Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2018 v64 No 3 FallActions

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Theresa Culley on publishing tips for 

junior researchers...p.167

Get to know new BSA student rep,  

Min Ya....p. 192 

Meet Amelia Neely, BSA’s new member-

ship/communications manager...p. 147

PLANTS Grant Fellows and Mentors at BOTANY 2018

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                                                       Fall 2018 Volume 64 Number 3


Editorial Committee  

Volume 64

From the Editor

Kathryn LeCroy 




Environmental Sciences 

University of Virginia 

Charlottesville, VA  22904

Melanie Link-Perez  



Department of Botany  

& Plant Pathology 

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR 97331

Shannon Fehlberg 



Research and Conservation 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Phoenix, AZ 85008

David Tank 


Department of Biological 


University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID 83844

Happy autumn to all in the northern hemi-

sphere. The fall of leaves means that, in the 

United States, we are drawing close to a crit-

ical mid-term election. It is hard for me to 

forget this since I am bombarded by cam-

paign ads from both Iowa and Nebraska. We 

all know that elected officials have a tremen-

dous impact on scientific research and on 

how science is incorporated into public poli-

cy. Yet, it can be overwhelming to attempt to 

effect change as a citizen, especially in a time 

when there are so many pressing politicized 

In this issue, the public policy committee sets 

out a framework for participating in civic life 

as a scientist that we hope you will find useful. 

We also present an article from the winners 

of the 2018 Botanical Advocacy Leadership 

Award. This important award provides fund-

ing to  support local efforts that contribute 

to shaping public policy. For a more histor-

ical perspective, we bring you remarks from 

BSA President-Elect Dr. Andrea Wolfe, who 

surveyed science policy under the last four 

presidential administrations as evidenced by 

newspaper articles and discusses why science 

really does matter.  I hope that you find these 

articles both educational and inspirational!

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Science—It Really Does Matter Remarks from BOTANY 2018  

by President-Elect Andi Wolfe ...........................................................................................................................135

Welcome to New BSA Staff Member, Amelia Neely ............................................................................147

Botanical Advocacy Leadership Grant: Much More than a Grant! ..............................................148

Primarily Undergraduate Institution (PUI) Plant Network: The BSA’s Newest Section .....151

Protecting Your Online Presence - Helpful Hints from the BSA’s 

Information & Technology Director ................................................................................................................153


Science and Civic Participation ......................................................................................................................157

United States Travel Ban Negatively Affects the Global Scientific Community.................159


Harvard University Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research  ..........................................................166


How to Publish Your Research: Tips for Junior Researchers

The Editorial Perspective  ...................................................................................................................................167

Barton’s College Botany at the University of Pennsylvania, 1804 ..............................................172


PlantingScience Liaisons Both Help and Benefit from Interactions with  

Secondary Teachers and Their Students ..................................................................................................187

First Cohort of BSA Education Scholars Named for Successful Completion of  

“Plants by the Numbers” Faculty Mentoring Network..........................................................................189

What is a QUBES Faculty Mentoring Network?  ....................................................................................190 

Upcoming Education Conferences ................................................................................................................190


Why Do Scientific Societies Matter? How, As a Student, Can I Benefit from Them?.....191

Getting to Know your New Student Representative, Min Ya ...........................................................192

Building an Intentionally Inclusive Community ........................................................................................194

Quick notes on the BOTANY 2018 conference .....................................................................................194


Economic Botany  ...................................................................................................................................................196 

Physiology ....................................................................................................................................................................201


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We live in a technological era where information 

can be used, abused, misinterpreted, and virally 

shared for presenting ideological viewpoints 

without regard to accuracy of content. When 

this involves science and government policy, 

the potential for major consequences to the 

environment, society, scientists, and future 

generations exists.

Several years ago, I started using Merchants 

of Doubt (Oreskes and Conway, 2010) for a 

supplemental textbook in my “Society and 

Evolution” course. The subtitle for this book 

is “How a handful of scientists obscured 

the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to 

global warming.” The book describes how a 

small number of scientists could be used by 

political entities to misrepresent the majority 

opinion of other scientists with regards to the 

causes and environmental impacts of acid 

rain, atmospheric ozone holes, global climate 

change, as well as the health effects of tobacco 

use and environmental consequences of 

pesticide use. What struck me as particularly 

By Andrea Wolfe 

The Ohio State University 

Department of  

Evolution, Ecology, and 

Organismal Biology 

E-mail: wolfe.205@osu.


Science—It Really Does Matter

Remarks from BOTANY 2018  

by President-Elect Andi Wolfe

dangerous was how politicians and political 

lobbyists use small bits of scientific studies 

that agree with their ideological viewpoints to 

influence public policy that may affect several 

generations after regulations are enacted or 


My “Society and Evolution” course focuses on 

trying to understand why some populations 

of the USA are anti-evolution and, in general, 

anti-science. My students do several research 

projects where they mine databases to look at 

trends of acceptance or denial of evolution, 

based on stories covered in local, regional, 

national, and international newspapers. One 

of the outcomes of these projects is a better 

understanding of the role of religion and 

politics in science education and science 


The newspaper databases offer one a chance 

to see general trends about a society’s reaction 

to specific opinions, policy, and scientific 

research. Thus, I found myself turning to 

newspaper archives when I decided to talk 

about why science matters in society. I wanted 

to investigate how government leadership 

can affect science policy and debate, and I 

was interested in seeing how government 

policies impact scientific research and science 

education. Also, I was curious about how 

political biases may have an impact on science 

literacy, and how this might affect efforts for 

science communication.

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How government leadership 

impacts scientific research 

and debate

My focus was on the most recent U.S. 

administrations, straddling the end of the 

20th- and into the 21st-century. This included 

the administrations of Bill Clinton (1993-

2001), George W. Bush (2001-2009), Barack 

Obama (2009-2017), and Donald J. Trump 

(2017-current). I searched the Newspaper 

Source database with the following 

words in the all-text mode: science (and) 

president’s name (and) policy. The number 

of articles returned ranged from 756 (Trump 

administration, covering 1.5 yr) to 1,974 (Bill 

Clinton administration); there were 1,319 and 

1,564 articles returned for Obama and Bush, 

respectively. Not all of the articles referred 

to science policy, but there was a sufficient 

number of articles with repeated themes to 

take the pulse of an administration’s attitude 

about science, and the role of science in 

administrative policy. 

Headlines from each administration are listed 

in Table 1, along with either quotes from, 

or notes about, the article. There are very 

clear trends regarding an administration’s 

attitude about science, and the effect it has 

on policy decisions. First, from 1993 to 2018, 

administrations with a Democrat as president 

were pro-science, pro-environment, and used 

advice from scientists before making decisions 

about policy. For example, Clinton expanded 

wilderness areas and enacted environmental 

protections aimed at reducing pollution and 

greenhouse gas emissions. Clinton was also 

concerned about the declining test scores for 

U.S. high school students on standardized 

tests for math and science. Obama started 

his administration by recruiting well-

known scientists to fill cabinet positions for 

departments that need science expertise. He 

also implemented strategies for increasing 

funding for science, reducing the nation’s 

need for fossil fuels, enforcing environmental 

regulations on greenhouse gas emissions, and 

releasing restrictions on scientific research 

that were based on conservative ideology. 

In contrast, both Republican presidents 

during this period had a pattern of 

ignoring or misusing science, reducing 

funding for basic research, and rolling back 

environmental regulations to benefit the fossil 

fuel energy industry. Under both Republican 

administrations, climate change denial was 

systematic throughout federal agencies. 

The Bush administration focused its efforts 

for science research on homeland security, 

and implemented restrictions on science 

research that offended the conservative right 

population. This had impacts on basic research 

in that scientists had restrictions about who 

could work with them, what topics could be 

studied, and how, or if, scientific results could 

be disseminated. Trump’s administration is 

anti-science, and this is reflected in the sheer 

number of articles that address his “war on 

science,” his campaign to turn public lands 

into opportunities for businesses to exploit, 

and his enabling the federal government, 

particularly science and environmental 

agencies, to implode due to mismanagement. 

The role of government in 

scientific research and  

science education

Given the above information about the major 

differences the political party of a president 

has on American science, I wanted to know if 

the government has a role in scientific research 

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Date(s) Headline



Bill Clinton 

(Democrat) 1993-2001


Endangered Species 

Act faces its own dan-


Christian Science 


The recently formed Senate Republican Regu-

latory Relief Task Force put the ESA at the top 

of its “Top Ten Worst-Case Regulations.”


The GOP needs a bit 

more R&D on its sci-

ence and technology 


The Washington Post

Congress had made a point to change the bud-

get submitted by Clinton to reduce spending 

efforts on science.

07/04/1995 A Department of Sci-


The Washington Post

This was an attempt by Republicans to con-

solidate NASA, NSF, EPA, USGS, NOAA, the 

Patent & Trademark Office, and research arms 

of the Energy and Commerce Departments. 

It would have changed funding for each of 

the agencies, with major impacts on basic re-

search. The initiative failed.


Alaska becomes test 

of wills on Federal 

land policy

Christian Science 


This was about how a Republican-led Congress 

attempted to open the Arctic National Wild-

life Refuge and Tongass National Forest to oil 


02/19/1997 States feud with EPA

Christian Science 


“After giving states more power to protect 

clean air and water, the Clinton administration 

is threatening to take back such controls be-

cause of concerns that, in some states at least, 

devolution means more pollution.” The EPA 

argued that state laws for pollution were too 

lax. Ironically, it was Michigan that was fight-

ing Federal oversight.

10/30/1997 Greenhouse gas plan 

faces GOP red light

Christian Science 


Clinton’s proposals for international action 

to combat global warming were considered 

too lax by environmentalists and Europeans, 

but too strict by Republicans because the link 

between greenhouse gas emission and global 

warming “is not firmly established.”

03/17/1998 Clinton proposes test-


New York Times

High school seniors were performing poorly 

on standardized math and science tests. Clin-

ton proposed testing high school teachers to 

prove competency prior to receiving a teach-

ing license.


Clinton plan hopes to 

reassert the value of 


Christian Science 


Clinton was trying to set aside five million 

acres of national park land as wilderness, pri-

marily to prevent development.


In last days, Clinton 

begins environmental 


Christian Science 


Clinton ordered one-third of America’s na-

tional forests to be made off limits to logging, 

mining, and road-building.

George W. 

Bush (Repub-



04/20/2001 Bush walks fine line 

on ecology

Christian Science 


Critics of Bush’s appointments and early deci-

sions on global warming and endangered spe-

cies policies state that Bush “has declared war 

on the environment.”

Table 1. Headlines about science and policy from the past four administrations in the United States.

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Sure, it’s rocket sci-

ence, but who needs 


New York Times

“Indeed, some experts believe that science’s in-

fluence in public policy matters has not been at 

such a low ebb since before World War I.”


Researchers forecast 

rapid, irreversible cli-

mate warming

Environmental News 


“The United States signed the Kyoto Protocol 

under the Clinton administration, but Pres-

ident George W. Bush announced in March 

that the United States would not ratify the 

treaty. This move caused a crisis in the inter-

national approach to the agreement since the 

United States emits 25 percent of the world’s 

heat-trapping greenhouse gases.”

08/02/2001 As House votes on en-

ergy plan, oil booms

Christian Science 


“The House expects to vote on Bush’s initia-

tive—which stresses boosting production—by 

the end of the week.”


Science a proven tool 

in ensuring homeland 


The Dallas Morning 


The attitude toward science changed after 9/11, 

but only with regard to homeland security.


Scientists ponder lim-

its on access to germ 


New York Times

In response to 9/11, and concerns about bio-

terrorism, there were proposals to restrict ac-

cess to information and materials that might 

be used for biological weapons.

“Already several proposals have been made in 

Congress to forbid some people, including cer-

tain foreigners, from working in laboratories 

that handle dangerous microbes.”


Researchers say sci-

ence is hurt by secre-

cy policy set up by the 

White House

New York Times

“The presidents of the National Academies 

said yesterday that the Bush administration 

was going too far in limiting publication of 

some scientific research out of concern that it 

could aid terrorists…Specifically, they said, the 

administration’s policy of restricting publica-

tion of federally financed research it deemed 

‘sensitive but unclassified’ threatened to ‘stifle 

scientific creativity and to weaken national se-



Now, science panelists 

are picked for ideolo-

gy rather than exper-


Wall Street Journal

Scientific advisory panelists for federal agen-

cies was controversial due to selection of can-

didates with conservative ideologies rather 

than on their skills or experience.


Policy as arcade game: 

when science crosses 

Bush agenda, it takes 

a beating

The Philadelphia 


“President Bush is playing Whack-a-Mole 

with scientific reports that he doesn’t like: Un-

comfortable facts about global warming pop 

up in an environmental report card. Whack! 

Yellowstone National Park staffers tell a world 

treasures watchdog that the park is in trouble. 

Whack! The Environmental Protection Agen-

cy discovers a senator’s clean air bill is more 

effective than the president’s. Whack! But the 

moles are popping up faster than the Bush 

team can beat them back. Information is leak-

ing out. A pattern of deception is emerging.”

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02/23/2004 Uses and abuses of 


New York Times

“Although the Bush administration is hardly 

the first to politicize science, no administra-

tion in recent memory has so shamelessly dis-

torted scientific findings for policy reasons or 

suppressed them when they conflict with polit-

ical goals.” This was from an indictment deliv-

ered by >60 prominent scientists, including 20 

Nobel laureates.

Barack Obama 

(Democrat) 2009-2017

01/14/2009 EPA nominee vows to 

rely on science

USA Today

Obama began his administration by filling his 

cabinet with qualified individuals.


Boulder, Colo. 

area scientists cheer 


Daily Camera

“After eight years of pervasive political med-

dling in science, according to the Union of 

Concerned Scientists, researchers in Boulder 

are cheering Barack Obama, who has prom-

ised to return integrity to U.S. science policy…

Obama has promised to double federal invest-

ment in basic research, and he has nominated 

distinguished researchers for key positions, 

such as tapping Nobel Prize-winning physicist 

Steven Chu for secretary of energy.”

01/27/2009 Elevating science, ele-

vating democracy.

New York Times

Essay by science editor Dennis Overbye: analy-

zing Obama’s inaugural speech, where Obama 

proclaimed that he would “restore science to 

its rightful place.” The president also vowed to 

harness technology for clean energy.


Climate expert says 

global warming will 

be major priority of 

Obama Presidency

Irish Times

Mentions Obama’s appointment of experts to 

his cabinet, and vows to prioritize clean energy 



A d m i n i s t r a t i o n 

tasked with undoing 

Bush-era policies on 

air quality

The Press-Enterprise

“Less than six weeks after George W. Bush left 

office, clean-air advocates are wasting no time 

under the new administration to push for new 

and tougher regulations. Several of the former 

president’s air pollution policies already are in 

jeopardy, raising hopes among clean-air advo-

cates and fears among those who worry that 

industries could get hit with higher costs du-

ring a recession.”


Editorial: Finally: The 

right approach to sci-


Obama puts his own 

spin on the mix of sci-

ence with politics

La Crosse Tribune

New York Times

Reports on Obama’s efforts to have policies 

built on science rather than ideology. This was 

specifically in reference to rolling back the 

regulations on embryonic stem cell research 

from the Bush administration.

07/20/2009 Mo. Lawmaker battles 

Obama agenda

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“In his first months in office, [Blaine] Luetke-

meyer, R-St. Elizabeth, has established himself 

as an unwavering conservative, a budget hawk, 

and a critic of global warming theories who is 

so certain in his beliefs that he accuses Nobel 

Prize winners of ‘junk science.’”

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Science bill could 

bring federal money 

to the Valley

The Monitor

“A relatively unknown bill affecting science 

education and job creation won overwhelm-

ing approval in the U.S. Congress before it re-

cessed, and could energize science-related op-

portunities in South Texas.” This was referring 

to the America Competes Reauthorization Act 

(ACRA), which had unanimous approval in 

the Senate and was approved at 228-130 in the 

House of Representatives.

11/19/2012 Rubio: ‘I’m not a sci-


GQ Magazine

This was one of many stories during the Obama 

administration about Republican politicians 

making a statement about their lack of scien-

tific literacy, and that their decisions about sci-

ence policy were based on other factors.


All science is wrong, 

concludes esteemed 

Fox News panel

New York Magazine This was an article about partisan pushback on 



Why do Republicans 

always say ‘I’m not a 


New York Magazine

“’I’m not a scientist’ allows Republicans to 

avoid conceding the legitimacy of climate sci-

ence while also avoiding the political downside 

of openly branding themselves as haters of sci-

ence. The beauty of the line is that it implicitly 

concedes that scientists possess real expertise, 

while simultaneously allowing you to ignore 

that expertise altogether.”

Donald J. 

Trump (Re-





Climate change in 

Trump’s age of igno-


New York Times

“We now live in a world where ignorance of a 

very dangerous sort is being deliberately man-

ufactured, to protect certain kinds of unfet-

tered corporate enterprise. The global climate 

catastrophe gets short shrift, largely because 

powerful fossil fuel producers still have enor-

mous political clout, following decades-long 

campaigns to sow doubt about whether an-

thropogenic emissions are really causing plan-

etary warming. Trust in science suffers, but 

also trust in government. And that is not an 

accident. Climate deniers are not so much an-

ti-science as anti-regulation and anti-govern-



Trump administra-

tion’s climate-change 

skeptics worry re-

searchers, advocates

KUAC FM radio

“There’s growing concern among the scientif-

ic community that President-elect Trump will 

reduce or eliminate support and funding for 

studying climate change.”



Rogue scientists race 

to save climate data 

from Trump

California scientists 

worry that Trump will 

interfere with climate 



The San Diego 


Report on how scientists were saving climate 

change databases under threat from Trump’s 

policies at government agencies such as EPA, 

US Department of Interior, and others.

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Science will suffer un-

der administration’s 

travel ban, officials 


New York Times

Discusses the potential impact of Trump’s trav-

el ban on people from certain countries.


Why science matters 

more than ever in 

Trump’s America

Forbes Magazine

“It may be the only way to save the USA—and 

the world—from alternative facts.”


Trump plan for 40% 

cut could cause EPA 

science office ‘to im-

plode,’ official warns


A response to cuts in program funding at EPA.




Research is an af-

terthought in first 

Trump budget

The Trump Adminis-

tration’s War on Sci-


Trump’s first list of 

science priorities ig-

nores climate—and 

departs from his own 

budget request


New York Times


Trump’s initial budget either made cuts or flat-

lined federal spending on science research


March for Science: 

Protesters gather 

worldwide to support 



A global response to the disregard for science, 

and the promotion of “alternative facts.”


At FDA, TVs now 

turned to Fox News 

and can’t be switched

CBS News

“CBS News has confirmed an email was sent 

to researchers at the FDA’s Center for Biologics 

Evaluation and Research responding to appar-

ent efforts to change the channel on internal 

television screens.”


Editorial: Trump ap-

pointees twist facts, 

deny science

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“President Donald Trump has named two 

prominent anti-abortion activists and LGBT-

rights opponents to influential positions in the 

Department of Health and Human Services, 

but those views aren’t what should trouble 

Americans most. What is very disturbing is 

that each appointee openly denies science and 



85 percent of the 

top science jobs in 

Trump’s government 

don’t even have a 


The Washington Post

This trend continued up until the time of my 

BOTANY 2018 talk. The only agencies with a 

complete complement of scientists more than 

a year later from the publication date of this 

article were Education and Nuclear Regulatory 



Trump will try to 

sidestep science in 

rolling back clean wa-

ter rule


Rules enacted during the last months of a pres-

ident’s term are subject to being overturned by 

the next president’s administration. Whereas 

Obama’s administration relied on scientific 

findings for implementing regulations, the 

Trump administration was catering to the 

fossil fuel industry—specifically, coal—for re-

scinding this rule.

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EPA chief pushing 


effort to question cli-

mate change science.

Trump’s EPA has 

blocked agency grant-

ees from serving on 

science advisory pan-


Accumulating evi-

dence: Federal scien-

tists are being silenced

DOI restricts scien-

tists from attending 

scientific conferences

The Washington Post


Union of Concerned 


Union of Concerned 


Climate change information was removed 

from the EPA and other agency websites, 

memos stating rules about not using specific 

terminology had been circulated, and regula-

tions were being rolled back concerning green-

house gas emissions. Scientists were prevented 

from conducting research, attending meetings, 

and serving on expert panels






Trump nominates fi-

nance executive for 

DOE science under-


Trump picks climate 

change doubter for 

USDA science job

Trump has picked 

a politician to lead 

NASA. Is that a good 


Trump science job 

nominees missing 

advanced science de-


Ryan Zinke refers to 

himself as a geologist. 

