Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2010 v56 No 3 FallActions

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

FALL 2010

                      VOLUME 56

              NUMBER 3


ISSN 0032-0919

The Botanical Society of America: The Society for ALL Plant Biologists


Leading Scientists



since 1893


Newest Release of the Plant Ontology Available September 2010.....102

News from the Society
      News from the Annual Meeting

Plenary Lecture, Botany 2010. Darwinian Grandeur, Darwininan
Conflict: America’s Continuing Problem with Evolution. Kenneth
R. Miller............................................................................................104

President-elect’s address, The A.R.O.M.A. of Botany.  Judith E.

          BSA Education News and Notes


In Memoriam

Francis Theodore Haxo, 1921-2010..........................................114
Charles B. Heiser,  1920-2010...................................................115
Armen Takhtajan, 1910-2009......................................................118
Lawrence J. Crockett.....................................................................119


Arboretum Hires New Director,Edward L. Schneider.............120
Professor Loren Henry Rieseberg  FRS....................................120

Award Opportunities

American Philosophical Society, Research Programs..........121
The Rupert Barneby Award..........................................................121

Other News

How prepared is the U.S. to meet future botanical challenges?...222

Reports and Reviews

Planting memories: What students learned about plants from
a conservatory field trip...Mary L. Keppler, Elisabeth E.

Books Reviewed


Books Received


Botany 2011


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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010







POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:

Botanical Society of America
Business Office
P.O. Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299


Address Editorial Matters (only) to:

Marshall D. Sundberg, Editor
Dept. Biol. Sci., Emporia State Univ.
1200 Commercial St.
Emporia, KS 66801-5057
Phone 620-341-5605


ISSN 0032-0919

Published quarterly by Botanical Society of America, Inc., 4475 Castleman Avenue, St. Louis,
MO 63166-0299.   The yearly subscription rate of $15 is included in the membership dues of
the Botanical Society of America, Inc.  Periodical postage paid at St. Louis, MO and additional
mailing office.

Newest Release of the Plant

Ontology Available September


The latest release of the Plant Ontology (PO)
will be available at by
the end of September, 2010. The PO is a
structured vocabulary that is designed to
facilitate cross-database querying and to foster
consistent use of plant terminology in
annotations.  The main goal of this round of
revisions was to create a framework that could
accept new terms from all plants, from algae to
angiosperms, making it easier to incorporate
these terms into future releases.

This release includes an extensive re-
organization of the Plant Structure Ontology.
New top-level terms were added, new
definitions were written for many terms
(including all top-level terms), plus the second
and third levels of the ontology were extensively
re-organized.  In addition, some minimal
changes have been made to the Plant Growth
and Developmental Stage Ontology.

Throughout the revision process, the curators
worked to incorporate new advances in ontology
design and construction, including the use of
logical text and relational definitions and
references to external ontologies where
appropriate. A more detailed summary of the
changes made to the ontology is available at


How prepared is the U.S. to meet future
botanical challenges?  This is a question we
set out to answer last year when Society
members were invited to participate in a survey
to determine the Botanical Capacity of the
United States.  The report is in (p 118) and its
recommendations are timely for this issue
given the focus of our recent annual meeting in

At the plenary session Professor Kenneth R.
Miller challenged the membership  to engage
in the attack against science and scientific
reasoning , not just the resistance to teaching
evolution in our classrooms (p 104).  As noted
in the article, Professor Miller’s PowerPoint
presentation is available on the BSA web page.

Bookending the meeting was President Skog’s
ode to The A.R.O.M.A. of botany ( p. 106)
presented at the banquet.  It is up to us to
provide the final “A.” - - for Action - - to drive a new
“aSCENT of Botany” as a scientific discipline.
As noted by Skog, this must involve outreach
into the schools.

Effectively communicating about plants to
school children is the focus of the article by
Keppler and Schussler (p. 122).  If we are going
to have a truely broader impact about plants in
the schools, we must collaborate with and
apply the principles learned by our professional
botanical educator colleagues.  Botanists have
a tradition of leading science education - - now
is the time to follow our leaders.

-the editor

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Editorial Committee for Volume 56

Nina L. Baghai-Riding (2010)

Division of Biological and

Physical Sciences

Delta State University

 Cleveland, MS 38733







Jenny Archibald (2011)

Department of Ecology

and Evolutionary Biology

The University of Kansas

Lawrence, Kansas 66045

Root Gorelick (2012)

Department of Biology

Carleton University

Ottawa, Ontario

Canada, K1H 5N1

Elizabeth Schussler (2013)

Department of Ecology and

Evolutionary Biology

University of Tennessee

Knoxville, TN 37996-1610

Christopher Martine

Department of Biology

State University of New York

at Plattsburgh

Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2681

News from the Society

News from the Annual



Isabel Cookson Award (Paleobotanical
Established in 1976, the Isabel Cookson Award
recognizes the best student paper presented
in the Paleobotanical Section.

Andrew Leslie of the University of Chicago, is
the 2010 award recipient for the paper titled,
Exploring the Role of Pollen Flotation in the
Reproductive Biology of Ancient

Katherine Esau Award (Developmental and
Structural Section)
This award was established in 1985 with a gift
from Dr. Esau and is augmented by ongoing
contributions from Section members. It is given
to the graduate student who presents the
outstanding paper in developmental and
structural botany at the annual meeting.

This year’s award goes to Jessica Budke,
from University of Connecticut, for the paper
Beneath the Calyptra’s Veil: Exploring Cuticle
Anatomy during Moss Sporophyte
.” Co-authors were Bernard
Goffinet and Cynthia S. Jones.

Honorable Mention - Chunmiao Feng, North
Carolina State University, for the paper
Evolutionary developmental study of
inflorescence in
 Cornus.” Co-authors were

Robert G. Franks and Qiu-Yun (Jenny) Xiang.

Maynard Moseley Award (Paleobotanical and
Developmental and Structural Sections)
The Maynard F. Moseley Award was established
in 1995 to honor a career of dedicated teaching,
scholarship, and service to the furtherance of
the botanical sciences. Dr. Moseley, known to
his students as “Dr. Mo,” died Jan. 16, 2003 in
Santa Barbara, CA, where he had been a
professor since 1949. He was widely
recognized for his enthusiasm for and
dedication to teaching and his students, as
well as for his research using floral and wood
anatomy to understand the systematics and
evolution of angiosperm taxa, especially
waterlilies. (PSB, Spring, 2003). The award is
given to the best student paper, presented in
either the Paleobotanical or Developmental
and Structural sessions, that advances our
understanding of plant structure in an
evolutionary context.

Natalie Pabon Mora, from the Graduate Center
CUNY/ New York Botanical Garden, is the 2010
Moseley Award recipient, for her paper “The
role of 
APETALA1/FRUITFULL genes in non-
core eudicots
.” Her co-author was Amy Litt.

Emanuel D. Rudolph Award (Historical Section)
The Emanuel D. Rudolph Award is given by the
Historical Section of the BSA for the best student
presentation/poster of a historical nature at the
annual meetings. 

This year’s award goes to Philip Marshall, Yale
University, School of Forestry & Environmental
Studies, for his presentation: “Pinus strobus L.
and the historical utilization and management

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

of southern New England forests, 1600-1938.”

A.J. Sharp Award (Bryological and
Lichenological Section)
The A.J. Sharp Award is presented each year
by the American Bryological and Lichenological
Society and the Bryological and Lichenological
Section for the best student presentation. The
award, named in honor of the late Jack Sharp,
encourages student research on bryophytes
and lichens.

This year’s A.J. Sharp Award goes to Juan
Carlos Villareal
, University of Connecticut, for
his paper “Thousands of years without sex: The
case of the Southern Appalachian

Edgar T. Wherry Award (Pteridological Section
and the American Fern Society)
The Edgar T. Wherry Award is given for the best
paper presented during the contributed papers
session of the Pteridological Section. This
award is in honor of Dr. Wherry’s many
contributions to the floristics and patterns of
evolution in ferns.

This year’s award goes to Susan Sprunt, Miami
University of Ohio, for her paper; “Of genes,
scales and venation: Detecting patterns of
variation in the 
Pleopeltis polypodioides
species complex (Polypodiaceae)

Developmental & Structural Section Best
Student Poster Award

Hugo Martinez Cabrera, University of
Connecticut, for the poster, “Integration of wood
traits and height in trees and shrubs: Many
ways to be a shrub, but only one way to be a
?” Co-authors: H. Jochen Schenk and
Cynthia S. Jones

Ecology Section Award, Best Student

Amy Davidson, from  Kansas State University,
for the paper “Invasive species demonstrate
higher phenotypic plasticity but native species
have greater resilience to worsening
” Co-author, Adrienne B. Nicotra.

Ecology Section Award, Best Student Poster
Amy Campbell
, of Ohio State University, for her

poster, “Fitness-Related Traits of Cultivated vs.
Wild Switchgrass (
Panicum virgatum):
Implications for Widespread Planting of Biofuel
.” Co-author, Allison Snow.

Southeastern Section - Association of
Southeastern Biologists, Asheville, North
Carolina, April 9, 2010 Poster/Paper Awards

Best Paper Award $300 - Chris Stoehrel,
Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC -
Phylogeny of the Trillium erectum complex.”

Best Poster Award $300 - Mae Kile, University
of Tennessee at Chattanooga, TN -
“Scutellaria Montana (Lamiaceae) 2009
Monitoring at the Volunteer Training Site,
Tennessee Army National Guard, Catoosa Co.,

Plenary Lecture, Botany 2010

Darwinian Grandeur,

Darwininan Conflict: America’s

Continuing Problem with


Kenneth  R. Miller.

Professor of Biology, Brown University


Dr. Miller is a cell biologist who focuses his
research on cell ultrastructure but who also
has become a spokesperson for teaching
evolution in the schools.  This began with a
challenge by a former student, Joe Levine, to
write a high school textbook with a strong
treatment of evolution.  Levine and Miller is now
in its third edition.   He is also the author of two
popular books on evolution in America.

