (cloth US$180) 608 pp. Bios Scientific Publishers, Ltd. P.O. Box 605, Herndon VA 22070 - It is refreshing to see an effort directed toward summarizing recent advances in understanding of the plant membranes. The review chapters in this book are clearly written by professionals in their respective fields and they contain recent information on various aspects of membrane structure and function. There are thirty one chapters organized in six sections. The presented mélange of subjects includes metabolism of membrane components, regulation of membrane permeability, biogenesis and functioning of endomembrane systems, and plasmodesmata. Some chapters consider the role of membranes in processes such as pollination, stress (plasmolysis), ion transport, cell adhesion and cell to cell communication. Also included are chapters on cellulose and callose synthesis. Other chapters discuss signal perception at the plasma membrane, and examine the possible membrane-associated early components in a signaling cascade (receptors, ion channels and pumps, binding proteins, G-proteins, protein kinases). Novel information on the role of the endoplasmic reticulum and plasmodesmata in plasmolysis is presented. The endomembrane system and associated protein targeting and vesicle trafficking are thoroughly discussed in seven chapters, including two chapters on development of chloroplasts.

It is certainly not easy to fit such large amounts of information on plant membranes into a single volume. The size limits of the book perhaps influenced the editors' decision not to include a chapter on mitochondrial membranes, and to limit the amount of presented information on voltage- and hormone (ligand)-gated channels, as well as on the potassium transporter. A chapter that is on the margins of belonging to this book is the one on the role ofjasmonates in signaling and gene expression, since its only commonality with the main topic of this book is the fact thatjasmonates are derived from membrane lipids.

The book closes with three informative chapters on the role of plant membranes in symbiotic relationships (with Rhizobium bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi) and in plant-pathogen interactions (during fungal disease). The technical quality of both the text and the photographs is high. Overall the book presents a fine compilation of recent advances related to plant membrane structure and function. Given the significance of membranes for many facets of plant cell functioning and development, many a plant biologists will find this book a useful reference tool. - Bratislav Stankovic, Department of Plant Biology, Ohio State University, Columbus OH 43210

Books Received

If you would like to review a book or books for PSB, contact the Editor, stating the book of interest and the date by which it would be reviewed (15 February, 15 May, 15 August or 15 November of the appropriate year). Send e-mail to <>, call or write as soon as you notice the book of interest in this list, because they go quickly!-Ed.

* = book in review or declined for review

** = book reviewed in this issue

Aerial Plant Surface Microbiology Morris, Cindy E., Philippe C. Nicot & Christophe Nguyen-The, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-306-45382-7 (cloth US$95.00) 307pp. Plenum Publishing Corporation, 233 Spring Street, New York NY 10013

Applications of Physiological Ecology to Forest Management Landsberg, J.J. & S.T. Gower 1996. cloth ISBN 0-12-435955-8 (cloth US$69.95) 354pp. Academic Press Inc., 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego CA 92101-4495

Beauty in Truth: the Botanical Art of Margaret Stones Zdanowicz, Irena 1996. ISBN 0-72410 1 87-X, (paper $34.95 Aud) 96pp. National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St kilda Road, Melbourne Victoria 3004 Australia

The Biology of Grasses Chapman, G.P. 1996. ISBN 085199-111-4 (cloth US$85.00) 273pp. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

Common Families of Flowering Plants Hickey, Michael & Clive King 1996. ISBN 0-521-572819 (cloth US$64.95), ISBN 0-521-57609-1 (paper US$22.95) 212pp. Cambridge University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 1001 1-4211

Crown Gall: Advances in Understanding Interkingdom Gene Transfer Ream, Walt & Stanton B. Gelvin, eds. 1997. ISBN 0-89054-2228 (paper US$32.00) 156pp. APS Press, 3340 Pilot Knob Road, St. Paul MN 55121-2097

Des arbres et des arbustes spontanés de I'Adrar des Iforas (Mali) Sidiyene, Ehya Ag 1996. ISBN 27099-1325-9 (paper) 137pp. Orstom Press 209213 rue La Fayette, 75480 Paris cedex 10

Ethnobotany: Principles and Applications Cotton, C.M. 1996. ISBN 0-471-95537-X (paper US$49.95) 424pp. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York NY 101 58-0012

*A Dictionary of Genetics Fifth Edition King, Robert C. & William D. Stansfield 1996. ISBN 0- 1 9509441-7 (cloth US$45.00), ISBN 0-19-509442-5 (paper US$24.95) 439pp. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

The Gardener's Guide to Growing Ivies Rose, Peter Q. 1996. ISBN 0-88192-364-8 (cloth US$29.95) 160pp. Timber Press, Inc. 133 SW Second Avenue, Suite 450, Portland OR 97204-3527