That’s a job he’s never 



The Hill


Associated Press


Cabinet positions requiring science literacy in 

the Trump administration were filled by non- 

or under-qualified personnel. This list includ-

ed Rick Perry, a previous presidential election 

candidate who had wanted to disband the De-

partment of Energy. Trump appointed Perry to 

lead that agency.

07/17/2017 Sidelining science 

since day one

Union of Concerned 


“The Trump presidency has shown a clear pat-

tern of actions that threaten public health and 

safety by eroding the role of science in policy.”


The battle over sci-

ence in the Trump 



“Scientists allege policies of ‘myth over truth’ 

under Trump.”


A year of Trump: Sci-

ence is a major casual-

ty in the new politics 

of disruption

Scientific American

“From a rollback of environmental protections 

to attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, 

here’s a look at the president’s impact on sci-

ence-related issues.”


‘Junk science’? Studies 

behind Obama regu-

lations under fire

Fox News

“The federal report by dozens of U.S. govern-

ment scientists concludes climate change is 

real and is driven almost exclusively by human 


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The Trump adminis-

tration’s war on sci-

ence agencies threat-

ens the nation’s health 

and safety

Scientific American

“Budget cuts and layoffs threaten the nation’s 

health and safety.”


U.S. Interior Depart-

ment to put academ-

ic, nonprofit grants 

through political re-



Grants provided by DOI to receive scrutiny to 

“ensure they align with Trump administration 



Citing ‘inexcusable’ 

treatment, advisors 

quit National Parks 


New York Times

The advisory panel was formed in 1935. The 

majority resigned in protests of Ryan Zinke’s 

plans to open protected areas to oil drilling and 



Trump administra-

tion is ‘abandoning 

science,’ scientists 



“The White House has been sidelining ad-

vice  from scientific advisory councils sin-

ce  President Donald Trump took office in 

January 2017, according to a new analysis 

released Thursday…The report titled ‘Aban-

doning Science Advice’ by the nonprofit ad-

vocacy organization  Union of Concerned 

Scientists found that science advisory commit-

tees had experienced ‘unprecedented’ levels of 

disrespect and neglect from the White House 

and across agencies including the  Environ-

mental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug 

Administration and the Department of Ener-





The damage done by 

Trump’s Department 

of the Interior

Ryan Zinke is sabo-

taging our best public 

lands program

Interior Department 

proposes a vast re-

working of the En-

dangered Species Act

The New Yorker

Outside Magazine

New York Times

“Under Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interi-

or, it’s a sell-off from sea to shining sea.”

“The secretary of the interior was once a loud 

supporter of the Land and Water Conservati-

on Fund. Now he wants to almost completely 

defund it.”

“The changes are in keeping with a broader 

pattern of regulatory moves in the Trump ad-

ministration aimed at reducing costs and other 

burdens for business, particularly the energy 



Congress ignores 

Trump’s priorities for 

science funding

The Atlantic

“Nearly every science agency stands to get 

more money under a spending bill that avoids 

proposed cuts from the White House.”


Internal memo sug-

gested that White 

House ‘ignore’ federal 

scientists’ climate re-


The Washington Post Refers to the report published the previous 



In the Trump admin-

istration, science is 

unwelcome. So is ad-


New York Times

“As the president prepares for nuclear talks, he 

lacks a close adviser with nuclear expertise. It’s 

one example of a marginalization of science in 

shaping federal policy.”

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


beyond funding and policy. I researched the 

U.S. government websites, and data from the 

U.S. Bureau of Labor, to determine which 

federal agencies employ scientists, and how 

many scientists are employed by the U.S. 

government. The list of federal agencies 

employing scientists is in Box 1. This may 

not be totally inclusive, but it does give an 

overview of the scope of research by federal 


A comparison of the number of biological and 

related scientists employed in government, 

private industry, and academia is shown in 

Table 2.


There are significantly more scientists 

employed in government than in academia. 

There are also more scientists in private 

industry than in academia.  According to a 

recent Congressional Research Service report 

(Sargent Jr., 2017), 6.9 million scientists and 

engineers were employed in the United States, 

of which 4.1% were life scientists. Given that 

the majority of scientists are employed by 

government agencies, it is surprising that 

private industry outspends government 

and academia by a wide margin (UNESCO, 

2015). In 2012, for example, private industry 

purchasing power parities (comparison of 

currency rates among countries) was $249.6 

billion, compared to $122.2 billion for 

government and $24.9 billion for academia. 

The amount of research and development 

(R&D) performed as a share of state gross 

domestic product (GDP) varied greatly across 

the United States. California, Maryland, 

Massachusetts, Michigan, New Mexico, and 

Washington, combined, contributed to 42% 

of the national R&D expenditure (UNESCO, 

2015). Each of these states contributed 3.88% 

and above of their state GDP to R&D. States 

with the lowest expenditure of GDP for R&D 

(below 0.75%) included Arkansas, Louisiana, 

Nevada, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and 

Wyoming (UNESCO, 2015). 

How political biases may 

have an impact on  

science literacy

Ideological biases (consistently liberal vs. 

consistently conservative) were relatively 

constant from 1994 to 2004, but diverged 

greatly by 2014 (Nisbet and Markowitz, 2016). 

Consumption of news is influenced by political 

bias. For example, 47% of conservative voters 

name right-leaning Fox News as their main 

source for news, whereas liberals mostly use 

the New York Times, NPR, MSNBC, and CNN. 

This can influence a person’s acceptance of 

scientific findings as true or false. Jamieson 

and Hardy (2014) found that people with 

polarized views will accept or reject scientific 

findings based on whether they conform to 

a group’s position (conservative or liberal), 

or not. For example, on topics of climate 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

U.S. Department of Energy

Central Intelligence Agency

National Science Foundation

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Environmental Protection Agency

Nuclear Regulatory Commission

U.S. Department of Interior

National Air and Space Administration

Smithsonian Institution

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

National Institutes of Health

U.S. Agency for International Development

U.S. Food and Drug Administration

National Park Service

U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Forest Service

U.S. Geological Survey

Box 1. Government agencies employing scientists.

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change, Americans’ attitudes can affect their 

interpretation of science findings (Jamieson 

and Hardy, 2014; Nisbet and Markowitz, 

2016). Although Americans rely on general 

news outlets for science news (54%), these 

outlets generally get facts about science 

right only about 28% of the time (Nisbet and 

Markowitz, 2016). This combination can only 

be amplified in right- or left-leaning media and 

when incorrect information is propagated via 

social media (Bessi et al., 2015). Political bias 

can also affect support for funding scientific 

research as well as civic science literacy. One 

has only to review the Congressional budget 

process over the past 30 years to see this in 


The importance of  

communicating science and  

being involved in society

In this day and age of “alternative facts” 

and “fake news,” we have a challenge in 

communicating science. It is clear that science 

can be misused for political agendas, and that 

policy decisions based on misinformation or 

ignorance can do lasting harm to society and 

the environment (Oreskes and Conway, 2010). 

Government scientists are using social media 

to good effect to counter the information and 

misinformation distributed by the current 

administration via @alt_ Twitter accounts and 

Facebook pages. 

Scientists still have credibility for the 

general public, and 44% of Americans say 

they personally know, or are friends with, a 

scientist (Nesbit and Markowitz, 2016). This 

gives us an opportunity for outreach that is 

very powerful. Scientists can reach a broad 

audience at every level of society by sharing 

their stories and research findings in informal 

settings, through social media, by writing 

articles for newspapers and blogs, and by 

public lectures. We should also be working 

towards presenting our findings on television 

programs such as Nova and those found 

on the Discovery Channel. A study by the 

Pew Research Center (2009) found that the 

percent of conservatives and liberals watching 

science programming on these channels is 

not statistically different. Jamieson and Hardy 

(2014) also found that the way science is 


Government Private Industry Academia

Life, Physical, Social Science




Environmental and Geoscience




Biological Sciences




Conservation Science and Forestry




Medical Science




Soil and Plant Sciences




Zoology and Wildlife Biology








Table 2. Comparison of the number of scientists employed in different science disciplines for gov-

ernment, private industry, and academia. The data are from the May 2017 release from the U.S. 

Bureau of Labor Statistics. The majority of scientists employed for each discipline is in bold type.

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presented matters when political biases exist. 

If a scientist presents contentious findings 

without advocacy, and helps the audience 

to understand how conclusions were made 

by using techniques that allow the audience 

to make inferences by analogy, the effect of 

political biases can be minimized.

Currently, there are few scientists in the U.S. 

Senate or House of Representatives. One 

major outcome of the misuse and abuse of 

science in policy-making throughout the 

21st century is a record number of scientists 

running for government office this year—60 

for federal office, and approximately 200 for 

state office (Kaufman, 2018; Manchester, 

2018). Many of these scientists are seeking 

to replace politicians who have voiced anti-

science beliefs. For those of us without political 

ambition, it is still important that we remain 

engaged in the political process. We have a 

civic obligation to vote, of course, but we can 

also be effective communicators on proposed 

legislation that affects policy about science, 

technology, education, and the environment. 

We have expertise. Let’s use it.

Literature Cited

Bessi, A., M. Colletto, G. A. Davidescu, A. Scala, G. 

Caldarelli, and W. Quattrociocchi. 2015. Science vs 

conspiracy: collective narratives in the age of misin-

formation. PLOS One 10(2): e0118093. doi:10.1371/


Jamieson, K. H. and B. W. Hardy. 2014. Leverag-

ing scientific credibility about Arctic sea ice trends 

in a polarized political environment. Proceedings of 

the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111: 13598-


Kaufman, A. C. 2018. The largest number of scien-

tists in modern U.S. history are running for office in 

2018. This comes at a time when there’s only one 

Ph.D. scientist in Congress. https://www.huffington-

4b06ee97af2ae60 (accessed 09/20/18).

Manchester,  J.  2018.  Record  number  of  scientists 

running for office in 2018.


of-scientists-running-for-office-in-2018 (accessed 


Nisbet, M. C. and E. Markowitz. 2016. Americans’ 

attitudes  about  science  and  technology:  the  social 

context for public communication. Commission Re-

view, American Association for the Advancement of 


Oreskes, N. and E. M. Conway. 2010. Merchants of 

Doubt, Bloomsbury, New York. 355 pp. 

Pew Research Center. 2009. Public Praises Science; 

Scientists  Fault  Public,  Media.  Available  at  http://

es-science-scientists-fault-public-media/ (accessed 


Sargent Jr J. F. 2017. The U.S. science and engineer-

ing  workforce:  recent,  current,  and  projected  em-

ployment, wages, and unemployment. Congressional 

Research Service publication.

UNESCO. 2015. UNESCO science report – Towards 

2030.  United  Nations  Educational,  Scientific,  and 

Cultural Organization. 410 pp.

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Welcome to  

New BSA Staff Member, 

Amelia Neely

The BSA is pleased to welcome Amelia Nelly 

to the staff! Amelia joined BSA this September 

in the leadership role responsible for the 

development, coordination, implementation, 

and oversight of all BSA membership and 

communication programs. She is also 

responsible the membership programs for the 

Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) and 

the Society for Economic Botany (SEB).  

Amelia comes to the BSA with 16 years 

of non-profit development experience 

specializing in member stewardship and 

database management from positions at both 

the Missouri Historical Society and Forest 

Park Forever. She brings a variety of interests 

and skills including member acquisition 

and retention campaigns management, 

website development, graphic design, event 

coordination, and database management.

Amelia can be reached at

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


Many botanical collections like herbaria or 

botanical gardens perfectly match the criteria 

of the definition of a museum given by the 

International Council of Museums (ICOM; 

Eberwein 2011). They “…acquire, conserve, 

research, communicate and exhibit the 

tangible and intangible heritage of humanity 

and its environment for the purposes of 

education, study and enjoyment”. This short 

sentence shows the importance of imparting 

(botanical) knowledge in the broadest sense to 

all people: communicate, exhibit, and educate! 

And knowledge about plants is now more 

necessary than ever before. It plays a key 

role in all parts of human life, reaching from 

climate, biosphere, living space, agriculture, 

and industry to nutrition, medicine, 

pharmaceutics, and well-being. All are 

influenced directly and indirectly by human 

activities. Raising the level of botanical 

education is therefore imperative. On the 

other hand, botanical institutions suffer 

from severe financial cuts and cancellation 

of activities, and some botanical gardens are 

severely threatened by estate speculations.

The Botanical Advocacy Leadership Grant is 

a great support for institutions under pressure 

like the Carinthian Botanic Center. It allows 

continuation of education, new projects, and 

press campaigns that influence decisions of 

politicians because they have to pay attention 

to their voters.

The Carinthian Botanic Center, with its small 

botanical garden, is an external department 

of the Regional Museum of Carinthia in 

Klagenfurt, Austria. The Center comprises 

the regional herbarium (KL, 240,000 sheets), 

a botanical garden, a library, and a very small 

microscopy lab. Though the garden is more 

than 150 years old and is very active and well 

known, its history is accompanied by repeated 

discussions of closure. During the last 15 years 

we had to beat back three closures, and the 

current lease of the area where the center is 

located expires in 2020. These circumstances 

require clever strategies and a lot of external 

support. Up to now, the most fruitful strategy 

was gathering as many fans (i.e., voters) as 

possible by a vivid imparting program.

Communicating botanical topics is 

therefore an essential part of Carinthian 

Botanic Center’s work, because it is not only 

disseminating botanical information, but 

also building up a stable community of fans; 

enabling free advertising in press, radio, and 

TV; and aiding in discussions about function 

and necessity of the institution. A published 

imparting program covering all age groups 

and levels of education reaching from pre-

school–age children to cooperation with 

Botanical Advocacy  

Leadership Grant:  

Much More than a Grant!

By Roland Eberwein 

Department of Botany  

Carinthian Botanic Center   

Regional Museum of  

Carinthia, Austria 

E-mail: roland.eberwein@

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










external universities and publishing the 

botanical journal Wulfenia (with a Journal 

Impact Factor of 1.171) turned out to be a very 

helpful working tool. In several cases, it led 

to reduction of external pressure to close the 

botanical garden, which allowed increasing 

the quality of collections and infrastructure 

during that time (Eberwein, 2004).

Motivated by this success, we started a 

special lecture series in the botanical garden 

in summer 2004. This series is a bit unusual, 

because we have no lecture room, no protection 

against bad weather, and no educational 

infrastructure except a flip-chart and of 

course many plants and ideas (Figure 1). Our 

demands on this series can be summarized 

as: steadily bringing botanical knowledge to 

the public without fee in an attractive garden 

in all weathers, imparting topics of current 

interest as well as unknown and unexpected 

fields of botany and ethnobotany, giving vivid 

talks without computers (see Link-Pérez et al., 

2017) and never repeating a talk or topic. Up 

to now, we have given more than 260 different 

talks, and the number of listeners per talk 

increased from 10 to 20 to sometimes more 

than 80.

The Botanical Advocacy Leadership Grant is 

a remarkable tribute to all who contributed to 

the success of the talks. And it allowed us to 

replace a very old and defective video camera 

that was used in combination with a TV for 

educational purposes until about six years 

ago. We decided to buy a modern camera 

that can be used without any computer. The 

camera is directly connected to a screen via 

HDMI, and only a second cable for power 

supply is needed. Technical equipment should 

not become the focus of attention, and a talk 

should never be restricted by operation of 

gadgets. We added an adapter to the camera 

(c-mount), which allows using lenses of 

SLR-cameras. Lenses with manual aperture 

and a broad manual focusing ring work fine. 

Aperture is preselected to f/5.6 - f/11 in order 

to have a broader range of sharpness without 

using additional light as well as working 

distance (depending on magnification). Small 

parts of plants (e.g., flowers, parts of flowers 

or small seeds and fruits) can easily be placed 

below the lens with minimal focusing and 

without completely losing eye contact with 

the listeners. Passing small objects through 

the audience during a talk turned out to be 

counterproductive, because objects reach 

back rows much too late and listeners have 

no connection between object and the topic 

anymore. Showing small objects via camera 

and TV during the talk with direct context 

to the speech is a very fine solution. Use 

of camera and TV is limited by contrast 

and reflections of the screen, lighting of the 

object and, in our case, by rainy weather. So, a 

technical check of the equipment on location 

Figure 1. Lecture about the genus Tagetes in 

the Botanical Garden Klagenfurt, given by Felix 

Schlatti, with 56 attendees. (Photo credit: Ro-

land K. Eberwein)

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


prior to preparation of the lecture is strongly 

recommended. Our audience enjoys the new 

camera and has provided very nice feedback.
The Botanical Advocacy Leadership Grant 

directed great attention of the press toward 

the botanical garden, and a large report about 

grant, camera, and lecture series excellently 

promotes our activities and strengthens the 

position of the Carinthian Botanic Center for 

coming negotiations.

Literature Cited

Eberwein, R. K. 2004. Education in botanic gar-

dens? A case study of a “Potemkin’s Village” in 

Carinthia (Austria). In: Novikov, V. S., D. N. Ka-

vtaradze, A. K. Timonin, V. V. Murashov, and A. 

V.  Sherabkov.  [eds.]:  Fundamental  problems  of 

botany  and  botanical  educations:  Problems  and 

perspectives. Abstracts  of  International  Scientif-

ic Conference on 200-anniversary of the Dept. of 

Higher Plants of MSU (Moscow, 26-30 January 

2004): 154-155. KMK Scientific Press Ltd, Mos-


Eberwein, R. K. 2011. A closed book? The botan-

ical garden in Klagenfurt is a museum. Museum 

Aktuell 180: 14-17. [In German]

International Council of Museums (ICOM). https://

museum-definition/ [Accessed: 2018-08-13]

Link-Pérez,  M.,  R.  Povilus,  and  J.  McDaniel. 

2017. Cutting the cord: tips for computer-free 

presentation skills. Plant Science Bulletin 63(3): 


Figure 2. Felix Schlatti uses the new video camera to demonstrate the shape of ligulate flowers. 

(Photo credit: Roland K. Eberwein)

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This summer, the Botanical Society of 

America established a new section devoted to 

the professional development of faculty, and 

future faculty, at higher education institutions 

that fit the NSF Research at Undergrad 

Institutions (RUI) criteria*. Examples of 

such institutions include liberal arts colleges, 

community colleges, and universities with 

Master’s students and few PhD students. 

Primarily Undergraduate Institutions (PUIs) 

share unique opportunities and challenges. 

Professors at PUIs give students invaluable 

research experience in the classroom and 

research labs and prepare them for further 

degrees and/or professions. Some PUIs also 

have extraordinarily diverse student bodies 

where early exposure to hands-on research 

experience can be particularly influential. 

Such faculty also face distinct challenges. We 

balance significant teaching responsibilities 

while maintaining active research programs 

predominantly with undergraduate 

researchers who have diverse interests and 

backgrounds. We may be the only person 

within a general biology department who 

studies and teaches about plants. Within our 

institutions, communicating about the value 

of botany, and how it fits into a broader biology 

or liberal arts curriculum, may take special 

effort. Networks outside of our institutions are 


We estimate that a majority of institutions 

represented in the BSA are PUIs, and we have 

received a feedback from many colleagues that 

establishing such a network of botanists across 

our institutions would benefit many.

At BOTANY 2018, the steering committee 

led a well-attended and productive half-day 

workshop focusing on the PUI job application 

process. Our panel represented a diversity of 

PUI institutions. We discussed the nature of 

our jobs, our institutions, our students, and 

what it is like to apply for and successfully 

negotiate a faculty position. The 14 participants 

included current PUI faculty, people on the 

job market, postdocs, and students at PUIs. 

An additional 24 people attended an informal 

reception near the end of the workshop for 

a discussion on broader goals and future 

professional development opportunities of the 

PUI Plant Network. Attendees were uniformly 

enthusiastic about establishing a permanent 

forum to share resources, develop further 

workshops, and establish mentor relationships 

between folks at similar stages of their careers 

and across those stages.

We’ve created a section that will maintain and 

expand a primarily online professional network 

throughout the year. The PUI Plant Network 

BSA section is an appropriate mechanism 

to establish a sustainable PUI group, and we 

expect that it will grow rapidly due to the high 

number of PUI faculty members of BSA.

Primarily Undergraduate  

Institution (PUI) Plant Network:  

The BSA’s Newest Section

By Maggie Hanes (Eastern Michigan  

University) and Rachel S. Jabaily  

(Colorado College)

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Moving forward

We plan to host a workshop at the BOTANY 

conferences annually, with rotating topics. 