Teaching evolution in America inevitably brings
up the image of the Scopes trial, but as Miller
pointed out, the outcome suggested by the play
and film “Inherit the wind” is incorrect - -
creationism won.  The real hero of science was
a second-year high school teacher in Arkansas,
Susan Epperson, who in 1965 sued the state

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

(and won) when the law required that she not
teach evolution in her biology class.  Miller
noted that after meeting her for the first time, he
asked for a photo.  Later she sent the one
illustrated on ppt slide 3, with her and John
Scopes after her trial decision.

 The result was “scientific creationism” which
has now morphed into “intelligent design (ID).”
As Miller noted in his earlier afternoon session,
the real target in not just evolution, it is science
itself.  Their goal is to bypass the scientific
process itself.  Recently this again came to a
head as the result of the courage of high school
teachers in Dover, PA, who refused to teach
intelligent design or to read a statement on
intelligent design written by and mandated by
their school board.  This again led to trial in
which Miller was a star witness.  By random
draw, the judge assigned to the case, John E.
Jones III, was a strong conservative recently
appointed to the federal bench by George W.
Bush.  The ID proponents viewed this as a gift
from God.  Unfortunately for them, it was quickly
apparent to the judge and the public that ID is
not science.  In particular, the scientific evidence
presented repudiated all of the “icons” of the ID

Miller recommended viewing the PBS NOVA
special, Judgement Day, for an account of the
trial.  He also noted, to his chagrin, that although
he is an award winning teacher at Brown, his
student reputation has nothing to do with the
classroom.  Rather, he is the professor who
was on the Colbert Report - - twice!!  Never-the-
less,  the public remains hostile to evolution
because it, and science in general, is portrayed
as a threat to the values of America and the
underlying cause of ALL of our social problems.
For more details, go to the “Answers in
Genesis” website and

Fourteen percent of Americans are literal
creationists and they have created a compelling
story – “Your have a right to be here.”

How can we win the evolution wars?  1.  By
focusing on the evidence for evolution and 2. By
stressing the distinction between science and
belief.   “We have the fossils”; we have the
evidence.  We must present the evidence in a
clear, factual, and logical way.  And we must

distinguish between science and belief.  Miller
points out that he begins his section on evolution
with the statement that he DOES NOT BELIEVE
IN EVOLUTION!  Belief has nothing to do with
it.  He is satisfied that the available evidence
provides overwhelming scientific support for
the theory of evolution.

 Miller pointed out that most powerful weapon
possessed by proponents of ID is religious
fear of evolution – that science says humans
are merely a mistake of nature.  The “mistake,”
as Miller pointed out, is the misconception that
mutations are merely mistakes.  Mutation, as
an underlying component of evolution by means
of natural selection, is “an essential element of
nature itself.”

What are the lessons for BSA and other scientific

1.  Participate - - both educationally and
politically.  Be involved with your local school
board and support your local teachers.

2.  Engage, don’t lecture.  The most effective
way to engage with the ID folks is one-on-one.
Be conscious of, and avoid, the professorial
(egg head) stereotype.

3.  Bring science home by explaining how
science works in everyday situations.

4.  Cultivate allies, especially your local school

5.  Don’t assume that your allies must be
“liberals” (remember Judge Jones).

6.  Know your resources.  The National Center
for Science Education is a clearing house for
help and information and has members in
every state.

7.  Cultivate the effective communicators in the
societies.  Two notable examples of scientists
“shooting themselves in the foot” are the past
negative attitudes of professional societies to
the outstanding communicators of science
Carl Sagan and Stephen J. Gould.

8.  Approach evolution with delight and
enthusiasm.  “There is grandeur in this view of

-the editor

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

The A.R.O.M.A. of Botany

Judith E. Skog

Department of Environmental Science and


George Mason University, Fairfax, VA


In last year’s presidential address, Kent
Holsinger noted we needed to do a better job
of selling our science and getting the public to
understand what we do and why we have
enthusiasm for doing it. He stated that a Pew
survey indicated that we were doing pretty well
in educating students but not so well for the
public at large. While this is true, we also have
problems in the job we are doing for
undergraduate education.  Last summer I had
just finished a three-year-long effort at the
National Science Foundation which examined
critically undergraduate education in biology,
and all indications are that we are not inspiring
our students very well in introductory courses,
not providing the rationale for understanding
science, nor giving the students the tools to go
out and communicate a love of science
effectively. So speaking about undergraduate
education in biology/botany seemed to be a
good follow-up topic for me immediately after
last year’s meeting. I decided I would give that
some thought and did actually ask several of
you for opinions. No panic, I had a year….
However, no one told me at the time that in
March a message from Johanne would appear
in my inbox requesting an abstract and title.
That message began a frantic search for a way
to pull together a number of disparate
publications, thoughts, and notes from the
NSF effort. Then I found an article written by
Harry Fuller (1956) who is a former president
of BSA entitled “The Odor of Botany” which is a
review of the previous 50 years of
undergraduate education in botany and the
progress that has been made.  Fuller begins
with a quote from a member of the National
Academies of Science,  “Botany is in bad odor
in American universities. I am mad about plants
and would never wish to be anything else but
a botanist. If anything could stop me, however,
it would be…. the average general botany

 Fuller continues noting the state of introductory
botany and some changes that have occurred.

As I examined these, it seemed that he should
have moved on to discuss the A.R.O.M.A. of
botany.  (This is one result of serving for four
years in two different positions at NSF – the
incubator of acronyms as well as research.)
Fuller mentions the following changes in botany
courses:  Advances in visual aids (such as
Kodachrome slides, charts and models, time-
lapse motion picture films);  Resources better
(Readable textbooks, microscopes);
Organisms’ physiology and behavior
emphasis;  Methods of teaching (Machine
grading,  labs); Accumulating numbers of
students in courses whose exposure to plants
is only in the introductory course.  One could say
that many of these changes are mirrored in
today’s ‘innovations’ in teaching, such as Power
Point presentations, YouTube videos, SEM,
TEM, molecular sequences, clickers, hands-
on experimentation, online information with
and without review, abundant students in
required courses and more students who
receive their introduction to biology/botany at a
different institution such as community
colleges.  Fuller ponders whether progress is
being made or whether change is confused
with progress and he discusses problems
with the changes he has seen because
improvement in teaching is not happening.

Next he notes some faults of botanists:  A
failure to realize majority of students will only
have one botany course, Remained slaves to
tradition in course presentation, Overly
concerned with insides of plants, Mentor botany
graduate students who are extremely
specialized and not broad thinkers, and Allowed
lab study to become too mechanical/restrictive/
stereotyped with no independent thought. He
concludes with calls for activities on the part of
botanists, noting they should lose their
‘excessive meekness’ in requesting needed
support, introduce the whole plant in courses,
encourage creativity, make plants pertinent,
and he ends by hoping that things will become
more fragrant over the next 50 years. Well, how
are we doing?

There are some signs that botany is not doing
so well as an area of study – one could be
pessimistic and look at the ‘foetid’ side of
today’s education activities. There are fewer
botany departments and fewer botany courses
than there were in 1956. Resources for

2010 President-Elect’s  Address

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

undergraduate teaching are still few. NSF for
example supports graduate research
fellowships and postdoctoral fellowships to
help students craft a career in biology, but
programs that support undergraduates to do
their own research are few and  the main
funding supports new pedagogy. Botany is
being taught by others who do not have the
breadth of training across all of the plant
sciences, is often taught only in its applied
aspects rather than the basic science
information source critical to understanding
life, or conversely taught as a litany of facts with
no relevance to reality, as Fuller decried in his
article. So are we are going further down the
road he warned against?

 Well, I am not convinced that we are doing
quite so badly, and I think there is definitely a
sign that the ‘fragrant’ side is progressing, not
just changing. For example, just examine the
abstracts, symposia, workshops,
presentations, discussions and posters at the
2010 meeting for indications that we care about
plants in the classroom, use of new
technologies and innovations in teaching and
outreach activities. Botany/biology is now
everywhere and not confined to individual
departments, integrated studies are becoming
more critical and the role of plants in this
integrated understanding of life is strongly
recognized and biologists are uniting to
promote all biology as a unified science. There
is increasing public awareness of
environmental issues and 80% of the public is
interested in scientific discoveries (even if they
don’t accept parts of scientific fact). National
issues often listed as critically important to the
current administration require botanical
knowledge: health, water, food, energy, climate
change. Every one of these priorities requires
some basic understanding of plant biology.

Furthermore there have been several reports
on improving introductory biology/science
education and reports on the critical challenges
in science for the next century. I want to mention
three of these because they all comment on
educating the next generation of scientists and
they all indicate a strong role for biological
societies in this effort. BSA can point to several
ongoing efforts where we are already offering
opportunities similar to ones noted in the
reports and to our success in attracting

increasing numbers of student members.  One
example is the new PLANTS program
(Producing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s
Scientists) which is a follow-on activity to the
previous Undergraduate Mentoring  in
Environmental Sciences NSF award for
increasing participation of undergraduate
students from groups not well represented at
the BSA meetings or in botany in general. Our
goal is to put this new program on a stable
financial basis so that it will continue to attract
more undergraduate students to the study of

The first recent report

) I will discuss is

an outcome of the Vision and Change meeting
on Undergraduate Biology Education, held July
2009 by AAAS and sponsored by a number of
partners, including NSF. The final report from
the meeting will be published this fall. Many of
you probably do not realize that leading up to the
large summer meeting were a yearlong series
of “conversations”, run by AAAS and sponsored
by NSF, held at several sites around the country.
Those of us at NSF who attended these
conversations and listened carefully to the
faculty and students heard several themes
repeated again and again. Here are some of
the ideas, issues, and examples we heard, all
examples of the A.R.O.M.A. diffusing across
biology. Faculty comments were: Active science
and not just passive facts, Assessment rigor,
Accessibility to resources, Aligned concept
mapping across levels of learning, Analysis,
Advances for students;  Research early – an
integral component of introductory courses,
Resources – curriculum, tools, methods –
especially ones that have been tested and
work,  Responsible students and Responsive
administrators,  Relevance and inquiry driven
experiential learning, Rigor in assessments,
Recognition and Rewards for teaching
introductory courses and outreach, Reliability
of information and data that relates to reality;
Organization support, Organism-based,
Overarching concepts throughout all courses
made clear, Outcome-oriented assessment,
Online resources for curriculum and materials,
Opportunity for development, Ongoing
feedback, Overcome inertia to change; Mapping
concepts across the whole science curriculum,
Modeling assessments, Material that does
not impede reform efforts (i.e. textbooks static),

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

and finally a Mobilized community ready to
engage the passion and change the culture.  At
the large meeting there was a call for an online
resource that would search like Google,
recommend like Amazon, vet like Consumer
Reports, and annotate like Wikipedia. Various
groups are beginning to take action to produce
such a resource.

