Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2012 v58 No 1 SpringActions

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spring 2012 Volume 58 Number 1


In This Issue..............

News from the American Journal of 

Botany...pp. 19, 34

Now is the time for all to submit 

abstracts and register for Botany 

2012. Info on back cover

The BSA 


new online 




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Here it is, the spring issue of Volume 58 and 

many of us are wondering what happened to 

winter? We don’t have an answer for that, but 

in this issue we are able to feature a holdover 

from the winter issue that we were not able to 

run—Dr. Raven’s plenary address from the 2011 

Annual Meeting in St. Louis. During the first half 

of his address, Raven reviews for us the central 

role of human population in driving virtually all 

of the environmental problems we face. While 

for botanists this is not new information, Peter 

provides us with an organized presentation 

that many of us can easily integrate into an 

introductory course. 
The ideas I found most intriguing, however, are 

in the second half of the address. Has botany as 

a discipline been dying for the past half century? 

Raven strongly argues that it has not, despite 

the organizational changes that have occurred 

in most universities. Certainly there are caveats, 

and we do have to focus more on organismal 

botany, but on the whole the positives outweigh 

the negatives. He entreats us “to get over it, enjoy 

what is being discovered, and incorporate the 

new findings in our teaching and our thinking.” 

Even more important, to my point of view, is that 

we cannot be content to teach only our students. 
The Botanical Society of America is making 

nationally recognized strides in improving 

scientific literacy of students of all ages, but as 

Raven suggests, each of us as individual botanists 

should strive to bring the message to society at 

large. I hope you enjoy Peter’s address, along 

with the rest of the 

issue, and let’s start 

thinking about how 

we as individuals, 

and a Society, can 

have a greater 

positive influence 

on the scientific 

thinking and actions 

of society as a whole.

From the Editor

                                                                                     Spring 2012 Volume 58 Number1



Editorial Committee  

Volume 58

Root Gorelick  


Department of Biology & 

School of Mathematics & 


Carleton University 

Ottawa, Ontario 

Canada, K1H 5N1

Elizabeth Schussler  


Department of Ecology  & 

Evolutionary Biology 

University of Tennessee 

Knoxville, TN 37996-1610

Christopher Martine 


Department of Biology 

State University of New York 

at Plattsburgh 

Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2681

Carolyn M. Wetzel 


Department of Biological Sci-

ences & Biochemistry Program 

Smith College 

Northampton, MA 01063 

Tel. 413/585-3687


Lindsey K. Tuominen 


Warnell School of Forestry & 

Natural Resources 

The University of Georgia 

Athens, GA  30605

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Table of Contents

Society News

Plant Science Research Summit .........................................................................................2
Saving Plants, Saving Ourselves  .......................................................................................3

Legacy Society Celebrations. .............................................................................................8 

BSA Science Education News and Notes

PlantingScience ..................................................................................................................9
Upcoming PlantingScience Summer Happenings ............................................................11
Focus Groups for PlantingScience Stakeholders..............................................................11
Of Special Interest to Advanced Placement Teachers ......................................................11
Education Bits and Bobs ..................................................................................................11
Climate Science Joins Evolution Teaching Advocacy  ....................................................11
Just Average Among Global Education Systems   ...........................................................11
Changing Budgets, Attitudes, and Technologies on Campus  ..........................................11

Editors Choice Reviews



IN MEMORIUM Jerome E. Dimitman 1920–2011 .........................................................13
Martine Named Burpee Endowed Chair at Bucknell University .....................................14
Annual John Dwyer Lecture in Biology Features  
Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson on Ireland’s Wild Plants  ............................................................14
Missouri Botanical Garden Scientists Use Shrimp to Examine Toxicity of Traditional 
Medicinal Plants in Northern Peru ...................................................................................15
Mycologist Charles Drechsler’s Papers to the Smithsonian Institution’s Biodiversity 
Heritage Library ...............................................................................................................18
State Herbarium of South Australia Publications Now Online ........................................18

Second Interdisciplinary microMORPH Workshop:  “Microevolution of Flower Form 

and Function” ..............................................................................................................18

American Journal of Botany Hard-Copy Volumes for Donation .....................................19
American Journal of Botany Special Issue and Mobile Site ............................................19 

Reports and Reviews


Book Reviews


American Journal of Botany Special Lecture at Botany 2012


Books Received


Plant Ed Images


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Society News

Plant Science Research Summit

On September 22–23, 2011, the American 

Society of Plant Biologists convened a Plant Science 

Research Summit at the Howard Hughes Medical 

Institute in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The BSA was 

represented by President-elect Elizabeth Kellogg, 

Past President Judy Skog, and Treasurer Amy 

Litt. The goal of the meeting was to set priorities 

for plant sciences research, with the hope that the 

entire plant biology community could speak with 

a single voice when approaching funding agencies 

and governmental representatives, with an eye to 

the upcoming budget process for 2013 and 2014 

and years ahead. The meeting has been described 

in Nature (2011, 477: 259) and Science (2011, 333: 

1806, and 

Gary Stacey, of the University of Missouri, 

convened the meeting and outlined the critical 

importance of the plant biology community 

working together. Funding for plant biology 

research is about $350 million per year, an amount 

just over one one-hundredth of the research 

budget of the National Institutes of Health ($31.2 

billion). If that dollar value is to increase, then plant 

biologists need to have a focused message to send 

to elected representatives. In one of the opening 

talks, Barbara Schaal (Washington University) 

distinguished clearly between grand challenges 

(i.e., the big questions that drive any field of 

research) and research priorities (specific goals 

for immediate action). She noted that the goal of 

this particular meeting was to set priorities, much 

as the astronomy community does in its decadal 


The meeting focused particularly on securing 

the food supply in coming years, although some 

consideration was also given to the development 

of biofuels. Keith Yamamoto, of University of 

California–San Francisco, highlighted the need 

for coordinated funding for plant science research. 

David Fischoff, of Monsanto Company, observed 

that much more biological insight is needed to get 

the most out of plant breeding efforts; he highlighted 

the importance of connecting basic plant research 

to agricultural objectives and incorporating basic 

research results into an industrial program. 

Although the meeting included a handful of 

talks, most of the time was spent in breakout groups 

that used the talks as a springboard to develop the 

necessary consensus document. The 75 attendees 

included a broad mix of people with expertise in 

cell and molecular biology, breeding, and genomics, 

representing academic labs, government labs, and 


If we are to make global improvements to 

agriculture on the timescale required, clearly there 

is a need for research on all aspects of plant biology, 

but particularly focusing on the phenotype, in 

the broadest sense. We still do not understand in 

detail how plants respond to their environments 

at the genetic or genomic level, what the role of 

natural genetic diversity is, how plants function 

in agricultural settings and natural communities, 

how they react to pathogens, and how plant 

characteristics can be modified to produce more 

productive crops on limited land area. 

There was some concern among the BSA 

representatives that the focus on agriculture 

came at the expense of other aspects of plant 

biology, including areas that are the purview of 

many members of the BSA, such as ecology and 

evolutionary biology, although several speakers and 

participants of the meeting noted the importance of 

including these perspectives. This concern suggests 

a couple of opportunities. For those of us who work 

on wild plants, it may be worth considering whether 

our work might be connected more directly with 

the needs of agriculture. To choose a very simple 

example, we know remarkably little about gene 

flow via pollen or seeds in populations of wild 

grasses, including agricultural weeds, yet clearly 

this information is directly relevant to agronomy. 

Likewise, even though the study of plant response 

to drought is an important focus both in industry 

and in cell and molecular biology, much remains 

to be learned about how it is controlled, how it 

evolved, and how it develops in nonmodel systems. 

At the same time, there are a host of other issues 

not directly connected to agriculture facing the 

world for which knowledge of plant biology is 

critical. Climate change is obvious. Conservation 

is a continuing concern. These aspects of plant 

biology will need to be articulated clearly. 

A consensus document from the meeting is being 

developed, and the organizers are planning ways 

to solicit and incorporate broad input. When this 

happens, I hope BSA will respond enthusiastically. 

Any initiatives that support research on plants will 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

benefit everyone, whether we do basic or applied 

research. Those of us who attended will be watching 

the results with interest and encourage all members 

of the plant biology community to do the same. 

–Elizabeth A. Kellogg, President-elect, BSA

Saving Plants, Saving 


From the Plenary Address by Dr. Peter Raven, 

Botany 2011, St. Louis, MO

Greetings everyone and welcome to St. Louis! 

I am very pleased to welcome you here on behalf 

of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Washington 

University, the University of Missouri–St Louis, 

St. Louis University, the Donald Danforth Plant 

Science Center, Monsanto, Novus, and Sigma/

Aldrich, in addition to the many other plant-

oriented organizations that make St. Louis such an 

outstanding center for the study and appreciation 

of plants.

These outstanding Botany and Economic Botany 

meetings, as such gatherings always do, will provide 

a wonderful occasion for sharing information, 

meeting new friends and colleagues, and making 

plans for the future. I have been attending these 

meetings and their precursors for more than 50 

years, and have always found them interesting, 

enjoyable, and worthwhile. I’m sure you will do the 

same, whether you’re a first timer or an old hand! 

Botany 2011  “Healing the Planet”  promises to be a 

memorable event for us all, and so it is appropriate 

to pause and congratulate all who put this complex 

meeting into place.

Specifically, I’d like to express on the behalf of 

everyone here our gratitude to Bill Dahl, Executive 

Director of the Botanical Society of America, who 

with his associates and colleagues has done such 

an outstanding job coordinating every aspect of 

these meetings. As the week moves on, you will see 

what an excellent job that has been! We welcome 

you, hope that you will find these days relaxing, 

enjoyable, and educational, and look forward to 

welcoming you back in the future.

Now let’s move on to our theme of “Healing 

the Planet.” In the early 21st century, anything we 

say about life on earth involves some pretty tough 

considerations about the problems that face our 

common future. 

Global population is a huge issue. When I was 

born in 1936, there were about 2.2 billion people 

on the planet. Right now, there are more than three 

people living for each one who was alive when 

I was born. The global population is projected to 

reach 7 million by next spring (April 2012). By my 

100th birthday, there will be four of us for every 

one in 1936—one lifetime and a quadrupling of 


Every night when our collective humanity sits 

down to dinner, there are 200,000 more mouths 

to feed than there were the night before! The 

global human population is projected to reach 9 

billion by 2044. The population of Africa alone, 

approximately 1 billion now, is projected to grow to 

2 billion by 2050, and that of India from 1.2 billion 

to 1.7 billion.

Of the world’s 7 billion people, about 1 billion are 

so malnourished that their brains cannot develop 

properly when they are babies and their bodies are 

continually wasting away. Of these deprived people, 

some 100 million are on the verge of starvation at 

any one time. 

For many women and children, there is absolutely 

no chance of being accepted as full members of their 

societies, and they grow up lacking both education 

and opportunity. Making matters worse, we can be 

certain that the 2.5 billion people being added to 

the global population over the coming four decades 

will almost entirely be among the poorest of the 

poor, so that they will add greatly to the degree of 

hunger and deprivation around the world.

Although we have little room in which to 

maneuver, we still tend to act as if each one of us 

is an exception, and that we, our families, and our 

nation can simply continue somehow to do better 

and better as time goes by. 

Check the web site and 

you will find a carefully reasoned estimate that 

we are currently using about 150% of the world’s 

sustainable capacity on an ongoing basis, up 

from 70% 40 years ago. Putting this matter in 

different terms, that means that in order to go 

on supporting a world of 7 billion people, with 1 

billion malnourished, sustainably—without driving 

all the elements that support us to lower and lower 

levels of sustainability---would require 1.5 times 

the capacity of the planet that we inhabit. We 

haven’t got that bigger planet: What are we going to 

do about it? And how can the conditions of life on 

earth actually be improved?

Clearly, we must achieve a stable population 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

genetic diversity, and their habitats can only be 

termed astonishing! It is so rapid that more than 

half of all the species on earth could be permanently 

gone by the end of the 21st century, an incalculable 

loss that will deny many possibilities to ourselves 

and all those who come after us, but one that we 

are acting very tardily and indecisively to reverse. 

The major factors involved are habitat destruction, 

global climate change, the rapid spread of alien 

organisms including pests and diseases, and the 

overharvesting of selected species of plants and 

animals for food, medicine, and other purposes.

What do we botanists have to contribute to 

human welfare? We have historically assumed that 

what we learn will enhance our prospects for the 

future and perhaps help us find ways to lighten our 

load on the earth. In that respect, we should be 

pleased with our progress.

Personally, I entered university in 1953, the 

same year in which Watson and Crick postulated 

that DNA might be the genetic material. The first 

transmission electron micrographs were being 

produced, and people were scratching their heads 

over the meaning of the structures that those 

unfamiliar images revealed. Nothing about the 

organization of cells was particularly clear, but 

in very short order great discoveries were made; 

our view of life became much sharper and more 

detailed than we would have dared to imagine 

earlier. Teaching biology at Stanford University in 

the 1960s and writing the first edition of our text, 

Biology of Plants, at the end of that decade, I soon 

learned firsthand just how rapid was the progress 

that we were helping to make possible. Eukaryotic 

genetics, genomics, proteomics, complex systems 

theory, the whole unfolding of ecology as we know 

it today—those have been among the intellectual 

advances of great importance that took place 

during the course of my professional career. Our 

book was intended to apply the newly discovered 

basic biological principles directly to the study of 

plants so that we could take advantage of the new 

information in understanding plants as completely 

as possible.

Partly as a result of the trends just reviewed, 

many of us worry that our science—botany—

has been dying over the past half century. I don’t 

agree, and believe that our answer must be highly 

qualified and nuanced to reflect accurately what has 

taken place and where we are headed. Traditional 

botany departments, separate academic entities, 

slowly began to absorb the remarkable findings 

of the new biology. Their curricula tended to 

remain traditional and they were sometimes slow 

level, accept a justifiable level of consumption for 

everyone worldwide, and develop a whole array of 

new technologies that can help us do more with 

less. Getting there will involve empowering women 

and children in all societies and striving to make 

it possible for every single human being to express 

his or her own abilities fully for their own benefit 

and for our common welfare. Although these goals 

may seem utopian and wholly visionary, we have no 

moral alternative to pursuing them as vigorously as 

we are able. 

Everyone here knows that plants and other 

photosynthetic organisms have a major role to play 

in the solution to the dilemma we face together. 

They provide all our food, more than half of our 

medicines worldwide, clothing, building materials, 

chemical feedstocks, possible renewable sources of 

energy, as well as ecosystem services of inestimable 

value. They fill our lives with beauty and hope, 

and have inspired artists throughout the course 

of human history. Our opportunities to build a 

sound and sustainable future rest implicitly on the 

characteristics of the living world; nothing else is 

truly sustainable.

Countering our dreams and aspirations, we are 

driving to extinction a major proportion of all life 

on earth, and doing so more rapidly than at any 

time for the last 65 million years, since the end of 

the Cretaceous Period. To the extent that we can 

estimate it, the rate of biological extinction has 

climbed by several orders of magnitude over the 

past 10,000 years or so, since our ancestors first 

domesticated plants and animals and launched the 

agricultural revolution that was to make possible a 

massive and lasting explosion of human population 

levels. This explosion took us from a level of several 

million people 10,000 years ago (only about 400 

generations)—widely scattered bands of hunter-

gatherers—to a rapidly growing 7 billion today, with 

such profound effects on the earth that people are 

starting to consider that we have entered a wholly 

new geological period, the Anthropocene, a period 

in which we are dominant to an unbelievable extent, 

modifying our home planet and destroying its life 

systems wantonly and mostly without focusing on 

the problems for which we are responsible. 