Future ideas include: (1) conducting research 

and publishing with undergraduates, (2) a 

field trip with considerations and tips for 

leading class field trips from the pros, (3) 

best practices for R1 PIs for preparing your 

students and post-docs for careers at PUIs, 

and (4) getting funded at a PUI.

We will hold an annual business meeting 

at BOTANY conferences to promote 

involvement, propose ideas, review issues, 

and select leadership. The steering committee 

currently includes: Rachel Jabaily (Colorado 

College), Maggie Hanes (Eastern Michigan 

University), Chris Martine (Bucknell 

University), Mike Moore (Oberlin College), 

and Mackenzie Taylor (Creighton University). 

Membership in the section 

is inclusive. 

We welcome past, current, and future 

faculty and students at PUIs and anyone else 

interested in professional development at 

PUIs. (A nominal fee of $5 has been set.)

We emphasize that we view the PUI Plant 

Network Section as separate from the 

Teaching Section because the PUI Plant 

Network Section has a focus on professional 

issues at PUIs that range far beyond teaching, 

and because issues in teaching may apply to 

all types of institutions. We look forward 

to working with the Teaching Section and 

occasionally hosting joint workshops.

For more information, please contact a 

member of the steering committee. Also, 

please use the hashtag #PUIPlantNetwork in 

your social media. 

*NSF PUI designation are accredited colleges 

and universities, including two year community 

colleges, that award Associate’s degrees, 

Bachelor’s degrees, and/or Master’s degrees in 

NSF supported fields, but have awarded 20 or 

fewer PhDs in all NSF supported fields during 

the combined previous two academic years.

Figure 1

The PUI Plant Network reception from BOTANY 2018.

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Your social media accounts… hijacked.  Your 

friends… hit with a barrage of spam. Your 

PC… held for ransom. Your money…. gone.  

Yep, it’s 2018 and it’s well past time to take 

seriously the threats out there on the internet. 

It seems that over the last few years, as the 

internet and other connected technologies 

become more sophisticated and we depend on 

them even more, there are more and greater 

threats to our data safety than ever.  Some of 

these have hit quite close to home, impacting 

the officers and sectional leaders of the 

Botanical Society of America. We would like 

to remind all of our members of what to look 

for and basic steps to take to protect yourself 

from those out there who seek to do us harm.

The basic problem is that there is a lot of 

money to be made doing nefarious things 

on the internet.  Bad actors get big bucks to 

spread spam about cheap Ray Bans, take 

control of your computers and only release 

them for a ransom, or to gain access to your 

money through insecure or stolen login 

accounts. Here are some examples of the main 

approaches they take to do this.

By Rob Brandt

Information and  

Technology Director-

Botanical Society of 


Protecting Your Online Presence

Helpful Hints from the BSA’s  

Information & Technology Director

Account Hacking

The goal is to find out what your passwords are 

to your website accounts.  Once they have even 

one of your accounts, they will attempt to find 

other places where that account information 

is used, such as banks, investment companies, 

PayPal, Facebook, etc., because many people 

use the same login information on many 

different websites. They can use a variety of 

methods to do this: “dictionary” attacks, where 

they try and login at a site they know you use, 

using all words in a dictionary or other source 

until they find one that works. Or they’ll look 

you up on Facebook to learn about you, and 

use your pet’s name, your hometown, your 

spouse’s name or other information to guess 

your password or the security questions 

that will allow them to reset your password 



Phishing is when the bad actors try to get 

someone—anyone—to respond to a message 

that will allow them to get your login 

information, credit card numbers, social 

security number, etc.  They aren’t targeting 

you personally, but once they have your 

personal information they will do bad things 

with it. An example would be a “tech support” 

message from Microsoft, Apple, Bank of 

America, the IRS, etc. that prompts recipients 

to click on a link.  The page it takes them to 

looks exactly like the real site it pretends to 

be, and they are prompted to log in or make 

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President, and Lucinda the Treasurer.  All 

this information is publicly available on the 

BSA “current officers” website.  The phisher 

used the e-mail addresses listed on that page.  

What’s even more impressive is that this 

e-mail is signed by “Andi”, and it’s not evident 

on our page that Andrea uses that nickname.  

They apparently did other research elsewhere 

to find that—perhaps her social media 

accounts.  It’s important to recognize that no 

data breach enabled this attack; it’s all public, 

benign information.  But it’s put together in a 

way that would be totally believable if it were 

a normal thing for Andrea to ask Lucinda for 

a transfer of funds. (It’s not.)  This was a very 

clever attack. “Spear phishing” is called that 

because it’s very similar to actual spear fishing, 

in which the fisher dives, spots a particular 

fish, and targets it.

Protecting Ourselves from 


So how do we protect ourselves from these 

attempts to do us harm?  Short of unplugging 

from the internet, there are a few basic things 

we can do to make it difficult for bad actors to 



Use safe passwords, change them fairly often, 

and don’t use anything that can be found in 

a dictionary or other information about you 

online. Obviously don’t use “password” or 

“123456” or other silly things.  If you do, know 

that you are already hacked. Many websites 

require you to have a secure password using 

certain rules, but by far the most important 

thing you can do is to use a pass phrase, not 

a pass word. String together a short sentence 

that will be easy to remember, and yes, include 

a payment. Once you do that, the bad guys 

have your information and/or your money. It’s 

called “phishing” because it is very much like 

real fishing; you put some bait on a hook and 

cast it into the water, hoping a fish will bite.  

When they bite, you’ve caught your fish.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is very much like regular 

phishing, except the phisher has his/her eye 

on you specifically and are setting bait that 

will appeal to you specifically.  It takes a great 

deal more effort for them to do this, but the 

payoff is far higher if it works. I will use an 

incident we recently encountered at the BSA 

as an example:

From: Patsy Yates <>
Date: Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 4:00 AM

Subject: Urgent Transaction


Hello  Lucinda  

Can we make an urgent Transfer of $5,600 

today ? So I will forward you the vendor 

details for payment. Thanks
Best Regards 

Andi Wolfe

This message sent to Lucinda McDade (BSA 

Treasurer) purported to be from Andrea Wolfe 

(BSA President) asks to transfer $5,600 “today”. 

(Lucinda recognized that it was suspicious 

immediately and alerted us.) There are a 

few items in this e-mail that are impressive, 

showing the research the phisher did to make 

it appear to be an authentic request. There’s 

a genuine relationship between Lucinda and 

Andrea, in that they are both on the Board of 

the Botanical Society of America.  It seems 

reasonable that Andrea would request funds 

from Lucinda because Andrea is the current 

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










a few odd characters just to make it extra 

difficult to guess.  You should also update 

your passwords from time to time, because 

you may not know your password has been 

compromised until much later.

Password Managers

Use an encrypted password manager to keep 

track of your passwords.  Don’t just save 

them to a simple file on your computer or 

smartphone, because if hackers gain access 

to your device, they will then have all your 

passwords.  One of the first things a hacker 

will do on a newly hacked device is search 

it for “password” to find everything stored 

there.  Password Managers are designed to 

keep them safe.  The data are stored in an 

encrypted database, and can only be accessed 

if you have a password.  Use a different 

password on the password manager than the 

one you use for the device, so that the hacker 

will need to know TWO passwords to get at 

your other passwords.  There are numerous 

password managers available, but one good 

one available for many devices, and is free, 

is KeePass (

html). The database format is universal, so 

you can keep your password database on all 

your devices. 

Single Sign-on

Many websites allow you to sign on with an 

account from another service.  For example 

you can sign on with your Facebook, Twitter, 

Gmail or Amazon account. There are some 

downsides to doing this, but the one huge 

advantage is that the site you are using 

your Facebook account on does not get your 

password. The least trustworthy sites are 

the ones from small operators who cannot 

afford full-time security specialists.  Those 

are the sites that get breached the most.  It’s 

a really good thing if they never even see 

your password.  The downside of this is that 

Facebook and others can then share other less 

critical information with the site, such as your 

e-mail address, list of friends, etc.  When you 

first create a new account using your existing 

Facebook or other account, you should be 

notified of what is being shared; note it and 

consider whether it’s an acceptable tradeoff 

for you.

Use Plain Text E-mail

We all like nicely formatted e-mail. Hackers 

like it even more, because it allows them to 

obscure what they are doing, making it more 

likely that you will click on some variety of 

phishing attack.  The previous example of the 

spear phishing attack is a perfect example.  

Everything looks legitimate except for the 

“from” line at the top. The message purported 

to be from Andrea Wolfe, but the “from” said:  

“From: Patsy Yates <winstonrose00@gmail.

com>.“ In this article, that’s plainly obvious.  

But most people pay more attention to the 

content of a message than who it’s “from.”  

The phisher could have taken an extra step of 

changing the “from” to:“From: Andrea Wolfe 

<>“ and it would 

have been harder for Lucinda to see who it 

really was from. 

Links in the text are similar.  A plain text 

e-mail to a phishing site might display a link 

such as

whereas a nicely formatted e-mail will simply 

show “Wells Fargo”, and you can only see the 

URL it points to by hovering your mouse over 

it, or (yikes) clicking on it.  And once you click 

on it, and it looks like a Wells Fargo page, are 

you going to look at the URL to make sure 

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


that’s really where you are? Probably not.

As a bonus, recent studies have shown 

that plain text e-mails get read more often 

than formatted ones.  I believe the reason is 

that formatted e-mails look too much like 

newsletters, and no one reads newsletters 

(right?).  So there’s additional reason to just 

keep it plain.  Just say “no” to html e-mail.

Just pay attention!

Be aware that the internet is not a safe place, 

and keep your mind engaged when you are 

browsing the web or reading your e-mail. The 

e-mail to Lucinda failed because it was an odd 

request, and she knew it. Think about whether 

you were expecting to receive requests for 

information, or tasks to perform.  Don’t 

download files just because someone asks you 

to.  There’s no shame in verifying that it really 

came from whom it claims to be from.  Look 

at URLs that links send you to, and look at the 

“from” on e-mails to be sure they make sense.

The internet can be a dangerous place, just like 

anywhere else in the world.  But you don’t have 

to get hurt if you do the basics to keep yourself 

safe.  Understand where the dangers are and 

what they want to do, keep your sensitive 

information safe, use good security measures, 

and above all pay attention.

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










Science and Civic  


Before becoming scientists, we were citizens 

of somewhere. As such, we have a basic 

civic responsibility to make an informed 

vote in our registered locale.  What we 

may forget in our busy professional lives 

is that this is our basic responsibility to ensure 

our democratic institutions continue to 

operate.  As scientists, we can easily overlook 

additional civic duties we have earned by 

developing our expertise:  educating and 

engaging with those trying to understand 

science-related policy issues, evaluating 

policy positions on their empirical merits, 

and holding our elected leaders accountable.

The challenges of the 21st century require scientific 

solutions, evidence-based decision-making, and 

greater civic engagement by scientists. Many of 

us are now more inspired than ever to become 

involved in our democracy. However, the 

multitude of options can be overwhelming, 

resulting in inaction. Here, we provide a 

framework for participating in civic life as a 

scientist in ways that can effect real change.

By Ingrid Jordon-Thaden (University of California Berkeley), 

ASPT EPPC Chair, Krissa Skogen (Chicago Botanic Garden), 

and Kal Tuominen (Metropolitan State University), BSA PPC 


Commit to a Satisfying 


Determine the amount of time you can commit 

and the type of engagement that is compelling 

to you.  Then push yourself outside of your 

comfort zone, just as you do in other areas of 

your life. You will be more effective if you are 

realistic about your strengths, interests, and 

what you can commit. Few of us will spend 

a career in science policy, but most of us can 

create time to speak or volunteer at a one-day 

event. All efforts are important, no matter 

how small!

Evaluate and Hold  


Scientists with policy experience seem to 

share a common refrain: most policymakers 

value scientific input, but they don’t always 

remember to create a seat at the table for 

those who can provide it.  Evaluating elected 

officials and candidates for office on their 

willingness to reserve a seat for us is a deeper 

way scientists can support civil society.

Do you know where 

candidates in your district 

stand on science issues? How 

have incumbents voted in 

the past? For the midterm 

elections, American Institute 

of Biological Sciences (AIBS) 

has teamed up with 11 other 

science-related organizations 

to create the Science Debate 

2018 questionnaire.  Whether 

and how candidates respond 

Public Policy News

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


can help us evaluate candidates’ ability to 

lead. View candidates’ responses at https:// 

Don’t see your candidate’s answers? Send an 

e-mail encouraging him or her to respond!

Another way to hold candidates accountable 

is to attend a town hall or debate and ask 

questions about their views on science-related 

issues. Questions might relate to government 

funding for science, climate change, public 

lands, food security, natural disaster 

preparedness, or other issues. The goal is to 

get candidates to state their positions on the 


Educate and Engage

Politics can muddy the waters on scientific 

issues for the general public, even when the 

weight of evidence is clear to us.  Election season 

is a great time to educate voters about scientific 

consensus and its connection to policy.  We can 

also educate each other:  share what you learn 

about candidate positions and voting records with 

your peers to help them make an informed vote!

Finally, consider helping a science-savvy candidate 

get out the vote. Campaigns need the most 

volunteers in the week before the election.  Voter 

engagement involves calling and knocking on the 

doors of likely supporters.  Speaking with undecided 

voters in a close election can help determine the 

outcome!  You can practice your pitch during a 

brief volunteer training: “As a scientist, I value using 

evidence to make policy decisions that impact the 

lives of all Americans. [Candidate X] has a track 

record of supporting science and using knowledge 

and sound reasoning in policy decisions. For 

these reasons, I feel they are a strong candidate 

for office and encourage you to vote for them 

on November 6.”

If all of that seems too easy, we have one last 

question: have you considered running for 

office in 2020?


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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










Just about 2 1/2 weeks before the start of 

our annual conference this year, staff at 

the Botanical Society of America received 

word—via Twitter—that at least two of our 

members were denied U.S. visas and were 

unable to attend our BOTANY 2018 meeting 

in Rochester, MN. The conference is a unique 

and welcoming venue where botanists share 

current research, develop collaborations, 

establish and strengthen networks, and 

generally enjoy the camaraderie of the plant 

science community. We knew the travel ban 

would affect the scientific community, but 

until we saw their tweets, we did not know how 

many plant scientists would miss our meeting. 

As soon as we learned of their plights, we leapt 

into action to figure out how we could help 

them to participate.

As with many professional conferences at 

two weeks out, the sessions’ agendas had 

already been carefully arranged, which made 

the creation of a separate “remote presenter” 

session unlikely. However, we knew we could 

and should allow our missing attendees to 

present their work remotely; we just needed 

to work out the details. The BSA does have 

How the BSA Helped Members 

Affected by the the U.S. Travel 

Ban at BOTANY 2018

a Zoom Video Communications account, 

which has been consistently reliable and 

effective for remote meetings and training 

webinars for our organization. Therefore 

we were confident we could pull in our two 

international participants—one in Canada, 

whose Ph.D. was completed on the west coast 

of the United States, and one in Denmark, 

who was slated to present work completed at 

the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.—via 



To get started, we needed to make sure that 

our remote presenters felt comfortable with 

Zoom. We knew that the transition from local 

to remote presenter and back again could be 

tricky, especially with the tight timetable for 

each session. In light of this, one week prior 

to their sessions and three days before the 

start of the conference, we held a practice ses-

sion with both scientists to allow them time 

to practice using the Zoom platform - finding 

and adjusting the video and audio controls, 

sharing their screens, etc. Each presentation 

looked good and worked smoothly during the 

practice sessions, and each presenter noted 

and set the proper microphone and camera 

settings for the real deal.
Once the BSA staff were at the Mayo Clinic 

Civic Center, in Rochester, MN, we set up 

practice Zoom meetings to establish the 

appropriate settings on the computers to be 

used in each room. The one caveat, we knew, 

would be the internet connection, because 

By Jodi Creasap Gee, PhD 


BSA Education Technology 



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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


we were using Wifi and not the hardwired 

connection. There was a very real chance that 

the remote presentations would hit a snag 

with an internet connection that could be 

laggy due to excessive use. After our on-site 

practice run looked good, we felt ready to roll 

with the presentations.


The reality of the situation was that we needed 

to use the hard-wired internet connection 

in the session rooms to guarantee that there 

would be no interruptions to the remote 

presentations, which is what happened with 

the first presenter. Her audio became garbled, 

and the slides were pixelated. We quickly 

overcame the issue by tethering the room 

computer to a phone’s hotspot for the duration 

of the 15-minute presentation. The second 

presentation went a little more smoothly, and 

we immediately starting making notes on 

what to do in 2019, in case we need to address 

this issue in the future.


Several of us have brainstormed about options 

and possibilities for subsequent meetings, 

and we are determined to be prepared for the 

possibility of remote presentations. While 

our ultimate goal is to develop a protocol for 

remote presenters denied U.S. visas, we do 

have a few ideas of what we can do better next 


First and foremost, remote presenters need 

more practice ahead of time. This means they 

should run through their presentations at least 

once prior to the actual session time. Because 

our scientific program contains 15-minute 

talks, we need to improve our efficiency in 

this capacity to ensure that presenters are 

comfortable with the platform and can use it 

with great ease.

Due to the transition time from local to remote 

and vice versa, remote presenters should be 

scheduled at the beginning or the end of the 


This one seems like a no-brainer, but 

establishing a signal to give the presenter a 5-, 

3-, and 1-minute warning is critical. No one 

likes to cut anyone off, and it feels especially 

rude when the person being cut off isn’t even 

in the room. Surprisingly, in our case, the 

chat box of the Zoom platform was not quite 

enough to get the presenter’s attention.

Most importantly, we need to accept that 

the U.S. travel ban will affect the foreseeable 

future of scientific congress in the United 

States, and we need to be diligent in keeping 

our international colleagues in the scientific 

community. The Botanical Society of America 

is taking on this challenge, and we hope 

that our fellow botanists know that we have 

not abandoned them or their efforts and 


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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










Botany 2018 - in your words.....

comments from the post-conference survey!

Fantastic meeting this year. the  

energy was phenomenal

Another great conference with a lot 

of interesting talks.

Great! This year's food (breakfast, snacks, 

opening/closing reception) was A+

Botany is my fav conference.  

Everyone is so nice  

and supportive

I thought that over-

all this was one of 

the better  

Botany conferences 

that I have attended.

Being around all the "plant people" at  

Botany is so much fun!  

I always enjoy this meeting

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


Botany 2018 was my first con-

ference and I absolutely loved 

it. Everything was very orga-

nized, there was a lot of diversi-

ty within the presentations, and 

there were lots of social 

 and networking opportunities.

I thought the diversity of  

science was great.

I love the atmosphere of 

this conference.  

Everybody is friendly 

and it is a nice and in-

spiring environment.  

I am looking forward 

for the next one

Botany conferences have the most 

friendly people, I really enjoy  

attending these conferences.

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










California Botanists gather for breakfast!

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


For the past several years, the conference has participated in a volunteer project to give back to 

our host city.  On Sunday of the conference a number of dedicated souls board a bus and go off 

to do some good!  They get a commemorative t-shirt, a lunch, a water bottle, and a feeling of 

being a do-gooder!  Here is an account of this year's project!

Volunteering for the Botany In Action outing this summer started 

with a 20-minute bus ride from the conference center to a protected 

area that the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is 

restoring to something resembling its appearance and composition 

before the arrival of Messrs P. Bunyan, J. Appleseed, and J. Deere.   


Two state conservationists met us there and gave us a short talk 

on the history of the vegetation of the area and on the techniques 

that Minnesota is using to foster the native flora.  The area in 

front of us, one of low hills and ridges formerly partly forested 

and partly more open and shrub-dominated, had not received the 

undivided attention of the three gentlemen named above, but had 

nevertheless been significantly altered over the last two centuries.  


Our job was to remove as many individuals of sumac (Rhus glabra L.) 

as we could from one of the hillsides.  As the conservation officials 

explained to us, sumac, although a native species, has become 

invasive in some more-or-less intact ecological zones, crowding 

out other native species restricted to these zones.  We were given 

gloves and provided with sturdy loppers, long-handled cutters 

that easily slice through any stem less than 2 inches diameter, 

and then spaced ourselves a few yards apart at the base of the 

shrub-and-grass-covered hill and started hunting for 1- to 4-foot 

tall shrubs with compound leaves and glaucous lower surfaces.  


It was a hot day, but everyone worked at his/her own pace, and by 

noon we had nearly reached the top of the hill, leaving behind us 

hundreds of prone, silver-green victims.  At that point we went 

downhill to the stack of lunchboxes, the bus back to town, and to the 

DNR’s assurances that we’d made a real contribution to the labor-

intensive work of suppressing the invasive sumac.