Gardens of the Sun Nottle, Trevor 1996. ISBN 088192-365-6 (cloth US$29.95) 208pp. Timber Press, Inc. 133 SW Second Avenue, Suite 450, Portland OR 97204-3527

Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems Walker, Brian & Will Steffen, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-52157094-8 (cloth US$120.00), ISBN 0-521-57810-8 (paper US$39.95) 619pp. Cambridge University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011-4211

Growth Control in Woody Plants Kozlowski, Theodore T. & Stephen G. Pallardy 1996. ISBN 0-12-424210-3 (cloth US$74.95) 641 pp. Academic Press Inc., 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego CA 92101-4495

Lois Hole's Rose Favorites Hole, Lois 1997. ISBN I55105-079-X (paper US$15.95) 256pp. Lone Pine Publishing, 16149 Redmond Way, #180, Redmond WA 98052

Molecular Genetics of Photosynthesis Andersson, Bertil, A. Hugh Salter & James Barber, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-19-963447-5 (paper) 252pp. IRL Press at Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

Mycorrhizal Symbiosis Second Edition Smith, S.E. & D.J. Read 1997. ISBN 0- 1 2-652840-3 (cloth) 605pp. Academic Press Inc., 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego CA 92101-4495

The Natural Classroom: A Directory of Field Courses, Programs, and Expeditions in the Natural Sciences Edelman, Jack R. 1996. ISBN 1-55591-923-5 (cloth US$32.50) 278pp. North American Press, 350 Indiana Street, Suite 350, Golden CO 80401-5093

Niebla and Vermilacinia (Ramalinaceae) from California and Baja California Spjut, Richard W. 1996. ISSN 0833-1475 (paper) 208pp. World Botanical Associates, P.O. Box 2829, Laurel MD 20709-0829

The Pesticide Manual: Incorporating The Agrochemicals Handbook, Tenth Edition Tomlin, Clive, ed. 1994. ISBN 0-948404-79-5 1341pp. British Crop Protection Council, 49 Downing Street, Famham, Suffey GU9 7PH, United Kingdom

Phytochemical Diversity and Redundancy in Ecological Interactions Romeo, John T., James A. Saunders & Pedro Barbosa, eds. 1996. ISBN 0306-45500-5 (cloth US$89.50) 319pp. Plenum Publishing Corporation, 233 Spring Street, New York NY 10013

Plant Ecophysiology Prasad,M.N.V., ed. 1996. ISBN 0-471-13157-1 (cloth US$89.95) 542pp. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, New York NY 10158-0012

Plants in Changing Environments: Linking Physiological, Population, and Community Ecology Bazzaz, F.A. 1996. ISBN 0-521-39190-3 (cloth US$75.00), ISBN 0-521-39843-6 (paper US$29.95) 320pp. Cambridge University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011-4211

 Rare or Threatened Australian Plants Briggs, J.D. & J.H. Leigh 1996. ISBN 0-643-05798-6 (paper US$44.95) 466pp. International Specialized Book Services, Inc., 5804 N.E. Hasalo Street, Portland OR 97213-3644

Rice Research in Asia Evenson, R.E., R.W. Herdt & M. Hossain, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-85198-997-7 (cloth US$99.00) 418pp. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

Seaweed Ecology and Physiology Lobban, Christopher S. & Paul J. Harrison 1996. ISBN 0-521 40334-0 (cloth US$69.95), ISBN 0-521-40897-0 (paper US$29.95) 366pp. Cambridge University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011-4211

Slash/Mulch Systems: Substainable Methods for Tropical Agriculture Thurston, H. David 1997. ISBN 0-8133-8820-1 (cloth US$45.00) 196pp. Westview Press, P.O. Box 588, Dunmore PA 18512-0588

The Subtropical Garden Walker, Jacqueline 1996. ISBN 0-88192-359-1 (paper US$24.95) 176pp. Timber Press, Inc. 133 SW Second Avenue, Suite 450, Portland OR 97204-3527

Tree-Crop Interactions: A Physiological Approach Ong, Chin K. & Peter Huxley, eds. 1996. ISBN 085198-987-X (paper US$45.00) 386pp. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

The Tropical Rain Forest: An Ecological Study Richards, P.W. 1996. ISBN 0-521-42054-7 (cloth US$125.00), ISBN 0-521-42194-2 (paper US$49.95) 575pp. Cambridge University Press, 40 West 20th Street, New York NY 10011-4211

Units, Symbols, and Terminology for Plant Physiology: A Reference for Presentation of Research Results in the Plant Sciences Salisbury, Frank, ed. 1996. ISBN 0-19-509445-X (cloth US$29.95) 234pp. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

Viruses of Plants Brunt, Alan, Karen Crabtree, Michael Dallwitz, Adrian Gibbs & Leslie Watson, eds. 1996. ISBN 0-85198-794-X (cloth US$185.00) 1484pp. Oxford University Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York NY 10016

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