It is interesting to compare the comments that
came from students at these various meetings.
A predictable list of things they did not like
about introductory courses emerged:
Professors who use bad PowerPoints , give
lectures in a monotone voice or use jargon/
unknown terms to explain something, give
endless lists (“This leads to this leads to
this…”),  give you lists of facts without connecting
them, don’t respond, put you off, or are
inaccessible, are clearly not into teaching, use
small group discussions as an excuse not to
teach anything, don’t communicate clearly
(language, style, writing), teach the same
course number as another colleague but with
entirely different requirements, use
assignments that have already been
disseminated on the Internet and Fellow
who allow cut-throat competition to
take  away from learning (emphasis on grades).
Of course, exams were an ever-present
complaint, and who can blame students for
that? None of us have warm fuzzy feelings
about exams and most of us get sinking
feelings when a medical person suggests a
‘new’ exam for us to go through. Complaints
from students were: don’t give exams back,
give exams back late, give no explanation of
what the right answer was, or re-use tests that
don’t relate to what was done in class. And we
all know how many excuses to miss exams
students can find (in my experience exam
schedules published at the beginning of the
semester seem to be a leading cause of death
for grandparents). If we had any concerns
about the capability of creativity and innovation
among students, exam excuses will certainly
argue against that conclusion. Two of my
favorites from years of teaching are: 1. the
student who would not be present for the final
exam because she had to catch a flight back to
India the day before the exam as  her father
made the reservation and he never could figure
out the International Date Line; and 2. the
student who could not take the exam when

scheduled because he was being sent into the
witness protection program – no I certainly did
NOT ask for more information!

However, there were more interesting
suggestions from the students about what they
felt was needed in introductory courses and
many of these parallel what the faculty would
like to be doing: Analytical skills, Appropriate
statistics, Accessibility of instructors, Analogies
(not jargon), Application of knowledge, Active
learning,  Assistance from instructors, not
adversary encounters; Relevant issues, Real-
life situations, Relationships of facts, Research
experiences;  Opportunities offered for new
experiences and critical thinking, Ownership,
Ongoing effective feedback; Meaningful
material,  Media skills for communication to
others, Memorable, not memorized, Mentoring
critical for learning environment. Students
obviously want to share in our excitement about
plants, they want to know how plant biology
relates to other fields, and they need to see the
societal benefits from the science they are
doing. And I think that as faculty, we wish to
become redundant and unnecessary for the
current students we instruct – we want students
who become independent researchers and
critical thinkers regardless of the career they
finally select.

There are two other recent reports that provide
positive ways that botany is appreciated and
seen as critical for understanding. Both are
recent documents from the National Academies
– and that seems particularly appropriate
considering that a quote from a member of that
organization began this musing. Both these
reports call for integration of the sciences and
note that we cannot understand, much less
solve, critical issues surrounding us today
without a complete and thorough
understanding across all the sciences.
Interestingly, this integrative nature of biology
caught the attention of the U.S. House of
Representatives Subcommittee on Research
and Science Education, eliciting comments
from the representatives such as “if I were to
return to science, these are the areas that
would excite me” and “although biology was not
my favorite subject…this approach holds a
great deal of interest”.

The first report from the Life Sciences Board

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

entitled “New Biology for the 21



(National Research Council, 2009) selects
economic issues to illustrate the importance
of integration of science. The four topics chosen
are all dependent upon an understanding of
plants: food, energy, environment and health;
and the report provides numerous examples
derived from plant biology as it addresses the
challenges in these areas. One chapter of the
report discusses elements that should be
created through biology education. Carol
Brewer summarized these well at the Vision
and Change meeting and I base my list on her
presentation. 1. Appreciation of broad
integration across science; Anchor biology in
the principles of chemistry and physics. 2.
Research participation integrated for a working
knowledge across several disciplines and
technologies to facilitate broad dialogue. 3.
Organizing principles and Opportunities for
new approaches and creative solutions
embraced. 4. Math, computation, and
quantitative skills highly developed along with
a deep expertise in a specific discipline.5.
Address critical social issues through solving
complex biological problems and develop
skills, knowledge and Aspirations in students.
These are issues which students indicated
they were most interested in during the
meetings leading up to the Vision and Change
meeting also. And we can see that the a.r.o.m.a.
is permeating across all of biology.

The second report is less expected because it
arises out of the Physical Sciences Board
(National Research Council, 2010), but it also
calls for more complete integration of the life
and physical sciences to solve grand
challenges facing us today. Of these
challenges, the first four relate directly to plant
science: 1) Synthesizing lifelike systems, 2)
Predicting organism’s characteristics from DNA
sequences, 3) Interpreting interactions of the
earth, its climate and the biosphere, 4)
Understanding biological diversity, and even
5) Understanding the brain is an area where
information from plant cells and plant products
can be applicable. This report also discusses
changes needed to address larger problems
and includes a quote that is very applicable to
botanical education. “New cultures must be
forged and scientists must grow as comfortable
in them as they are in their existing subcultures.
There must be funding for work in those new

cultures that extends beyond existing-culture
“stove pipes.” Most importantly, they must
prepare the rising generation to mine new-
culture opportunities without losing touch with
scientists in the traditional disciplines or the
principles of such disciplines. The future will
be driven by progress at this intersection.”

What does that mean for us as botanists and
for the BSA as your society? We do need to
provide better outreach for botany as an area of
integrative biology, and we need to stress the
importance of understanding botany regardless
of what we are discussing. For our students we
need to show how plant biology is relevant to all
other science, societal issues, and the critical
importance of plants for the whole earth
environment. I suggest we follow on a method
that has been applied in a number of fields,
from journalism to economics, to mathematics,
to military endeavors and embed ourselves in
places we seldom go and do not immediately
perceive as relevant. We have to become
“embedded botanists.”  It is only when we are
challenged to think on different levels and
across different areas that we see relevance
and often creative ideas and innovative
solutions. As you have possibly noted, in several
of these slides, the final A in A.R.O.M.A. has
been missing. It is, obviously, a call for Action
– to embed botany wherever the opportunity
arises and to avoid the ‘excessive meekness’
that Fuller found in botanists. Let’s be sure the
aroma of botany diffuses, infuses, and
permeates across all education and society for
the next fifty years. Then another president of
the BSA will be able to speak on the “aSCENT
of Botany”.

Literature Cited
Fuller, Harry J. 1956. The Odor of Botany.  American
Journal of Botany, Vol. 43, No. 7 (Jul., 1956), pp. 544-


American Association for the Advancement of
Science (AAAS), 2010, Vision and Change in
Undergraduate Biology Education: A call to action.


National Research Council, 2009. A new biology for
the 21


 Century. The National Academies Press,

Washington, D. C. 98pp. (


National Research Council, 2010. Research at the
Intersection of the Physical and Life Sciences. The
National Academies Press, Washington, D. C. 106pp.


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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

BSA Science Education

News and Notes

BSA Science Education News and Notes is a
quarterly update about the BSA’s education
efforts and the broader education scene.  We
invite you to submit news items or ideas for
future features.  Contact:  Claire Hemingway,
BSA Education Director, at

 or Marshall

Sundberg, PSB Editor, at

PlantingScience  —  BSA-led student
research and science mentoring program

Call for 2010-2011 Master Plant Science Team
We invite graduate students and post-doctoral
researchers to apply for the 2010-2011 Master
Plant Science Team.  This special group of
PlantingScience mentors receives a few perks
for their year-long service to the online learning
community.  MPST members commit to
mentoring ~4 teams in both the Fall and Spring
sessions during 2010-2011.  One perk is free
membership for the year.  For more information
and requirements, see 


The BSA will sponsor 20 students/post-doc to
serve on the 2010-20111 on the Master Plant
Science Team. An application is available


If you’d like to spark scientific curiosity and
understanding in today’s youth, but the MPST
isn’t a good fit for you, consider joining as a
regular PlantingScience mentor:

Summer PlantingScience Learning Fun.
PlantingScience Summer Institute for
We had the great honor of working with an
outstanding group of committed and
accomplished middle school and high school
teachers this summer.  Fourteen teachers
from 11 states and one international participant
attended the third PlantingScience Summer
Institute for Teachers (June 21-29, 2010),
hosted in College Station, Texas by co-PI Carol
Stuessy, Texas A&M University Associate

Professor of Teaching, Learning and Culture.
Botanists Marsh Sundberg of Emporia State
University and Renee Lopez-Smith of Southern
Illinois University led the initial five days of
inquiry immersion.  Their masterful content
knowledge and open involvement in the inquiry
process opened new doors of understanding
and fostered a strong community collaboration
that has extended well beyond the workshop.
(Participant and PlantingScience teacher Dick
Willis created a PlantingScience 2010
Facebook group.)