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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










And the winner is.....

With many thanks to Aurora Storage, 

Chris Havron of Campbell University 

was the winner of the 

Herbarium Cabinet raffle at Botany 2018

Visit Tucson raffled off free airfare to the  

Botany 2019 conference.

Martin Kalfatovic of the Smithsonian is the winner!   

See you all in Tucson!

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Harvard University Bullard Fellowships in Forest Research

Annually Harvard University awards a limited number of Bullard Fellowships to individuals in 

biological, social, physical and political sciences, and the arts to promote advanced study or the 

integration of subjects pertaining to forested ecosystems. The program seeks to allow mid-career 

individuals to develop their own scientific and professional growth by utilizing the resources 

and interacting with personnel in any department within Harvard University. In recent years 

Bullard Fellows have been associated with the Harvard Forest, Department of Organismic and 

Evolutionary Biology, and the J. F. Kennedy School of Government and have worked in areas of 

ecology, forest management, policy, and conservation. Stipends up to $60,000 are available for 

periods ranging from six months to one year and are not intended for travel, graduate students, 

or recent post-doctoral candidates. Applications from international scientists, women, and 

minorities are encouraged. Additional information is available on the Harvard Forest website 

at Annual deadline for applications is January 15. 





60 years ago:  BSA publications have always been an important venue for sharing methodology. In 1958, 

F.W. Went describes the Mobile Desert Laboratory as a tool for studying the biology of desert plants. Today this 

article might appear in Applications in Plant Sciences.

“During the last fifteen years I had been studying problems concerning desert plants. I found that their 

germination occurred only under very special conditions which did not prevail every year and very often did 

not occur in the same locality more than once every five to ten years. . .

To overcome the problems of a fixed location, a mobile desert laboratory was designed, partly on the basis 

of the car park of the Land Research and Regional Surveys Division of the Commonwealth Scientific and Indus-

trial Research Organization in Australia and partly on the truck-based ecological laboratories which had been 

surveying the Sahara desert. Through the generosity of Mrs. Pearl McManus of Palm Springs these plans could 

be realized and in the autumn of 1956 the first trial runs were made. In the intervening 2 years the laboratory 

has proven its effectiveness and now a short description of its facilities can be given.  -Went, F.W. “A Mobile 

Desert Laboratory “ PSB 4(6): 1-3

50 years ago: The Pelton Award in Experimental Plant Morphology was established. “The Conservation 

and Research Foundation has established the Jeanette Siron Pelton Award in Experimental Plant Morphology. 

This award, honoring the memory of Jeanette Siron Pelton, will consist of a $1,000 premium to be given not 

more often than annually to a person selected for his sustained and imaginative productivity in the field of 

experimental plant morphology. The field may be broadly defined to include the subcellular, cellular and or-

ganismal levels of complexity. The award will not be restricted as to sex, nationality or society affiliation of the 

recipient, nor as to the language in which his work is published.   -PSB 14(4): 4

[Note: The Editor believes that the use of only the masculine pronoun in a sentence directly stating that the 

award will not be restricted as to sex highlights the need for the careful use of gender-neutral language.]

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he publication process can be especial-

ly daunting for new authors who must 

navigate the intricate submission steps and 

the “mystery” of peer-review.  Early career 

authors are also under substantial pressure to 

publish to develop their professional portfolio.  

Is there anything that new authors can do to 

maximize the chance that their article will be 

accepted?  The answer is, “Yes!” The following 

tips and suggestions are based on a workshop 

held by a panel of editors and reviewers at the 

BOTANY 2018 meeting in Rochester, Minne-

sota, on July 22, 2018.   

The Editorial Perspective 

In order for your manuscript to be accepted 

and published, you, the author, must first 

understand what editors are looking for. 


Because more manuscripts are submitted to 

How to Publish Your Research: 

Tips for Junior Researchers

journals than can be published, editors have 

to carefully discriminate among submitted 

manuscripts to identify those of high quality 

that also match the scope and audience of 

the journal.  Understanding what editors are 

looking for will greatly increase your chances 

of having your manuscript selected for peer 

review and possibly publication.  

Upon receiving a manuscript, an editor 

immediately asks two questions.  Your goal is 

to convince the editor that the answer to these 

two questions is yes.

1. Is the paper appropriate for the journal?  

• As an author, you need to do your background 

research on the journal to make sure it is a good 

match for your manuscript.

• Know your target journal: Does your manu-

script align with its aims and scope?

Written with assistance and input from Pamela K. Diggle, Amy McPherson, Beth Parada, 

Richard Hund, Loren H. Rieseberg, J. Chris Pires, Stacey D. Smith, and William E. Friedman


By Theresa Culley
Department of Biological Sciences, University of 

Cincinnati, 614 Rieveschl Hall, Cincinnati, OH 


E-mail:, Tel: 513-556-9705

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


• What types of papers have already been pub-

lished there?  Are they similar to yours?

• How are existing papers framed? What is the 

context of their work?

• Who is the audience of your paper? Is this jour-

nal one where your work would be read and 


• Look at the editorial board; is there a 

member with the necessary expertise to 

handle your paper?

2. Should the manuscript go out for review? 

To answer this question, the editor will look at 

the Title, Abstract, and Cover Letter.

• The title should be succinct and descriptive (ap-

proximately 16 or so words).

• The abstract must justify the study and explain 

why it is needed and interesting; often this is the 

only text that the editor will review (and not the 

entire manuscript).

• Is the abstract, and the paper itself, in compre-

hensible English? Is it evident that the author 

has worked hard to polish the writing?

• The cover letter is critical to communicate the 

importance of the study to the editor, who may 

not have expertise in your particular field of 

study.  Its purpose is to (1) tell the editor why 

your paper is suitable for the journal, and (2) ex-

plain how the work advances the field.  It should 

not merely reiterate the abstract, but must an-

swer the following questions regarding your 


What are the questions addressed or 

hypotheses tested? 

What is the major contribution of your 

paper to your discipline? 

How is this contribution of interest to 

the readership of the journal?

Tips for the Editorial  


Based on our combined experiences of 

over 160 years serving as editors, authors, 

and reviewers for a variety of journals, we 

developed the following tips to maximize the 

possibility of acceptance of a manuscript in a 

peer-reviewed scientific journal.

A. Pre-Publication

• Wait until you have generated a substantial 

data set with a thorough analysis before submit-

ting to a high-impact journal. Although there 

may be lots of pressure to publish, resist the urge 

to publish several small, frivolous papers (some-

times known as “least publishable units”) just 

to increase your publication rate. At the same 

time, you do not need to include everything in a 

single paper; reviewers will not want to read an 

entire thesis with an abundance of supplemen-

tal tables.  Instead, editors and reviewers want to 

see a big “take-home” message condensed with-

in a cohesive, concise paper. 

• Take ownership of your research and consider 

how it will appeal to the general public, even 

while you are still doing the study.  If appropri-

ate, take video and photos and keep a detailed 

journal of your research; this is especially valu-

able if your article will eventually be promoted 

on social media.

B. Finding the Right Journal

• Submit to the right journal: Carefully review 

the aims and scope of the journal, and look at 

other examples of what has been recently pub-

lished. Is the journal the right “home” for your 

paper?  Will it reach your intended audience? 

What is the average turnaround time? How is 

the journal perceived in your field?  You can 

aim high for a specific journal, but always have 

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










a back-up plan of other journals to consider if 

your manuscript is not sent for peer review or 

not accepted at the journal of your first choice.  

• If you are unsure if the journal is the right “fit”, 

ask! Contact the editorial office with any ques-

tions about whether your manuscript is appro-

priate, providing a compelling argument of why 

you think it is, and including at least the title and 

abstract. The editors may be able to offer advice 

for submitting a successful manuscript—or of-

fer suggestions for alternative outlets for your 

work. This could save you time and trouble. 

• Avoid predatory journals. In the search for an 

ideal journal, be aware of and avoid for-profit, 

online-only journals that promise rapid pub-

lication but have low quality. The purpose of 

these journals is solely for their own financial 

benefit, often charging either very low ($50-

$60 US) or very high ($2000-$5000) fees.  In 

addition, predatory journals typically advertise 

rapid publication, but their peer review is often 

a sham; such journals are not indexed in ma-

jor services such as Web of Science.  Predatory 

journals devalue science and can be detrimental 

to individual professional advancement; hiring 

and promotion committees are increasingly not 

accepting articles in predatory journals.  Simi-

larly, authors now need to think about whether 

articles they cite are from these sham journals.  

Predatory journals can be identified using 

Beall’s List ( or Ca-

bell’s Blacklist (  Au-

thors can also identify predatory journals using 

common red flags (see Culley, 2018). One ca-

veat is that some new journals (especially in de-

veloping countries) may be unfairly identified 

as predatory, so you need to carefully research 

your choice of a journal. 

C. Preparing Your Paper for Submission 

• Follow directions in the Instructions for Au-

thors for your chosen journal and prepare your 

paper as carefully as possible, especially if there 

are word limits, required formats to follow for 

particular article types, or other requirements 

(e.g., structured abstracts, minimum number of 

key words, data accessibility statements, author 

contribution paragraphs).  Manuscripts may be 

returned without review if there are too many 

deviations from the author guidelines.

• Seek feedback from others. Make sure that 

your paper has been thoroughly vetted by other 

readers (such as fellow members of your labora-

tory) for content as well as for presentation. Ty-

pos, misspellings, and grammatical and punctu-

ation errors signal to editors and reviewers that 

the paper is sloppy, and they may be disinclined 

to rate it highly (or in some cases, may even re-

fuse to review it). A well-prepared and carefully 

written paper will keep editors and reviewers 

more favorably disposed toward your paper so 

they can focus on the paper’s content; this can 

speed up the review process.

• If you have any questions, contact the edito-

rial office. They are there to help you. The ed-

itorial staff works with all other individuals in 

the process (reviewers, editors, readers, the pro-

duction team that will compose your article for 

publication, etc.), and they are a good resource 

for helping you succeed in the publication pro-


• Know your audience. In particular, write the 

paper with your reviewers and readers already 

in mind.  What would you think if you were re-

viewing this paper?  As a reader, what informa-

tion would you really like to know?

• Tell a good story to hook readers and persuade 

them to read further.  Make the paper interest-

ing to non-specialists in your field or those who 

work with different taxa.  This may require that 

you think broadly beyond your own study sys-

tem. Write your paper in such a way that people 

outside of your immediate area can appreciate 

it and apply what they have learned to other 

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


systems.  Address a consequential question in 

plant biology, evolution, ecology, or conserva-

tion that is relevant beyond your study taxon. 

This is where hard work on the introduction 

and discussion, with strong literature referenc-

es, will pay off.  How do your specific findings 

illuminate a broader set of questions or ongoing 

intellectual debates?

• Use the most up-to-date and appropriate an-

alytical procedures. Some papers may be re-

jected simply because the analysis is perceived 

as not being as rigorous as it could have been.  

Reviewers will expect you to justify your choices 

of analytical methods and statistical tests, and 

provide a detailed description of each. Be sure 

to look at similar papers in your target journal 

to see how the data were analyzed.   

• Generate great figures! A carefully constructed 

and effective figure can often communicate a 

difficult concept or result more easily and con-

cisely than text.  Figures make papers aestheti-

cally interesting and appealing to reviewers and 

readers alike.

• Make sure your data are archived and public-

ly accessible. This is increasingly being required 

by many peer-reviewed journals and serves to 

advance your field (see Culley, 2017).

D.  Submitting Your Paper

• Prepare your cover letter with care.  If you 

have never done this before, ask other research-

ers for examples of cover letters from their ac-

cepted papers, especially for the journal that you 

are targeting. See above for more information.

• Suggest five appropriate reviewers and not 

just the obvious ones in your references, if the 

journal allows reviewer suggestions. This helps 

the editor find reviewers in a timely manner to 

speed the review process.  Be sure that none of 

your suggested reviewers have conflicts of inter-

est (e.g., a former or current mentor or advisor).  

If you are unsure, do not hesitate to ask an editor.

• Look at the Associate Editors of the journal 

and suggest someone who might be appro-

priate to handle for your paper—that also helps 

facilitate the process. 

• Once you have submitted your paper—con-

gratulations! Now the wait begins. Be patient, 

but also do not be afraid to “check in” with the 

editorial office if the review process seems to be 

taking a long time.

E. After Peer Review

• After receiving your reviews, take a deep breath, 

and wait at least a day before responding if they 

are negative (and longer is probably better).  In 

some cases, you may understandably be upset, 

but wait until you can consider the reviewers’ 

comments objectively.  Immediate responses 

in the heat of the moment do not generally fare 

well with the editorial staff and the reviewers. 

Once you have completed your revision, con-

struct a careful cover letter that provides a de-

tailed description of how you responded to each 

point raised in the reviews.  If you disagree with 

a reviewer’s request or criticism and choose not 

to make a change to the manuscript, carefully 

explain your reasoning (see next bullet point). 

Point-by-point responses, even when you do 

not wish to make a change in an area, make the 

evaluation of your revision more efficient. 

• The reviewer is always right (even if they are not 

actually right). If your paper was not accepted 

but revisions are requested, look carefully at the 

reviewer comments.  If you disagree with any 

comment, provide a constructive and polite 

response; remember that the original reviewer 

may be asked by the editor for his or her assess-

ment of your response.  Even if you disagree 

with a comment, try to understand what the 

reviewer’s issue might be to determine what ef-

fort is needed (i.e., put yourself in the reviewer’s 

shoes); make at least some effort to address it.  

One effective response is to modify the text for 

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










clarity if there appears to have been some confu-

sion. Remember that the review process allows 

you to benefit from the expertise of your review-

ers, who have typically invested significant time 

and effort to help you publish the best possible 

version of your research.

• Revise with the fewest number of changes. A 

drastic change to one part on the manuscript 

may inadvertently affect the flow and compre-

hension of the rest of the paper.  Thus, always be 

sure to read your paper from start to finish af-

ter you have completed your revisions to make 

sure that everything still flows and makes sense.  

Also, double-check tables and figures to make 

sure they agree with the revised text.

F. Post Publication

• Put together a press package using information 

you gathered earlier. This could include a lay-

man’s summary of your study, as well as suitable, 

non-stock images and graphics.  Journalists 

often choose to write about papers because of 

great pictures! 

• Promote on social media. Don’t be afraid to 

tweet an announcement about your new paper!  

Ask the journal staff what they might do to also 

help promote your article.

If you carefully follow these tips, you’ll soon 

be on your way to a strong publication record.  

Although the process of publishing your work 

can be arduous, the combination of your 

efforts along with the those of the reviewers 

and the editors will ensure that the final article 

is of high quality and high impact. Thus, our 

overall message here is: Don’t Give Up.  Even 

if your paper is rejected from a journal, think 

carefully and objectively about why, make 

appropriate modifications, and submit to 

another journal.  Also, there is considerable 

stochasticity in the review process, so 

remember the old adage “Try, Try Again.” The 

experience publishing your work will not only 

build your skills as a communicator, but will 

strengthen your science, which benefits the 

entire community.

Literature Cited

Culley, T. 2017. The frontier of data discoverabil-

ity: Why we need to share our data. Applications 

in Plant Sciences 5(10): 1700111. https://onlineli-

Culley, T. 2018. How to Avoid Predatory Journals 

When Publishing Your Work. Plant Science Bul-

letin 64(2): 96-111.


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A Short History of Botany in the United 

States, Ewan designated the period from 

1797 to 1818 as “the Barton Epoch.” This was 

primarily for his botanical textbook, the first 

published in America, (Barton, 1803). But 

Benjamin Smith Barton (1766-1815) was also 

known as a teacher who “taught Baldwin, 

Darlington, Ives, Horsfield, and many less 

well remembered students. He played decisive 

roles in the lives of William Bartram, [Fred-

erick] Pursh, and [Thomas] Nuttall” (Ewan, 

1969, p. 38). He also taught David Hosack, 

who went on to teach Botany and Materia 

Medica in New York (Sundberg, 2011). Barton 

helped to make Philadelphia one of the cen-

ters of botany in the United States. He pub-

lished extensively in many aspects of natural 

history and hoped to publish a Flora of North 

America. He had a particular interest in Na-

tive Americans, their language, and their uses 

of plants, which could be incorporated into 

Materia Medica (see publications list in Ewan 

and Ewan, 2007). He shared many of these 

interests with Thomas Jefferson and thus was 

charged to train Meriwether Lewis in natural 

history in preparation for the voyage of dis-

covery. In fact, Jefferson sent his grandson, 

Thomas Jefferson Randolph, to Philadelphia 

to study natural history and botany with Bar-

ton (Ewan and Ewan, 2007, pp. 787-788). One 

of Barton’s most outstanding graduates was 

William Darlington (1782-1863). Upon his 

graduation Dr. Darlington collected a quan-

tity of rare seeds at the Calcutta Botanical 

Garden and distributed them to a number of 

American botanists including Barton, Hosack 

in New York and David Ramsey in Charles-

ton, South Carolina (Ewan and Ewan, 2007, 

pp. 556-558). He later collected and published 

extensively on the plants of Chester County, 

Pennsylvania. Darlington, the student, is the 

primary source for this paper.

In 2011 I summarized Barton’s pivotal role 

in American Botanical education (Figure 

1). Briefly, Barton, who was born in 1766 

in Lancaster, PA, enrolled in the College of 

Philadelphia in 1785 hoping to study botany 

under Linnaeus’ student, Adam Kuhn. 

However, Kuhn no longer taught botany and 

the following year Barton left for Edinburgh. 

But again, his botanical interests were foiled. 

Dr. John Hope, Professor of Botany, who 

had studied under de Jussieu in Paris and 

was a proponent of the new 

Linnean System, died shortly 

after Barton arrived. However, 

Hope had established a five-

acre botanic garden that he used 

extensively for teaching and that 

contained many plants provided 

by John and William Bartram of 

Philadelphia. Barton was familiar 

with many of these plants and no 

doubt appreciated the benefits of 

Barton’s College Botany at the 

University of Pennsylvania, 1804

By Marsh Sundberg 

Department of Biology 

Emporia State University 

Emporia, KS 66801


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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










this garden for learning botany, yet after three 

years of study he left the University without 

a degree (Ewan and Ewan, 2007; Sundberg, 

2011). He arranged to take an honorary 

degree from the University of Keil (see Ewan 

and Ewan, 2007, pp. XV, 844, correction of 

Barton and Barton, 1836) in the fall of 1789 

and was immediately elected Professor of 

Natural History and Botany at the College of 

Philadelphia upon his return to Philadelphia 

later that year (Barton, 1900). This despite 

the admission that “I have never attended 

any lectures, however imperfect, on Natural 

History, or Botany” (Barton, 1807). Two years 

later the College merged with the University 

of Pennsylvania and his appointment was 

confirmed. He taught botany every spring until 

his death in 1815 (Barton and Barton, 1836). 

Thirty-four years later, his student, William 

Darlington, reminisced, “Professor Barton, 

in those days, occasionally gave a course of 

Lectures on Natural History and Botany, to 

small classes in the University of Pennsylvania 

(one of which courses, in 1803-1804, the 

writer had the privilege of attending): and 

there can be no doubt that he did more than 

any of his contemporaries, diffusing a taste for 

the natural sciences, among the young men 

who then resorted to that school” (Darlington, 

1849, p. 24). We remember our favorite 

teachers for the impact they made on our lives, 

but we don’t always remember specific dates; 

Darlington had the right academic year, but 

his hardbound course notebook dates from 

April 3 through June 7, 1804 for the Botany 

course. Like many students today he used 

the same notebook for several courses—the 

first half contains his notes from Dr. Barton’s 

1802/3 Natural History lectures. 

Barton’s Botany

Registration was by subscription and students 

purchased a ticket to attend the course (Figure 

2). In 1808, Thomas Jefferson paid $12 

(approximately $240 today) for his grandson’s 

Figure 1. Benjamin Smith Barton. With per-

mission of the American Philosophical Society.

Figure 2. Title page from Darlington’s Bota-

ny notebook in the rare book collection of the 

University of Kansas. Photo by the author.

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


ticket to Barton’s botany class (Ewan and Ewan, 

2007, p. 787). During the first day of lecture, 

April 3, 1804, Barton presented an overview of 

the design and extent of the course (Table 1). 