With a third of the world’s land surface cultivated 

or grazed by domestic animals and every square 

centimeter of the land affected directly by the 

activities of human beings, we are clearly moving 

rapidly toward the creation of a world that is less 

diverse, more uniform, and with many fewer 

possibilities than the one into which we were born.

The rate at which we are destroying species, their 

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to grasp the importance of what was going on. As 

time went by, the core of biology—how cells and 

molecules function; how living organisms achieve 

their remarkable, diverse forms; and indeed, how 

simple some of the basic principles were when we 

understood them properly—expanded, and all 

biologists had to assimilate a large core of material 

to understand the basics of the field. To teach these 

principles well in a series of separate departments 

came to seem less and less reasonable, and fused 

departments were formed at an ever-increasing 

rate. What is distinctive about plants in their 

growth patterns, hormones, secondary metabolites, 

patterns of diversity, and place in ecological systems 

is not the basis for understanding their cellular 

and molecular biology but rather a set of features 

based on those basic biological principles, which it 

therefore began to seem logical to teach first.

As botany departments were merged into more 

comprehensive biology departments, a strange thing 

began to happen! Where the original departments 

often contained mycologists, bacteriologists, 

ecologists, and many other kinds of biologists, once 

the mergers had taken place, they were no longer 

“counted” as botanists—a very narrow definition 

was used to conduct a head count of the remaining 

plant scientists. No wonder we botanists feel that 

we have been disappearing so rapidly!

Against this background, however, it is 

important to emphasize the fact that relatively 

little scientific emphasis has been placed on the 

special features of plants as opposed to microbes 

and animals, regardless of departmental structure. 

During the past 30 years or so, plant studies have 

been strengthened considerably, and we have 

learned a great deal about plant biology. Mary 

Clutter, who will speak at these meetings, deserves 

a great deal of credit for her role at NSF in making 

possible increased funding for the plant sciences, 

including the initiation of the highly productive 

plant genomics program. And there have been 

many other instances in which our knowledge 

of plants and how they function has expanded 

beyond anything that we could have imagined 

when I was starting my own university career 

nearly 60 years ago. Virtually the whole field of 

ecology has developed during this period, leading 

to a realization of the ways in which ecosystems 

function and the complex and largely unknown 

interactions by which they function sustainably. 

We now understand plant growth in a depth that 

would have seemed impossible to attain a few 

short years ago, and outstanding new findings are 

accumulating monthly.

Important advances have been made in our 

understanding of the evolutionary relationships of 

photosynthetic organisms, the effort epitomized by 

the Tree of Life program [] 

funded by NSF and early spurred by the realization 

that prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms 

differed fundamentally, then by the discovery of 

Archaea, and finally by the demonstration that 

plastids, mitochondria, and other organs in the 

cells of eukaryotes had originated following the 

incorporation of symbiotic prokaryotes with 

eukaryotic cells. Genome comparisons, now 

commonplace and destined to become much more 

so in the future, have revealed the evolutionary 

relationships of plants to a degree that was 

unthinkable only a couple of decades ago, and the 

remarkable trail of discovery leads on and on to still 

more exciting findings.

It was dogma when I attended university in 

the 1950s that the fossil record would never yield 

much information about the evolutionary history 

of plants—but were we wrong! The wonderful 

findings made by members of our societies and their 

colleagues around the world have revealed much 

more than we ever thought it possible to know. For 

angiosperms, new techniques have allowed Peter 

Crane, Else Marie Friis, and their associates to trace 

the evolution of the early members of this group 

through a thorough examination of their tiny fossils 

using the most modern techniques. Many exciting 

paleobotanical results are being published, and the 

flow is expected to continue indefinitely. 

If the knowledge of plants is moving ahead so 

rapidly, why do we feel that the science of botany 

is faltering? There are many reasons, some having 

to do with the naming of departments and courses, 

and some having to do with the explosive growth of 

molecular and cellular biology on the one hand and 

ecology on the other. These sciences contributed 

directly to advances in botany, but do not seem like 

the traditional botany that we look back to with 

nostalgia. In those respects, we’ve got to get over it, 

enjoy what is being discovered, and incorporate the 

new findings into our teaching and our thinking.

What is certainly tending to be lost, however, 

is the ability to recognize and deal with plants 

and other kinds of organisms in nature. Courses 

in plant identification have become rare, even in 

land-grant universities, and it is no longer clear 

where those who have the ability to recognize 

and name plants will be trained. There are far 

more members of the American Society of Plant 

Taxonomists now than there were when I was a 

student, but their specializations are diverse, and 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

many cannot recognize many kinds of whole plants 

as organisms. Nevertheless, that kind of knowledge 

is badly needed in our rapidly changing world, and 

we must find new ways to increase the number of 

people trained in the area of plant identification 

and traditional taxonomy. Perhaps such training 

should take place at the high school level; perhaps 

botanical gardens and museums should play a 

greater role in it. Whatever the case, we need to do 

more than is currently being done.

As an aside, why does it seem that there are so 

many fewer taxonomists now, when in fact there 

are more? Several reasons are clear: 

In 1965, it was estimated that the total number of 

organisms worldwide was less than 2 million, with 

perhaps 1.4 million known. The current estimate 

is 12 million eukaryotes and an unknown but 

enormous number of prokaryotes. Are we up to the 


In 1965, the standard estimate of the number 

of angiosperm species was about 235,000; now, 

following the organization of The Plant List [http://], it is about 350,000 or more, 

with perhaps 75,000 still to be discovered and 


We depend on our ability to deal with species as 

part of the solution to the problem of achieving a 

sustainable earth, and yet our knowledge base is 

unsatisfactory and growing very slowly.

Species are becoming extinct at an enormous 

rate, so that our chance of learning about them or 

even knowing they are here is vanishing.

Universities and colleges appoint few systematists 

and train few students in this area; thus, there is no 

clear plan for training the people that the world 

needs to address the problems of a disintegrating 

global ecosystem.

At this point I feel compelled to put in a 

strong plea for a much stronger common effort 

to study and understand those organisms that 

have traditionally been grouped with plants, such 

as the fungi. Along with the bacteria, fungi are 

the decomposers of the biosphere, of extreme 

importance both ecologically and economically, 

and of enormous diversity, and yet very few people 

study their taxonomy. The Tree of Life Program 

has helped, but we need more people who can 

simply recognize them, evaluate them—find out, 

for example, how many species are represented 

by hyphae at a series of specific localities and how 

many of them form spore-forming bodies—and 

answer such questions as how does fungal diversity 

contribute to the functioning of ecosystems, how 

do lichens work, where are species of fungi most 

abundant, and many other questions. The curricula 

in biology departments ought to allow more 

attention to be paid to these important organisms, 

but the trend is not particularly evident yet. Many 

more universities should find important specialties 

here. What can each of us do locally in this respect?

Concluding Remarks

I first realized that the world was under threat 

in the mid-1960s, and had no idea before that 

time that by now we would be destroying habitats, 

drastically and rapidly altering the global climate, 

and consuming all of our planet’s resources much 

more rapidly than they can be replenished. In the 

face of this crisis, we need to make serious choices 

about what we can accomplish and select our goals 

carefully. Our future food supplies, medicines, 

climate stability, protection of topsoil, and the 

provision of clean water, as well as the rich beauty 

that plants bring into our lives every day, are worth 

fighting for. What can we do as plant scientists and 

as people to make the future better?

In the United States, we can work to improve 

education and especially to help people understand 

how science works. Our country is the only one in 

the world in which a great number of people do 

not accept evolution as the basis for the diversity 

of life on earth. We are the only nation in which 

an organized political movement claims not to 

“believe” in global warming and the effects of the 

human drivers associated with it. As scientists and 

concerned citizens, we should do whatever we can 

to help people understand the facts of our situation, 

because they don’t know how science works. In 

1991, Stephan Schmidheiny, a Swiss businessman, 

pointed out in the Op Ed pages of the New York 

Times that there was no greater gift that Americans 

could give to European and Japanese industry than 

to go on claiming that global warming did not 

exist—and that was 20 years ago!

Recently a scientist was asked whether he 

“believed” in global climate change or not. He 

replied along these lines: 

“No, I reserve belief for important things like 

religion. Global climate change and the key role of 

human beings in causing it is a scientific conclusion 

based on thousands of peer-reviewed papers over 

the years. These papers and the information that 

they analyzed eventually led to a consensus that 

reflects the current state of scientific understanding. 

Belief has nothing to do with it.”

He might have added that neither do the views 

of those in the media or in Congress who refuse 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

to deal with the science of the situation, instead 

making assertions for whatever their own purposes 

may be. Science doesn’t tell us what to do, but if 

we’re contemplating jumping off a 20-story building 

it would seem prudent to take into account what 

science tells us about what the consequences are 

likely to be.

St. Augustine, the Christian bishop of what is 

now part of Algeria in the 5th century, cautioned 

believers against a blindly literal interpretation 

of the Bible. He clearly understood that the Bible 

was a way of explaining the world in terms that 

were familiar to those writing it. What we now 

consider the literal interpretation of the Bible 

largely gathered strength in the United States in 

the early 19th century, and it has led to exactly 

the sort of nonsense that St. Augustine warned 

against 1500 years ago. Thus we miss the fact that 

educated people generally accepted evolution as 

the only plausible explanation of life on earth long 

before Charles Darwin proposed a mechanism for 

it. Many believers understand that a Supreme Being 

can be understood as operating through what we 

see as the laws of nature, and not by individual 

creation of millions of species everywhere through 

all time. As Charles Darwin, who was certainly a 

believer, wrote in On the Origin of Species…,

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, 

clothed with many plants of many kinds, with 

birds singing on the bushes, with various insects 

flitting about, and with worms crawling through 

the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately 

constructed forms, so different from each other, 

and dependent upon each other in so complex a 

manner, have all been produced by laws acting 

around us. “

In addition to doing whatever we can to help our 

fellow students understand the scientific method, 

we can help promote an international viewpoint. 

Why is the United States, which depends on every 

nation on earth for our economic situation, the 

lowest per capita donor of economic development 

assistance of any industrialized nation? Why do we 

virtually bar family planning assistance to other 

countries when we have the most to lose if they 

don’t adopt means for family planning that are 

perfectly legal both here and there? How can we 

care about the people of other countries if we don’t 

even recognize the fact that they exist? We must do 

a great deal better, recognizing more fully the needs 

of the poor and needy even in the places where we 

live and extending to them the love and charity 

that may seem altruistic but in fact ultimately make 

possible a sustainable future for us all.

One of the most important things we can do is 

to promote environmental education for all. Over 

the next 40 years, we will add 2.5 billion people, 

mainly hungry, to a world that already includes 2 

to 3 billion people living in extreme poverty; we’ll 

drive to extinction perhaps 10–20% of all living 

things on earth, altering permanently the future 

prospects both for our planet and for the human 

race; we’ll warm the climate by several degrees 

Fahrenheit and raise the sea level by more than 

a foot; water will become a source of contention 

throughout the world; and environmental factors 

that we cannot even comprehend now will surface 

like the Great White Whale to threaten our ability 

to achieve a sustainable life, filled with opportunity, 

for ourselves and our children.  

Why for heaven’s sake don’t we make basic 

literacy in environmental science fundamental 

in K–12 education, and a requirement for all 

university graduates, unless we think they are going 

to be able to steer their lives though these factors 

by reading snippets of coverage in the media after 

the events have taken place? Please take some 

time to work for these causes in the areas where 

you live: the rewards are of the most fundamental 

importance for building a sound future.

Having taken this knowledge on board, we have 

an obligation to spread the word to our students, 

families, fellow citizens, voters, co-religionists, 

everyone—to urge them to learn, to act, and to 

vote. As we pursue our science, confident in the 

knowledge that it will enrich our possibilities for 

the future, we must also work to understand the 

overall dimensions of the world in which we live 

and use that knowledge to strive for a better, more 

equitable, sustainable, and peaceful future. We must 

play our individual and special roles in choosing 

goals for ourselves, our communities, our nation, 

and the world, establishing priorities and pursuing 

them actively. We botanists, who know better than 

most, must use our knowledge and our training 

to educate our fellow citizens, especially children, 

and work to maintain a world that is filled with 

opportunity, diversity, and beauty. As scientists, 

as citizens of the wealthiest and most privileged 

nation on earth, and as global citizens, let’s strive 

to act in ways compatible with the privileges and 

opportunities that we have been given.
-Peter H. Raven, Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. 

Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Legacy  Society

The BSA Legacy Society is hosting a Legacy Society Celebrations event at 

the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, in St. Louis on April 14, 2012

What is this all about? 

A few years ago,  members of the Botanical Society of America celebrated our first 100 years 

as a professional Society. Looking back over the past century, it was so encouraging to see 

how our support for botanical research and education clearly added to the depth of scien-

tific knowledge worldwide. Shortly after our celebration, the 

American Journal of Botany 

was named one of the top ten most influential journals over the last 100 years in the field 

of Biology & Medicine, based on the survey by the BioMedical & Life Sciences Division 

(DBIO) of the Special Libraries Association (SLA).

We have much to celebrate.

During our centennial celebrations in 2006, senior members decided it was time we build 

upon the important legacy of those who went before to ensure a solid foundation for the fu-

ture of the BSA. They formed the Legacy Society, an active group focused on ensuring a 

sustainable financial future for the Society. Over the past five years,  the Legacy Society has 

quietly grown to over 70 members — and we would like to provide a better understand-

ing of the important contributions of our Legacy Society to all BSA members, while we cel-

ebrate our contributions to Botany and the broader scientific community.

Why become involved? 

Who is a member of the Legacy Society?  

How can I support the BSA? 

Visit the website at:

This first Legacy Society Celebrations event is an evening for celebrating the onset of the 
centennial of the 

American Journal of Botany and the many important contributions made 

our members. Please RSVP by March 23, 2012  as seating is limited! If you have not yet 
received your invitation and would like one, please contact

5:30 - Cocktails and Introduction by Dr. Peter Raven  
6:15 - 

AJB Retrospective honoring AJB Editors by Betty Smocovitis & Judy Jernstedt

6:30 - Seated Dinner 
7:15 - Special Presentation by Allison Miller 
8:00 - Concluding comments by BSA President, Dr. Stephen Weller,  & Development    

Committee Chair, Dr. Linda Graham 

We look forward to celebrating with you!

 - Bill Dahl

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BSA Science Education  

News and Notes


January is National Mentoring Month (http://  This is a 

timely opportunity to recognize and celebrate the 

many mentoring activities of BSA members:  as part 

of your everyday work life guiding undergraduate 

and graduate students and postdoctoral researchers 

in your institution; as outreach with youth in your 

local community; and as service in society efforts 

to strengthen participation in the discipline.  Your 

diverse mentoring activities may vary substantially 

in the who,  when, and where of mentoring.  

Answers to the question of why do it, however, 

likely converge on the desire to make a difference 

in the lives of others and give back to the science 

community.  While the research on mentoring 

is somewhat limited, it is safe to say that mentors 


 The focus of this update on PlantingScience 

activities is to take a look at the online mentoring 

in the program.  Over 900 scientists have signed 

on to volunteer as online mentors guiding the 

science discovery of student teams in the course 

of their plant investigations.  Mentors represent 

14 partner societies (American Bryological and 

Lichenological Society, American Fern Society, 

American Institute for Biological Sciences, 

American Phytopathological Society, American 

Society of Agronomy, American Society of Plant 

Biologists, American Society of Plant Taxonomists, 

Botanical Society of America, Canadian Botanical 

Association, Crop Science Society of America, 

Ecological Society of America, Society for Economic 

Botany, Society for the Study of Evolution, and 

Soil Science of America), as well as government 

agencies and diverse career paths in plant science.  