The excitement and engagement teacher
teams exhibited as they investigated osmosis,
transpiration, and cell types in the Celery
Challenge, guided by Marsh, and as they
observed alternation of generations and C-
Fern reproduction, guided by Renee, were
remarkable. Both of these topics are new
PlantingScience inquiries in field-testing this
academic year.  Following the teamwork
exploring the new inquiry modules, a botanical
illustration session lead by Jeanne Debons
( and Carol
Packard of Sisters Middle School offered
creative break before the teachers turned to
focus on classroom implementation.

Special PlantingScience Brassica Genetics
  “Father” of Wisconsin Fast Plants
Paul Williams and plant geneticist Amber R.
Smith led a 2-day Brassica workshop July 9-10
in Madison, Wisconsin.  This was a unique
opportunity to bring PlantingScience teachers
and scientist mentors together with the

Marsh Sundberg (second from left) and Renee
Lopez-Smith (second from right) share a laugh

with a few of the 15 PlantingScience Summer

Institute participants.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Teacher teams competed in the celery challenge to
cause and explain maximum bending.

Teacher team The Vial Shakers present their

interpretation of the fern life cycle and alternation

of generations, complete with The C-Fern Story

sung to the tune of the Brady Bunch.

developers of the PlantingScience Brassica
genetics module, which introduces students
to variation in a population and offers classroom
teachers options to observe across a life cycle,
examine quantitative and qualitative traits, and
test patterns of inheritance.  Following last
year’s classroom field testing and summer
workshop, this PlantingScience will be made
more broadly available to PlantingScience
teachers.  Our deep thanks to Paul, Amber, the
many teachers and mentors who participated
in the field-testing and curriculum development
coordinator Teresa Woods for making this

Fostering Student Thinking Through
Mentoring Workshop.
Members of the 2009-2010 Master Plant
Science Team Eric H. Jones (Florida State
University), Laura Lagomarsino (Harvard
University Herbaria), Laura Super (University
of British Columbia), and Lindsey K. Tuominen
(Warnell School of Forestry & Natural

Resources) led an interactive session at Botany
2010 in Providence, Rhode Island.

Drawing on personal mentoring experiences
and examples from the PlantingScience
community at large, they solicited input about
the program.  Themes emerging from the
conversation included (1) helping students
clarify their question of interest and focusing on
what they will measure/record to help them
translate it into a testable hypothesis, (2)

encouraging use of the multimedia capacity of
the online platform for photo-documentation of
experimental set ups and qualitative
observations and drawings, (3) taking
advantage of opportunity to communicate with
students’ instructors, and (4) making the
creative aspect of the scientific enterprise explicit
to students.  Kudos to Eric, Laura, Laura, and
Lindsey for their leadership in mentoring.

PlantingScience in the news and on YouTube.
Thank you to our partner societies, the American
Society of Plant Biologists and American
Phytopathological Society, and dedicated
mentors for featuring their reflections in recent
ASPB News July/August 2010 Volume 37, No

Phytopathology News July 2010


Picked as “Best of the Web” by the GEN Online
edition of Genetic Engineering and
Biotechnology News
 (Vol. 30, No. 14),
PlantingScience gets a news boost.

L. Lagomarsino, L. Super, L. Tuominen, and E.

Jones (left to right).

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010


For a glimpse into the Dutch PlantingScience
counterpart coordinated by Edith Jonker, see
the YouTube video created by students of
Banhoeffer College featuring their classroom
research and visit to Wageningen University to
present and meet their mentors: 


See C-Fern swimming sperm video taken by
PlantingScience Summer Institute teacher this

seageekdivergirl - p/a

Plant IT Careers, Cases, and Collaborations
Second Institute for Teachers and Career
Camp for High School Students

In July, 11 teachers from across the country
and 18 students from Texas converged at
Texas A&M University for the final PlantIT
summer workshop.  Co-PI Ethel Stanley,
Director BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium,
and co-presenter Toni Lafferty, C.H. Yoe High
School, introduced teachers to multidisciplinary
investigative case as a means to engage
students in real world plant biology content.
This summer’s exploration theme was
bioinformatics and natural fiber textiles with a
focus on cotton.  Some of the science research
and communication/productivity tools
introduced were NCBI’s BLAST, ImageJ, Yodio,
and Google Surveys.  Field trips to see real-
world applications spanned a cotton field with
Dr. Gaylon Morgan, visit to the Forsyth Gallery
to see textiles, wildflower garden, horticulture
greenhouse, Dr. C. Wayne Smith’s organic
artifact preservation technologies, Dr. Kevin
Ong’s plant clinic, and Dr. Keerti Rathore’s
crop transformation lab.

During the 2-week session, teacher teams
created, peer-reviewed, and tried out with
student teams investigative cases involving
cotton in medical supplies, booms used to
clean oil spills, oils in food sources, and
international textile markets.  A returning PlantIT
teacher described the benefits she received
from the professional development experience:
“…it enhances my learning in content,
technology, and collaboration.  
  These tools
will help to enrich my students’ knowledge and
learning.  Knowledge is powerful

Teachers stop for a group photo at Norman

Borlaug’s portrait in the lobby on visit to Dr. Keerti

Rathore’s Laboratory for Crop Transformation.

For the 18 middle school and high school
students coming to Texas A&M University, the
one-week summer program was an opportunity
to learn about college and careers along with
how plants play a role in real-world biology and
our lives as humans.  The engaging, bright
students came from mainly under-represented
groups in science and represented 8 Texas
schools.  The students began the week by
meeting a career panel (Dr. Micky Eubanks, a
plant-insect interaction expert; Bob Marcotte,
turf grass specialist and field manager; and Dr.
Carol Stuessy, a botanical illustrator as well as
education professor) and explore some of the
technology they’ll use during the week and
campus highlights.  In addition to trying out the
teacher-teams’ newly created cases, the
students spent several days immersed in either
pecan-integrated pest management
investigations with Dr. Marvin Harris,
Department of Entomology, or plant epidermal
hair and endoplasmic reticulum imaging with
Dr. Larry Griffing, Department of Biology.

Student feedback about what they got from the
experience touched on the diverse project goals.

“Dealing with the microscope in Dr. Griffing’s
lab, because I got to see things that I wouldn’t
imagine seeing.”

“…how plants should be well taken care of
because they are very important to the world.  I
can go home and look at plants very different
now but in a good way.”

“ I honestly found most useful how to work
together as a team, how to communicate and

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Student teams work with teachers on oil spill and

cotton boom investigative case.

Dr. Larry Griffing introduces students to confocal
microscope at TAMU Microscopy and Imaging Center.

how to meet new people.  There are many
different careers out there that I didn’t know of.”
“How many things you’re able to do that has to
do with plants.”

“The most useful thing would be about the
science experiment … it gave me a good
understanding about the oil spill and made me
realize that cotton is an important product in our
daily lives.”

You’ll find student reflections on the project

You’ll find the new cases and resources under
the teacher tab/workshop 2010 on the project

Our thanks to Co-PI Carol Stuessy, Associate
Professor Department of Teaching, Learning,
and Culture at Texas A&M University, and the
stellar graduate student team of Laura
Ruebush, Cheryl Ann Peterson, Denise

Knibbe, Jules Johnston, Tori Hollas, Chris
Call, Marissa Munoz, Chad Scott, and Chyllis
Scott for their incredible work for the Plant IT
Summer Institute!

(And more thanks to Carol and her graduate
students for hosting the summer institute and
conducting the education research in

Adopt-a-Bud Project: An Exercise in
Observation of a Tree Bud from Winter until
Sprout Completion.  
Digiovanni, Nick, Jane P.
Digiovanni, and Colette Henley.  The American
Biology Teacher
 72: 357-360.

Observation is a difficult skill to re-master  once
students reach middle-school  and beyond - -
usually into their second or third year of graduate
work.   This simple activity, similar to
PlantingScience’s seed sprouting activities,
reinforces observation and note-taking and,
with modification, could be applied at any level
from k-16.  Its only limitation is seasonal.

A Guide to the Gynoecium.  Burrows, G.E.
Journal of Biological Education 44:93-95.

If you looked at the Virtual Floral Formula
website we featured last year in PSB 55(4),
you’ll recognize some of the images in this
paper.  This paper includes a section on
assessment of the efficacy of using this on-line
supplement to laboratory instruction.

A simple Computer Application for the
Identification of Conifer Genera
.  Strain, Steven
R. and Jerry G. Chmielewski.  2010.  The
American Biology Teacher
 72: 301-304.

The article describes the CD (available from
the authors) that students can use to identify
conifers – virtually anywhere in the country.  The
key provides 2 or more options for a particular
character and includes excellent images to
illustrate genera or species illustrating that
trait.  This is a good tutorial for high school and
college students.

Editor’s Choice

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

In Memoriam

Francis Theodore Haxo,


Dr. Francis T. Haxo died in La Jolla, CA. on
June 10, 2010. Haxo had a long and significant
career with pigments, algae and physiological
processes of algae.

Haxo was perhaps best known for the following:
1.) The Haxo-Blinks oxygen electrode, widely
utilized in measuring responses; and 2.) The
discovery of chromatic transients, from which
the critical concepts arose of Photosystem I
and II,  two differing methods for plants to
photosynthesize. He and L.R. Blinks
discovered this light enhancement from
measuring a number of red algae for their
chromatic transients finding that their
phycoerytherin was more effective than
chlorophyll  a for photosynthesis.