It would be primarily a lecture/demonstration 

course with several field trips. It would meet 

three to five days a week, but rather irregularly: 

7 Mondays; 8 Tuesdays; 5 Wednesdays; 7 

Thursdays; 8 Fridays; and 3 Saturdays from 

Tuesday April 3 through Friday, June 7. At 

the end of Volume 1 of the second edition 

(1812), Barton notes, “The Botanical lectures 

commence, annually between the 10


 and 16



of April, and continue two months. Including 

the excursions, the Professor delivers at least 

four lectures every week.” Presumably classes 

were in the morning, as Darlington makes 

note that their field trip on Tuesday, May 

15, was in the afternoon. The course was 

divided into four main units: natural history 

(but confined to the botanical branch), 

plant structure, plant physiology and the 

sexual system, and plant classification. “This 

beautiful branch of natural history [botany] he 

[Barton] calls the Key of the Materia Medica” 

(Darlington, 1804, p. 3). This obviously made 

an impression on the young student who went 

back to the title page of his notes and beneath 

his name “By William Darlington, Student of 

Medicine, Member of the American Linnean 

and Philadelphia Medical Societies” added the 

phrase “Herbarum Scientia Materia Medica 

clavis est“ [Plant science is the key to Materia 

Medica] (Figure 3).

Barton’s newly published textbook was 

certainly available for use in the course (Figure 

4). Although some European botanists were 

critical of the work, for occasional errors and 

lack of scientific detail, William Hooker (later 

the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew’s first director) 

noted that “though rather diffuse in style, [the 

text] is full of entertaining anecdotes: and the 


April  3,  

T  Introduction 

5, Th  Affinities of plants and animals 

6, F  Affinities (cont) 

11, W Roots 

12, Th Radix, Herba @ Fructifuication 

13, F  Herbs 

16, M Leaves 

17, T Leaves (cont) 

19, Th Bracts 

21, Sa Fruits 

23, M Flowers 

24, T  Flowers (cont) 

27, F Pistil 

28, Sa Doctrine of sexes 

30, M Flowers 

May   1,  

T Sex in Palms 

2, W Sex (cont) 

3, Th Opposition to the sexual system 

4, F  Vegetable irritability 

7, M Irritability (cont) 

8, T Double flowers 

9, W Seed germination 

11, F Classification, Sexual System - Monandria - 


12, Sa did not go to class – celebrated acquisition of 

Louisiana (covered Tetrandria - Hexandria) 

14, M Classification- Heptancria - Enneandria (9 


15, T No lecture – visit Hamilton's garden 

17, Th Classification Decandria – Icosandria (cont) 

18, F Classification - Polyandria 

21, M Classification - Didynamia 

22, T Classification - Tetrahynamia 

24, Th Classification - Monadelphia 

25, F Classification - Diadelphia 

29, T Classification - Polydelphia 

30, W Classification - Syngenesia 

June  1,  

F  Classification, Gynandria 

4, M Classification, Monoecia  

5, T Dioecia 

6, W NO CLASS – Graduation Day (Dr. Medicine) 

7, F  Polygamia, Cryptogamia and Fungi.

Table 1. Botany Course Syllabus, 1804, recon-

structed from William Darlington's Lecture 


references and terms being all made applicable 

to American plants, it must have done much 

towards recommending the study of botany 

in that country” (Hooker, 1825, p. 271). 

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Twice in his notes, Darlington commented 

that the lecture “…was principally read from 

his Elements…” It is not clear if Barton used 

his 1803 self-printed first edition, or the 

1804 London edition. It is also not clear if 

Darlington had his own copy, but I suspect he 

did. During the first three days of the course 

his notes are extensive, and the material 

covered was not included in the text (although 

a discussion of the affinities of animals and 

plants was scattered in two sections of his 1812 

second edition part one and two additional 

places in part two). Later, in the sections on 

plant anatomy and physiology, the notes are 

primarily a page or two of high points and 

anecdotes related by Barton; in the last section 

on classification, notes are mostly limited to 

the names of families covered in lecture. On 

two occasions Darlington noted that, “Dr. B’s 

fourth lecture was principally a recital of the 

first section of his Elements, illustrated by the 

demonstration of the various kinds of roots, by 

living specimens” (p. 19); and “It [the lecture] 

was principally read from his Elements –and 

illustrated by specimens” (p. 69) (Darlington, 

1804). In addition, in his 1845 “Memorials,” 

he commented, “Though somewhat diffuse, 

it [Elements] was a useful and dependable 

performance” (Darlington, 1845). It is 

interesting to note that Darlington wrote his 

notes on only the right side of facing pages 

assigning each a sequential odd number—a 

note-taking method I still recommend 

so students have a place for calculations, 

questions, comments, and critique (Sundberg, 


So, if Barton was not reading the lecture 

from his textbook, what was he doing? A 

fairly extensive collection of Barton’s medical 

course notes is housed at The Historical 

Society of Pennsylvania Archives. Curiously, 

many of the pages with medical notes on 

one side have botany lecture notes on the 

other. For instance, in the folder “Absorbant 

System,” two sheets have botanical notes on 

Figure 3. Ticket for 1800 botany course by 

Benjamin Smith Barton from the Archives 

of the American Philosophical Society. Note 

that Hock is not listed as a pupil of Barton 

who received his M.D. degree. (Ewan and 

Ewan, 2007, 926). Photo by the author.

Figure 4. Title page, Elements of Botany, 1



edition from the John Hay Library, Brown 

University. Photo by the author.

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


the back: one describing alkali fertilizers and 

the other horizontal root systems. The folder 

“Absorption, Cutaneous” includes notes on 

tuberous roots and perpendicular roots. 

These notes summarize three of the five types 

of roots discussed in his text, and while some 

of the specific examples are the same (e.g., Iris 

and Hops are included both in the text and his 

notes), other examples are in one place or the 

other. For example, he gives Cinquifoil as an 

example only in his lecture notes, but may-

apple is only in the text (Barton, 1813, folder 

A-B). On the back of lecture notes in the 

Cynachetrachialis folder are botanical notes 

on medicinal uses of the plants of the Family 

Alliaceae as well as Sanguinaria canadensis 

and  Polygala Senega. An explanation of the 

use of Indigo as a remedy is on the back side 

of an American Linnaean Society certificate 

(Figure 5). He also made use of many extra 

printed pages (or tear sheets from surplus 

books?) of his first edition botany text for 

his medical lectures (Figure 6; Barton, 1813, 

Folder C). In a memorandum dated August 

5, 1814, Barton complained that some of his 

“…memorandums, notices, &c., written upon 

loose scraps of paper, in my usual way, were 

mislaid, and could not, without some trouble, 

be discovered…” (Ewan and Ewan, 2007, p. 


What was Barton like as a lecturer? According 

to the biographical sketch by Middleton, 

Barton’s greatest assets as a teacher were his 

infectious “earnest and excited enthusiasm” 

and his encouragement for students to “teach 

themselves” (Middleton, 1936, p. 480). His 

nephew’s comments about Barton’s teaching 

style seem somewhat mixed. “As a medical 

teacher, he was eloquent, instructive, and 

when occasion called for it quite pathetic. 

His voice was good, though attenuated, 

penetrating, and sometimes rather sharp 

—his enunciation clear and distinct—his 

pronunciation constrained, and his emphasis, 

owing to his remarkable kind of punctuation, 

and a desire to be perspicuously understood, 

was studied, forced, and often inappropriate. 

Figure 5. American Linnean Society membership certificate, with notes on Indigo as a remedy 

on the back side, from the Benjamin Smith Barton papers, Violet Delafield Collection, Ameri-

can Philosophical Society. Photo by the author.

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










In his lectures, his diction was cacophonous 

and unpleasant” (Barton and Barton, 1836). 

Barton always brought fresh examples to the 

classroom to use in illustrating his lectures, 

but he also brought his classes into the field. 

The most common destination was Bartram’s 

Garden, across the Schuylkill about 5 miles 

from campus, which was visited twice by the 

1804 class. Barton visited the Garden often, 

but only a dozen miscellaneous notes of plant 

flowering times between April 15, 1791 and 

June 17, 1816 document these visits (Barton 

Papers; Figure 7). Eight of these notes were 

from dates that could be associated with 

class visits. The others were from August, 

September, or October. Furthermore, all but 

two of the plant illustrations in the Elements 

were originals by William Bartram. The 

other commonly visited garden was William 

Hamilton’s “Woodlands,” which was also 

visited by the 1804 class. Other venues were 

Landreth’s garden, along either the Schuylkill 

or Delaware Rivers, or further afield. The field 

trips were a course highlight for students. 

According to Charles Wikins Short, an 1814 

student in Darlington’s last botany class, “In 

these excursions we reduce to actual practice 

on any plant that presents those doctrines 

which we have heard during the week – It is 

indeed. a highly delightful study but I believe 

that our venerable and eminent preceptor 

would make anything so. I have seen him take 

up a poplar leaf which I had trodden on, and 

though destitute of every source of enquiry, 

and talk most earnestly and eloquently for a 

quarter of an hour on it...” (Short, 1814). 

Darlington’s Notes

Natural History: Similarity of 

Animals and Plants

As noted previously, the first lecture was 

primarily course housekeeping and an 

explanation of the rationale for natural 

history, and particularly botany, in the medical 

curriculum. It provided the background for 

understanding Materia Medica, which was a 

primary component of medical training. The 

next two lectures, April 5 and 6, elaborated 

on the affinities between plants and animals 

and commanded four pages of notes each, 

by far the most extensive elaboration in the 

notebook. This information is not contained 

in Barton’s Elements nor in any of his published 

writings listed in Ewan and Ewan (2007). 

Figure 6. Repurposed page from Elements 

of Botany used for lecture notes—p. 145, end 

of the first part from the Historical Society of 

Pennsylvania archives, Philadelphia. Photo 

by the author.

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Barton’s teaching was similar to his writing 

style in the Elements; he would state a claim 

by some authority, then go on to provide 

supporting or contrary evidence, based on his 

own observations, or published observations 

of others. This was intriguing for students, 

like Darlington, but seemed disjointed to 

other botanists. One interesting example was 

his use of poke berry juice (a natural dye he 

used for tracking diffusion in tissues [Barton, 

1814.  Elements, Vol 2, p. 22]) in tubers to 

demonstrate accelerated absorption following 

application of camphor and nitre [potassium 


Barton went on to say that all animals can 

produce some heat independent of the 

atmosphere, but that some plants can do the 

same. The example he cites was an experiment 

by John Hunter (Table 2) who noticed that 

ice forms on a dead branch faster than on a 

living branch (Darlington, 1804, p. 9). What 

about breathing? Animals have various 

respiratory organs including the spiracles of 

insects. Barton noted that it has been proved 

that if you cover the spiracles with oil, the 

insect will die in the same way that if you 

cover the trachea [stomata] of leaves with 

oil, they will die as well. (This was actually an 

experiment performed by Erasmus Darwin, 

1791,  Vegetable Respiration, Note XXXVII, 

part I, p. 102.) Furthermore, Barton explained 

that Joseph Priestley demonstrated that plants 

gave off “pure air, and supposed that the two 

kingdoms of animals and vegetables labored 

reciprocally for each other” (Darlington, 

1804, p. 9). The only animal organ that does 

not appear to have a plant counterpart is 

the stomach. “Vegetables have no stomach, 

properly so called” (Darlington, 1804, p. 11).

The focus of lecture three was the affinities 

between plant and animal reproduction. 

Hermaphrodites are found among both plants 

and animals “...although some philosophers, 

more squeamish than wise, have wished 

to abolish the term from Dictionaries” 

(Darlington, 1804, p. 13). There are also some 

animals and plants with no sex. Just as horses 

and asses form hybrid mules, hybrid offspring 

can be produced by the union of different 

plants, for example mullein and tobacco 

(Darlington, 1804, p. 13). Johann Hedwig 

thought that the true distinction between 

plants and animals was that the stamens 

(male organs) of plants always die and drop 

off after producing pollen for insemination, 

whereas this does not happen in animals. But 

Barton noted that Samuel Hearne claimed 

that the Hudson’s Bay hare “sheds its penis 

Figure 7. June 17, 1814 notes on plants flow-

ering in Bartram's Garden from the Barton 

Papers, Delafield Collection, American Phil-

osophical Society. Photo by the author.

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•  Moreland (1703) – pollen fertilizes ovule

•  Johannes Hedwig (1730-1799) – sex in cryptogams

•  Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723) – sex in 


•  Joseph Pitton Tournefort (1656-1708) – rejected Linnean 


•  Giulio Pontedera (1688-1757) – rejected Linnean system

•  Antoine Laurent de Jussieu (1748-1836) – maple pollen said 

to be hollow

•  Aristotle (384 BC-322 BC) – pollen necessary to fertilize 


•  Fredrick Hasselquist (1722-1752) – Arabs pollinate date 


•  John Hope (1725-1786) – produced hybrid poppy

•  Abbe Francisco Javier Clavigero (1731-1787) – some in-

stances of the propagation of mules

•  William Smellie (1740-1795) – argued against sexual sys-


•  James Logan (1674-1751) – American botanist saw pollen 

in style of maize

Lectures 19-22

•  Charles Bonnet (1720-1793) – categorized motions of 


•  Felice De Fontana (1730-1805) – categorized motions of 


•  Erasmus Darwin – Loves of Plants, Canto 1, Lines 51-56; 

double flowers

•  Lord Kaimes (1696-1782)

•  Linnaeus – flowers open and close at certain times

•  John Walker (1731-1803) – Magnolia seeds must pass 

through digestive tract before germination

•  Friedrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) – light not 

essential for color of vegetables

•  Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) – vegetable thermometer

Lectures 23-37

•  Linnaeus – sexual system

•  Frederick Burckhardt – proposes sexual system before Linnaeus

•  Note: I have not found De Sexu Plantarum by this author, as 

per Darlington’s notes, but: 

•  De Sexu Plantarum, Adam Zaluzansky, 1592, 1604.

•  De Sexu Plantarum epistola, Rudolf Camerarius, 1694

•  Pythagoras (570 BC – 495 BC) – legumes produce bitter 


•  Bruce – legumes produce bitter honey

•  Minnick ? – fungi form by crystallization

Lectures 2-3 Affinities between Plants and Animals

•  Joachin Jungius (1587-1657) – plants lack sensation, cannot 


•  Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738) – plants cannot move

•  Lazzaro Spallazoni (1729-1799) – plants are racemose animals

•  Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708) – plants have roots by 

which they are nourished

•  James E. Smith (1759-1828) – plants are organized bodies devel-

oped by nutrition and that produce secretions

•  Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) – stones grow, plants grow and 

live, animals grow, live and feel

•  Albrecht von Haller (1708-1777) – irritability is peculiar to an-


•  John Hunter (1728-1793) – a living branch produces heat, but 

only animals have a stomach

•  Joseph Priestley (1733-1804) – plants give off pure air (oxygen)

•  Edward Tyson (1651-1708) – animals have an alimentary canal

•  Alexander Monro 1st (1697-1767) – some animals have no 


•  Johann Hedwig (1745-1792) – male organs of plants always 

die and drop off after impregnation but those of animals do not

•  Samuel Hearne (1745-1792) – Hudson's Bay hare sheds its pe-

nis after use

Lectures 4-13 Roots, stems, leaves, and flowers

•  Sir John Hill (1714-1775) – author of "The Vegetable System"

•  Anonymous "French Botanist" proved Viscum is a parasite

•  Linnaeus 

•  Horace Benedict de Saussur (1740-1799) – rete muscosum in 

plant leaves

•  Caspar Friedrich Wolfe (1734-1794) – blood becomes red 

when oxygenated

•  Claude Louis Berthollet (1748-1822) – leaf color change in au-

tumn due to oxygenation

•  Erasmus Darwin (1731-1802) – bracts oxygenate the sap go-

ing to flowers

•  Charles Louis L'Heritier de Brutelle (1746-1800) – pistils of 

peach and other fruits freeze before stamens

Lectures 14-18 Doctrine of sexuality in plants

•  Linnaeus

•  Empedocles (495 BC - 444 BC) – plants have different sexes

•  Andrea Cesalphinus (1519-1603) – female plants fertile, 

male plants sterile

•  John Ray (1627-1705) – anthers are male organ

•  Neahmiah Grew (1641-1712) – Plants have sexuality

•  Rudolph Jakob Camerius (1665-1721) – experiments on 

sex in hemp and maize

Table 2. Scientists referenced by Barton during his lectures (birth and death) and topic con-

sidered by Barton. Number of citations is inversely related to topical coverage in Barton's 

Elements of Botany.

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after coition... the testes of fowls are known to 

diminish after the season of love” (Darlington, 

1804, p. 15). “Both plants and animals, as far as 

we can get see, are similar in all respects. Both 

plants & animals are blindly led by the laws of 

nature. Man himself is as blindly led by those 

Laws as the simplest vegetable” (Darlington, 

1804, p. 15). After spending another page 

and a half describing chemical similarities 

between plants and animals, Darlington 

summarizes: “Dr. B. does not deny that there 

may be a difference; but he says it is not yet 

discovered” (Darlington, 1804, p. 19).

Structure of Flowering 


“Dr. B’s fourth Lecture was principally a recital 

of the first section of his Elements; illustrated 

by the demonstration of the various kinds of 

roots, by living specimens” (Darlington, 1804, 

p. 9). After a brief review of Natural History, 

and some elaboration of the difference 

between geology and minerology, most of the 

lecture covered roots. Darlington notes that it 

is important to remember that the Bulbosa are 

generally active plants but boiling “deprives 

them of their active qualities” (Darlington, 

1804, p. 11). 

In the fifth lecture, Barton quickly diverges 

into commentary. For instance, while in many 

plants, the fructification is very evident, as in 

the apple and other trees, in the case of ferns it 

is not so—instead, they are on the back sides 

of leaves. Later, “Dr. B. lays it down as a rule, 

that the tendency of all plants is to become 

perennial” (Darlington, 1804, p. 21). This is 

often an adaptation to climate—genera that 

are herbaceous in the north are frequently 

woody and perennial in warmer climes. On 

parasitic plants, “Linnaeus called a parasitic 

plant  Hillia parasitica, after Sir John Hill, 

who was a great flatterer and parasite of the 

nobility of his time” (Darlington, 1804, p. 23). 

According to Barton, Tillandsia usneoides is a 

parasitic plant that is used by upholsterers to 

fill matrasses. “A French Botanist has proved 

that viscum, a parasite, does receive a part of 

its nourishment from the plant supporting 

it. He put an apple tree limb into pokeberry 

juice, in such a manner that the viscum 

roots did not touch it. The limb absorbed it, 

and it appeared in every part of the viscum” 

(Darlington, 1804, pp. 23-25). 

Similar commentaries perfuse Barton’s 

lectures on stems and leaves. “As physicians we 

should remember that all culmiferous plants, 

with the exception of Lolium, are nutritious . . . 

whenever we meet a culmiferous plant, we may 

conclude with safety, 999 times in 1000, that it 

is nutritious” (Darlington, 1804, p. 25). Leaves, 

according to Barton, are “...compressed and 

extended petioles...” continuous with the 

layers of the stem. He goes on to describe a 

maceration technique to visualize venation by 

soaking the leaves for 10 to 15 days in warm 

water in the sun and, when it becomes pulpy, 

pressing it between two sheets of muslin. When 

the sheets are separated, the parenchyma 

adheres to the muslin and the skeleton of veins 

remains. However, “Caterpillars make the 

best skeletons of leaves” (Darlington, 1804, p. 

29). Barton goes on to say that some plants, 

like Ilex, have two layers of reticulate vessels 

and an orange leaf has three. “Dr. B. thinks 

those vessels are real absorbents. Leaves are 

respiratory organs, or the Lungs of vegetables” 

(Darlington, 1804, p. 29). 

According to Barton, oxygen has a special role 

in animals for inducing irritability because, 

as shown in chick development by Caspar 

Friedrich Wolfe (1734-1794), blood does not 

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turn red until it is oxygenated and only then 

does the embryo begin to respond—that 

oxygen imparts irritability “ likely probably 

the same in vegetables” (Darlington, 1804, 

p. 29). Barton explains that the largest leaves 

on any plant growing in the United States are 

those of Magnolia growing in North Carolina, 

which can be up to 30 inches long, but these 

are small compared to various palms. Barton 

went on to explain that Claude Louis Berthollet 

attributed leaf color change in the autumn to “a 

preternatural absorption of oxygene [sic].” But 

Darlington notes: “Dr. Barton is not satisfied 

with this explanation but says it is well worth 

inquiring into. The same species of plants 

always assume the same color at the same 

time. The defoliation of those plants, in our 

country, which are Evergreen in temperate, 

equable ones, is owing to the vicissitudes of 

climate” (Darlington, 1804, p. 29). 