The remarkable interest in PlantingScience 

mentoring is a testament to scientists’ commitment 

to the cause of building science literacy and interest 

in plants.  Scientists who volunteer in the program 

receive the PlantingScience mentor guide, and also 

bring the mentoring skills they’ve developed in 

other contexts.

BSA Science Education News and Notes is a quarterly update about the BSA’s education efforts and the 

broader education scene.  We invite you to submit news items or ideas for future features.  Contact:  Claire 

Hemingway, BSA Education Director, at or Marshall Sundberg, PSB Editor, at

How do PlantingScience mentors offer guidance 

to student teams in online collaborative science 

learning?  This is one question the program 

is examining in order to identify patterns of 

interactions and evaluate kinds of supports for 

student-teacher-scientist partnerships.  We are 

viewing the online postings between scientists and 

their student teams through research frameworks 

on mentoring and science discourse.  With an 

average of 200 scientists taking part in each online 

mentored inquiry session and two sessions offered 

each year since 2006, the program is data rich!    

Preliminary categorization of how mentors talk 

with student teams in the most recent session 

suggests that PlantingScience mentors see the 

complex interplay of social functions along with 

supporting student thinking about how science 

and plant biology work.  The majority of mentors 

offer grade-level-appropriate comments in an 

encouraging and respectful tone that helps build 

a relationship with students.  They ask students 

questions that prompt students to reflect and think 

critically, as well as offer suggestions and feedback 

on the team’s investigation.  When conversations 

really click, the ability of scientists to stimulate 

student excitement and elevate student thinking 

is the unmistakable magic of mentoring.  Broad 

categories are also emerging for the general 

functions of comments made by mentors and the 

specific tools and techniques they employ (See table 

on the following page).  

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012


Conversation Function 


Mentoring Actions or Techniques

Brokering expectations and building    


Affirming, encouraging. 
Providing information about themselves.
Asking for information about team. 

Helping mentees to gain access to resources 

Providing factual information, content 

knowledge, or research tools.  

Pointing to places for students to seek these.

Helping mentees to clarify their goals or 


Checking for understanding; restating ideas.
Asking directly or indirectly for information.
Asking “have you thought about..”
Training or instructing through how-tos.
Providing factual information, content 

knowledge, or research tools.  

Prompting new connections of ideas.

Helping mentees to troubleshoot problems or 

address group issues

Helping mentees to clarify procedures or 


Helping mentees to clarify ideas

Helping mentees to reflect on understandings

Presenting hypotheticals, scenarios, or 


Encouraging real world connections and 


Asking probing questions that encourage 

student metacognition (thinking about 


Socializing mentees into the culture of 


Role modeling—providing information about 

their own life as a scientist.

Talking about career pathways, history of 

science, how science is done.

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Upcoming PlantingScience 

Summer Happenings

Focus Groups for PlantingScience 



This is an active phase of working on website 

improvements and developing future plans for 

PlantingScience.  We plan to host stakeholder 

meetings to make sure that, in visioning the next 

phase of the program, we are meeting the needs 

of our community and gathering insights from 

teachers and scientist mentors.  We will hold a 

summer focus group meeting in association with 

Botany 2012 and also plan a fall focus group meeting 

in association with the National Association of 

Biology Teachers meeting.  
While we can’t invite all past participating mentors 

and teachers to attend the focus groups, we do 

value and seek your input.  Don’t hesitate to share 

your thoughts anytime! Email us at psteam@</p>

Of special interest to 

Advanced Placement teachers

Join in a botany-themed session at this 

summer’s AP Conference (July 20-21, Lake Buena 

Vista, Florida).  Naomi Volain, who has been a 

PlantingScience teacher since participating in 

the first summer institutes for teachers held in 

2008, will be leading Plants as Pedagogy:  Botany 

Directed AP Environmental Science.

Education Bits and Bobs

Thinking Evolutionarily 



“Nothing in biology makes sense except in the 

light of evolution.” 

This famous 1964 quote by Theodosius 

Dobzhansky frames current national efforts 

to incorporate evolution as a central theme in 

teaching biology in both pre- and postsecondary 

levels.  The National Research Council’s Board 

on Life Sciences and the National Academy of 

Sciences held a convocation in Washington, 

D.C., on October 25-26, 2011.  BSA member 

Gordon Uno was among the committee members, 

convocation presenters, and panelists collaborating 

with stakeholders to develop a strategic plan to 

infuse evolution education across the life sciences.  

Convocation presentations are available online.  

The website also has diverse resources on policy, 

research, curriculum guides, videos, and websites 

for teaching and learning about evolution.

To learn more, see:


Climate Science Joins 

Evolution Teaching Advocacy


The National Center for Science Education 

(NCSE) is renowned for taking on the creationism 

controversy and defending evolution teaching 

in U.S. classrooms.  As with evolution, the topic 

of global warming in the classroom can trigger 

socially and politically charged responses rather 

than a focus on the climate science research.  So, 

in 2012 the NSCE added a new advocacy goal to 

provide information and resources for teaching 

about climate change.  One of the new tools 

addresses the false pillars of climate change deniers.  

Resources for taking action are also provided.

Read a 16 January 2012 news article in Nature 

Vol. 481 at


Visit the National Center for Science Education 

website at

Just Average Among Global 

Education Systems 


Education, particularly science and math education, 

is often closely linked to a nation’s competitive status.  

In its annual survey, 

Education Week’s 

Quality Counts 

report for 2012 critically examines American education 

from a global perspective, along with its usual state 

report card on academic performance.  Overall, the 

United States received a C.  State-by-state scores ranged 

widely on indicators: the Chance-for-Success Index; 

the K-12 Achievement Index; standards, assessments, 

and accountability; school finance; policies toward 

the teaching profession; and policies toward the 

educational continuum.  Math and science were the 

subject areas most strongly influenced by international 

standards and examples of excellence.

Access the report and state scores at http://www.


Changing Budgets, Attitudes, 

and Technologies on Campus


How do tuition hikes and diminished resources 

on your campus compare to other colleges and 

universities?  The Chronicle of Higher Education’

Almanac of Higher Education 2011 provides an 

annual overview on the institutional financial 

strategies, academic pay, student demographics, 

and attitudes, access and equity and technology, 

among other data, for higher education institutions 

across the United States.

To view the 2011 summaries or search the data, 



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Manipulatives-Based Laboratory 

for Majors Biology: A Hands-on 

Approach to Understanding Respira-

tion and Photosynthesis


S. Boomer and K. L. Latham

Journal of Microbiology and Biology Educa-

tion 12(2): 127–134.

Have you noticed that students in introductory 

biology show the least interest in and score the 

lowest on exams and labs on metabolic processes 

including respiration and photosynthesis? Those 

findings prompted the authors to try a new approach 

in laboratory exercises. Students manipulating 

paper cutouts, movable blocks, and LEGOs to 

model electron transfer and reactions within cells 

showed significant gains in understanding. And a 

remarkable 33% of students rated metabolism as 

their favorite topic at the end of the course. 

Rainforest Depiction in Children’s 


J. Dove

Journal of Biological Education 45(4): 


Misconceptions about the natural world can be 

generated from the most innocent of areas: children’s 

literature. As most children in North America and 

Europe have no firsthand experience of a rainforest, 

their impressions come from the ways rainforests 

are presented in media to them. An analysis of 

20 books and 12 websites designed for students 

aged 9–14 documents the over-representation of 

big, colorful, endangered, or dangerous animals. 

Perspectives on plant life emphasized large, rare, 

and colorful plants and vertical stratification of the 


Exploring the Complexity of Tree 

Thinking Expertise in an Undergrad-

uate Systematics Course 

Kristy L. Halverson, Chris J. Pires, and Sandra 

K. Abell

Science Education 95: 794–823.

This is not a “how to” for implementing tree 

thinking in a course, although there are plenty of 

Editors Choice reviews

examples that can be employed. Rather, it confirms 

some misconceptions already in the literature and 

identifies some new ones. More importantly, the 

authors then identify a variety of approaches to 

remediate persistent nonevolutionary reasoning, 

based on a classification of student reasoning 

types they develop. This is a great example of 

the effectiveness of using qualitative assessment 

to improve student learning on one of the most 

challenging topics in biology. 

Using Soil Seed Banks for Ecological 

Education in Primary School

E. J. Ju and J. G. Kim

Journal of Biological Education 45(2): 93–101.

Looking underground might seem a surprising place 

for students to begin their studies on relationships 

between local plants and the environment. Soil 

seed banks, however, give students context for 

their ideas about plant distribution and ecology. 

This comparison of fourth graders in South 

Korea demonstrates enhanced understanding and 

attitudes about plants for those students doing a 

series of hands-on activities. Sampling the soil seed 

bank, identifying seeds, and making observations

these activities can be successfully sequenced for 

active learning at any grade level.

Can Dynamic Visualizations Improve 

Middle School Students’ Under-

standing of Energy in Photosynthe-



K. Ryoo and M.C. Linn 

Journal of Research in Science Teaching 49(2): 


Innovative approaches to teaching conceptually 

difficult topics like photosynthesis are needed at 

all education levels. These authors compared the 

use of dynamic versus static visualizations among 

7th graders completing a Web-based inquiry 

on energy concepts in photosynthesis. Student 

understandings of abstract concepts are much more 

effectively improved with dynamic visualizations.

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Jerome E. Dimitman 1920–2011

Jerome (Jerry) Dimitman, beloved Professor 

Emeritus and long time Chair of Biology at Cal Poly 

Pomona, died on 14 December 2011 at age 91.  He 

was a plant pathologist, botanist, and horticulturist.  

He spent a great deal of his life studying citrus 

diseases, culminating in the Lifetime Achievement 

Award from the California Citrus Research Board.  

Jerry was born in New York City, where he 

enjoyed growing plants in his window boxes.  

When he was 18 years old he moved to Southern 

California, where he attended Los Angeles City 

College.  He later earned a Bachelor’s degree in 

Botany (1943) and a Master’s degree in Plant 

Pathology and Entomology (1949), both from UC 

Berkeley.  Dimitman received his Ph.D. in plant 

pathology and biochemistry from UC Riverside in 

1958.  His formal education was interrupted more 

than once by notable service as a naval commander 

during both World War II and in the Korean War, 

during which time he developed an enduring 

interest in Asian culture and also a love for Asian 

fruits, which he cultivated for much of his life.

Jerry had a tremendous impact on the culture of 

the Department of Biological Sciences. He began 

teaching at the Voorhis campus in San Dimas in 

1948, and was one of the founding members of the 

biology faculty as the Voorhis campus transformed 

to become Cal Poly Pomona.  When Jerry began as 

a professor at Cal Poly Pomona, he also served for 

several years as the coach of the track team, and 

he became the first ever coach of the cross country 

team.   Jerry was an engaging coach, mentor, and 

teacher to students and faculty alike.  Jerry had 

many international collaborations and he was a 

wonderful teacher-scholar.  Former students, faculty 

members, and his family members remember with 

fondness going on field trips with Jerry to Mexico 

and other countries; he was well known for veering 

suddenly off the road to inspect rare and interesting 

plants that he noticed out of the corner of his eye.  

He also enjoyed meeting and socializing with “the 

locals” wherever the field site.  Jerry was proud 

of the fact that he effectively encouraged many 

students to go on to advanced degrees, and many of 

his former students and athletes stayed in contact 

with him throughout his life.  

Jerry served as chair of the Biology Department 

for 12 years, during which time he oversaw a 

growing department, with the hiring of a diverse, 

international, research-active faculty that was well 

known for obtaining external funding to support 

research and curriculum development.  He helped 

to develop many academic programs including 

an undergraduate major in Botany and the first 

Master’s program on the Cal Poly Pomona campus.  

By all accounts he was a great advocate for students 

and faculty alike.  Although Jerry retired in 1983, he 

continued to teach at Cal Poly Pomona until 1990. 

In his retirement, Dimitman continued to 

grow many rare varieties of Asian fruits, such 

as pummelos, lychees, longans, wampi, and 

mandarins, and he enjoyed selling them at a 

local farmers market, where long lines of Asian 

customers, many of them close friends, eagerly 

awaited the delicacies.  Two of his most prized 

varieties were the Chong and Wong pummelos, 

which he named after his dear late friends Chong 

Lew and Ben Wong.

Jerry served for many years as a consultant 

in plant pathology and education in Greece, 

Guatemala, Yemen, China, South Africa, and 

other countries.  He served on many research 

boards for fruit companies and cooperatives.  He 

spent 11 years as a scientific consultant and nine 

years on the Board of Directors of the California 

Citrus Research Board.  The Board later named 

the Riverside Research facility the Jerry Dimitman 

Laboratory, in his honor.

Jerry died of a stroke in his home at one of his 

two exotic fruit ranches in Southern California.  He 

is survived by his wife, Emma Ureta-Ruiz, his sons 

Steven and Robert, his daughter Susan Purdy, and 

his sister Elaine Henley, M.D.
-Frank W. Ewers, Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona, CA 91768

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Martine named Burpee 

Endowed Chair at Bucknell 


Botanist to join Department 

of Biology

LEWISBURG, PA—Chris Martine has been named 

the next David Burpee Chair in Plant Genetics 

and Research at Bucknell University. He will join 

Bucknell in July as a professor in the Department 

of Biology.
For the past six years, Martine has been a professor 

of botany at the State University of New York 

(SUNY) College at Plattsburgh. During his time 

there, he helped create the first student chapter of 

the Botanical Society of America and established 

the only Botany minor available among the 18 

four-year SUNY schools. In 2011, Martine was 

presented with a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for 

Teaching Excellence, one year after being selected 

for the Charles Edwin Bessey Teaching Award by 

the Botanical Society of America, or BSA. 
Martine received his bachelor’s degree in Natural 

Resource Management from Rutgers University in 

1996. He received his master’s degree in Ecology 

and Evolution at Rutgers in 2001 while working as 

a science educator for the New Jersey Forest Service 

and the Mercer County (N.J.) Soil Conservation 

District. In 2006, Martine earned his doctorate in 

Botany from the University of Connecticut. While 

a student at UConn, Martine won graduate student 

research awards from the BSA and the American 

Society of Plant Taxonomists. The latter society 

also selected him for the George R. Cooley Award 

in 2005. 
Martine is author or co-author of two books, a 

dozen peer-reviewed publications, and more than 

50 conference abstracts. He serves on the New 

York Flora Association Board of Directors, the 

Plant Science Bulletin Editorial Board, and the BSA 

Education Committee. 
Martine is extensively involved with community 

outreach and has developed a set of YouTube videos 

that teach the public botanical principles in fun 

ways—including the first episode of the new series, 

“Plants Are Cool, Too!”

The David Burpee Chair in 

Plant Genetics

The David Burpee Chair


was established 

in 1983 through the generosity of David 

Burpee, a Bucknell trustee for more than 40 

years. The Chair has been held by Professor 

Warren Abrahamson since its inception. 


Abrahamson will retire in June after an outstanding 

career that began at Bucknell in 1973. His teaching 

has been recognized with two awards from 

Bucknell University.   His service to conservation 

was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement 

Award from the Merrill Linn Land and Waterways 

Conservancy and a William Dutcher Award for 

Outstanding Service to the Audubon Cause at the 

Regional Level (Mid-Atlantic Region).