During Haxo’s voluminous correspondences

with me (AT) to get things on the record over the
past four years between bouts with illnesses
he wrote of the time when the action course of
the two photosynthesis systems were being
discovered.  “Reviewing the past, research on
the effectiveness of phycoerythrin as a
photosynthetic pigment in red algae  must
have been on Blinks’ mind for some time after
his return to Stanford in 1933 ( from the
Rockefeller Institute).  Several years later, in
1944,  Haxo, then a graduate student in
photobiology with A. C. Giese and fresh from

G.M. Smith’s fascinating summer course on
local marine algae, was readily drawn to Blinks’
problem. These first studies suggested that
not only was phycoerythrin a highly effective
light-harvesting component for photosynthesis
but that, surprisingly, half of the light absorbed
by chlorophyll seemed to be inactive. The
detailed action and absorption measurements
needed to document this anomalous situation
had to be postponed until Haxo had completed
the research for his doctoral dissertation on the
identity and light activated biogenesis of the
carotenoid pigments of  the  red bread mold
Neurospora and its color mutants (a problem
proposed by G. W. Beadle).  A decision then
had to be made about the direction of future
research. Remaining at Caltech with its lively
cutting-edge biology research atmosphere was
a tempting possibility but Haxo opted to pursue
a career emphasizing photo-physiology and
so accepted Blinks’ offer of a research
appointment.) Haxo wrote, “Thus in September
1946 I  returned to Pacific Grove and began a
year of intense research mostly buried in a dark
room, rarely emerging to hear the friendly
barking of the seals and to smell the output
from the dwindling sardine factories along
Monterey’s Cannery Row. 

“In a subsequent summer at the MBL in Woods
Hole I introduced myself to W. J. V. Osterhout,
Blinks’ much admired mentor.   I was barely in
the door when asked ‘and what is Larry doing
with all that equipment we sent him to California
with?’   I asked him how it was that he never
returned to the field of photosynthesis after
getting such a prominent start as article #1 in
volume 1 of the Journal of General Physiology,
a journal he had founded.  Peering over his very
thick glasses he replied, ‘Well when I came to
realize how Otto Warburg was taking over the
field I decided that photosynthesis and Willie
Osterhout were simply not going to get along.’”   

Haxo also wrote, “Shortly after I set up a lab in
La Jolla in the early 1950s the interest of Blinks
and my labs converged in establishing the
uniqueness of the phycoerythrin found in some
species of the Bangiales, a subgroup of the
Rhodophyta, which by mutual agreement came
to be called â-phycoerythrin (Airth and Blinks

Some of the simply displayed action spectra

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Charles B. Heiser,  1920-2010

The world lost two important Hoosiers this
spring – Charles B. Heiser and John Wooden,
both known for their basketball, one perhaps
better known in the sports world.  They shared
more than their Indiana roots, and a love for
sport. Both were also honorable, ethical,
committed people and both were exceedingly
successful in their professions.

The ‘Hoosier’ we wish to honor here is Charles
Bixler Heiser.  He was born on 5 October 1920
in a small southern Indiana town, Cynthiana.
He liked to say that you could still tell that he
came from rural southern Indiana by his accent;
he was right.  His father’s job moved the family
among several towns in Indiana, but they
eventually settled in Belleville, IL, just outside
St. Louis, MO, where he attended high school
- and played basketball.  He enrolled at
Washington University in St. Louis in 1939,
where he was proud to ‘letter’ in basketball for
three years – and also served as the (graduate
assistant) coach in one of those years (during
WW II).  Those who had the pleasure of knowing
Dr. Heiser know about his great sense of
humor, a sense of humor that was often self
deprecating.  In that context, he pointed out that
his greatest talent in basketball might have
been being tall (“...only 2 or 3 were taller” when
he was at WU).  Those who knew him also

from Blinks and my publication were widely
duplicated in textbooks to illustrate spectral
assimilation and pigment involvement in
representative phototrophic systems of
eucaryotes. They were also key to estimating
spectral assimilation curves for photosynthesis
with depth in the ocean by the principle algal
groups, part of the photosynthesis exhibits that
Melvin Calvin organized as the US   contribution
to the science pavilion at the 1958  World Fair
in Brussels.   But in calculating these curves I
failed to consider that in broad natural light
fields, light absorbed by accessory pigments
would have a marked enhancing effect on
spectral performance at the ends of the
spectrum, notably in phycoerythrin rich red and
blue-green algae (Haxo, 1961).
During  the maiden voyage of the RV Alpha
Helix to  the Great Barrier Reef in 1966, Blinks
and I joined the group of  photo-biologists  and 
biochemists  we  had assembled to study
photosynthesis and pigments of symbiotic
associations in corals and giant clams.  

Professor Lianne-Jensen recalls, “Francis
was a true scientist, polite, gentle and friendly,
much respected and appreciated. We originally
met during during my sabbatical leaves where
I visited Scripps in La Jolla.   At a later occasion
Francis sent Nancy Withers as post doctoral to
work in our Trondheim laboratory. A thick file of
mostly handwritten letters from Francis Haxo
during this period 1971-2001 reminds me of a
long, rewarding and pleasant collaboration in
the carotenoid field. Some joint 11 original
papers and symposium abstracts were
published in this S L-J and Haxo collaboration.
Francis`s contributions were on the algal
systematics, cultivation and isolation part,
whereas I (SL-J) continued with the structural
elucidation or chemical identification work.”

Dr. Haxo is survived by his wife, Judith Haxo; his
children, John, Philip, Theodore and Aileen
Haxo, and Barbara H. Phillips

- Anitra Thorhaug, Yale School of Forestry and
Environmental Studies and Synnøve Liaanen-
Jensen, Trondheim University, Trondheim,

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

know that he was an incredibly determined
and focused person; undoubtedly, that played
a role in basketball, just as it did in his scientific

At Washington University, he majored in
English and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa.
Perhaps most importantly for him personally,
he met Dorothy Gaebler in one of his small
botany classes at WU/Missouri Botanical
Garden.  He and Dorothy were married in 1944.
They had three children, Lynn, Cynthia and
Charles Bixler III.  Most important professionally
were the classes he had with Edgar Anderson
and Robert E. Woodson.  The former introduced
him to the weedy sunflowers growing along
the railroad tracks in St. Louis.  There is a very
nice paper describing this introduction in the
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden (1972:
vol. 59: 362-372).  The other major professional
influence came at the University of California,
Berkeley, where he interacted with G. Ledyard
Stebbins while pursuing a Ph.D.  While a
student at Berkeley, he taught botany at UC
Davis, and also managed the herbarium.  He
finished his Ph.D. in 1947; for those counting
that is only three years after his bachelors
degree.  His first, and only job, was back in
Indiana, where he was recruited by Ralph
Cleland and began as an Assistant Professor
in 1947.  Even in the 70s he used to point to
some very dusty boxes under one of the lab
benches, and say: “...I have not completely
unpacked, because I am not sure I will stay at
IU...”.  He indicated that he had to choose
between a job at Davis and at IU.  He chose IU
partly because botany (under the direction of
Dr. Cleland) “...appeared to have a great future,”
and partly because at IU he “...would have a
free choice of ...research topics.”   He remained
in his professorship until retirement in 1986.

He did spend time on sabbaticals elsewhere,
mostly on research travel to Central (Costa
Rica) and South (Ecuador, mostly) America.
He really loved the field research, the plants,
the diversity, and the people.  In particular, he
had many wonderful field studies with former
graduate student Jorge Soria, first in Costa
Rica when Soria was at the Instituto
Interamericano de Cooperación para la
Agricultura, and then in Ecuador (Jorge’s home
country).  Illustrative of his commitment to
tropical American botany, and his love for the

Andean countries, was the high value he placed
on a plaque that he received from INIAP (Instituto
Nacional Autónomo de Investigaciones
Agropecuarias of Ecuador) in 1997.  He was
very proud to have been a mentor to 29 doctoral
students and uncounted (he couldn’t remember
how many) masters students, and to have
influenced many more.  He taught a number of
courses at IU, including vascular plants,
systematics, economic botany, and evolution.
He was mightily influenced by Edgar Anderson,
not only in terms of science, and the way
Anderson approached problems, but also by
his commitment and ability to write for more
general audiences. This was manifest in
Charley’s case by six books on sunflowers,
nightshades, gourds, domesticated plants in
general and weeds. In the latter part of his
career, he took particular pleasure in introducing
two ornamental plants: the ball loofah (Luffa
), and a Peperomia (Peperomia
 ‘Tena’ – collected near Tena, in
Ecuador). He spent considerable time working
with Soria to develop, successfully, a nematode
resistant form of a semi-popular topical crop,
‘lulo’ (or ‘naranjilla’; Solanum quitoense) that
put helped bring this crop back from near
extinction in cultivation.

His professional contributions are diverse and
deep – and long (at least 64 years); he continued
research until the day in 2008 that he was
disabled by a stroke (he died of complications
from the stroke about 18 months later, in June
2010).  Perhaps under Anderson’s influence,
he always seemed interested in plants that
intersected with people.   Thus, the early work
(that continued through much of his career) on
sunflowers that involved both their weedy
aspects – and thus hybridization, as well as
their importance in nascent North American
(north of Mexico) agriculture, was supplemented
very soon by studies of chili peppers, and from
there to many more taxa in the Solanaceae,
through squashes and gourds and other
cultivated plants of Latin America, and eventually
back to weeds in general (his last book). His
studies of sunflowers were part of the early and
exciting days of the development and ‘blooming’
of biosystematics, especially focusing on
chromosomal evolution and hybridization.  His
work, in fact, became synonymous with studies
of hybridization and introgression.  He authored
the two seminal papers on the latter topic, with

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

a first review of its importance in 1949 (Botanical
vol. 15, 645-687), followed 24 years
later by an update (Botanical Review vol. 39,
347- 366).  The work on sunflowers and chili
peppers proved to be a goldmine of paradigms
for evolution within and between lineages, for
principles of evolution, for understanding the
evolution/ selection of domesticates from wild
species, and for many graduate student
projects, theses and … careers.    During the
course of that work, he and two students of the
time, Don Burton and Jorge Soria, helped to
refine the applications of the relatively new field
of numerical taxonomy, with a trend-setting
study of quantifiable variation in Solanum and
its limitations in groups with hybrids and
polyploids (1964; American Naturalist vol. 94:
471-488).  As his career matured, he devoted
more time to books, on plants associated with
people.   In his first book (1969) Nightshades,
the Paradoxical Plants
, he joined science and
popular writing – much like Edgar Anderson
did before him (e.g., Anderson’s 1952 book,
Plants, Man and Life).  In 1973 he published the
first edition of Seed to Civilization, a book that
became a popular text book in economic
botany/ ethnobotany courses that went through
several editions and printings, and was
translated into at least Japanese and Chinese.
He followed a paradigm similar to
‘Nightshades’ with very successful books on
sunflowers (first edition 1976) and gourds
(first edition 1979), and with his last book,
Weeds in My Garden, Observations on Some
Misunderstood Plants.  
The first subtitle was to
be, “Reflections of a Mid-western Botanist” – his
Indiana roots were strong!