According to Barton, the action of tendrils 

demonstrates that “Plants have real 

Intelligence.” Not only does the direction of 

coiling, left or right, remain constant within 

a species, but the Hops plant will always seek 

out the nearest support, even if it is in less 

light (Darlington, 1804, p. 31). “In Sarracenia 

the leaves are hollow, to collect water for the 

support of the plant. They demand much 

water, & are never found without” (Darlington, 

1804, p. 31). Yet in his extensive description 

of this plant (Barton, 1803, pp. 301-305, 

caption to Fig. 1), Barton explains that while 

it was thought that the hollow leaves served 

as water reservoirs, “I have not yet made the 

experiment, but the experiment would I think 

show, that our plant would flourish very well, 

were we to close the openings of the ascidia, 

and completely prevent them from receiving 

any supply of water from external sources” 

(p. 302). Unfortunately, this wonderful 

description of the pitchers, collecting and 

digesting insects, frogs, and other small 

animals, was deleted from all subsequent 


Barton attributes to Darwin (1791) that the 

function of bracts “is to assist in the perfection 

of the flower to oxygenate the sap. In a species 

of Euphorbia, the bractes [sic] become red 

immediately upon the expansion of the flower 

– said to be from the absorption of oxygene 

[sic]” (Darlington, 1804, p. 33). Barton 

distinguishes between leaf buds, flower buds, 

and buds containing both, and he thinks 

that most buds are the latter but flowers do 

not appear “because there is not sufficient 

vegetating power” (Darlington, 1804, p. 33). 

He also says that it was generally believed that 

when trees begin to grow in the spring, it is 

from the top down, but that it is now known 

that sap begins to flow from the bottom of the 


Lecture 10 begins the section on reproduction, 

and the next three lectures, on floral parts, 

are brief in Darlington’s notes: “...for good 

accounts of which, see his [Barton’s] Elements 

of Botany  (Darlington, 1804, p. 35). 

According to Barton, Linnaeus is too broad 

in his definition of nectary, which Barton 

thinks should only be applied to parts that 

“secrete a honied liquor.” Concerning the 

style, it is hollow in many plants but never 

hollow in others. In these, Barton produced 

an opening by applying camphor, musk, or a 

small amount of alcohol—another example of 

plant sensitivity. 

The Sexual System 

Lectures 14-16 again stimulate extensive note-

taking as Barton discusses the “Doctrine of 

the Sexes of Plants” (Darlington, 1804, p. 37). 

This begins with an extensive history of the 

study of sexuality in plants, beginning with 

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Empedocles who, according to Aristotle, said 

plants were of different sexes. According to 

Barton, Andrea Cesalpinus [sic] was the first 

to understand the true nature of plant sexuality 

and who “first taught Botany with precision 

and system” (Darlington, 1804, p. 39). While 

Neahmiah Grew was the first to ascribe male 

function to the anthers, “...Camerarius was the 

first who proved it by his own experiments” 

(Darlington, 1804, p. 39). On the other hand, 

Joseph Pitton Tournefort and Giulio Pontedera 

both denied the sexuality of plants. Linnaeus 

resolved the issue in 1703 with multiple 

arguments: (1) Procendentia, pollen is shed 

while the flower is most vigorous and before 

the fruit forms, (2) Situs, stamens are placed 

where pollen can be shed onto the pistil, (3) 

Tempus,  anthers release pollen at the same 

time pistils are receptive, (4) Loculamenta

cellular nature of the pollen, (5) Pluvia, the 

closing or drooping of flowers at night or 

before a rain to protect the pollen, (6) Fumus

drying of pollen in city smoke—thought not 

to be of much importance by Barton, and 

(7)  Figura, pollen is of similar shape. “The 

granules of the maple are said by Jussieu to be 

hollow; and that when they come in contact 

with the moisture of the stigma, they burst and 

give out their fovilla—here we see another use 

of the moisture, besides that of holding the 

pollen” (Darlington, 1804, p. 43).

Barton appears to begin the next lecture with 

a brief review of the previous day stating that 

there are the same number of cells in the ovule 

as there are in the future seed (a validation of 

Linnaeus’ Locumenta?). Linnaeus’ arguments 

continue: (8) Castratis, if the anthers are 

removed, no seeds are produced or they 

will abort, (9) oculus; visible pollen on the 

stigma prior to fruit and seed production of 

the pistil, (10) Proportis, the flower stands 

erect when the stamens are the longest, and 

(11) Locus, having the anthers situated above 

the pistil in legumes. Barton notes that this 

position is reversed in pines where female 

cones are above the males, but here pollen is 

produced in such abundance as to cover the 

ground. “Dr. B. thinks the showers of Sulphur 

mentioned in the Scriptures, consisted of the 

pollen of the pines. In Sweden this pollen is 

mistaken for Sulphur, by the ignorant, to this 

day” (Darlington, 1804, p. 45). 

Barton again appears to begin the next class 

with a review of wind pollination, but then 

diverges to discuss palms. The sexual nature 

of palms was known to Aristotle and that 

if pollen is shaken onto the female organs, 

seeds will quickly ripen. Palms grow in warm 

countries and not north of Charleston, South 

Carolina, in the U.S. “A female Date tree 

which was 70 years old, and had never borne 

fruit, was impregnated with pollen 9 days old 

—it bore fruit in consequence... Hasselquist 

saw the Arabs climb the female palms with 

male branches in their hands, with which they 

powder the females, and thereby impregnate 

them. The Arabs told Hasselquist that they 

kept an unopened, or unprotruded spadix, 

or bunch of male flowers, over year, in case 

the other should fail” (Darlington, 1804, p. 

45). Barton goes on to explain that the figs in 

the United States do not produce viable seed 

because “we do not have that insect which is 

known to impregnate the females in France, 

Portugal” (Darlington, 1804, pp. 47-49). 

Linnaeus’ 12th argument is Flora Submersa, an 

example of which is Vallisneria Spiralis, which 

has female flowers on a long stalk that reaches 

the surface and male flowers on short stalks 

that release their pollen to float to the surface 

and fertilize the females. Linnaeus’ next 

argument is a summary of the sexual system. 

In many flowers, such as several species of 

Saxifrage, Ruta graveolens, and Tobacco, the 

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stamens approach the pistil, release their 

pollen, then return to their former position. 

“The Weeping Willow of our country is only 

the female of that plant; and a seed from it has 

never been known to germinate. The Male has 

never been even in Europe until the French 

lately brought it there from Egypt.” 

Linnaeus’ last argument is the formation 

of hybrids. He thinks that “all species are 

the product of the copulation of different 

genera. Dr. B. does not adopt this opinion 

in its full extent...” (Darlington, 1804, p. 51). 

The rest of this lecture contains examples of 

plant hybridization. For example, John Ray 

described a gardener who sold collyflower 

[sic] seed to a man who planted them near 

cabbage and a hybrid was produced. The man 

filed suit and recovered damages. “We know 

150 hybrid vegetables” (Darlington, 1804, p. 


Lecture 18 consisted of arguments opposed 

to the sexual system, primarily by William 

Smellie in his Philosophy of Natural History

Bartram counters every argument by Smellie, 

and Bartram’s position is clear: “The Anti 

Sexualists acknowledge their ignorance of the 

use, or final cause of the generative organs of 

plants, while the Sexualists explain it.”

Plant Irritability

Lectures 19 and 20 consider plant irritability, 

a topic not directly covered in the textbook. 

He begins with plant movements, particularly 

of stamens, and makes a distinction between 

voluntary and involuntary movement. As 

an example of the former, Barton describes 

geranium with 5 straight and 5 reflexed 

stamens. The straight stamens release their 

pollen first, and then the reflexed stamens 

extend themselves and release their pollen. 

Common barberry is an example of the latter 

because when the stamens are irritated, they 

immediately approach the pistil and discharge 

their pollen. He cites Erasmus Darwin for 

examples where the stamens are shorter than 

the carpels (Darwin, 1791, Loves of the plants, 

Canto 1, line 51-56). Roots demonstrate 

considerable irritability, as do the sleep 

movements of leaves. Mimosa is particularly 

noteworthy for their response to contact. “Dr. 

B has seen them contract from the influence 

of the odor of musk; which shows that it is not 

owing to the mechanical impulse” (Darlington, 

1804, p. 61). The glandular part at the joint is 

the site of this response. Yet, these leaves will 

not respond to burning with a lens as long as 

the glandular part is not affected. 

Barton then proceeds to discuss seeds. Some 

plants, like turnip, germinate early while 

others, such as parsley, are very late. “Hence 

the vulgar proverb in England, that ‘parsley 

seed goes nine times to the Devil before it 

comes up!’” (Darlington, 1804, p. 63). The 

radical always grows down toward the earth 

and the plumule grows upward. 

The following two lectures continued on 

the topic of seeds, but now principally read 

from Elements. Barton notes that neither the 

Burdock, scattered by burs, nor Dandelion, 

scattered by its pappus, are native to America 

but are scattered widely. According to John 

Walker, Magnolia seeds would not germinate 

in Europe until they passed through the gut of 

Turkeys. Barton said he could not germinate 

Ginseng until he feed seeds to Dunghill 

fowls. He notes that Friedrich Alexander 

von Humboldt demonstrated that some 

mushrooms grow in mines, without light, and 

finally states, “The Vegetable Thermometer, as 

Mr. Jefferson calls it, is the best criterion of the 

nature of a climate” (Darlington, 1804, p. 67).

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Plant Taxonomy

The rest of the course was a taxonomic 

survey of plants using Linnaeus’ Sexual 

System. Barton begins by noting that prior 

to Linnaeus, Frederick Burckhardt published 

an essay De Sexu Plantarum that “...says that 

the Doctrine of the Sexes is fully established 

– that the roots, leaves, fruits, etc. Afford 

objectionable, and often fallacious criteria 

for classification; and asks if a better one may 

not be established upon the male organs; 

and the ordinal divisions upon the female 

organs?” (Darlington, 1804, p. 67). Barton 

says Linnaeus “undoubtedly saw the paper” 

but never acknowledged Burckhardt.

Darlington skipped class on May 12 to take 

part in a celebration of the Louisiana Purchase, 

but Barton taught the class as usual. On the 

15th the class went to Hamilton’s garden in 

the afternoon (Table 1). Darlington notes that 

this is the third trip taken by the class; the 

other two were to Bartram’s Garden. On the 

18th, Barton mentions that the bulbous root 

of Ranunculus bulbosus causes blisters but is 

used to treat palsy and chronic rheumatism. 

Boiling removes the toxin (Darlington, 1804, 

p. 71). On May 24, Barton described a hollow 

Plantanus he saw growing on the bank of the 

Ohio River that was so large, “...two men rode 

round abreast on horseback, in the hollow if it.” 

And the next day, when discussing legumes, 

he stated, “this class furnishes a very flatulent 

alimentary product” (Darlington, 1804, p. 

75). On May 30, when describing composites, 

Barton said “...the middle states of the U. 

States, would contain more syngenesious [sic] 

plants than ten times as much space of any 

other part of the world” (Huntington, 1804, 

p. 77). Concerning maize, “The Zea mays was 

never seen growing in a wild state, since the 

memory of man – or, if it do grow wild, it has 

been so altered by cultivation that we do not 

know it. We do not know its native country – 

neither do we know the native country of the 

Wheat, the Barley, nor the Rye. One species 

of the Wheat, however has been seen growing 

wild in Persia. The Hickories are peculiar 

to our country” (Darlington, 1804, p. 79). 

On June 6, there was no lecture because of 

commencement and the awarding of Doctor 

of Medicine degrees. Finally, the last day, June 

7, covered the fungi, after which, “Dr. Barton 

bade us a polite, & perhaps a Last Adieu. Finis 

Notarum” (Darlington, 1804, p. 79).


Barton’s primary recognition is as a teacher 

who promoted botany and the botanical 

research of his students and collaborators 

and, I will argue, remains an excellent role 

model for professors of botany today. In 

many ways his approach to teaching was 

similar to Amos Eaton’s, and both chose to 

use Linnaeus’ sexual system of classification 

for the ease with which it could be employed, 

despite their recognition of the merits of 

Jussieu’s Natural System (Ewan and Ewan, 

2007, p. 829; Sundberg, 2011). Even in the 

first edition of the Elements, Barton notes that 

Linnaeus’ Sexual System will be “deserted” 

for a more natural one (Barton, 1803, p. 189). 

Thomas Jefferson, who shared much botany 

with Barton, seems to summarize it well. “I 

adhere to the Linnaean because it is sufficient 

as a groundwork; admits of supplementary 

insertions, as new productions are discovered, 

and mainly because it has got into so general 

use that it will not be easy to displace it” (Ewan 

and Ewan, 2007, p. 567). A major difference 

between Barton and Eaton’s approaches was 

that Barton’s students, all male, were preparing 

for careers in medicine whereas Eaton 

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










encouraged men and women to study botany 

for the sake of science (Sundberg, 2011). It 

appears that Barton was taking great pains to 

highlight the similarities between the plants 

his students were studying in botany and the 

human biology they focused on during the 

rest of their medical training. Eaton did not 

have this concern.

Traits drawing comment from former 

students were especially Barton’s infectious 

enthusiasm for the subject and ability to 

apply instruction to the local flora and to 

medicine. His textbook, the first botany 

textbook published in America, illustrates his 

understanding of the field and familiarity with 

the work of his European contemporaries 

and predecessors. Yet, it was not adopted by 

others in America, presumably because of his 

frequent injection of opinion, commentary, 

and asides. The class notebook of one of these, 

William Darlington, provides much insight 

into Barton’s pedagogy. Lectures were not 

pure recitation from his textbook, although 

in some instances he resorted to this when 

the goal was to present salient information as 

concisely as possible, such as the terminology 

relating to the structure of parts or the 

classification of species. In such instances, 

Darlington’s notes are brief, and he simply 

refers to Barton’s Elements. Some topics were 

not covered in the text at all, or only briefly, 

such as the commonalities between plants and 

animals, and plant irritability, and some were 

of controversial topics still unresolved, or only 

recently resolved, such as sexuality in plants 

and the sexual system of Linnaeus. On these 

topics Darlington’s notes are extensive and 

Barton makes extensive citation of the works 

of others. You can almost feel that Darlington 

felt he was being brought into the company 

of botanical scientists and their research. The 

fact that this was an elective course, but that 

it still “made and paid” every year of Barton’s 

tenure, speaks to the popularity of the course 

and its instructor. 


I thank the reading room staffs at: The 

American Philosophical Society, Philadelphia; 

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania 

Archives, Philadelphia; and The Spencer 

Library, Rare Books Room, University of 

Kansas, and two anonymous reviewers. 

Literature Cited

Barton, B. S. 1900. Collections for an essay to-

wards a Materia Medica of the United States. 

1798, 1804. Bulletin of the Lloyd Library of Bota-

ny, Pharmacy, and Materia Medica. 1 (Reproduc-

tion series 1): 1-10. 

Barton, B. S. 1803. Elements of Botany or Out-

lines of the Natural History of Vegetables. Phila-

delphia, Printed for the author. 

Barton, B. S. 1804. Elements of Botany or Out-

lines of the Natural History of Vegetables. Lon-

don. Printed for J. Johnson, St. Paul’s Churchyard 

by I. Gold, Shoe Lane.

Barton, B. S. 1807. A discourse on some of the 

principle desiderata in natural history and on the 

best means of promoting the study of this science 

in the United States. Philadelphia, Denham & 


Barton, B. S. 1812. Elements of Botany or Out-

lines of the Natural history of Vegetables. 2



tion.  Volume  1.  Volume  2,  1814.  Philadelphia. 

Printed for the author. 

Barton, B. S. 1813-1815. Lecture notes: A-B. 

C-D. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania Ar-

chives, Collection 1623. Philadelphia. 

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


Barton, B. S. and W. P. C. Barton. 1836. Elements 

of Botany or Outlines of the Natural history of 

Vegetables, new edition revised and condensed 

with an account of the life of the author. 

Barton Papers. Benjamin Smith Barton papers. 

Violetta  Delafield  collection,  American  Philo-

sophical Society. Mss. B.B.284d. Series II, Bar-

ton Notes. Lectures on Botany, Botanical Notes 

#1 - #12.

Bartram, W. 1783. Catalogue of American Trees, 

Shrubs, and Herbaceous Plants, most of which 

are now growing, and produce ripe seed in John 

Bartram’s Garden, near Philadelphia. 

Bartram, W. 1807. A Catalogue of Trees, Shrubs, 

and Herbaceous Plants, Indigenous to the United 

States of America; Cultivated and Disposed of by 

John Bartram & Son at their Botanical Garden, 

Kingsess, near Philadelphia: to which is added a 

Catalogue of foreign plants, collected from Var-

ious  Parts  of  the  Globe.  Bartram  and  Reynolds, 


Darlington, W. 1804. Notes taken from the Lec-

tures of Benjamin S. Barton, M.D. on Botany in 

the University of Pennsylvania. Darlington (Wil-

liam) papers, University of Kansas, Spencer Li-

brary, MS C154. 

Darlington, W. 1849. Memorials of John Bartram 

and Humphry Marshall; with notices of their bo-

tanical contemporaries. Philadelphia: Lindsay & 


Darwin, E. 1791. The Botanic Garden: A Poem, 

in two parts. Part I. The economy of vegetation. 

Part II. The loves of the plants. with Philosophical 

Notes. J. Johnson, London.

Ewan, J. 1969. A short history of Botany in the 

United States. Hafner Publishing Company, New 


Ewan, J., and N. D. Ewan. 2007. Benjamin Smith 

Barton: Naturalist and Physician in Jeffersonian 

America. Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. 


Hooker, W. J. 1825. On the botany of America. 

American Journal of Science. 9: 263-284. 

Middleton, W. S. 1936. Benjamin Smith Barton. 

Annals of Medical History new series 8: 477-491.

Short, C. W. 1814. Letter to John Cleaves Short. 

Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Wash-

ington, D.C.

Smellie, W. 1808. The Philosophy of Natural His-

tory. Thomas & Tappan & Samuel Bragg. Dover, 

New Hampshire.

Sundberg,  M.  D.  2009.  Botany  213,  Biology  of 

Plants. Printed by author, Emporia, Kansas.

Sundberg, M. D. 2011. Botanical education in the 

United States: Part 1, The impact of Linnaeus and 

the foundations of modern pedagogy. Plant Sci-

ence Bulletin. 57: 134-158.

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By Dr. Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

BSA Science Education News and Notes 

serves as an update about the BSA’s educa-

tion efforts and the broader education scene. 

We invite you to submit news items or ideas 

for future features. Contact Catrina Adams, 

Education Director, at

“I think simply working with the teachers really 

helped me understand how students think 

about photosynthesis. This way, as a mentor 

and liaison, I can help the students with 

misconceptions and provide useful feedback as 

they develop their own projects.”

“It’s really easy to just tell people the answer. It’s 

actually much harder to slow down and wait 

for them to come to it on their own.”

“I used to make a lot of assumptions about high 

school education…now I know what they learn 

in high school. I know what to expect when they 

enter college.”

 “I now use many of those things back in my class 

here in the university…for example how to ask 

questions that will trigger students to answer 

in a deeper way…so I changed the way I asked 

questions so students get more opportunities to 

express themselves.”

Digging Deeper Fellows from the NSF-

funded Digging Deeper research project 

report that the experience increased their 

understanding of what effective teaching 

looks like, increased their understanding of 

what students experience in high school, and 

gave them ideas for how to improve their own 

science teaching. 

Teachers also report how valuable they found 

opportunities to interact with mentors during 

the workshop. 

“Carrying out the project on the PlantingScience 

website and corresponding with the mentors via 

the website was incredibly helpful, especially 

because our project didn’t get the results 

we expected…We learned that we had to 

communicate really clearly, that it was super 

fun when our mentors talked to us, and got a 

sense of how our kids would feel.”

Early-Career Scientist  

PlantingScience Liaisons Both Help 

and Benefit from Interactions with  

Secondary Teachers and Their Students

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“The time we spent working with the 

mentors really helped build relationships and 


During and after the workshop, Digging 

Deeper Fellows were involved in developing 

new resources for students and mentors. The 

first of these new resources are being released 

this fall, including a PlantingScience mentor 

tips video ( 

and a humorous video explaining the leaf disk 

flotation method used in PlantingScience’s 

Power of Sunlight photosynthesis and 

respiration investigation theme (https:// (Figure 1). 

The 45 scientists who participated in Digging 

Deeper are part of a larger cohort of graduate 

students and postdocs who make up our 

Master Plant Science Team (MPST). These 

scientists serve as mentors to teams of students 

and as liaisons for secondary school teachers. 