Annual John Dwyer Lecture 

in Biology Features  

Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson on 

Ireland’s Wild Plants 

ST. LOUIS, MO—Join the Missouri Botanical 

Garden for the 2012 John Dwyer Lecture in 

Biology on Friday, March 9 at 4 p.m. In advance of 

St. Patrick’s Day, Dr. Peter Wyse Jackson, Garden 

president and Ireland native, will present “Ireland’s 

Generous Nature—The Use of Wild Plants in 

Ireland through the Ages.” The event is free to 

attend and open to the public.
Wyse Jackson has undertaken extensive research 

on the use of wild plants in Ireland. His lecture will 

outline the ways in which a wide variety of plants 

have been a fundamental part of life for people in 

Ireland for centuries, tracing the history of plants 

used for food, medicines, fibers, fuel, and timber 

since the earliest times. Hear fascinating stories 

associated with plant use, including how the potato 

shaped the Ireland of today, how cereals were used 

to make poteen (illegal moonshine), and how 

plants were used as the raw material for thatching 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

houses and for ancient pagan rituals that survive up 

to the present day.
Born in Kilkenny, Ireland, Wyse Jackson studied 

botany at Trinity College Dublin, where he 

subsequently obtained a Ph.D. for work on the 

taxonomy of Irish Cruciferae. In 1981, he was 

appointed curator of the Trinity College Dublin 

Botanic Garden. In 1987, he moved to Kew in 

England to join the International Union for the 

Conservation of Nature (IUCN), where he helped 

to establish the international network organization 

for botanic gardens that became Botanic Gardens 

Conservation International (BGCI). In 1994, he 

was appointed secretary general of BGCI and in 

2005 returned to Dublin as director of the National 

Botanic Gardens of Ireland. In 2010, he was 

appointed to his present position at the Missouri 

Botanical Garden.
As one of the world’s foremost and best known 

botanists and plant conservationists, Wyse 

Jackson has played an influential role in reshaping 

and leading the international botanic garden 

community over the past two decades. He has 

worked extensively with botanic gardens and 

their network organizations worldwide, helping 

to establish or develop botanic gardens and other 

organizations in over 30 countries. He played a lead 

role in the development and implementation of the 

Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, adopted 

by the U.N. Convention on Biological Diversity 

in 2002, and has been chairman of the Global 

Partnership for Plant Conservation since 2005.
The annual John Dwyer Lecture in Biology honors 

the memory of Dr. John Dwyer, a professor of 

biology at Saint Louis University and former 

research associate of the Missouri Botanical 

The lecture will be held in the Shoenberg Theater 

of the Ridgway Visitor Center at the Missouri 

Botanical Garden. The Garden is located at 4344 

Shaw Blvd. in south St. Louis, accessible from 

Interstate 44 at the Vandeventer exit and from 

Interstate 64 at the Kingshighway North and South 

exit. Free parking is available on site and two blocks 

west at the corner of Shaw and Vandeventer.

Missouri Botanical Garden 

Scientists Use Shrimp 

to Examine Toxicity of 

Traditional Medicinal Plants 

in Northern Peru

One Quarter of Water Extracts and 

Three Quarters of Alcoholic Extracts 

From 341 Medicinal Plants Had Toxic 

Side Effects


ST. LOUIS, MO—Many developing countries 

rely on traditional medicine as an accessible and 

affordable treatment option for human maladies. 

However, until now, scientific data have not existed 

to evaluate the potential toxicity of medicinal plant 

species in Peru. Scientists from the William L. 

Brown Center of the Missouri Botanical Garden 

in St. Louis led a study using brine shrimp to 

determine the toxicity of 341 northern Peruvian 

plant species commonly ingested in traditional 

medicine. Their findings indicated over 24% of 

water extracts made from these plant species and 

76% of alcoholic extracts from the plants contained 

elevated toxicity levels. The results reinforce the 

need for traditional preparation methods to take 

different toxicity levels into account when choosing 

the appropriate solvent for the preparation of a 

medicinal remedy. The study was funded by grants 

from the National Institutes of Health MHIRT 

program through San Diego State University and 

was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.

Peru is a country rich in biodiversity with a 

millennia-old tradition of curers using the native 

flora in medicinal remedies. Traditional medicine 

is a common practice in the Andean region, where 

the same plants used years ago are still relied upon 

today for their healing powers.
“Traditional medicine is an important way to 

address health issues, but through this study 

we wanted to show that remedies could contain 

potentially harmful ingredients and need to be 

prepared with correctly collected, identified, and 

prepared ingredients,” said Dr. Rainer Bussmann, 

William L. Brown Curator for Economic Botany 

and director of the William L. Brown Center at the 

Missouri Botanical Garden. “The William L. Brown 

Center focuses on this area because plant material 

used in traditional medicine is marketed in the U.S. 

more and more, whether direct or via the internet.”
The plants used in this study were collected in 

the field, at public markets, and at the homes of 

traditional healers, or curanderos, all in northern 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Peru. Botanists gathered material from each of 

341  traditional medicinal plant species, dried the 

material, and processed it in an industrial grinder. 

Two samples of plant material were taken from 

each species. One sample was submerged in 96% 

ethanol for 7 days, and the other in boiling distilled 

water for 1 day—both traditional preparations 

of plant extracts. The solvents were evaporated 

to complete dryness and a concentration of each 

extract was removed for testing. Plant extracts were 

then diluted to various concentrations in vials.
Brine shrimp (Artemia sp.), small invertebrates that 

dwell in sea water and other saline ecosystems, are 

frequently used in laboratory studies to evaluate 

toxicity values as a measure of median lethal 

concentration values, or LC


, as they offer a simple, 

quick, and cost-effective way to test plant extracts. 

Brine shrimp larvae were submerged in 501 

total vials of aqueous and ethanolic plant extract 

solutions, and scientists recorded their rates of 

mortality after 24 hours.
Testing of the aqueous extracts showed high toxicity 

values for 55 of the total plant species, with 18 

species having median toxicity values and another 

18 species having low toxicity. The alcoholic 

extracts proved exponentially more toxic, with 

220 plant species showing high toxicity values, 43 

having median toxicity, and 23 showing low toxicity.
“Preparation methods by curanderos are taking this 

into account, and most traditional remedies such as 

medicinal teas are made with simple water extracts 

instead of alcoholic ones, thus avoiding potential 

toxic effects in patients,” said Bussmann. “However, 

traditional knowledge about medicinal plant use 

is rapidly eroding and many of these plant species 

are threatened with extinction. Roughly four out of 

five people in developing countries rely on plants 

for their primary health care, so studies such as 

this are vital to ensure that the knowledge base of 

traditional healers is reinforced and expanded for 

the benefit of future generations.
“Importantly, during this study, we also discovered 

that while most cases of extracts made from 

different collections of one plant species showed the 

similar toxicity levels, other plant species collected 

at different times varied from non-toxic to highly 

toxic,” added Bussmann. “Future studies should 

investigate whether harvest time, collection locality, 

or use of specific plant parts might contribute to 

a reduction of toxicity in these frequently used 

Humans consume thousands of species of plants 

to meet their basic nutritional needs, but only a 

handful of these plants have received significant 

study through international agricultural centers. 

Many remain poorly understood and largely 

undeveloped, and their wild relatives are threatened 

with extinction and in need of conservation 

attention. Stewardship of these valuable plant 

resources will require rigorous science combined 

with an approach that respects and values traditional 

knowledge systems; supports intellectual property 

mechanisms that equitably compensate all parties; 

and includes local participatory methods to ensure 

culturally sensitive solutions.
The Missouri Botanical Garden’s William L. Brown 

Center is uniquely positioned to respond to these 

issues and play a leading role in addressing these 

problems. The Center is located in one of the 

largest herbaria in the world, making a wealth 

of plant data available from collections. Access 

to advanced scientific methodologies allows 

more rapid characterization of useful species, 

chemicals, or genes that lead to new nutritional 

and pharmaceutical products. The Center has 

access to improved information technologies that 

facilitate the rapid communication of data and 

allow repatriation of data to the countries where it 

is needed to make intelligent decisions about the 

use of natural resources. Appropriate partnerships 

between the Center and collaborators in developing 

countries enable capacity building to ensure that 

countries have the infrastructure to make sound 

development and conservation plans. Partnerships 

between the Center and both national institutions 

and local communities permit the implementation 

of integrated conservation and sustainable 

development programs.
With the William L. Brown Center, the Missouri 

Botanical Garden is a global leader in discovering, 

explaining, and disseminating information about 

the diverse and dynamic relationships between 

people and plants throughout the world. Today, 152 

years after opening, the Missouri Botanical Garden 

is a National Historic Landmark and a center for 

science, conservation, education, and horticultural 

display. With scientists working in 35 countries 

on six continents around the globe, the Missouri 

Botanical Garden has one of the three largest plant 

science programs in the world and a mission “to 

discover and share knowledge about plants and 

their environment in order to preserve and enrich life.”
For general information about the Missouri 

Botanical Garden, visit For 

more on the William L. Brown Center, visit http://

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012



December 8, 2011 

We are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Nicole Cavender as Vice President 
of Science and Conservation
 at The Morton Arboretum.  Dr. Cavender is a plant scientist 
and conservation leader at The Wilds, in southeastern Ohio, where she has been Chief 
Programmatic Officer and previously Director of Restoration Ecology.  The Wilds is a  
10,000-acre wildlife conservation center affiliated with the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. 

Dr. Cavender earned her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University in Horticulture and Crop 
Science, focusing on horticultural aspects of prairie plants and prairie restoration.  She 
earned her undergraduate degree at Ohio University in environmental and plant biology.  
Her work at The Wilds included conservation research, habitat restoration, and land 
management, including forest planting and restoration.  She later took on management 
and leadership roles for the organization, overseeing programs in restoration ecology, 
conservation science training, conservation education, animal management, and 
conservation medicine.  Dr. Cavender holds adjunct faculty appointments at Ohio 
University and Muskingum University, and serves on the steering committee of the 
Conservation Centers for Species Survival and the board of the Ohio Biological Survey. 

The Vice President of Science and Conservation is a new position at the Arboretum that 
will lead the organization’s strategies for tree-related science and conservation.  Dr. 
Cavender will be responsible for strategic direction and planning, program integration, 
fund raising, and external collaborations and relations related to science and 
conservation.  In concert with Dr. Gary Watson, Head of Research, she will provide 
strategic leadership for the Research program and development of the new Center for 
Tree Science.  She will lead the Arboretum’s climate change strategy, and its tree and 
woodland conservation agenda including initiatives linked to the Global Trees Campaign.   

Dr. Cavender’s Science and Conservation responsibilities include the Arboretum’s 
Regional Trees Initiative and the related Community Trees Program, and initiatives to 
provide leadership to the world’s arboreta including the ArbNet arboretum network.  She 
will actively explore opportunities with other organizations and agencies to support 
innovative science and conservation collaborations. 

With a broad knowledge and commitment to plant and environmental sciences, Dr. 
Cavender has a keen personal affinity for trees and arboreta.  She is passionate about 
contributing to the science of nature and inspiring people about the importance of trees 
and the natural environment.  We look forward to welcoming Dr. Nicole Cavender to her 
new role as Vice President of Science and Conservation on February 6, 2012. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Mycologist Charles 

Drechsler’s Papers to the 

Smithsonian Institution’s 

Biodiversity Heritage Library

One hundred and fifty-five of the collected papers 

of noted mycologist, Charles Drechsler (1892-

1986), are now available electronically on the 

Smithsonian Institution’s Biodiversity Heritage 

Library database.  To access Dr. Drechsler’s papers, 

search on Google for, and then click 

on Home-CiteBank. On the “Search” line, type in 

Charles Drechsler.  Articles may be accessed by title, 

keywords, journal title, or date of publication.

State Herbarium of South 

Australia Publications Now 


Since 26 October 2011, the new publications 

website of the State Herbarium of South Australia 

is online (  

Users can view information on all books published 

by the State Herbarium and its staff, the Board of 

the Botanic Gardens & State Herbarium (Adelaide), 

and botanical books published by the “Flora and 

Fauna of South Australia Handbooks Committee.” 

If in print, these can be ordered via email.  Some 

out-of-print books are available for download, 

e.g., Womersley’s Marine Benthic Flora of Southern 

Australia or Bates & Weber’s Orchids of South 

Australia.  More scanned books will be added over 

The complete back issues of the Journal of the 

Adelaide Botanic Gardens from Vol. 1 (1976) to Vol. 

24 (2010) are also accessible in PDF form (http://  The journal mainly 

publishes research papers and articles on botanical 

taxonomy, systematics, and nomenclature, and 

it is one of five taxonomic journals published by 

Australian herbaria and botanic gardens.  The next 

volume of the journal is scheduled for 2012.
Finally, the first chapters of the new 5th edition of 

Flora of South Australia were launched in October 

as well (  These 

include an introduction, glossary, and revised 

treatments for 17 families or larger groups, such 

as Amaranthaceae, Droseraceae, Ranunculaceae, 

and part of Fabaceae.  For people who want to bind 

these chapters into a folder, cover pages are also 

provided for print out.  More than 60 botanists 

are contributing to the new flora.  We anticipate to 

release more treatments every 4 to 6 months.
-Jürgen Kellermann, State Herbarium of South 

Australia, DENR Science Resource Centre, Adelaide, 


Second interdisciplinary 

microMORPH workshop 

Microevolution of Flower 

Form and Function

microMORPH is pleased to announce our second 

interdisciplinary workshop, “Microevolution of 

Flower Form and Function,” to be held at the 

Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in 

Boston, Massachusetts, on May 11-13, 2012.  We 

are soliciting participation of graduate students and 

post docs interested in exploring the intersection of 

development and microevolution.
microMORPH is an NSF-funded Research 

Coordination Network (RCN).  The goal of the 

RCN is to promote interdisciplinary interactions in 

evolutionary developmental biology at the emerging 

interface between molecular developmental 

biology and the study of natural intraspecific and 

interspecific variation.
The interdisciplinary workshops bring together 

small groups of graduate students, post docs, and 

faculty with very different interests and expertise to 

interact and discuss critical concepts, intellectual 

objectives, emerging technologies, and analytical 

approaches that have the potential to advance our 

understanding of the evolution of plant form.  All 

participants give presentations on their research 

and there is extensive discussion following each 

presentation.  These workshops provide students 

and faculty with unique opportunities to explore 

new and challenging frontiers of knowledge.
We encourage applications from graduate students 

(at all stages of their dissertation research) and post 

doctoral researchers now through March 9th, 2012.  

microMORPH will pay for travel, accommodations, 

and meals for a select set of applicants who are U.S. 

citizens or currently at U.S. institutions (although 

non-U.S. citizens not currently associated with U.S. 

institutions are encouraged to apply, we cannot 

supply funding for them).

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012


• John Willis, Duke University
• Deborah Charlesworth, University of 


• Mark Johnston, Dalhousie University
• Chris Kuhlemeier, University of Bern
• Michael Donoghue, Yale University
• Elena Kramer, Harvard University
• Beverly Glover, University of Cambridge
• Steve Weller, University of California, Irvine

For information about the application process, see:
For additional information, please contact Pamela 

Diggle (

American Journal of Botany 

Hard-Copy Volumes for 


Martin C. Goffinet, Ph.D. from Cornell 

University, has many hard-copy volumes of the 

AJB to donate. He is willing to drive them up to 

about 300 miles, if someone would be willing to 

pick them up at the end of the trip. The volumes 

occupy approximately 16 feet of shelf space, with an 

approximate weight of 400 lb.