His honors are manifold.  He served as
president of more or less all the societies
relevant to his research: the Botanical Society
of America (BSA), the Society for Economic
Botany (SEB), the American Society of Plant
Taxonomy (ASPT) and the Society for the Study
of Evolution. In addition to the Raven Award for
scientific outreach (ASPT in 2002), he was
awarded a BSA Merit Award, a BSA Centennial
Award, and the ASPT’s highest honor, the Asa
Gray Award.  He was a founder of the Society for
Economic Botany, and in 1984 received the
SEB’s Distinguished Economic Botanist
Award.  IU recognized him with a Distinguished
Professor award in 1979, the Indiana Academy
of Sciences with a Distinguished Scholar Award

in 1997, the New York Botanical Garden with
the Gleason Award in 1969, and  the Pustovoit
Award from the International Sunflower
Association in 1985.  He enjoyed the support of
a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1953.  That
fellowship supported his first sabbatical —
work in Costa Rica that allowed him to study
tropical plants.  He loved the work on sunflowers,
but they only grew as far south as Mexico, and
Woodson, at MBG, had ignited an interest in
tropical plants.  It was on this first sabbatical
that his interest in native markets blossomed,
and he began studies of Capsicum.  And, in
recognition of all his diverse, far- reaching and
visionary studies, he was elected to the US
National Academy of Sciences in 1987.

He enjoyed his career.  He loved to work with
plants, and especially with plants modified by
people; he loved field work, and stayed involved
with growing plants his whole professional life,
in the greenhouses and fields at Indiana
University.  He enlisted his grandchildren to
help him move around heavy pots of ‘lulo’ when
they became too much for him. Visits to his lab
(the lab and greenhouse space were wisely
and generously provided by the IU Botany/
Biology Dept. through his whole career) were
always associated with talk of his most recent
projects, and with a trip to the greenhouses to
see the latest projects underway.  He enjoyed
his life.  He enjoyed his family and friends, and
he is one of those from Indiana, a true ‘Hoosier,’
who will be remembered for his huge
contributions — probably not so much in
basketball as in science.

For those interested in making a contribution in
honor of Professor  Heiser, the Department of
Biology  at Indiana University has set up a
fellowship — The Charles B. Heiser Graduate
Fellowship in Plant Evolution,  described at:


-Gregory J. Anderson, University of Conneticut

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Armen Takhtajan, 1910-2009

Last November 13, at the age of 99, we lost one
of the greats of twentieth century botany,
Academician Armen Takhtajan.  We generally
think of his work in plant systematics,
phytogeography, and Plant Morphology.
However, Armen also edited many multivolume
series on plant embryology, seedlings, and a
plant encyclopedia as well as many floras and
editing Botanisky Zhurnal. It is common to give
a review of such a person’s work.  However, this
case is, in my opinion, quite different given
Armen Takhtajan’s life.   We all know his impact
on Botany in general, and if not, there is the
library.  In this brief article, I will concentrate on
the unique role played by Armen Takhtajan
during the years of the Soviet Union.  The
information given below was told to me while
Armen was preparing the text of his 1997 book,
Diversity and Classification of Flowering Plants.
From 1992 to 1997, Armen spent three to four
months each year at the New York Botanical
Garden in my office working on the text.  It is
during that time that he shared with me the
incidents given below.  This is, also, how I came
to understand what a close friendship he had
with Arthur Cronquist (1919-1992).

Armen Leonovich Takhtajan was born on June
10, 1910 in Shusha, Nagorno-Karabakn, a
largely Armenian community in a disputed area
of Azerbaijan.  One of the things that Armen was
most proud of was receiving an Armenian
passport after the dissolution of the Soviet
Union.  Armen Takhtajan was born before the
“Russian Revolution.” During his lifetime, he
witnessed the formation and dissolution of the
Soviet Union.  In fact his community in Armenia
did not know of the revolution immediately as it
took some time for it reach their community. As
a boy, he saw and heard speeches by Lenin
and Trotsky, the latter being mesmerizing
according to Armen.  He lived through the
vicissitudes of the Lysenko era.  Nikola-  Vavilov
was a friend whose untimely death had a
profound effect on Armen’s subsequent
activities. For his resistance to Lysenkoism
and keeping genetics alive, albeit underground
in Russia, he was made a Hero of Labor and
presented with a gold medal in 1990 by Mikhail
Gorbachev.  How did he do this?  A couple of
examples will suffice here. One way was that
Arthur Cronquist would smuggle books into

Russia to give to Armen when Arthur made his
almost annual trips (Art also smuggled in heart
medications for Armen).  Another example
occurred during the 11


 International Botanical

Congress in Seattle in 1969.  In those days, a
KBG agent would either accompany the
scientist when they went to western countries
or would simply go on their own to observe.
Arthur Cronquist, G. Ledyard Stebbins, and
many others organized a large dinner party at
a local restaurant.  The number of participants
equaled to capacity of the restaurant so that it
was quite crowded.  Armen was then able to
sneak out the back door to meet with
Theodosius Dobzhansky (1900-1975).

Armen had subtle ways of avoiding
confrontation with the authorities.  One way was
fieldwork.  So when problematic meetings were
called to censure dissidents in the Soviet
Academy of Sciences, Armen would be in the
field in the Caucasus Mountains or elsewhere.
Sometimes, though, things did not always work
as when he was removed from the airplane on
the tarmac for presumed dissident activities as
he was about to depart for the 13



Botanical Congress in Sydney in 1975.

Takhtajan with Arthur Cronquist

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Armen Takhtajan was among the greatest
authorities in the world on the evolution of
plants.  His knowledge was truly eclectic and
that is reflected in the posts he held throughout
his career. Armen did his undergraduate
degree in the Institute of Subtropical Cultivation
in Tbilisi, Georgia, a Ph.D. in Leningrad, and a
D. Sci. at the Yerevan State University in Armenia
where his father was a Professor of
Languages.  He had several positions in
Armenia.  First as a researcher at the Natural
History Museum in Yerevan, then as Senior
Botanist in the Biological Institute of Armenia
and finally as lecturer and Professor of Botany
at Yerevan State University.  Problems with the
powers that be (were) led to his having to move,
first to Leningrad State University and then to
the Komarov Botanical Institute in Leningrad
(St. Petersburg) via arrangements made by
friends at the former.  It is our good fortune that
the Lysenkoists in Armenia had little influence
with the Dean at Leningrad State University. At
the Komarov Botanical Institute, he was first
Head of the Laboratory of Palaeobotany and
later Director of the Komarov Botanical Institute.
He always felt his broad interests and
knowledge stemmed in part from having held
a variety of positions and in part from his edited
varied series and journals.

Clearly, Armen Takhtajan was a person of
integrity, a problem solver, and dedicated
scientist who made sure that the advances
made were not ignored in the long run.  This is
reflected in his ability to produce at age 99 in
2009 a second edition of the 1997 book,
Flowering Plants, which incorporates literature
as recent as 2008.  Truly, a monumental
achievement in a monumental career.
Testimony to that career is found in the honors
he received in addition the Hero of Labor Medal.
He was a member of the Armenian Academy
of Sciences and the Russian Academy of
Sciences.  He was a foreign member of the
Finnish Academy of Sciences and Letters,
German Academy of Naturalists (Leopoldina),
Norwegian Academy of Sciences, and the
Polish Academy of Sciences as well as a
foreign associate of the United States National
Academy of Sciences.  He was a corresponding
member of the Botanical Society of America
and a foreign member (FMLS) of the Linnean
Society of London.

One of the last books by Armen Takhtajan was
“Principia Tektologica: Principles of
Oragnization andTransformation of Complex
Systems: An Evolutionary Approach”  1998.
(ISBN 5-8085-0008-7).  Aside from the English
title, the book is in Russian.  It represents
Armen’s interest in philosophy and the
suppression by Leninists of the books by
Aleksandr Bogdanov “Allgemeine
Organisationlehre (Tektologie)” Band 1, 1926
and Band 2, 1928. Berlin (translated by G.
Gorelik in 1980 as “Essays in Tektology”,
Seaside, California) and the several books by
Bertalanffy on General System Theory.  Armen
more or less used his energy to deal with
Lysenkoism and returned to General System
Theory when that battle was finally over.  He had
planned an English version of that book but first
wanted to finish his last book on flowering

The passing of Armen Takhtajan is a great loss
not just to botany but also to science in general.
His career certainly made a difference in how
we perceive the world around us and has made
it a better place to live for many.  He was a great
mentor to many and a good friend to many
more.  His life should serve as an example for
those that follow.