They help teachers make mentor matches for 

their teams and ensure good communication 

between a teacher and his or her mentors, as 

well as stepping in to help keep all the student/

scientist conversations going strong. BSA is 

Figure 1. Screenshot from a video covering what is needed to conduct leaf disk flotation experi-

ments. Developed by Digging Deeper Fellows, the video will be used to support the Power of Sun-

light photosynthesis and respiration module, but can also serve as a stand-alone resource for AP 

biology students and others who will use the technique.

supporting the following 23 scientists on the 

MPST for 2018-2019:

Ioana Anghel, Alina Avanesyan, Liming Cai, 

Ghana S. Challa, Foong Lian Chee, Mason 

Kamalani Chock, Aayudh Das, Kelsey Fisher, 

Laura Klein, Joshua Kraft, Jill Marzolino, 

Angela McDonnell, Molly Ng, Funmilola 

Mabel Ojo, Mischa Olson, Carlos J. Pasiche-

Lisboa, Kelly Pfeiler, Christina Scara, Jaime 

Schwoch, Elizabeth Scott, Nicolette Sipperly, 

Elizabeth Stunz, and Lauren Elizabeth 


These graduate students and post-docs help 

high school teachers to teach more plant 

biology in the classroom, which is so essential 

to capturing student interest and increasing 

appreciation for plants. Please thank them for 

their service to the field!

Learn more about the benefits and 

requirements of being on the Master Plant 

Science Team and consider joining next year’s 

MPST cohort of graduate students and post-


Applications will open at the end of this 

academic year.

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










You don’t have to be an early-career scientist 

to mentor with PlantingScience! We are 

looking for scientists of all career stages to 

volunteer, and you can choose which sessions 

you are available to mentor. Sign up to mentor 



We are also recruiting middle and high school 

teachers to participate in PlantingScience with 

their classes. The program is free to teachers; we 

provide basic materials and online mentoring 

support. Please direct prospective teachers 

here to learn more:  https://plantingscience.


First Cohort of BSA  

Education Scholars Named 

for Successful Completion of 

“Plants by the Numbers”  

Faculty Mentoring Network

Congratulations are due to the following 

eight faculty members who have successfully 

completed the first BSA-sponsored Faculty 

Mentoring Network (FMN) and earned the 

title of BSA Education Scholars: 

Merrilee Anderson of Mount Aloysius College, 

Leah Dudley of East Central University, Jenny 

Hazlehurst of the University of California 

Riverside, Maryann Herman of St. John Fisher 

College, Christopher Ivey of California State 

University - Chico, Jessica Joyner of CUNY 

Brooklyn College, Brian Shmaefsky of Lone Star 

College – Kingwood, and Gregory Zimmerman 

of Lake Superior State University.

These faculty worked together to customize and 

implement education modules on a range of 

botanical topics drawn from the PlantED digital 

library ( Every 

other week over the spring they met in facilitated 

virtual sessions to collaborate with and support 

others in the network. During the summer they 

submitted teaching notes to enhance selected 

resources within the PlantED library. 

You may have seen BSA Education Scholar 

Christopher Ivey’s poster presentation at 

BOTANY 2018 where he shared a test of the 

effectiveness of the new laboratory exercises 

on his students’ understanding of phylogenetic 

analysis and trophic interactions, including 

his experiences with participating in the FMN.

Do you have an effective teaching activity to 

share with peers? Phil Gibson, editor of the 

PlantED digital library and past-chair of the 

Education Committee, is soliciting submissions 

of high-quality education resources for peer-

review and publication in the PlantED library. 

Have something to submit? You can get started 



We are also looking for new reviewers to 

help with the digital library. You can sign up 

to volunteer as a reviewer by first creating 

an account on PlantED and then using this 

form to enter your PlantED username and 

some information about your background 

and the types of resources you would be 

comfortable reviewing:


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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


Upcoming Education  


Life Discovery – Doing Science Education 

Conference, March 21-23, 2019: 

Microbiomes to Ecosystems: Evolution and 

Biodiversity across Scale, Space, and Time

BSA co-sponsors the Life Discovery – Doing 

Science Education Conference, a stand-

alone education conference for high school 

and undergraduate biology educators. This 

is an interactive conference with many 

opportunities to network and share ideas with 

colleagues interested in biology education. The 

call for proposals for Education Roundtables 

is still open, so please consider joining us in 

Gainesville, Florida!

For more information and to see the request for 

proposals, please visit:

What is a QUBES Faculty 

Mentoring Network? 

Imagine meeting biweekly over a semester 

with a small group of educators around a 

common interest—exploring new ideas 

or classroom activities, sharing what has 

worked and what hasn’t, and gaining some 

credit for your teaching scholarship. That is 

the Faculty Mentoring Network model. 

Faculty Mentoring Networks (FMNs) are 

designed to fit into the busy schedules 

of college faculty, and provide support 

and guidance “just in time” during the 

implementation of course changes. 

By capitalizing on the experience of a 

mentor and peers, FMNs provide a bridge 

between pedagogical theory and actionable 

classroom practice. 

A second Plants by the Numbers Faculty 

Mentoring Network kicks off this fall 

on with a new cohort of 

interested faculty.

You can view new and upcoming FMN 

opportunities here:


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By Chelsea Pretz and Min Ya 

BSA Student Representatives

Scientific societies have been an integral part 

in moving science forward. For example, 

letters as early as the 17th century between 

prominent scientists created what was 

considered an “invisible college,” connecting 

inquisitive minds throughout Europe. Shortly 

after that, this “invisible college” became the 

Royal Society. This is just one society that has 

connected scientists with a common space 

to share ideas. Scientific societies may have 

changed over time, but one thing has remained 

the same: they are a beneficial resource for its 


Botanical Society of America has been a 

society since 1893, and since then, there have 

been many changes within the field. In general, 

botany departments have decreased in size in 

the past years or are now non-existent. The 

field of botany has expanded and much of the 

approaches are now molecular—an important 

reason to have a large scale “university” to 

share ideas and current research. BSA’s goal 

is to stay relevant in this changing scientific 

environment and reflect the processes in the 

current society. In this upcoming year, BSA 

has expanded the amount of money that will 

be given to graduate research, from $500 

to $2000. Although this will decrease the 

number of people who will receive the grants, 

it will increase the research impact of those 

recipients. This increase will allow students to 

fund not just a part of the collection trip, but 

the whole thing, or at least some preliminary 

sequence data. While societies help promote 

research by providing funds, it is also a place 

for networking, setting up collaborations, 

and sharing research progress. As budding 

researchers, the BSA’s annual BOTANY 

conference is a place for students to share 

their ideas and get feedback to improve their 

research, as the support is set up to be an 

inclusive environment for everyone and their 


BSA has made inclusivity a priority over 

the past few years. This past year was the 

PLANTS Program’s eighth year, the third 

annual LGBQT Mixer, and the second annual 

Why Do Scientific Societies Matter? 

How, As a Student,  

Can I Benefit from Them?

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


Undergraduate Mixer at BOTANY. This past 

year, BSA made it a priority to update its code 

of conduct. In light of the #MeToo movement, 

it is important to make sure the everyone is 

welcomed and feels safe to conduct research 

and contribute to the field of botany. Although 

there has been growth in the society, more 

needs to be done; as a student member, you 

can make that difference! 

Students are encouraged to get engaged in the 

society. Every BSA committee—whether for 

grants, investments, education, development, 

and more—is required to have a student 

representative on it. Holding this position 

is not just a good life experience, but also a 

chance to shape BSA in away that is beneficial 

in these changing times. To find out more 

about BSA benefits, go to https://cms.botany.



Getting to Know your New 

Student Representative,  

Min Ya

When did you join BSA and what motivated 

you to do so?

I became a student member of BSA in 

2015. I was just starting graduate school 

that summer and was trying to navigate 

through all the professional organizations 

and societies to decide which ones I should 

join. Very soon, I was overwhelmed by the 

number of societies there are that seemed to 

be related to my field, so I turned to my PI 

Elena Kramer for recommendation. BSA was 

the very first society that Elena recommended 

to me, and she also kindly offered me a gift 

membership. Very quickly, I became a big 

Min Ya, Kramer Lab, Department of Organis-

mic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard Uni-


fan of BSA. For example, became 

a “dictionary” to me, and I can’t remember 

how many times I have visited the website 

to look for information regarding careers in 

plant sciences, outreach in plant sciences, 

funding opportunities, trainings, or just 

random fun facts about weird plants. During 

my first botany conference, BOTANY 2016, I 

was also so pleasantly surprised that anyone 

who wanted to give a talk could indeed give 

a talk and appreciated this fact a lot as there 

aren’t many opportunities for junior graduate 

students and undergrads to present in the same 

session with very experienced professors. I 

met so many interesting people, learnt so 

much about different fields of plant sciences, 

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PSB 64 (3) 2018 










got endless inspiration about my work and 

career, and visited so many awesome places 

during  BOTANY conferences—it became 

something I’m really looking forward to every 


What motivated you to run for the position 

of Student Representative to the Board of 


A number of reasons motivated me to run for 

the position. Firstly, I was very fortunate and 

was awarded a number of research awards and 

travel awards by BSA, which was extremely 

encouraging to me as a young scientist. I would 

love to make my own effort to help the society 

to grow and glow and help more students to 

have positive experiences like mine with BSA. 

Secondly, former student rep Becky Povilus, 

a very close friend and a role model of mine, 

very patiently explained to me the duties and 

expectations of student reps of BSA, and I 

made sure to know what I might be facing 

and something I could contribute to before 

I decided to run for the position. Thirdly, 

since my undergrad, I have lived and studied 

in China, Japan, Sweden, Germany, France, 

and the United States, and I am hopeful that 

my international experience could bring 

something new to BSA if I became a student 

rep. Particularly, I have experienced many 

struggles that any international student would 

have, and 

I believe my personal experiences 

will help me to communicate and connect 

well with all the non-U.S. members of the BSA 

community, and hopefully also building up 

(both academic and non-academic) resources 

in the society that international members 

can refer to. On the other hand, now it’s the 

fourth year for me living in the States, and I 

hope my experiences and perspectives will 

help the society to expand outside of the 

United States and establish more international 


Lastly, I am a hopeless plant 

lover and plant blindness is something that 

really drives me crazy. Becoming a student 

rep of BSA will be the very first step for me 

to learn and strategize how to cure plant 

blindness outside of our communities.

What is your research about?

Meristem, meristem, meristem—the 

foundation of plant development and the 

thing that makes plants so different from 

others. I love everything about plant evo-

devo, but I really have a soft spot for anything 

related to meristems. Using the beautiful 

Columbine flowers (Aquilegia), I’m exploring 

one important aspect regarding meristem 

during my graduate school: How is the natural 

variation in floral meristem proliferation 

controlled at the evolutionary level? Unlike 

the vegetative meristem, floral meristems are 

always determinant—the stem cell activity will 

be shut down at a specific time point during 

primordium initiation, and that’s why every 

flower only makes a finite number of floral 

organs. Floral meristems of some flowers 

proliferate for a long time, so that many whorls 

of floral organs are made in a flower, but floral 

meristems of some flowers only proliferate 

for a very short period, resulting in very few 

whorls of floral organs. This difference in the 

timing of floral meristem termination lays the 

foundation of a large part of floral diversity we 

see in nature, but we have very little idea of 

how it is controlled both developmentally and 


Aquilegia  is a very good model for tackling 

this question as it already has a sequenced 

and annotated genome and established 

functional tools, and different species have a 

high degree of interfertility and their flowers 

have identical numbers of all floral organs 

except for stamens. Therefore, the variation in 

the duration of floral meristem proliferation 

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


can be well represented by the variation of 

stamen whorl numbers. 

I’m absolutely in 

love with my research and feel very grateful 

for the fact that it’s a nice integration of 

molecular lab work, computational analysis, 

histology and microscopy, and morphological 

characterization. It allows me to spend a lot of 

time with my plants, documenting their details 

at all levels, from macroscopic to microscopic. 

What sorts of hobbies do you have?

I like hiking and kayaking, and spending time 

with plants (literally). I like drawing, mostly 

watercolor of plants (no, there’s no such thing 

as too much plants). I love traveling and I’m 

flying between Asia, Europe and America 

very often. I like learning languages, and I 

used to make subtitles for Japanese animes. 

Music is also a big part of my life. I go to a 

lot of concerts (and Boston is a great place 

for concerts), most often hardcore metal and 

heavy metal bands, and underground local 

bands. I have been playing piano since I was 5 

years old, and I still practice religiously every 

week—especially after a hard day of work, 

nothing comforts me more than putting my 

fingers on piano keys.

Building an Intentionally  

Inclusive Community

One of our main goals moving forward is to 

focus  on  building  an  intentionally  inclusive 

community for student members of the BSA. 

If you have any questions, concerns, sugges-

tions, or comments about how we can make 

a more inclusive community, please reach 

out to either Chelsea Pretz (chelsea.pretz@ or Min Ya (yamin@g.harvard.

edu)—or use our new BSA Student Represen-

tative e-mail: Follow 

us on Twitter at @Botanical_!

Quick notes on the  

BOTANY 2018 conference

We would like to extend a thank you to every-

one who attended BOTANY 2018 in Roches-

ter, Minnesota! From our perspective, the con-

ference was filled with great workshops and 

mixers geared toward the student membership 

of the society as well as great talks given by 

students, faculty, and alumni. More impor-

tantly, approximately 30% of the conference 

attendees  were  students—a  number  that  has 

gradually increased throughout BSA’s history. 

During our “Careers in Botany” Student Lun-

cheon,  we  were  inspired  by  Susan  Pell  that 

there are many different paths in botany. We 

also  had  a  two  wonderfully  executed  work-

shops! During the Job Search Transparency: 

Learning the Unwritten Rules to Land your 

Dream Job, panelists Rob Labort, Jason Cant-

ley, Allison Miller, and Ya Yang enlightened 

us with advice such as on how to be prepared 

for the next stages in life. Amanda Grusz led 

a group of students on the workshop The El-

evator  Speech:  Crafting  an  Effective  Pitch 

that Highlights your Research and Illustrates 

the  Broader  Impacts. This explored how to 

catch people’s attention in just a short period. 

Overall, our student-oriented events were a 

success, and we loved having the opportunity 

to meet everyone at the student mixer, which 

was hosted at the Grand Rounds in downtown 

Rochester. We look forward to seeing all of 

you again, or getting to know you for the first 

time, at BOTANY 2019 in Tucson, Arizona, 

July 27-31!

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18/06/2018   09:04

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Economic Botany

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany Shared Heritage of the Californias  ........................................................196

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden  

of the Early Republic ..............................................................................................................................................197

Rhododendron  ..........................................................................................................................................................198

Sunflowers ...................................................................................................................................................................199


Gravitational Biology I: Gravity Sensing and Graviorientation in  

Microorganisms and Plants ................................................................................................................................201 


The Plants of Jordan: an Annotated Checklist  .....................................................................................204

Kumeyaay Ethnobotany: 

Shared Heritage of the 


Michael Wilken-Robertson


ISBN: 978-1-94138-430-5

Softcover, US$29.95. 282 pp. + 


Sunbelt Publications, Inc.,  

Rancho La Puerta.

The Kumeyaay are Native Americans living 

on both sides of the United States–Mexican 

border in Baja California. The author is 

an anthropologist, so the reader has the 

advantage of an anthropological insight into 

the Kumeyaay way of life. This is a region where 

the culture and plant uses of the indigenous 

people are being eroded by development. 

Thankfully, this book documents the uses of 

plants and how they are prepared.
Following the introductory chapters dealing 

with prehistory, contemporary landscapes, 

language, and methods, the botanical heart of 

the book discusses 47 plants and their utility. 

These are all well illustrated with clear full-

color images showing diagnostic features of 

the plants as well as stages in the preparation 

of foods, fibers, dyes, medicines, arrows, and 

construction materials.
Like the rest of the book, species treatments are 

well written and detailed enough to repeat the 

processes of food, dye, and basket preparation. 

I am interested in the use of acorns for food, so 

I appreciated the unit dealing with coast live 

oak (Quercus agrifolia). After the oak seeds 

are ground in the querns carved in boulders, 

the resultant meal is boiled and strained. This 

is added to meat dishes or eaten on its own 

as a gruel. The leftover matter solidifies in a 

kind of gel that resembles mok, the traditional 

Korean delicacy made from Q. dentata
Another fascinating food is derived indirectly 

from the chaparral ash, Fraxinus parryi. The 

army worm (a caterpillar from the family 


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Noctuidae) is eaten and prepared like the 

mopane worm (Gonimbrasia belina) that is so 

widespread in southern Africa. The mopane 

worm feeds mainly on Colophospermum 

mopane. In both cases the caterpillar is 

eviscerated by squeezing, then dried. 
Less interesting but with more gustatory 

appeal are species of cherries and a lengthy 

section of agave. For a book dealing with 

ethnobotany, one could wish for more specific 

identifications than Salix  spp. and Quercus 

This well-produced book ends on challenging 

but encouraging chapters with the author’s 

reflections, a discussion of sustainability, and 

developing public interest in the culture and its 

ethnobotany. One can’t help but wonder how 

many other cultures and their ethnobotany 

would benefit from a book like this.

-Lytton John Musselman, Department of 

Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, 

Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0266 

American Eden: David 

Hosack, Botany, and 

Medicine in the Garden 

of the Early Republic

Victoria Johnson


ISBN-13: 978-1-63149-419-2

Hardcover; US $29.95. 480 pp.

Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York, NY, USA

The cast and characters of early U. S. history 

have recently regained fame associated with 

the success of the hit musical Hamilton. One 

plotline not featured on Broadway is that 

of David Hosack, a prominent doctor and 

botanist in New York City during this period, 

and his struggles to create the first botanical 

garden in America. In American Eden: David 

Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden 

of the Early Republic, Victoria Johnson, Ph.D. 

in sociology and associate professor in urban 

policy and planning at Hunter College, paints 

a dynamic picture of the social, political, 

economic, and personal threads that tied 

Hosack’s botanical quest to the early history 

of the nation.
This historical work tells the tale of Hosack as 

an individual in the context of the scientific and 

political scene in which he was entrenched. 

Hosack was born before the Revolutionary 

War but came of age as the nation did. Johnson 

details his early life, education, professional 

and civic engagements, and medical and 

scientific journey. Inspired by medicine and 

the use of plants in contemporary remedies 

and their utility as a teaching tool, he sought 

to establish America’s first botanical garden, 

the Elgin Botanic Garden, in New York City 

where the Rockefeller Center now sits. 
The book is structured around the timeline of 

Hosack’s life while providing insights into the 

cultural, economic, and political background 

that both drove and hindered his progress. 

Johnson draws upon primary resources 

from Hosack, his contemporaries, family, 

and friends, many of whom are recognizable 

as prominent figures during that time. She 

details his educational journey both home and 

abroad, where he mingled with prominent 

British scientists, and his return to New York 

where he established his medical practice. 