Volumes 50–53 (1963–1966; dark green cover)
Volumes 54–66 (1967–1979; pale green cover)
Volumes 67–71 (1980–1984; yellow cover)
Volumes 62–78 (1985–1991; orange cover)
Volumes 79–88, 90–96 (1992–2001, 2003–2009; 

white spine with color cover image)

If interested, contact: 

Martin C. Goffinet, Ph.D. 

Cornell University, Department of Horticulture 

New York State Agricultural Experiment Station 

630 W. North Street, Geneva, NY 14456 

Ph: 315-787-2392


American Journal of Botany  

Special Issue and Mobile Site

Be sure to check out the new Special Issue of 

the  American Journal of Botany: Methods and 

Applications of Next-Generation Sequencing in 

Botany. The Special Editors for the issue—Ashley 

Egan (East Carolina University), Jessica Schlueter 

(University of North Carolina–Charlotte), and 

David Spooner (USDA)—have brought together 20 

articles that explore a wide range of next-generation 

sequencing technologies and applications, from 

molecular marker development and transcriptome 

investigations, to phylogenetic and ecological 

studies and applications for large genebank 

collections. For the complete table of contents, see  

(; if you’d 

like to order a hard copy of the issue, see http:// 

The AJB staff is working on two Special Issues for 

2013 before launching into the AJB’s Centennial 

Celebration in 2014. Stay tuned for further updates!
The  AJB staff is also excited to announce the 

upcoming launch of its mobile website. With more 

BSA members and readers using mobile devices to 

access the journal (, the AJB 

staff is making sure those users have a streamlined 

site to allow easier access to journal articles and 

information. Mobile users will be able to see this 

new feature when in rolls out in early April.

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reports and reviews

What Supermarket Botany tells us 

about student perceptions of plant 


Geoffrey E. Burrows


 and John D.I. Harper



EH Graham Centre for Agricultural Innova-

tion (Charles Sturt University and Depart-

ment of Primary Industry NSW), School of 

Agricultural & Wine Sciences, Locked Bag 

588, Charles Sturt University 

Wagga Wagga NSW 2678, Australia


Author for correspondence:

Dr Geoff Burrows

School of Agricultural & Wine Sciences, 

Locked Bag 588, Boorooma Street, 

Charles Sturt University 

Wagga Wagga, NSW 2678, Australia

Ph + 61 2 6933 2654

Fx + 61 2 6933 2812


Received: 23 October, 2011

Accepted: 3 February, 2012


Supermarket Botany laboratory activities are an 

excellent way to enthuse students about plants, by 

building a scientific basis around their existing “real 

life” botanical knowledge. In Supermarket Botany 

practical sessions, verbal responses from students 

indicated a wide range of understanding of plant 

structure. Thus, at the beginning of our first Botany 

practical sessions in 2010 and 2011 we surveyed 

134 students, in their first year at university, 

about their existing knowledge of the structure 

of common fruits and vegetables. There were two 

main findings. Firstly, knowledge of the differences 

between fruits and vegetables was good, even for 

fruits that are considered vegetables in everyday life 

(e.g., tomato, pumpkin, cucumber). Secondly, there 

was a strong tendency to call anything that grows 

in the soil a root, which was good for some items 

(e.g., carrot, beetroot, sweet potato) but not for 

others (e.g., potato, ginger, onion). While some of 

these misconceptions are probably well known, this 

is possibly the first time they have been quantified. 

The results provide a unique view of student 

perceptions of plant structure that indicates the 

need to clearly teach the differences between stems, 

roots, and leaves. We provide some suggested 

examples to accomplish this.


Supermarket Botany (also known as Grocery Store 

Botany, Botany on Your Plate, Edible Botany, etc.) is 

a popular approach used by university and college 

teachers to make links between a student’s existing 

knowledge of plants and the science of botany. 

Supermarket Botany is used to explore a wide 

variety of botanical topics, for example, morphology 

and sexual reproduction (Rahn 1974, Irwin 1977, 

Smith and Avery 1999, Burrows and Harper 2009), 

fruit structure (Thompson 1993), anatomy (Arnott 

1965), seeds (Clifford 2010), and biodiversity 

(Martine 2011). Various online interactive resources 

have also been developed (see the listing in 

Burrows and Harper 2009 and

au/research/grahamcentre/education/). At Charles 

Sturt University we use Supermarket Botany to 

explore the differences between roots, stems, and 

leaves and the reproductive sequence of flowers, 

fruits, and seeds in our first-year, first-semester 

Botany course. We use Supermarket Botany as 

our first practical exercise. Verbal responses from 

students during Supermarket Botany practical 

sessions indicated a wide range of knowledge, with 

some developmental aspects well understood while 

some misconceptions were prevalent. We thought 

that quantifying these responses might provide 

some insights into how students perceive plant 

structure. Thus, for the last two years (2010, 2011) 

we have surveyed our students before the start of 

their first practical class to gauge some aspects of 

their botanical knowledge. While various botanical 

misconceptions related to Supermarket Botany are 

probably widely known (e.g., “potatoes are roots as 

they grow in the soil”), this paper is the possibly 

first time they have been assessed and quantified. 

We consider this to have generated some unique 

insights into student perception of plant structure.

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Survey design

Students were requested to indicate the structure 

(root/stem/leaf/flower or inflorescence/fruit/seed) 

for 21 well-known fruits and vegetables (Table 1). 

The survey was based on existing knowledge—

students did not get to inspect or dissect items. 

Where an item consisted of two or more plant 

organs (e.g., an onion is mainly leaf with a small 

percentage of stem), students were instructed to 

nominate the organ that made up the majority of the 

item. With hundreds of produce items that could be 

chosen, we selected those in Table 1 on the basis of: 

(1) giving a wide range of plant parts, (2) general 

familiarity for most people, and (3) there being a 

range of possible misconceptions. The students 

were generally in their first year of university study, 

having finished high school the previous year 

and enrolled in agriculture, viticulture, or wine 

science degrees. For 2011 about 67% had studied 

biology and/or agriculture at high school and 93% 

had studied at least one science subject. Thus, the 

students generally had an interest in science and 

plants but had not previously studied Supermarket 

Botany. We surveyed 77 students in 2010 and 57 

students in 2011. Results were remarkably similar 

for the two years and are combined for analysis 

(Table 1). The surveys have Charles Sturt University 

Human Research Ethics approval.

Results and discussion

Results are shown in Table 1. The produce items 

are arranged in descending order from those 

where most students knew the correct answer to 

those where a low percentage of students knew the 

correct answer.  The correct answer is indicated by 

a shaded box.










































bell pepper




























sweet potato





















bean pods































































Table 1. Percentage of responses for each plant part/organ by 134 students for 21 fruits and vegetables. 

Items are arranged in descending order of frequency of correct responses (shaded). Some rows will total 

more than 100 due to rounding up to the nearest whole number. In full the description for “peas” was 

“peas loose—not in the pod” and for “peanuts” was “peanuts whole—in the shell.” “Flowers” includes both 

flowers and inflorescence.

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

We consider that there are two main findings. Firstly, 

while several of the fruits in the test are regarded 

generally as “vegetables” (e.g., tomato, bell pepper, 

pumpkin, cucumber), students were generally 

competent (>80% correct responses) at knowing 

that botanically they were fruits (as they developed 

from flowers and contained seeds). Our visits to 

primary schools indicate that younger students 

have a much poorer understanding of the botanical 

differences between fruits and vegetables— a topic 

explored in part by Schussler (2008). 
Secondly, there was a pronounced tendency to 

classify anything that grows in the ground as a root. 

This logic worked well for carrot, sweet potato, and 

beetroot (>78% correct responses, Table 1), but 

gave a very high level of incorrect responses for 

potato, ginger, and onion (<14% correct responses). 

We have not seen this line of thinking recorded 

before and certainly not so clearly quantified. 

There is possibly a view among botany teachers 

that students will find vegetative morphology easy, 

while the sequence of flowers, fruits, and seeds will 

be comparatively harder to understand. Our results 

indicate that this is not necessarily so.
There was also a poor understanding of structure 

in plants where the stem is short and most of the 

item is composed of leaves (e.g., celery, onion, 

leek). This poor understanding is highlighted by 

the differences in responses for lettuce, cabbage, 

leek, and onion. These four items share a relatively 

similar construction (i.e., a relatively short stem 

that is hidden by overlapping or concentric layers 

of leaves), but while the aboveground lettuce (87%) 

and cabbage (72%) were “well understood”, the 

at least partially belowground onion (11%) and 

leek (22%) were poorly understood. Although not 

part of the survey, our subsequent discussions 

with the students showed they also had a poor 

understanding of what role these underground 

structures (e.g., carrot, onion, potato) played in the 

plant’s life cycle. While structurally very different 

(carrot is a fleshy root of a biennial, onion is a bulb 

of a herbaceous perennial, potato tuber is a stem 

of a herbaceous perennial grown as an annual), 

we explain that they all have a storage and survival 

function in their wild relatives and this storage 

function has been enhanced (e.g., increased size) 

through domestication and breeding.
In all our surveys, both reported in Table 1 and 

with other groups of all ages from early primary 

school to adults in the general population, celery 

is very frequently (86%, Table 1) considered to be 

a stem rather than a leaf (specifically the petiole). 

This misconception was perpetuated by Smith 

and Avery (1999) and corrected in several “letters” 

published in The American Biology Teacher a 

few months later and also mentioned in “Avoid 

misconceptions when teaching about plants” 

(Hershey 2004). Some problems might arise 

because celery sold in supermarkets has most of the 

compound lamina removed—if people grew their 

own celery they might have a better understanding 

of its structure. As mentioned, that celery is often 

considered a stem is probably widely known, but 

we consider it is of interest to quantify such a high 

level of misunderstanding, especially in students 

with a biological background.
Stem, leaf, and flowers were all relatively frequently 

(>16%) given as answers for the structure of 

cauliflower and broccoli. The answers of “leaf” 

were somewhat difficult to interpret unless the 

students were thinking of the whole plant rather 

than the part that is eaten. The answer of “stem” 

is understandable and leads into a discussion of 

the inflorescence, peduncle, and pedicels (and 

conversion of a shoot apex from vegetative to 

reproductive). We have also had students prepare 

a floral formula from broccoli flower primordia to 

show, firstly, it is possible and, secondly, the floral 

formula is the same as that of canola as they are 

both members of the same genus—Brassica
The poor results for peanuts might reflect 

misunderstanding with the wording of the survey 

form—“peanut” can mean both the seed and the 

fruit. It may also result from a student’s lack of 

familiarity with shelled and in-the-shell peanuts. 

Nevertheless these results lead to a discussion that 

the fruits of peas, beans, and peanuts are all classified 

as legumes and the features of the legume fruit type. 

Shelled peanuts are useful for introducing seed 

structure and for pointing out that most of what 

we eat are the energy-rich cotyledons. A small but 

consistent number of students recorded peanuts as 

roots—another example of the “if it grows in the 

ground it is a root” line of reasoning. Peanuts are 

useful for making a connection with our agriculture 

students to Trifolium subterraneum (subterranean 

clover), an important introduced pasture legume in 

southern Australia. While the fruits develop in the 

soil in both species they get there by very different 

means (in peanut  by elongation of the base of the 

ovary, in subclover by elongation of the peduncle).
Possibly the most important question these survey 

results generate is, what relevance does this have 

when teaching introductory botany? 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

We consider that when we explain the common 

misconceptions, for example, why a potato is a 

stem, and not a root and celery is a leaf petiole 

not a stem, it helps students to critically evaluate 

vegetative morphology and the defining features of 

roots, stems, and leaves. We use this information as 

a springboard to examine, for example, what makes 

a stem a stem. Examination of potato tubers shows 

the leaf scar and axillary buds at the “eye”, while 

ginger shows a quite different construction but 

still has leaf scars (concentric circles) and axillary 

buds. This leads to a discussion of differences in leaf 

construction and attachment between monocots 

and dicots. Then adding celery leads to a discussion 

of simple and compound leaves and how to tell 

what is a leaf and what is a leaflet. In short, we use 

a combination of typical plants and their more 

unusual horticultural modifications to show that 

the distinguishing features for stems and leaves 

apply to all examples.
Having identified these misconceptions, what can 

we do to enhance long-term learning outcomes? 

After the survey and our Supermarket Botany 

demonstration, we provide each bench of students 

with a range of some more unusual produce items, 

for example, rhubarb and fennel. As a group 

exercise, they are expected to discuss the structure 

of these items and write a short summary of their 

findings and reasoning (e.g., “We consider fennel 

is mainly leaf material because...”). This provides 

independent and cooperative learning of many of 

the concepts that have just been explained. During 

the stem, root, and leaf practicals later in the 

session, we further extend these concepts (e.g., what 

is the difference between bulbs and corms?). At the 

end of the session practical exam, most students 

can recognize and explain the structure of some 

unusual samples (e.g., rhizomes of Easter daisy, 

Aster novi-belgii, are stems) and reliably distinguish 

between different stem modifications, and between 

stems and various simple and compound leaves.
While some of the misconceptions outlined above 

might be widely known, this is possibly the first 

time they have been quantified. We consider these 

results provide some unique insights into student 

perception of plant structure and consequently give 

some suggestions for more effective teaching of 

some of the most basic of botanical concepts.


We thank three anonymous reviewers for helpful 

comments on the manuscript. We thank the more 

than 1000 participants, including elementary, 

secondary, and college students, for taking part 

in our Supermarket Botany activities over several 

years and for trialling initial versions of the survey. 

We thank the Charles Sturt University Human 

Research Ethics Committee for help with various 

aspects of survey design and implementation.

Literature cited

ARNOTT, H. J. 1965. Supermarket plant anatomy. 

The American Biology Teacher 27: 104–105.

BURROWS, G. E., and J. D. I. HARPER. 2009. 

Supermarket botany. Teaching Science 55: 47–


CLIFFORD, H. T. 2010. Seeds and shopping 

centres. The Victorian Naturalist 127: 11–14.

HERSHEY, D. R. 2004. Avoid misconceptions 

when teaching about plants. Website http://

html [accessed 9 June 2011].

IRWIN, H. S. 1977. Grocery store botany. Curator 

20: 5–14.

MARTINE, C. T. 2011. Market botany: A plant 

biodiversity lab module. Plant Science Bulletin 

57: 61–66.

RAHN, J. E. 1974. Grocery Store Botany. Atheneum, 

New York, New York, USA.

SCHUSSLER, E. 2008. From flowers to fruits: How 

children’s books represent plant reproduction.  

International Journal of Science Education 30: 


SMITH, D. G., and D. F. AVERY. 1999. Supermarket 

botany. The American Biology Teacher 61: 128–


THOMPSON, L. K. 1993. Grocery store botany. 

In C. A. Goldman [ed.], Tested studies 

for laboratory teaching, Vol. 14, 215–217. 

Proceedings of the 14th Workshop Conference 

of the Association for Biology Laboratory 


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Book Reviews

Books Reviewed

Developmental and Structural

RNAi and Plant Gene Function Analysis: Methods and Protocols ..................................24


The Biology of Island Floras ............................................................................................25
Fern Ecology ....................................................................................................................26
Spatio-Temporal Heterogeneity: Concepts and Analyses ................................................27


Reaching for the Sun:  How Plants Work .........................................................................28


The European Garden Flora, Flowering Plants, Volume 5 ...............................................31
Guide to the Flowers of Western China  ...........................................................................32
An Illustrated Guide to Common Plants of San Salvador Island, Bahamas, 3rd edition ....33 

Developmental and Structural

RNAi and Plant Gene Function 

Analysis: Methods and Protocols

Hiroaki Kodama and Atsushi Komamine 


2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-61779-122-2  

Cloth, US$119.00. 244 pp.   