-Dennis W. Stevenson, New York Botanical

Lawrence J. Crockett

Emeritus Professor Lawrence [Larry]  J.
Crockett passed away on June 8, 2010.  Larry
moved to Texas after retiring from The City
College of New York , CUNY.  A memorial
service for Larry is planned for September in
New York City.  Information can be obtained

Dr. Jane Gallagher:

 or Edith Crockett


(a full memorial will run in the December issue)

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Professor Loren Henry

Rieseberg FRS


Professor of Botany, Department of Botany,

University of British Columbia

Professor Loren Rieseberg was elected Fellow
of the Royal Society (FRS).  Rieseberg has
made fundamental contributions to our
understanding of speciation mechanisms and
the evolution of local adaptation. He has
pioneered the application of experimental
genomic approaches to studies of
microevolutionary processes. He
demonstrated that new diploid plant species
arise through hybridization, that this mode of
speciation results from significant ecological
and karyotypic divergence, and that the process
occurs with remarkable speed. Rieseberg has
also shown that new hybrid gene combinations
facilitate the colonization of extreme
environments indicating that hybridization
provides a mechanism for major ecological
and evolutionary transitions requiring
simultaneous changes at multiple traits and

Arboretum Hires New Director,

Edward L. Schneider

Chanhassen, Minn. (March 29, 2010) - The
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum will
welcome a new director later this summer,
Edward L. Schneider, currently president and
CEO of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden in
California. Schneider will join the Arboretum
as its fourth director, since its was founded
nearly 52 years ago. Schneider will also serve
as a professor in the Department of
Horticulture Science at the university.
“The Arboretum will benefit greatly from
Schneider’s leadership and experience as it
continues to grow as a community resource
and popular environmental attraction in this
challenging economy,” stated Dean Allen S.
Levine of the College of Food, Agricultural and
Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) at the
University of Minnesota, of which the Arboretum
is a part. The Arboretum, located in
Chanhassen, is a premier public garden, with
more than 1,100 acres of gardens, woodlands
and natural areas; and 115 year-round
Since 1992, Schneider has headed the Santa
Barbara Botanic Garden, located on 65 acres
in historic Mission Canyon, and featuring over
1000 species of rare and indigenous plants.


He has also served as adjunct professor at the
University of California at Santa Barbara. Prior
to that, Schneider held faculty appointments at

Texas State University, most recently as dean
of the College of Science for more than eight
“The University of Minnesota allows me to
combine my two passions, teaching and
directing a world-respected garden. My career
began as a professor and, for the past 18 years,
I’ve led the Santa Barbara Garden,” stated

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

The Rupert Barneby Award

The Rupert Barneby Award, named in honor of
the late NYBG scientist and renowned legume
expert, consists of US$1000.00 granted
annually to assist researchers to visit The New
York Botanical Garden to study the rich

American Philosophical Society,

Research Programs

All information and forms for all of the Society’s
programs can be downloaded from our website,

 Click on the “Grants”

tab at the top of the homepage.

Purpose, scope
Awards are made for non-commercial research
only. The Society makes no grants for academic
study or classroom presentation, for travel to
conferences, for non-scholarly projects, for
assistance with translation, or for the
preparation of materials for use by students.
The Society does not pay overhead or indirect
costs to any institution or costs of publication.

Applicants may be residents of the United States
or American citizens resident abroad. Foreign
nationals whose research can only be carried
out in the United States are eligible. Grants are
made to individuals; institutions are not eligible
to apply. Requirements for each program vary.

Contact information
Questions concerning the FRANKLIN and
LEWIS AND CLARK programs should be
directed to Linda Musumeci, Director of Grants
and Fellowships, at

 or 215-440-3429.


Franklin Research Grants
This program of small grants to scholars is
intended to support the cost of research leading
to publication in all areas of knowledge. The
Franklin program is particularly designed to
help meet the cost of travel to libraries and
archives for research purposes; the purchase
of microfilm, photocopies or equivalent
research materials; the costs associated with
fieldwork; or laboratory research expenses.

Applicants are expected to have a doctorate or

to have published work of doctoral character
and quality. Ph.D. candidates are not eligible to
apply, but the Society is especially interested in
supporting the work of young scholars who
have recently received the doctorate.

From $1,000 to $6,000.

October 1, December 1; notification in February
and April.

Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field
The Lewis and Clark Fund encourages
exploratory field studies for the collection of
specimens and data and to provide the
imaginative stimulus that accompanies direct
observation. Applications are invited from
disciplines with a large dependence on field
studies, such as archeology, anthropology,
biology, ecology, geography, geology,
linguistics, and paleontology, but grants will
not be restricted to these fields.

Grants will be available to doctoral students
who wish to participate in field studies for their
dissertations or for other purposes. Master’s
candidates, undergraduates, and postdoctoral
fellows are not eligible.

Grants will depend on travel costs but will
ordinarily be in the range of
several hundred dollars to about $5,000.

January 15; notification in May.

  Award Opportunities

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

How prepared is the U.S. to

meet future botanical


The  Chicago Botanic Garden and Botanic
Gardens Conservation International ‘s U.S.
office have been working with partners across
the country, including the Botanical Society of
America, to assess current and future botanical
capacity in the United States.  The aim of this
grant-funded project is to understand the
resources we currently have to conserve and
manage native plant species and habitat,
identify gaps in capacity and highlight
opportunities to fill them in the future. Thanks
to the over 1,500 survey respondents and 30
workshop participants who contributed to this
project in 2009.  All surveys were anonymous,
and covered topics like academic background,
research & management interests and
expertise, access to resources, & opinion on
conservation issues. 
 Following is a summary
of gaps and recommendations.  Full survey
results are summarized in a report outlining
strengths & areas for improvement in plant
science education, research, & habitat
management in the United States which can
be viewed and downloaded at


Assessing botanical capacity to

address grand challenges

Summary of gaps identified and

recommendations made


Loss of botanical degree programs:
 In 1988,
72% of the nation’s top 50 most funded
universities offered advanced degree
programs in botany. Today, more than half of
these universities have eliminated their botany
programs and many, if not all, related courses.
Statistics from the U.S. Department of Education
reveal that undergraduate degrees earned in
botany are down 50% and advanced degrees
earned in botany are down 41%. During the
same time, undergraduate degrees awarded
in general biology have increased 17% and
advanced degrees earned in general biology
have grown by 11%.

Decline in botanical course offerings: Nearly
forty percent of the over 400 university faculty
who completed the survey said botany courses
in their department had been cut in the past 5-
10 years. The courses eliminated tend to be
from among those required for the 0430
(botanist) federal job code. A majority of faculty
and graduate student respondents were
dissatisfied with botany courses offered by
their college or university.

Preparation for employment at federal
 Neither students or faculty were
aware of the coursework requirements for
employment as a federal botanist (24 credit
hours in botany). Given course offerings at
many academic institutions, it is likely that
many students considering careers as federal
botanists will graduate without meeting
coursework requirements for federal hiring.

Recommendation 1:
 Faculty and administration
involved in college and university biology
education should ensure plant science is
appropriately incorporated in annual course
offerings for undergraduate and graduate
students to ensure they are employable both
within and outside the academic sector. This
includes offering courses that meet

herbarium collection of Leguminosae.
Graduate students and early career
professionals with research in systematics
and/or legume diversity are given special
consideration. Anyone interested in applying
for the award should submit their curriculum
vitae, a two-page proposal describing the
project for which the award is sought, and the
names of 2-3 references. The application
should be addressed to Dr. Benjamin M. Torke,
Institute of Systematic Botany, The New York
Botanical Garden, 200th Street and Kazimiroff
Blvd., Bronx, NY 10458-5126, USA, and received
no later than December 1, 2010. Submission
by e-mail is preferred (send to:

). Announcement of the

recipient will be made by December 20, 2010.
Travel to NYBG should be planned for some
period during 2011. Recipients are asked to
give a presentation about their research at

Other News

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

requirements for employment as a federal
botanist (such as botany, plant anatomy,
morphology, taxonomy and systematics,
mycology, ethnobotany, and other plant-
specific courses), and encouraging
interdisciplinary research programs to train
students in both basic research and applied

Recommendation 2: Faculty and
administration at the nation’s academic
institutions should ensure plant science,
including basic organismal expertise, is
strongly represented within interdisciplinary
departments, particularly as staff with botanical
expertise retires in the coming decade.
Accreditation bodies should develop
recommendations and criteria for monitoring
and evaluation to support adequate
representation of botanical disciplines in
biologydepartments and interdisciplinary study
programs nationally.

Recommendation 3: Non-profit organizations
play an increasingly critical role in filling gaps
in botanical education and training. They
contribute to course development and
education while providing amplification and
practical experience, particularly for subjects
that are most in demand for the nation’s
botanical workforce outside of academia.
Because demand will likely only increase in
this area, non-profit organizations should take
strategic steps to increase their ability to fill this
gap in capacity in this area. Leadership to
recognize, support and sustain the ability of
non-profit organizations to fill this role is needed
from private foundations as well as academic
and government sectors.

Recommendation 4: A full-time liaison position
should be established between the Botanical
Society of America and federal land
management and research agencies to ensure
botanical education and practical training
needs for expert resource management are
met. Similar to the current liaison position
between the Bureau of Land Management and
the Society for Range Management, this
position would strengthen collaboration and
workforce building through avenues such as
quick-hire programs as well as the Office of

Personnel Management’s Student Educational
Employment Program and Presidential
Management Fellows Program.

Recommendation 5: Academic, government
and private sectors should work collaboratively
to strategically strengthen botanical education
and training at all age levels. This includes
curriculum development that recognizes the
central role plants play in biological systems
and human life, and better integration of plant
science into biology standards and textbooks.
Work through the STEM Education Coalition as
well as organizations like the Botanical Society
of America, the American Institute of Biological
Sciences and the National Association of
Biology Teachers is needed to build support for
and better integration of plant science education
and training in biology coursework.


Private sector:
 Respondents in this sector
provide the greatest outreach to government
agencies and private citizens, but more is
needed. While 50% of respondents from this
sector consulted with government agencies
on botanical matters from 2007 - 2009, over
70% consulted with private citizens, and non-
profit respondents gave on average 2.3 media
interviews during the same timeframe.

Academic sector: While outreach within the
academic sector is strong, there is a need for
greater outreach to government agencies and
private citizens: fewer than 37% of respondents
reported consulting with government agencies
on botanical matters, only 2.2% consulted with
private citizens, and each respondent gave an
average of 1.3 interviews to the media from
2007 - 2009.