Hosack made numerous contributions to 

medicine, but perhaps his most famed act as 

a doctor was treating Alexander Hamilton 

after the duel with Aaron Burr. In addition 

to his profession as an attending physician, 

he held professorships in botany, natural 

history, midwifery, and surgery, a breadth 

of accomplishments and titles near unheard 

of today. Hosack’s desire to establish his 

botanical garden continued to be a driving 

force for many years, through times of peace 

and war, personal and political strife, and 

financial distress and luxury. Although this 

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


in. Those with a penchant for either of these 

themes, as well as medicine and the arts and 

sciences more broadly, will find pieces to 

relish in this book!
-Nora Mitchell, Department of Biology, Uni-

versity of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New 

Mexico, USA



Richard Milne


ISBN: 978-1-78023-815-9

Hardcover, £16.00. 236 pp, 

Reaktion Books Ltd., 


It’s timely to be reading 

Richard Milne’s Rhododendron while enjoying 

the peak flowering season for azaleas and 

rhododendrons in New York City. Milne, an 

evolutionary biologist and environmentalist 

at University of Edinburgh, presents an 

utterly charming adventure story that surveys 

the many ways by which rhododendrons 

have influenced human cultures, as well as 

their diversity and evolution. Milne’s writing 

is easily read, sprinkled with dry humor, as 

exemplified by these imaginative chapter 

“Sex and the Single Rhododendron” explores 

the promiscuous behavior of rhododendrons 

because each of the 1000 species can cross with 

many other rhododendron species. Milne 

personifies their toxic dark side in the role 

of “femme fatale” and with links to departed 

souls and cuckoos.
“The Fall and Rise of Azalea” follows 

the constantly changing classification of 

rhododendrons and azaleas. Milne emphasizes 

the important point that taxonomy is opinion, 

amenable to disagreement. Recent results of 

investigations with DNA enable scientists to 

path meanders and may not be as climactic as 

a fictional story, the reader will be drawn to 

Hosack and his persistence. 
The botanical focus is a uniting thread 

throughout this book. Among the primary 

resources and catalogs that Johnson weaves 

into a storyline are mentions of innumerable 

plant species, both North American and 

exotic, as sources of medicine, collection, 

and overall fascination. The botanist will 

delight in the writings of prominent political 

figures that mention species by both common 

and scientific name. Hosack even had loose 

ties to Lewis and Clark; the reader can only 

imagine how exciting the discovery (to those 

of European descent) of a whole continent of 

plants must have been!
Throughout the book there are themes 

recognizable and relevant to science and 

society today. These include Hosack’s struggles 

to obtain funding for his garden, both from 

government and private sources, and the 

difficulties he encountered in justifying 

botanical science and its uses to the public 

and medical community. Hosack also had 

numerous international collaborations, not 

only receiving part of his education abroad, 

but also hosting visiting scholars from Europe 

and exchanging seed collections with people 

from all over the world to boost his collection 

of exotic plants. He even proposed an early 

citizen science effort for the collection of local 

plants through the New-York State Society 

for the Promotion of Agriculture, Arts, and 

Manufactures, although his attempt was 

Overall, Johnson presents an engaging and 

well-written insight into a little-known, yet 

highly influential, doctor and botanist of early 

America. This book reads like a story, but 

with rich details focusing on the historical 

and botanical context that Hosack worked 

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follow rhododendron evolution, even assisting 

scientists to understand continental drift. 
“Rhododendromania” reveals the history of 

how botanists, merchants, missionaries, and 

other early explorers became plant collectors, 

trying to satisfy the tastes of sponsors who 

were eager to obtain novel plants, especially 

“Glasshouse Sensations” demonstrates how 

the beauty of the approximately 250 species 

of tropical rhododendrons, the Vireyas, 

led to an intense interest in greenhouse 

rhododendrons. Spice merchants brought 

back Vireya rhododendrons that captured the 

attention of nurseries. The development of the 

Wardian case, an early version of a terrarium, 

enabled merchants and botanists to transport 

live plants. 
“Home of the Rhododendrons” investigates 

the extensive knowledge and appreciation of 

rhododendrons in China. Once China opened 

its borders to traders in the mid-18



explorers, missionaries, and merchants arrived 

in China, steadily discovering new species. 

Plant collectors became intent on bringing 

back seed for their sponsors in Europe and 

North America. Explorers have also found 

fossil records that provide a timeline to the 

evolution of rhododendrons. Botanists have 

matched fossil evidence with DNA studies 

to follow the evolution and migration of 

rhododendrons over millennia. Once Mao 

assumed power, foreign exploration closed 

until botanists in the West were able to open 

collaborations with Chinese botanists, leading 

to joint plant exploration by Western and 

Chinese botanists that continues today. 
“Potions, Petals and Poisons” depicts the 

toxicity of rhododendrons from antiquity 

to present, involving poisoning livestock; 

eliminating bedbugs, mice, fleas, and lice; 

irritating eyes if burned; and intoxicating 

humans—its narcotic honey was even used 

in warfare. Rhododendrons were an herbal 

remedy, now confirmed by modern medicine. 

Prior to the Reformation, gruit ales were made 

with R. tomentosum and R. groenlandicum for 

their intoxicating effects, a practice banned 

entirely in Germany in 1855. 
“The Tears of the Cuckoo” follows the impact 

of rhododendrons on culture. This is especially 

true in southwest China, where the Yi people 

hold the Torch Festival, offering rhododendron 

flowers to their Flower God. Every year, at the 

height of the rhododendron flowering season, 

these minority peoples will wear festive 

costumes, light a fire, sing and dance, and 

warmly welcome guests. Milne enumerates 

Chinese folktales linking rhododendron with 

tragedy and death. Chinese legends describe 

a tragic figure that turns into a cuckoo, whose 

song recalls its tragic life, and whose mouth 

spills blood, which emerges as rhododendrons. 
“Black Sheep: The Tale of Rhododendron 

ponticum“ is a high point of the book. R. 

ponticum has run wild across the British 

countryside; it easily establishes itself in areas 

where the soil is disturbed. Today, R. ponticum 

is an even greater problem since it is a carrier 

of Phytophthera ramorum, sudden oak death. 

The negative economic and ecological impact 

has led to controversial efforts to eradicate R. 

“Conservation, Collections and the 

Future” examines the ecological status of 

rhododendrons and forecasts their potential 

future plight. Increasingly, when botanical 

explorers return to previously collected 

locations, rhododendron species are no longer 

found. Rhododendrons are being cleared to 

make room for agricultural development. 

Not only are known species disappearing, but 

many species that had not yet been discovered 

are believed to be destroyed as well. The 

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        


effort of plant collectors to bring these 

species to other parts of the world for study 

provides a safety net for select species but 

eliminates natural evolution that could occur 

in the wild. Fortunately, the habitat of some 

rhododendrons is in areas where agricultural 

development is not practical. Milne stresses 

that today, “rules restrict collection” and closes 

with cautionary comments about climate 

change—of major significance to Milne—

concluding: “The future of rhododendrons, as 

with so much else, is in our hands.” 
Rhododendron is the eighteenth volume 

in Reaktion’s superb series devoted to 

“integrating horticultural and botanical 

writing with a broader account of the cultural 

and social impact of trees, plants and flowers.” 

Compared with Tulip, another volume from 

this series (see review on page 85 of the Fall 

2017 issue of Plant Science Bulletin (63(3)), 

this coverage displays depth and originality; 

it will delight botanists, gardeners, and 

history buffs. Following standard design for 

this Reaktion series, the book is well-bound 

with stitched pages; printed on high-quality 

paper stock; offers 70 color plates, 30 halftone 

color illustrations, a timeline, table of groups 

within Rhododendron, a short list of further 

reading, a list of associations and websites, 

acknowledgments and meticulous photo 

acknowledgments, a 7-page index, and floral 

end papers, here in eye-catching seafoam 

green. Rhododendron is a thoughtful and well-

researched book based on Milne’s extensive 

study of the genus, evident from the 24 pages 

of references accompanying the chapters. 

Milne’s writing is clear, his arguments amply 

documented, and his style thoroughly 

–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Missou-

ri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, USA


Stephen A. Harris 


ISBN: 978-1-78023-926-2

Hardcover; US$27.00. 256 pp.

Reaktion Books, London, U.K.

Two images of sunflowers 

come to mind. First, large fields of giant 

flowers in western Kansas—although this 

scene repeats itself in many states of the upper 

Midwest in the summer. These fields are 

impressive because all the heads of the flowers 

face the same way due to solar tracking. 

Sunflowers are one of several plant species 

that exhibit this behavior by turning to face 

the sun, and these movements are also termed 

heliotropism, a complex response to daily 

environmental cycles (Vandenbrink et al., 

2014). Although this phenomenon has been 

well known for a long time, many questions 

about the precise mechanisms remain 

My second thought about sunflowers is the 

tremendous circumnutation, or helical organ 

movement, that occurs in young seedlings 

(Kiss, 2006). One of the first scientists to 

characterize circumnutation is Charles 

Darwin in his monograph Power of Movement 

in Plants (Darwin and Darwin, 1880). These 

dramatic movements can be easily captured 

in time lapse photography (for example, see 

This book, written for the general reader, is 

part of a series that integrates botanical work 

into a broader social and historical context.  

All books in the series have a single word title 

(e.g., apple, cactus, oak, etc.) as well as chapter 

titles that are single words.

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Chapter One in Sunflowers is titled “Amazing” 

and gives a broad introduction to this 

fascinating plant group. Although the focus is 

on sunflowers (Helianthus annuus), the book 

considers the larger group of the Asteraceae 

family. The author, Stephen Harris, is the Druce 

Curator of the Oxford University Herbaria 

and a research lecturer in the Department of 

Plant Sciences at Oxford.
Harris considers the controversies around the 

mechanisms of circumnutation, namely that 

the theory proposed by Darwin and Darwin 

in 1880 (that circumnutation had an internal 

driving force in plants) has been questioned 

by scientists performing recent spaceflight 

experiments.  However, the author does not 

discuss the most up-to-date work on the 

mechanisms of solar tracking in sunflowers.
In the chapter on “Surviving,” Harris considers 

how various members of the Asteraceae have 

adopted and survived in hostile environments 

such as those found in high altitudes. Other 

stressful locales considered are arid areas 

with significant water stress and fire-prone 

In “Curing,” the medical properties of this 

plant group are outlined, and in “Feeding” 

the food and culinary value of sunflowers 

are discussed. The chapter on “Profiting” 

continues this theme and expands it to the 

economic value of sunflowers and its relatives. 

Helianthus annuus is one of the few crops to 

have been domesticated in North America 

(about 5000 years ago). Sunflower seeds and 

commercial oilseeds have economic relevance, 

and their histories as an oil crop in Europe, 

Russia, and the United States are chronicled.
The book is beautifully illustrated with many 

images of sunflowers and other Asteraceae 

in natural settings along with herbarium 

photographs. The broader culture is 

considered with images such as paintings by 

Vincent van Gogh and photos of sunflowers 

on stamps throughout the world. This book 

is reasonably priced and will be enjoyed by 

professional and amateur botanists as well 

as by horticulturalists. In summary: a very 

enjoyable read.

Literature Cited

Darwin, C., and F. Darwin.  1880.  The Power 

of Movement in Plants. John Murray Publishers, 


Kiss, J. Z.  2006.  Up, down, and all around: how 

plants sense and respond to environmental stim-

uli. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sci-

ences (USA) 103: 829-830.

Vandenbrink, J. P., E. A. Brown, S. L. Harmer, and 

B. K. Blackman.  2014.  Turning heads: the biol-

ogy of solar tracking in sunflower. Plant Science 

224: 20-26.

-John Z. Kiss, Department of Biology, 

UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro NC 27402


Gravitational Biology 

I: Gravity Sensing 

and Graviorientation 

in Microorganisms 

and Plants (Springer 

Briefs in Space Life 


Markus Braun, Maik Böh-

mer, Donat-Peter Häder, 

Ruth Hemmersbach, and Klaus Palme 

2018. ISBN-13: 978-3-31993-893-6

Paperback, US $69.99; 122 pages


Due to their stationary nature, plants have 

evolved mechanisms that help them to adapt 

to changes in their surrounding environment. 

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Tropisms, directed growth movements in 

response to external stimuli, help ensure the 

survival of the plant (Vandenbrink et al., 

2014). Gravitropism, which is the directed 

growth of plants in response to the gravity 

vector, is one of the most important factors in 

plant development.  In addition, since gravity 

has been ubiquitous and unchanging on Earth, 

the ability to sense and respond to gravity has 

been key throughout evolutionary history.
This book provides eight chapters that serve as 

review articles on the topics of gravity sensing 

and response in plants and microorganisms.  

Thus, in addition to gravitropism in plants, 

the topic of gravitaxis, or movement of 

unicellular organisms in response to gravity, 

is also considered.  Typically, but not always, 

gravitaxis occurs in the form of swimming in 

a water column. Most of the chapters provide 

an up-to-date literature review (i.e., references 

current to 2017 or 2018).
The authors are experts in the fields of space 

biology, plant gravitropism, and gravitaxis 

research in microorganisms.  Interestingly, 

they all work in Germany and are associated 

with the German space agency, the 

DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und 

Raumfahrt).  In some ways, although the 

authors clearly have significant expertise, it 

may have been desirable to have some experts 

from outside of Germany.
The first chapter provides an overview and 

offers some important definitions of the 

major terms in these fields of gravitational 

research. The second chapter considers 

important tools in gravitational biology 

including microgravity and microgravity 

simulators.  The gravity effects on objects 

are reduced or eliminated during the state of 

“free fall” or microgravity. Methods to achieve 

microgravity include the use of drop towers, 

parabolic flights of airplanes, sounding 

rockets, and, of course, orbiting space vehicles 

such as the International Space Station. In 

addition to true microgravity, biologists have 

developed methods to simulate microgravity 

by using devices such as clinostats and random 

positioning machines (see also Brungs et al., 

This second chapter also considers the 

importance of investigations in reduced 

gravity.  There have been numerous studies 

on plant growth and development in the 

microgravity environment of low Earth orbit 

since the beginning of human spaceflight 

(Vandenbrink and Kiss, 2016).  In contrast, 

we know little about plant behavior in reduced 

(sometimes termed fractional) gravity 

environments (less than the nominal 1g that 

occurs on Earth).  Since international space 

agencies have cited human exploration of the 

moon/Mars as long-term goals, it is important 

to understand plant biology at the lunar 

(0.17g) and Martian levels of gravity (0.38g) as 

plants are likely to be part of bioregenerative 

life support systems on these missions (Kiss, 

The third chapter focuses on gravitaxis in 

ciliates and flagellates.  Much of the interesting 

working on gravity thresholds has been 

performed with the alga Euglena, both in 

space and on the ground.  The authors of this 

chapter also report on work that is relevant for 

understanding biology at the reduced gravity 

levels that were considered in more detail in 

the previous chapter.
Tip growing unicellular system of rhizoids 

of the alga Chara is the subject of Chapter 

4.  Chara rhizoids have been used in many 

spaceflight experiments and related ground 

research to study gravity sensing and signal 

transduction.  The figures in this chapter 

are particularly useful to understanding the 

concepts in terms of the role of the cytoskeleton 

in gravitropism pathways. In addition, the use 

of microgravity to unravel signaling pathways 

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is clearly delineated and summarized.
Chapter 5 considers gravitropism in fungi, 

mosses, and ferns, but it is short and not 

very comprehensive.  There are far better 

recent reviews of these interesting topics (e.g., 

Corrochano and Galland, 2016).
The next two chapters (6 and 7) focus on the 

cellular and molecular aspects of gravitropism, 

respectively.  In some ways, these components 

overlap, and this distinction is somewhat 

arbitrary.  The diagrams in Chapter 6 are 

particularly helpful in terms of summarizing 

the knowledge about the cell biology and 

physiology of tropisms. Topics covered 

include the starch-statolith hypothesis, the 

role of actin in sensing and response, and 

secondary messenger molecules.  Given 

its central role in asymmetrical gravitropic 

growth, the physiology and transport of auxin 

are analyzed.  The topic of auxin biology and 

transport is further considered in Chapter 7 

as well the relationship between auxin and 

other plant growth regulators.  In Chapter 

7, the author also discusses the effects of 

microgravity and altered gravity on the plant 

transciptome but misses some recent articles 

on this important, emerging topic (e.g., Kwon 

et al., 2015).
The last chapter focuses on bioregenerative 

life support systems in space research.  This 

short chapter provides a limited introduction 

to this interesting area that will be important 

for long-range space travel.
Overall, I found this volume to be a well-written 

introduction to the topics of gravitropism, 

gravitaxis, and plant space biology.  The book 

is recommended for new graduate students 

in the field of gravitational and space biology 

of plants and will provide a great overview to 

this group.  I can also imagine this collection 

of review articles to be a useful supplement 

in an advanced plant physiology or plant 

developmental biology class.

Literature Cited

Brungs, S., M. Egli, S. L. Wuest, P. C. Christianen, 

J. J. Van Loon, T. J. Anh, R. Hemmersbach. 2016. 

Facilities for simulation of microgravity in the 

ESA  ground-based  facility  programme.  Micro-

gravity Science and Technology 28: 191-203.

Corrochano, L. M. and P. Galland. 2016. Pho-

tomorphogenesis and gravitropism in fungi. In: 

Wendland J. (ed.) Growth, Differentiation and 

Sexuality.  The  Mycota,  vol  I.  (Third  Edition) 

Springer, Heidelberg.

Kiss, J. Z. 2014. Plant biology in reduced gravi-

ty on the Moon and Mars. Plant Biology 16(S1): 


Kwon, T., J. A. Sparks, J. Nakashima, S. N. Allen, 

Y.  Tang,  and  E.  B.  Blancaflor.  2015.  Transcrip-

tional  response  of Arabidopsis  seedlings  during 

spaceflight  reveals  peroxidase  and  cell  wall  re-

modeling genes associated with root hair devel-

opment. American Journal of Botany 102: 21-35.

Vandenbrink, J. P. and J. Z. Kiss. 2016. Space, the 

final  frontier:  a  critical  review  of  recent  experi-

ments performed in microgravity. Plant Science 

243: 115–119. 

Vandenbrink, J. P., J. Z. Kiss, R. Herranz, and F. 

J. Medina. 2014. Light and gravity signals syner-

gize in modulating plant development. Frontiers 

in Plant Science 5: 563.

-John Z. Kiss, Department of Biology, 

UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro NC 27402

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PSB  64  (3)  2018        



The Plants of  

Jordan: An Annotated 


Hatem Taifour and Ahmed 

El-Oqlah (edited by Shahi-

na A. Ghazanfar) 

2017. ISBN 978-1-84246-


Paperback, US $57.38. 162 

pp. + x 

Royal Botanic Gardens, 


The flora of the Levant has been intensively 

studied for many years beginning with 

the ground-breaking 1896 flora of George 

Edward Post (Musselman, 2006).  Plants of 

Jordan follows that tradition of quality and 

rigor established by Post. His research is still 

relevant. In fact, the authors of the present 

work include a survey of his material hosted 

at the Post Herbarium of the American 

University of Beirut. 
Having taught plant identification at the 

University of Jordan, I may be prejudiced in 

my enthusiasm for this publication. The book 

draws upon the extensive floristic research 

of Daoud Al-Eisawi, personnel of the Royal 

Society for the Conservation of Nature, as 

well as the authors’ and editor’s work. This is a 

collaborative effort between the Royal Botanic 

Garden of Jordan and Royal Botanic Gardens, 

It is edited by Kew botanist Shahina Ghazanfar, 

herself an expert on Middle East floristics; her 

editing skill is evident.  After a foreword by 

one of the Jordanian royal family, there are 

concise and informative sections on floristics, 

vegetation types, and biogeography. Floristic 

data were garnered from regional herbaria 

and databases as well as fieldwork.

The bulk of the book, of course, is the 

annotated checklist, which helpfully follows 

the family delineations of the Angiosperm 

Phylogeny Group.  Nomenclature and 

synonymy are included along with occasional 

notes.  There is little or no distribution data 

and location information varies wildly in 

detail.  For example, some entries simply cite 

publications, some refer to databases, and 

some are as detailed as “500 m after first turn 

to Al Ketteh village.” While this approach 

documents occurrence, it could confuse 

anyone interested in distribution of plants.  

Nerium oleander, for example, is documented 

from the Irbid area (in the extreme north of the 

country) but is common in wadis throughout 

much of Jordan. A detailed bibliography 

including non-archival material concludes the 

The size of the well-bound book (6 × 0.6 × 

9.2 inches [15.24 × 0.15 × 23.39 cm) makes it 

well-suited for field use.
If I were to teach plant identification again in 

Jordan, this would be the textbook.  The Plants 

of Jordan is an essential resource for anyone 

with an interest in the flora Jordan or Middle 

East and a good example of a modern checklist.  

The publication of this long-awaited work will 

further the objectives of the collaborators, the 

Royal Botanic Garden of Jordan, and Kew to 

raise awareness of a threatened flora and the 

need for conservation.

Literature Cited

Musselman,  L.  J.  2006.  The  botanical  activities 

of George Edward Post (1838-1909). Archives of 

Natural History 33(2): 282-301.

-Lytton John Musselman, Department of  

Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, 

Norfolk, VA 23529-0266 

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The only instrument in the  
world that uses Rapid Sensing


Technology for fast A-C



and survey measurements.

LI-6800 Portable  

Photosynthesis System

Stinziano JR, Morgan PB, Lynch DJ, Saathoff 
AJ, McDermitt DK, and Hanson DT. (2017) 
The rapid A-C


 response: photosynthesis in 

the phenomic era. Plant, Cell & Environment, 
40:1256-1262. doi: 10.1111/pce.12911

See the open access  
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) Method paper

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                                                                                  Fall 2018 Volume 64 Number 3

BOTANY conferences are known for great speakers, 

interesting symposia, and helpful workshops. But the true 

spirit of the conferences lies in the unexpected conversations, 

the sudden collaborative ideas, and the pure camaraderie 

between the attendees. 

We can't wait for BOTANY 2019!

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