Humana Press, Secaucus, New Jersey, USA

RNA interference (RNAi) is the process by which 

eukaryotic cells use small RNAs to degrade specific 

transcript molecules in order to fine-tune gene 

expression. This book belongs to the Methods 

in Molecular Biology series, and it compiles 

current methods used in functional genetics of 

plants related to RNAi technology (e.g., artificial 

microRNAs [miRNAs], virus-induced gene 

silencing, transfer of synthetic double-stranded 

RNAs into protoplasts, and transient and localized 

RNA silencing elicited by agroinfection) in 

addition to methods used to detect and quantify 

small RNA species (in silico prediction, stem-

loop quantitative PCR, and sequencing with next-

generation approaches). Approaches to assess the 

effect of RNAi in plant cells are also detailed in 

specific chapters (e.g., detection of small RNA-

induced DNA methylation by bisulfite sequencing, 

nuclear run-on transcription assays to evaluate 

transcription rates, proteomics analysis, and the use 

of 2-D fluorescence difference gel electrophoresis 

to compare expression of phosphoproteins among 

Although widespread among eukaryotes, RNAi 

was first discovered in plants during an attempt 

to develop a petunia with dark purple petals. 

Scientists overexpressed a gene encoding a key 

enzyme of the anthocyanin pathway, but the effort 

resulted in suppression of pigment production. 

Plant virologists working with tobacco soon 

noticed that plants expressing virus genes were 

surprisingly tolerant to viral infection and that 

these cells contained short RNA sequences, thus 

establishing a connection between co-suppression 

and small RNAs. Notwithstanding, the Nobel Prize 

in Physiology or Medicine was awarded in 2006 

to scientists working with RNAi in the nematode 

system, as they were the first to produce gene 

silencing by feeding worms with double-stranded 

RNA (a detail that the editors gracefully omitted in 

the introduction).
Cells use RNAi to regulate gene expression through a 

suite of small RNA types (miRNAs, small interfering 

RNAs, trans-acting small interfering RNAs) that 

undergo a well-defined cellular machinery to guide 

the degradation of specific transcripts. Small RNAs 

have also been associated with the regulation of gene 

expression via epigenetics (e.g., DNA methylation 

and histone modifications). Mechanisms of small-

RNA degradation are particularly important for 

activating defense mechanisms against biotic and 

abiotic stresses (such as salt stress, low phosphate 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

availability, drought, virus infection, as well as to 

suppress the jumping of transposable elements 

within the host’s DNA) and for regulating 

fundamental developmental processes (e.g., 

organ development, shaping of leaf margins, fruit 

RNAi techniques are performed to silence the 

expression (knockdown) of specific genes in order 

to reveal their biochemical and developmental 

functions in biological systems. While a wealth of 

information is available in the scientific literature, 

this material is sometimes difficult for many non-

basic biologists to comprehend. Many of these 

experiments frequently fail in inexperienced hands 

or for lack of proper controls, frequently generating 

unconvincing data. This compilation will be very 

beneficial in these cases.
Each chapter in this book was written by experts 

who are very familiar with the techniques. Apart 

from the first two chapters (the general introduction 

and potential caveats, respectively), the next 14 

chapters are structured with a brief introduction—

often with redundant information, if the reader 

goes through several chapters, but still helpful since 

most readers will usually select only a few relevant 

chapters to read thoroughly. Materials, Methods, 

and Notes sections follow. The explanation of the 

materials used in the technique is quite detailed. 

Because protocols themselves are not difficult to 

obtain elsewhere, the Notes section of each chapter 

offers in fact the most significant information in the 

book, since these methodology reports comprise 

personal experiences and instructions that are 

generally not described in primary research papers.
As the field of post-transcriptional analysis of 

gene expression in plants via small RNAs now 

advances toward non-model systems, such as 

crops, ornamentals, and wild plant species, this 

book will be very helpful for the uninitiated, as 

it provides a superficial overview of the art and 

allows the investigator to catch up with current 

approaches involving RNAi that are very useful for 

the characterization of functions of plant genes.

–Vagner A. Benedito, Plant and Soil Sciences Divi-

sion, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West 

Virginia, USA


The Biology of Island Floras


David Bramwell and Juli Caujapé-Castells 


2011 ISBN-13: 978-0-521-11808-8 

Hardcover, US$120.00. 474 pp.  

Cambridge University Press, New York, New 

York, USA 

Islands represent roughly 5% of the Earth’s surface, 

but their floras consist of about one quarter of all 

extant terrestrial plant species, including more than 

50,000 endemics. It is very well known that islands 

have played a unique role in the development 

of ecology and evolutionary biology. At least 

one volume on island biology is published every 

year. This volume, written by 48 authors from 16 

countries, is a mixture of rather general chapters 

and specific local studies. 
General concepts, processes, and questions are 

covered in chapters on the reproductive biology 

of island plants (Daniel Crawford et al.), spatial 

methodologies in historical biogeography (Paula 

Posada et al.), invasive alien species (Michael 

Kiehn), climate change consequences for island 

floras (David Bramwell), the role of botanical 

gardens in the conservation of island floras (Sara 

Oldfield), and the hazardous future of island 

floras (Vernon Heywood). Special chapters are 

dedicated to several biologically famous islands or 

archipelagos: the Caribbean islands, the Galápagos 

(3 chapters), Hawaii (2), Isla del Coco, Macaronesia 

(3), Madagascar (2), New Caledonia, New Zealand, 

the Pitcairn Islands, and the Socotra archipelago. 

What is new? Comparison with the now already 

classic volume Plants and Islands, edited in 1979 

by the first of the editors of the present volume, 

is particularly illustrative. Of course, the use of 

molecular methods in evolutionary studies is now 

as common as morphological and karyological 

methods were in the past. Thanks to the modern 

understanding of floral affinities and phylogenies, 

islands emerge as burgeoning melting pots of 

speciation that are often significant sources of 

biodiversity even for some continental areas. 

Awareness of the importance of invasive species 

is increasing (there was no chapter on invasive 

species in the 1979 volume). Several updates on 

the status of endemic species, particularly for the 

Galápagos, are extremely useful. Unfortunately, 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

concerns about the future of island floras are even 

more serious than in 1979 (Vernon Heywood wrote 

relevant chapters for both volumes). 
Inevitably, some readers will regret the lack of 

information on particular insular biodiversity 

hotspots (e.g., the Philippines, Sunda, Wallacea), 

as well as some important references (Cody, 

2006; Mueller-Dombois and Fosberg, 1998; Losos 

and Ricklefs, 2010; Veitch et al., 2011). Still, this 

volume represents a reasonable balance of up-to-

date general reviews and interesting case studies 

on island floras. We must congratulate the editors 

and authors. The Biology of Island Floras will be 

of great value to many botanists, ecologists, and 

biogeographers. Moreover, it also has much to offer 

to a broader audience of conservation biologists 

and managers of protected areas on islands. 

Literature Cited

BRAMWELL, D. (ed.). 1979. Plants and Islands

Academic Press, London, United Kingdom.

CODY, M. L. 2006. Plants on Islands. University of 

California Press, Berkeley, California, USA.

LOSOS, J. B., and R. E. RICKLEFS. 2010. The Theory 

of Island Biogeography Revisited. Princeton 

University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, USA.


1998. Vegetation of the Tropical Pacific Islands

Springer, New York, New York, USA.

VEITCH, C. R., M. N. CLOUT, and D. R. TOWNS 

(eds.). 2011. Island Invasives: Eradication and 

Management. World Conservation Union 

(IUCN), Gland, Switzerland.

–Marcel Rejmánek, University of California, Davis, 

California, USA.

Fern Ecology


Klaus Mehltreter, Lawrence R. Walker, and 

Joanne M. Sharpe (eds.)


ISBN-13: 978-0-521-72820-1  

Paperback, US$60.00. 444 pp.  

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 

United Kingdom

Ferns and their allies are those small, mostly 

insignificant, vascular plants that usually grow in 

small patches in shady woodlands. If any of the 

descriptors in the preceding sentence fits your 

image of ferns, you MUST read this book and 

prepare to be enlightened. We often argue that 

any topic in biology can be covered using plants 

as an example. This comprehensive treatment of 

fern ecology makes it clear than ferns can be the 

exemplars for any major concept in biology and 

that our temperate zone bias has led to many 

misconceptions about the more than 10,000 extant 

species of ferns and fern allies. Fern Ecology is an 

excellent introduction to this rapidly growing field.
With the exception of the first chapter, which 

is a general introduction to ferns and their life 

histories, their ecology, and the major topics that 

will be covered in succeeding chapters, and the 

last chapter on “Current and future directions in 

fern ecology,” each chapter begins with a summary 

of key points that will be addressed later in that 

chapter. In addition to providing a clear, yet 

detailed, discussion of our current understanding 

of the topic being considered, each chapter also 

addresses important questions related to that 

topic that have yet to be answered. Thus, not only 

is this book an informative textual resource for 

faculty and a potential textbook for students, it is 

a useful guide for young researchers in identifying 

potential research problems in broad areas of both 

ecology and fern biology. In fact, a section on 

future research directions concludes most chapters. 

Following each chapter is an extensive and current 

list of references.
Let me provide a few highlights from the text. The 

chapter on biogeography discusses the similar 

latitudinal and elevational gradients of ferns and 

seed plants, but also explains why it is that ferns 

can account for up to 70% of the species of vascular 

plants on some oceanic islands. In the chapter on 

fern population dynamics, we learn that under some 

conditions, spore banks may contain viable spores 

100–200 years old, but that we still know very little 

about ecological constraints on the gametophyte 

generation. In the chapter on nutrient ecology, we 

learn that: “Contrary to the popular notion that 

ferns are poorly adapted to current environmental 

conditions, they present a bewildering array of 

strategies and have radiated into the same habitats 

as seed plants.” The chapter on fern adaptations to 

xeric environments is based primarily on detailed 

case studies of some surprisingly drought-tolerant 

ferns. Not surprisingly, the rare occurrence 

of vessels in ferns is usually associated with 

adaptation to xeric conditions. This adaptability to 

extreme conditions, along with general phenotypic 

plasticity, helps to explain why so many ferns 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

are important as early colonizers following 

disturbance, the topic of chapter six. Mycorrhizal 

relationships must also be a factor. In the chapter 

on interactions with fungi and animals, we learn 

that up to 80% of fern sporophytes have established 

mycorrhizal relationships. This in itself may not be 

surprising, but in gametophytes there appears to 

be a phylogenetic association. All gametophytes 

of primitive groups have obligate mycorrhizae but 

in more recent groups this relationship may be 

facultative or even lacking. While most people have 

an image of ferns as decorative and innocuous, 

chapter eight focuses on the 60 or so species that 

have distinctly negative economic and ecological 

impact. Bracken fern, Pteridium, and Salvinia are 

the “poster children” I was familiar with as invasives 

in terrestrial and aquatic systems, respectively, but I 

was not aware of the extent of the problem and the 

implications for control. The extensive literature on 

these two species allows a thorough case study of 

each for about half of the chapter—then there are 

the others, like Lygodium, which can be a worse 

problem than kudzu in some locations.
The comprehensive and detailed nature of the 

treatment might lead you to believe that this 

scholarly book should be used as a reference. 

However, the authors and editors have done an 

excellent job at making this an enjoyable and 

engaging read for anyone interested in ferns.
–Marshall D. Sundberg, Department of Biologi-

cal Sciences, Emporia State University, Emporia, 

Kansas, USA

Spatio-Temporal Heterogeneity: 

Concepts and Analyses


Pierre R. L. Dutilleul 

2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-107-40035-1 (Hard-

cover, US$125.00) 

ISBN-13: 978-0-521-79127-4 (Paperback, 

US$57.00). 393 pp. 

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 

United Kingdom

The efforts to address many of the major scientific 

questions of this century will be characterized 

by the generation of massive spatio-temporal 

data sets (Cressie and Wikle, 2011). For example, 

a single computed tomography (CT) scan of a 

1×1×1 cm volume results in a spatially explicit 

three-dimensional map of 25 million observations 

(Dutilleul, 2011). For scientists and engineers, the 

knowledge and experience required to conduct the 

studies that produce these huge data sets are often 

distant from the understanding of what to do with 

them once they are made.
One attempt to broach this matter is Spatio-Temporal 

Heterogeneity: Concepts and Analyses by Pierre 

Dutilleul, a new addition to the Ecology, Biodiversity, 

and Conservation series from Cambridge University 

Press. This volume was written to serve as a primer 

for the theory and practice of spatio-temporal 

analysis, directed primarily at biologists and 

environmentalists at the advanced undergraduate 

and graduate student level with minimal 

mathematical and statistical background. 
Pierre Dutilleul is a professor in the Department 

of Plant Science at McGill University. Trained 

as a mathematician, he did his doctoral work in 

temporal statistics at the Université Catholique 

de Louvain in Belgium. Afterwards, he did his 

postdoctoral work in spatial statistics at the 

Université de Montréal. Two well-cited papers 

were published from this latter period that forged, 

at least among ecologists, the association of 

Dutilleul’s name with the concept of heterogeneity 

(Dutilleul, 1993; Dutilleul and Legendre, 1993). 

This book seems to be an extension of these papers, 

fortified by almost two decades of added practical 

experience (there are a large number of excellent 

applied examples throughout this book).
The 10 chapters of this book are conceptually 

organized by the Space-Time Response Cube 

(STRC). Dutilleul classifies all spatio-temporal 

heterogeneity using binary values along the 

three axes of the STRC: pattern (point or surface 

pattern data), axis (spatial or temporal data), 

and heterogeneity component (deterministic or 

random). Based on this tripartite classification: 

“there are basically eight situations in which 

ecologists can be measuring heterogeneity” 

(Dutilleul, 2011). All the chapters between the 

introduction and conclusion are a systematic 

progression through this cube-space. To ease 

the reader’s journey, Dutilleul has interspersed 

italicized Key Note and Summary blurbs 

throughout the text to emphasize important 

points and to sometimes anticipate common 

misunderstandings of concepts. He has separated 

the most technical matter in five chapters by using 

appendices at the end of these chapters. There are 

a lot of mathematical symbols in these appendices 

but for the most part the actual mathematics 

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is relatively basic, as promised. Another useful 

component of this book is the recommended 

reading section at the end of half of the chapters. 

The comments explaining the recommendations 

are relatively brief but tremendously interesting 

(e.g., “Diggle’s Statistical Analysis of Spatial Point 

Patterns represent a reference that cannot be 

ignored, and was the inspiration for the distance-

based approach developed in the temporal and 

spatio-temporal frameworks…”). Spatio-Temporal 

Heterogeneity: Concepts and Analyses is methodical 

throughout, but some of the strongest sections are 

asides from the cube-space journey. The section 

“The Mantel Test: Use and Misuse” (chapter seven) 

reveals the insight of a battle-tested expert of an 

often-used statistical technique. We learn about 

when the analysis of distances is not equivalent to 

the analysis of raw data, and when changes in sign 

may occur in correlations. 
The weakest section of this book is the index. A good 

index is critical for a book to serve as an effective 

reference. For example, if I look up autocorrelation, 

it is not found under “A.” The book’s 11 references to 

autocorrelation are under “P” with the unintuitive 

heading “Population parameters.” References to 

Geary’s c are not under “G” but under “S” with the 

heading “Spatial correlograms” (the reader would 

have to already know that Geary’s c is often used for 

this purpose). 
The book generously includes a CD with code for 

MATLAB and SAS. These are two commercial 

packages that are commonly used but potentially 

expensive to access for academics at universities 

without software agreements. The MATLAB 

code allows for the computation of Ripley’s K 

and L univariate and bivariate statistics; spatial 

correlograms with Geary’s c and Moran’s I statistics; 

and multi-frequential periodogram analysis 

(MFPA). Unfortunately, the documentation is 

sparse and therefore does not seem appropriate for 

users unfamiliar with MATLAB. 
Spatio-Temporal Heterogeneity: Concepts and 

Analyses might be confused with the similarly titled 

Statistics for Spatio-Temporal Data by Cressie and 

Wikle (2011), which was published in the same year. 

Dutilleul’s book achieves the goal of minimizing 

the conceptual distance between the biologist and 

the applied statistician, whereas Cressie and Wikle’s 

opus has an unabashed emphasis on the statistics. 

The subject matter of handling spatio-temporal 

data is so vast that it is necessary for a neophyte to 

gradually move through many resources. A good 

starting place is Dutilleul’s papers (Dutilleul, 1993; 

Dutilleul and Legendre, 1993) followed by Spatio-

Temporal Heterogeneity: Concepts and Analyses.


CRESSIE, N., and C. K. WIKLE. 2011. Statistics 

for Spatio-Temporal Data. John Wiley & Sons, 

Hoboken, New Jersey, USA. 

DUTILLEUL, P. 1993. Spatial heterogeneity and the 

design of ecological field experiments. Ecology 

74: 1646–1658.

DUTILLEUL, P. 2011. Spatio-Temporal Hetero-

geneity: Concepts and Analyses. Cambridge 

University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

DUTILLEUL, P., and P. LEGENDRE. 1993. Spatial 

heterogeneity against heteroscedasticity: An 

ecological paradigm versus a statistical concept. 

Oikos 66: 152–171.

–Tan Bao, Department of Biological Sciences, Uni-

versity of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada


Reaching for the Sun: How Plants 

Work, 2nd ed.


John King 

2011 ISBN-13: 978-0-521-73668-8 

Paperback, US$39.99. 298 pp.  

Cambridge University Press, New York, 

New York, USA.

The major perspective from which information in 

this text is presented is that humans cannot live 

without plants for food, medicine, or pleasure, 

yet the vast majority of individuals have limited 

knowledge about how plants function or the 

impacts that human existence is having on them. 

Thus, as in the first edition, the general purpose of 

the text is to provide insights for the nonspecialist 

reader into the ways in which the growth and 

development of plants occur. Author John King 

focuses heavily on what is known amongst plant 

physiologists as “developmental plasticity,” i.e., 

the amazing versatility that plants exhibit in their 

patterns of growth and development, which is 

largely necessitated by their lack of mobility. That 

is, plants have a very large range of form or growth 

patterns because they are “stuck” and must adapt 

to their local surroundings to thrive and ultimately 


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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Plants monitor all aspects of their environment, 

including light availability (color, direction, and/or 

amount), temperature, water availability, nutrient 

availability, the presence of predators, and disease, 

among others. This second edition of Reaching 

for the Sun explores all of these aspects of plant 

environmental acclimation and is largely an update 

of the first edition, with the incorporation of new 

references and a new section on the impact of 

humans on the earth’s environment and the related 

impacts of human-facilitated environmental 

changes on plants.
In the section “Plants and Energy,” the author 

describes the process of photosynthesis, a 

significant and unique process in plants and some 

prokaryotes during which light energy from the 

sun is converted to chemical energy. The author 

presents a fascinating history of the discovery that 

plants are photoautotrophic and do not instead “eat 

to live.” Plants instead use a complex set of chemical 

reactions for the conversion of carbon dioxide 



) and water to “food” in the form of glucose in 

the presence of light with the release of oxygen. The 

chemical energy produced during photosynthesis 

is subsequently broken down through respiration 

to produce usable energy to sustain organisms. 

Released energy is used for maintenance and 

some is released as heat. The key role of adenosine 

triphosphate (ATP) as an “energy carrier” in all 

organisms is also described. Interestingly, the 

products of many steps of the respiratory chain also 

have other uses in plants, including the production 

of waxes, pigments, or secondary metabolites 

that function in growth, defense, or attraction of 

Chemicals produced by plants are many and 

are the sources of many medicines (≥25% of 

medicines worldwide). Chemicals used for color, 

scent, and other purposes are useful to plants for 

attracting pollinators or seed dispersers and as 

protectants against ultraviolet absorption and 

other detrimental environmental factors, including 

stress. Plants show responses to abiotic stress (i.e., 

environmental) and biotic stress (i.e., diseases 

and predators). Stress impacts plant survival and 

the general response of plants to stress is death, 

avoidance, or acclimation. The author discusses a 

number of stresses that impact plants, including 

water (excess, or flooding, and deficit, or drought), 

temperature (heat or cold), salinity, and pollutant-

related stresses (e.g., heavy metals or ozone). 
Plants make a myriad of secondary metabolites—

many as defensive compounds to ward off 

predators. The types of metabolites made by 

plants and discussed in the text include terpenes, 

phenolics, and nitrogen-containing compounds 

like alkaloids, which include the commonly known 

nicotine, codeine, and morphine. Plants also use 

chemicals for alleopathy, or to defend against 

competition from other plant species.  Plants can 

compete through overgrowing their neighbors and 

outcompeting them for light or through chemical 

means (alleopathy). Some examples exist of plants 

using chemicals to inhibit other individuals of the 

same species, but alleopathic means are generally 

used to impact other species.
In a discussion of plant nutrition (Part II), the 

author focuses on the acquisition by plants of 

materials from the external environment, which are 

needed for growth and development. The idea that 

plants take up nutrients or minerals is associated 

with early studies indicating that plants grow better 

in “impure” water than pure water. Many minerals 

are essential to plants whereas others augment, but 

are not absolutely required for plant growth. The 

necessity for macronutrients (i.e., those nutrients 

need in large supply) versus micronutrients 

(i.e., those need in small or minute quantities) is 

discussed. In this section, the author highlights 

nitrogen, the primary limiting mineral of plant 

growth and available habitats for plant growth, and 

the transport of nutrients into the plant and within 

the plant. King also discusses the role of plants in 

mineral cycling in the environment, e.g., minerals 

are taken up from deep in soil strata by plant roots 

and returned to the surface in leaf litter or plant 

A discussion of nutrient uptake in plants necessarily 

interfaces with a discussion of water uptake. The 

author expounds on the uptake of water through 

roots, which have associated hairs that increase 

absorption and are a major way that immobile plants 

forage, i.e., roots grow into new areas to seek out 

water and dissolved nutrients. Once water is taken 

up by roots, it must be transported throughout the 

plant, and so this leads into a discussion of the role 

of transport systems in plants. Xylem is composed 

of dead cells, which form microscopic tubes that 

function under high pressure to facilitate water 

movement, sometimes at high speeds, from roots 

throughout the plant. The transport of materials 

produced by photosynthesis from green leaves to 

immature leaves, non-green plants, roots or storage 

organs occurs through the plant circulatory system, 

which is a capillary system composed of living cells 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

called sieve tubes.   The flow of nutrient-enriched 

water and phloem are central for supporting plant 

growth and development.
In Part III,  “Growth and Development,” the major 

differences between the life cycles of animals and 

plants are highlighted. Animal organs develop early 

in an organism’s life and are generally essential to its 

life.  By contrast, plants create and discard organs 

throughout their lifetime, and often seasonally. 

The development of plant parts is determined 

genetically, but is highly flexible in response to 

the environment. This flexibility in growth and 

development results in “developmental plasticity.” 

The environment impacts plant growth largely 

through hormone-mediated changes in growth and 

development. Hormones are organic compounds 

synthesized in one plant part and translocated to 

the site of action in another part of the plant. The 

author discusses the identification and function of 

the classical plant hormones auxins, gibberellins, 

cytokinins, ethylene, and abscisic acid. There is also 

a brief discussion of the more recently discovered 

plant hormones brassinosteroids and jasmonates. 
The highly recognized phenomenon that plants 

synchronize their activities to the rhythms or 

regular variations in the external environment, daily 

or seasonal, is also covered. Rhythms detected by 

plants include circadian rhythms, i.e., those driven 

by internal clocks that can be regulated by external 

clues that include daily and seasonal changes in 

light availability. Photoperiodism is the response 

of organisms to the length of day or night. Plants 

are characterized based on their photoperiodic 

responses as short-day, long-day, or day-neutral 

plants referring to the day length needed to induce 

flowering, though studies have shown that night 

length is what plants measure. Notably, artificial 

manipulation of photoperiod is a routine tool used 

for control of horticultural crops.
Plants measure light using proteins whose activity 

changes when exposed to light. These proteins are 

known as photoreceptors. Photoreceptors function, 

in part, to control photomorphogenesis, or light-

dependent effects on plant growth and development 

from seedling germination to seedling development 

and flowering. The first photoreceptor or pigment 

linked to photomorphogenesis was phytochrome, 

which is found in all tissues of flowering plants. 

Other photoreceptors, including cryptochromes 

and phototropins, have been identified in plants, 

and their roles are briefly explained. Rapid 

developments in our understanding of plant 

development continue largely aided by genetic 

tools. These new developments include the isolation 

and characterization of a UV-B receptor (Rizzini et 

al., 2011), which has long been elusive and in fact is 

listed as not characterized in this text.
In a new section of the second edition, i.e., Part 

V entitled “Plants and the Environment,” the 

impact of human activity on the degree and pace 

of environmental change that ultimately impacts 

plants is introduced. The author discusses the impact 

of the Industrial Revolution on the environment, 

which in turn impacts plants and the cycling/

recycling of elements upon which living organisms 

depend. A discussion of critical geochemical and 

biogeochemical cycles in the biosphere and the 

roles of plants in each are incorporated.   Cycles 

discussed include the following: (1) water cycles, to 

which plants contribute ~10% of all water entering 

the atmosphere; (2) carbon cycles, rapidly altered  

by photosynthesis, but also by burning of fossil 

fuels; (3) oxygen cycles;  (4) nitrogen cycles; and (5) 

sulfur cycles. The greenhouse effect and increases 

in CO

that are linked to fossil fuel combustion 

are detailed.  Changes in CO


 levels are the most 

significant component attributing to climate change. 

However, agricultural-related fertilization and 

human and animal waste disposal also impact 

the nitrogen cycle. Complex ecosystem changes 

are occurring that are still not fully understood. 

The long-term impacts of these changes to the 

environment that are associated with human 

behavior are largely unknown.
In different parts of the text, a brief discussion of the 

use of genetic mutants to understand the molecular 

and biochemical bases of some of the regulatory 

mechanisms of plants, including circadian clocks 

and the roles of photoreceptors, is included. Due 

to the tremendous usefulness of such technology 

and model plant species, including Arabidopsis 

thaliana, in advancing our understanding of 

many areas of plant physiology and development, 

an expanded description of the use of genetics 

may have been useful for readers. In fact, the use 

of genetics and model plants have in many ways 

revolutionized what we know and what scientists 

are able to do in regard to utilizing and modifying 

An included appendix is fundamentally an 

argument supporting the use of genetic engineering 

as an essential tool in our rapidly changing world. 

The author largely uses the section to support 

it as a rapid, targeted technology that will allow 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012


The European Garden Flora, Flower-

ing Plants: A Manual for the Identifi-

cation of Plants Cultivated in Eu-

rope, Both Out-of-Doors and Under 

Glass, Vol. 5, 2nd ed.

James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, and H. Su-

zanne Cubey (eds.)

2011 ISBN-13: 978-0-521-76164-2

Hardcover, US$250.00. xix + 639 pp.

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 

United Kingdom (

The first edition of The European Garden Flora 

comprised six volumes, published between 

1984 and 2000, all now out of print. Volume 1 of 

the first edition was devoted to Pteridophytes 

and Gymnosperms, the other five volumes to 

Angiosperms. This second edition, with all five 

volumes published at once, no longer includes 

a volume on Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms, 

whence the addition of “Flowering Plants” on the 

title page (but not on the cover). The price of single 

volumes of this second edition is US$250.00; but if 

one purchases all five volumes together, the price is 

a “bargain” at US$990.00. Effectively, these prices 

will make the work unavailable to many gardeners, 

botanical gardens, and taxonomists—the stated 

target audience.
The contents of the volumes of the second edition 

are as follows: Monocots (Vol. 1), Casuarinaceae to 

Cruciferae (Vol. 2), Resedaceae to Cyrillaceae (Vol. 

3), Aquifoliaceae to Hydrophyllaceae (Vol. 4), and 

Boraginaceae to Compositae (Vol. 5). The sequence 

is similar to that of R. K. Brummitt’s Vascular 

Plant Families and Genera. Brummitt’s approach 

was alphabetical, with respect to both families and 

genera. In these volumes of the second edition, the 

genera are arranged by some phylogenetic scheme, 

which is unspecified (but credited to Melchior’s 

Syllabus der Pflanzenfamilien in the first edition). 

The arrangement of species within genera is simply 

at the discretion of the contributing author, of 

whom there are several hundred. The entries are of 

“amenity plants,” things we plant because they are 

attractive or unusual, and therefore do not include 

crop plants.
In the first edition, the included families in each 

adaptation and mitigate human impacts on the 

environment. King also discusses the role of 

synthetic biology, largely the genetic engineering 

of prokaryotes. The controversial nature of genetic 

engineering is addressed only in passing. While 

I do not disagree that genetic engineering and 

synthetic biology hold great potential promise, the 

utility of this appendix could have been expanded 

by the inclusion of a more balanced argument 

and references (e.g., Peterson et al., 2000). In the 

epilogue, King presents a final summary of the 

fascinating biochemistry and adaptability of plants. 

Plants are amazingly similar to animals in the 

many lifestyle choices that they make, yet are also 

uniquely distinct and impacted by animals. Overall, 

this text is highly accessible and comprehensible 

for nonspecialists, yet still an engaging read for 

specialists with a good knowledge of the plant 

life cycle and plant physiology. The chapters are 

somewhat repetitious in their inclusion of history, 

yet highlight the roles of key scientists, the history 

of breakthrough experiments, and the development 

of significant theories of plant development and 

physiology in sufficient detail.  Also, each chapter 

ends with a useful summary of the main points 

of the chapter. This text is highly recommended 

for any citizen looking for a straightforward and 

thorough overview of plants and their lives. It is 

an excellent resource for a non-majors course or 

a course on plant biology for non–plant science 


Literature Cited




I. JENKINS, and R. ULM. 2011. Perception of 

UV-B by the Arabidopsis UVR8 protein. Science 

332: 103–106.




WOODBURY,  and S. ZENS. 2000. The risks 

and benefits of genetically modified crops: A 

multidisciplinary perspective. Conservation 

Ecology 4: 13.

–Beronda L. Montgomery, Michigan State Univer-

sity, East Lansing, Michigan, USA.

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

volume were listed on cover 4; this useful guide 

has been dropped in the second edition. The 

entries continue to feature information on relevant 

monographs and iconography. Chromosome 

numbers are not mentioned. In the first edition, 

and happily continued in the second edition, 

the decision was taken to eschew abbreviations 

of author’s names, as well as abbreviations of 

journal and book titles. The stated rationale is that 

abbreviations simply serve to distance the user 

from the subject matter—they create an obstacle 

that even the professional taxonomist has to hurdle. 

One can only applaud the wisdom of the editors.
Volume 5 contains a complete, highly artificial 

key to all the families of dicots, not just those in 

this volume. A final leg in one’s search ends in, for 

example, “229. Helwingiaceae,” but without any 

indication of which volume contains that family, 

much less the page number. (This monogeneric 

family is allied to Cornaceae, and therefore is 

probably treated in Volume 4.)

As pointed out on cover 4, this Flora is generally 

useful throughout temperate portions of the world. 

For North America, there is no other modern source 

with keys and descriptions. Culture requirements 

and propagation methods are given for all genera 

and separately for many of the species. Because the 

intended focus is polyglot Europe, common names 

are never given. The user of this flora is forced to 

the Latin names, and the Latin is neither explained 

nor translated. A necessary companion volume 

would be Wm. T. Stearn’s Dictionary of Plant Names 

for Gardeners, which is out of print but readily 

available on the used book market for US$1.00–

–Neil A. Harriman, Biology Department, University 

of Wisconsin–Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA

Guide to the Flowers of Western 



Christopher Grey-Wilson and Philip Cribb  

2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-169-3 

Hardcover, US$115.00. 642 pp. 

Kew Publishing, Royal Botanical Gardens, 

Kew. Available from The University of Chi-

cago Press, New York, New York, USA

There are almost 30,000 native species of seed plants 

in China, 56% of which are endemic. Despite its 

somewhat misleading title, the book under review 

is focused on China’s southern and southwestern 

provinces: Sichuan, Yunnan, Chongqing, Guizhou, 

Guangxi, and the southeastern fringes of Tibet. 

This is the area of maximum plant species richness 

in China. More than 2700 species are described 

in this guide. Genera and species are presented 

in seven gymnosperm families and 136 classic, 

pre–Angiosperm Phylogeny Group angiosperm 

families. Many keys to species within genera are 

provided; however, for keys to families and to 

genera other sources will have to be used (Keng 

et al., 1993 would be probably the best available 

The goal of the authors was to cover common native 

species and many interesting less common endemic 

species. How representative the selection of species 

was, we may only guess. Here are some examples. 

The genus Pinus is represented by six species, while 

four more native species are present in the area. 

However, only one of them is really common (P. 

massoniana). Eight Magnolia (rather Manglietia

species are included, while about 15 other, generally 

less common species grow in the area. This looks 

like a reasonable selection. However, only 10 Salix 

species are included out of ~150 in the area covered 

by the book. Selection of species was clearly biased 

toward plants with beautiful flowers that are also 

popular in horticulture (e.g., AndrosaceArisaema, 

Clematis, Corydalis, Cypripedium, Deutzia, Gent- 

iana, Hypericum, Impatiens, Iris, Lilium, Lonicera, 

Primula, Rhododendron, Saxifraga). Only a 

very few commonly cultivated non-native and/

or naturalized species are mentioned. Grasses, 

sedges, rushes, and many tropical trees of southern 

Yunnan are not included. Some family names are 

misspelled: “Nymphaceae” (p. 78), “Nelumboaceae” 

(p. 79), “Circaestraceae” (p. 120). Podocarps belong 

to Podocarpaceae, not Taxaceae (p. 63). A selected 

bibliography (pp. 614–616) covers the most 

essential local and taxonomic sources. Still, some 

other important references could be cited (e.g., 

Chapman and Wang, 2002; Keng et al., 1993; Shui 

and Chen, 2006; as well as other books by Yu-Min 

The quality of about 80% of the photographs is 

excellent. This guide will be extremely helpful to 

all professionals and amateurs traveling to this 

temperate-subtropical botanical paradise. I will 

definitely take it with me to Mt. Omei (Emei Shan) 

in Sichuan Province! Because many of the species 

included in this book are also popular in cultivation, 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

horticulturists will get a lot of inspiration from 

2200 color photographs. 

Literature Cited

CHAPMAN, G. P., and Y.-Z. WANG. 2002. The 

Plant Life of China: Diversity and Distribution. 

Springer, Berlin, Germany.

KENG, H., D.-Y. HONG, and C.-J. CHEN. 1993. 

Orders and Families of Seed Plants of China. 

World Scientific, Singapore.

SHUI, Y.-M., and W.-H. CHEN. 2006. Seed Plants 

of the Karst Region in China. Vol. 1 (Southeast 

Yunnan). Science Press, Beijing, China.

–Marcel Rejmánek, University of California, Davis, 

California, USA.

An Illustrated Guide to Common 

Plants of San Salvador Island,  

Bahamas, 3rd ed.


Lee B. Kass, with illustrations by Anthony 


2009 (issued March 2011) 

ISBN-10: 0-935909-85-0  

Spiralbound US$30.00. 183 pp.  

The Gerace Research Centre, San 

Salvador Island, Bahamas

Now in its third edition, this book will appeal to 

anyone with an interest in Bahamian plants. The 

new version has additional photos and nine more 

species, treating 73 of 524 species in the island flora. 

Its spiral binding promotes easy use, although the 

full standard page size might be unwieldy for the 
As with many popular guides, the plants are 

grouped by flower color: yellow, white/pink-red, 

or other (mostly blue-purple and green). Each 

set is then subdivided (with a basic dichotomous 

key) by leaf arrangement: opposite, alternate, 

spiral, whorled, stemless, or leafless. Within these 

subgroups, plants are arranged alphabetically by 

family and by scientific name (a few entries are out 

of order).
Each species treatment occupies two facing 

pages: text and illustrations. The text includes 

common name(s), Latin binomial, synonym(s), family 

name, description (habit, leaf, flower, fruit), remarks 

(habitat, phenology, phytogeography), ethnobotany, 

and reference citations. Most species have a line 

drawing and three color photos showing habit, 

flower, and fruit.
The plant descriptions are written in nontechnical 

language (avoiding most taxonomic terminology), 

making it readily usable by botanical amateurs 

and professionals alike. The species treatments, 

comprising the bulk of the book, are preceded 

by an introduction and a “how to” section (each 

two pages). The introduction presents a concise 

overview of the island’s discovery and botanical 

history (ecological characterization and floristic 

works). The “how to” section explains the 

book’s organization and basic plant morphology 

(accompanied by a misplaced figure).
Rounding out the volume are two maps (physical 

features and vegetation) and two tables (plants 

sorted by family classification and by plant 

community). There are also three appendices: 

poisonous plants, field station flora, and island 

flora additions. The five-page bibliography includes 

over 100 references, and the index contains both 

common and scientific names. 
One of the best assets of this book is the numerous 

vivid photographs, in bright color and sharp focus 

(with rare exception). However, as a taxonomist, 

it is frustrating that the beautiful cover and title 

page photos are not identified (except by searching 

to find the corresponding species page). There is 

no scale indicated in the photos, but organ sizes 

are given in the species treatment (a metric ruler 

printed on an inside cover would be helpful).
Two other strong points of the book are the 

detailed descriptions and copious referencing 

(including journal articles, symposium papers, 

and the country’s major flora treatises). The 

only print problem is on the maps, where text 

size and indistinct legend symbols make details 

somewhat difficult to discern. Flower color and leaf 

arrangement appear in the heading of each page, 

but it would be a nice touch to have an “edge tab” 

indication on the page margin to aid rapid location 

of sections.
My primary dispute with the content relates to leaf 

arrangement categorization: Bidens and Sporobolus 

seem to be in the wrong section; for a handful of 

other species the distinction of alternate vs. spiral 

leaves is equivocal to me. Otherwise, text errors are 

mostly minor typographical errors, punctuation 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

mistakes, and format inconsistencies of little importance for the reader. However, Compositae is misspelled 

throughout, and in a couple of instances “cm” should be “mm.”
The appendix of field station flora (species list, locator map, and nine pages of photos) is a special delight: 

it adds another 19 “bonus” plants (images only) to the species fully treated in the book. The price for this 

attractive and well-done volume makes it a worthwhile addition to one’s library. I wish Kass’s book had 

been available when I made my trip to the Bahamas!
–Donna Ford-Werntz, Herbarium Curator, Biology Department, West Virginia University, Morgantown, 

West Virginia, USA

The AJB staff is excited to announce the speaker for the inaugural AJB Special Lecture at Botany 

2012. Gar Rothwell (Ohio University) will present “Integrating Plant Evolution, Paleontology, and 

Molecular Genetics: A Developing Paradigm.” 

Rothwell’s talk will focus on how, within the developmental framework, evolution can be 

interpreted as proceeding by the successive alteration of ontogeny, which is mediated via 

regulatory genetics. Neither genetic sequences nor experimental manipulations of development 

are directly available to the paleontologist. Nevertheless, by identifying structural “fingerprints” of 

developmental regulatory mechanisms, ontogenetic patterns can be inferred from the morphology 

and anatomy of extinct plant species. 

For more information on this talk, go to

American Journal of Botany  Special Lecture at Botany 2012

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Evolution of Plant-Pollinator Relationships. Sébastien Patiny. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-52119-892-9 (Cloth 

US$119.00) 477 pp. Cambridge University Press, New York, New York, USA.
The Golden Age of Flowers: Botanical Illustration in the Age of Discovery 1600–1800. Celia Fisher. 

ISBN-13: 978-0-7123-5820-0 (Cloth US$29.95) 144 pp. The British Library. Distributed by the University 

of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA. (in review)
Hardy Heathers from the Northern Hemisphere: CallunaDaboeciaEricaE. Charles Nelson. 2012. 

ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-170-9 (Cloth US$100.00) 442 pp. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Distributed by the 

University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
The Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California, 2nd ed., Thoroughly Revised and Expanded. Bruce 

G. Baldwin, Douglas H. Goldman, David J. Keil, Robert Patterson, Thomas J. Rosatti, and Dieter H. Wilken 

(eds.). 2012. ISBN-13: 978-0-520-25312-4 (Cloth US$125.00) 1568 pp. University of California Press, 

Berkeley, California, USA. 
Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer. Pat Griggs. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-469-4 (Paperback, 

US$17.00) 64 pp. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Distributed by the University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 

Illinois, USA.
Obadiah Gray and the Search for the Elusive Eponym. Thomas G. Lammers. 2011. 66 pp. Published by 

the author, Oshkosh, Wisconsin, USA.
Peonies of the World: Polymorphism and Diversity. De-Yuan Hong. 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-84246-458-8 

(Cloth US$115.00) 94 pp. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Distributed by the University of Chicago Press, 

Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Sources, Sinks and Sustainability. Jianguo Liu, Vanessa Hull, Anita T. Morzillo, and John A. Wiens. 2011. 

ISBN-13: 978-0-521-19947-6 (Cloth US$130.00) 525 pp. Cambridge University Press, New York, New 

York, USA.
Tropical Plant Collecting: From the Field to the Internet. Scott A. Mori, Amy Berkov, Carol A. Gracie, 

and Edmund F. Hecklau. 2011. ISBN-13: 978-85-6500-500-5 (Paperback US$34.95) 332 pp. TECC Editora 

LTDA, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 58(1) 2012

Plant Ed Images

Submitted Images through the years

Foliage of Papuacedrus 

prechilensis (Berry) comb. 

nov. (Cupressaceae), from the 

middle Eocene Río Pichileufú 

flora of Río Negro Province, 

Patagonia, Argentina. Credit: 

P. Wilf

Darwin proposed in 1859 

that most aquatic plants were 

dispersed by birds. One of 

these bird-dispersed aquatics 

is wigeon grass (Ruppia L., 

Ruppiaceae) Credit: Norio 


Longitudinal section of the  

developing caryopsis of maize 

ancestor, teosinte (Zea mays 

ssp. parviglumis, caryopsis 

diameter ca. 3 mm. Credit: Aleš 


A flower of Tibouchina semi-

decandra, a well-known orna-

mental from southeastern Brazil.

Credit: Suzanne Renner

Marattia howeana (W.R.B.Oliv.) 

P. S. Green, a rare endemic 

to Lord Howe Island with 

only a few known remaining 

populations. Credit: Andrew 


Photograph of Passiflora 

caerulea L. flower showing the 

enigmatic corona, a complex 

series of structures that lie 

between the petals and the 


Credit: Simon Malcomber

Tension tissue in transverse 

hand section of internode 7. 

Credit:  A.M. Patterson

Cookieales, a very special 

image. Credit: Judy Jernstedt

Anaphase A. 

Credit: Scott Russell

Nepenthes, sp., leaves  

Credit: Marshall Sundberg

Northern pitcher plant, 

Sarracenia purpurea

showing ants collecting 

nectar in the flower. 

Credit: Joy Marburger

Splachnum ampullaceum  

Credit: Frank Boas

Cuscuta (dodders) species are 

obligate parasitic plants with 

stems that resemble yellow-orange 

spaghetti. Credit: Mihai Costea

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Plant Science Bulletin 

 Featured Image

Spring 2012 Volume 58 Number 1

Plant Science 


ISSN 0032-0919 

Published quarterly by  

Botanical Society of America, Inc.  

4475 Castleman Avenue 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 

Periodicals postage is paid at St. 

Louis, MO and additional mailing 



Send address changes to:

Botanical Society of America 

Business Office 

P.O. Box 299 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 

The yearly subscription rate of $15 is 

included in the membership 

Address Editorial Matters (only) to: 

Marshall D. Sundberg 


Department of Biological Sciences  

Emporia State University  

1200 Commercial St. 

Emporia, KS 66801-5057 

Phone 620-341-5605

The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership 

society whose mission  is to: 

promote botany, the field of 

basic science dealing with the 

study and inquiry into the form, 

function, development, diversity, 

reproduction, evolution, and uses 

of plants and their interactions 

within the biosphere.|

Changing Times

In the early 80s, BSA members began exchanging Kodachrome/

Ektachrome slides as a means of sharing images for teaching 

purposes. This was led by members such as Katherine Esau, Nels 

Lersten, Marshall Sundberg, David Webb, Ann Hirsch, John Curtis, 

and many more who donated their photos to the cause. In the late 

1990s, presented with advancing Internet technologies, these slides 

were scanned by Tom Jurik and David Webb in conjunction with 

David Kramer’s Education Committee to make this resource more 

easily available.  At nearly 1 GB in data, the cost of a commercial 

site would have been prohibitive so Scott Russell built his first Linux 

server, wrote the software, and constructed the site at http://images.  The site went live at the start of the 1999 International 

Botanical Congress at St. Louis.  Later, as web access and speeds 

continued to grow, we added higher-resolution images, including 

all of the AJB covers, a stunning set from Judy Jernstedt, and other 

images from Nancy Turner, Ron Stuckey, and Pat Gensel.  In 2002, we 

also moved the collection to the main BSA site at http://www.botany.

In 2003, the BSA joined the AAAS Biological Education Network 

(BEN) digital portal as a means of supporting broader dissemination 

for our images. We also gained the ability to provide educational 

resources of all types to the community.
 In 2010, we joined with the Ecological Society of America (ESA), the 

Society for Economic Botany (SEB), and the Society for the Study of 

Evolution (SSE) to develop a user-friendly portal designed to add a 

peer-review module to assess incoming resources. It also allows the 

Societies to share resources in an effective and efficient manner.  Our 

interface with the site will be called PlantED.
 Dr. Beverly Brown (Chair) and the BSA Education Committee are 

playing a key role in the PlantED development. Please take the time to 

attend the PlantED workshop run by Beverly on Sunday, July 8, at the 

Botany 2012 Conference in Columbus, Ohio.
 Right now, we’d like your help in adding the next generation of images 

and plant-related teaching materials to the PlantED site. Go to www. to find out more about this project and how you 

can support our educational outreach efforts.

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July 7 -11, 2012

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Columbus, Ohio

Abstract Submission Deadline April 1 

Register Early for great rates and housing choices

The Annual Meeting of  

these premier scientific societies

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