Recommendation 6
: All sectors should work
both individually and collaboratively to
strategically increase outreach efforts to
different audiences, and to monitor the
effectiveness of this work.  Action is needed to
create appropriate materials and deliver
information that increases the level of botanical
literacy and appreciation among policy makers,
other scientific disciplines, and the general
public. The private sector should build on current

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

outreach efforts to the government and general
public, the government sector should ensure
outreach efforts to the public effectively include
plants as well as the wildlife that depends
upon them, and the academic sector should
make a commitment to increase outreach
efforts beyond the academic sector.


Demand for research not being met:
respondents were unanimous in selecting
invasive species control as the top
management issue requiring additional
research, yet very few faculty or graduate
students reported undertaking research that
was applicable to invasive species control.
Plants are being left out of climate change
planning and action:
 Planning and policy
actions within federal and state government
agencies focused on climate change
adaptation and mitigation are not incorporating
botanical expertise. This is likely due at least
in part to a false perception that plants are not
being impacted by climate change, when in
reality they will often be more impacted than the
wildlife and people who depend upon them.

Private sector’s valuable but under-
supported role:
 businesses and non-profit
organizations are beginning to fill key gaps in
government and academic botanical capacity
through cross- sector partnerships. Botanical
services most commonly contributed to these
partnerships match up with top needs for
research and management, including invasive
species identification and monitoring,
botanical training, and rare species monitoring
and conservation. Additional support is needed
to ensure botanical capacity in the private sector
is in place and able to help the nation address
these current and future grand challenges.

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) —
charged with managing biological resources
on 40% of all public land, but employ just over
one botanist per 4 million acres (equivalent to
having one person responsible for all of
Connecticut). Of the 95 BLM survey
respondents, 97% said their agency did not
have enough botanically trained staff to meet
current needs.

US Geological Survey (USGS) — provides the
science to guide management of nearly 400
million acres of public lands. All USGS survey
respondents said their agency did not have
enough botanically trained staff to meet current
needs. A preliminary assessment of USGS
scientists at science centers in the western
U.S., where most public lands are located,
shows that wildlife scientists outnumber
botanical scientists by over 20 to 1.

Recommendation 7:
 The significant impacts
of climate change on plants, as well as the
people, wildlife, and ecosystem services that
are dependent upon plants for survival and
well-being, should be recognized. Appropriate
botanical expertise should be incorporated into
climate change planning and policy efforts in all
sectors to ensure appropriate proactive
research efforts are initiated, and collaborative
partnerships are encouraged to support
effective, efficient, and economically defensible
solutions. This includes ongoing work by the
Department of Interior in developing and
managing Climate Science Centers and
Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, where
botanical capacity is currently greatly

Recommendation 8: Public and private funding
should be directed to help all sectors close key
gaps identified in plant science research that
are directly linked to top needs and applications
identified by this survey. This includes identified
research needs in invasive species control,
climate change mitigation and adaptation,
habitat restoration, and the preservation of
ecosystem services.

Recommendation 9: The nation’s five federal
land management agencies* should increase
the number of trained, full-time botanists on
staff. At minimum, each agency should have at
 (a) one full-time botanist working
collaboratively at the national level to address
critical climate change issues facing plants on
public lands, and (b) one full-time botanist with
appropriate training on staff at all regional,
state, and field offices.

*Bureau of Land Management (BLM),
Department of Defense (DOD), National Park

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Service (NPS) US Forest Service (USFS), and
US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which
are collectively responsible for managing
nearly 1/3 of the nation’s landmass.

Recommendation 10: The US Geological
Survey, responsible for carrying out research
to guide management of Department of Interior
lands** should have at least five full-time
botanists with a range of appropriate training
on staff at each of its regional science centers.

**US Geological Survey (USGS) is the research
arm of the BLM, NPS, and USFWS National
Wildlife Refuge system, therefore charged with
research on the native plant communities
comprising almost 400 million acres of public

Recommendation 11: Administrators and
decision-makers at federal and state land
management and research agencies should
engage full-time staff botanists and work
collaboratively with academic and private sector
expert advisors in developing land-use plans,
and in planning and implementing responses
to key challenges (including climate change
mitigation planning, habitat restoration and
invasive species control strategies). This will
lead to more successful, efficient, and
economical outcomes.

Recommendation 12: Federal and state land
management and research agencies should
provide support for full-time staff botanists to
identify and prioritize plant-related issues, and
ensure these priorities are clearly and
consistently communicated to the academic
and private sector to allow for effective and
efficient action.

Once identified and

communicated, management and funding
decisions in the private and public sectors
should ensure that capacity and resources are
focused on the highest priority issues (such as
invasive species) and/or taxa (such as those
most critically threatened).

Recommendation 13: All federal land
management and research agencies should
ensure new hires have appropriate botanical
training, and that monitoring and reporting
mechanisms are in place to avoid a similar
decay in botanical capacity in the future.
Specifically, all new federal hires

recommended here should be employed
under the US Office of Personnel Management
employment code 0430 (Botany), rather than
the more general code of 0400 (Natural
resource management / general biology), as it
does not effectively capture required botanical

Recommendation 14: Cross-sector
communication and partnership should be
enhanced to pool existing resources, maximize
efficiency, and more rapidly address and fill
critical gaps in botanical capacity. Additional
resources are needed to facilitate partnerships
among government, academic, and private
sectors, ensuring long-term sustainability of
programs necessary for science-driven
management of the nation’s biological
resources. The Plant Conservation Alliance
provides an effective vehicle for multi-sector
partnerships, and examples of programs built
around public-private partnerships include the
national Seeds of Success program and
regional programs such as the New England
Plant Conservation Program and the Georgia
Plant Conservation Alliance.


 to download the

full report

Project staff: Kayri Havens, Chicago Botanic
Garden; Andrea Kramer, Botanic Gardens
Conservation International U.S.;
Barbara Zorn-Arnold, Chicago Botanic Garden

Advisory Board: Patricia DeAngelis, U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Service; Kent Holsinger, University
of Connecticut; Kathryn
Kennedy, Center for Plant Conservation; Rachel
Muir, US Geological Survey; Peggy Olwell,
Bureau of Land Management; Kristina
Schierenbeck, California State University, Chico;
Larry Stritch, US Forest Service; Marsh
Sundberg, Emporia State

Project funding: National Fish & Wildlife
Foundation to Chicago Botanic Garden (#2008-
0056, Assessing National Plant Science

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Planting memories: What

students learned about plants

from a conservatory field trip


Mary L. Keppler

2, 4

, Elisabeth E.



Done correctly, school field trips extend and
enhance the classroom learning experience.
In the context of botanical education, local
conservatories provide a unique opportunity
for students to experience plants.  The field trip
experience is one that makes a lasting
impression on students, and may improve
their attitude toward plants.  This study used
surveys to assess student retention of plant
knowledge and attitude toward plants several
months after a conservatory visit.  The results
show that the majority of students not only
recalled specifics about plants, but also
regarded the event favorably.  Students
described plants they recalled using several
categories such as shape, color, movement,
and texture.  Results from student feedback
were used to make revisions to the program to
further increase learning.  Teachers and non-
formal institutional staff can use the results of
this study to build effective botanical education
programs, taking into account student
perspectives about plants.

Key Words: assessment; botanical education;
field trip; non-formal; retention; survey

Students need to learn about plants as early as
possible so they can discover the origins of
their food and understand the basis for all

animal life on our planet.  Developing and
assessing effective student experiences with
plants deserves special attention since most
students know little about plants as compared
to animals (Uno, 1994; Hallé, 1999; Wandersee
and Schussler, 2001; Schussler and Olzak,
2008).  The characteristics of plants being
static, not having a face, and rarely being viewed
as individuals contribute to a general disregard
for the producers of our environment despite
their importance to everyday life (Hallé, 1999;
Wandersee and Schussler, 2001).

Non-formal learning, which can take place at a
museum, nature park, zoo, botanical garden,
or conservatory, appeals to students on a
different level than traditional classroom
instruction and can enhance learning by those
of varied intelligence levels and abilities
(Eshach, 2007; Fraser and Maguvhe, 2008;
Melber, 2008).  These settings give students a
chance to relate practical experiences with
what they have learned at school, potentially
creating lasting memories and long-term
learning.  It is imperative that learning outside
the formal setting is implemented and studied
(Tunnicliffe, 2001) because young students
identify their out-of-school experiences as the
source of most of their botanical knowledge
(Tunnicliffe and Reiss, 2000; Bebbington,
2005; Falk, 2005).

School field trips bridge non-formal and formal
classroom learning, and the most effective
field trips provide experiences that reinforce
classroom learning.  In particular, teacher
investment in field trip planning helps to prepare
students to be effective learners during the field
trip (Lindemann-Matthies, 2002; Tilling, 2004;
Bebbington, 2005; Eshach, 2007; Stern, 2008).
In a study done in Switzerland, there was a
positive correlation between the time teachers
spent on preparation activities in class to how
much knowledge was obtained out of the
classroom (Lindemann-Matthies, 2002).  Class
time spent talking about the potential of the trip
allows students to prepare for their visit and
reviewing their experience afterwards promotes
retention and synthesizes the experiences with
class studies.

Although the total impact of museum and
science center visits on student learning is
unknown, there is evidence that these visits


Manuscript received January 15, 2010; revision

accepted June 12, 2010.


Department of Botany, Miami University, 700

East High Street, Oxford, Ohio 45056


Department of Ecology and Evolutionary



University of Tennessee - Knoxville,


Dabney Hall, Knoxville, TN 37996


send correspondence to:

Reports and Reviews

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

can promote positive attitudes and motivate an
interest toward science which can be recalled
months later (Stevenson, 1991).  Learning
from a single visit does not occur only during
the event, but is an extended process of
compiling observations and information over
time (Falk, 2005).  Too often, students and
visitors are asked what they learned
immediately after a science center visit, rather
than asking what they understand about the
topic months later (Eshach, 2007).

Few published studies contain information
about student feedback from field trip
experiences; however, it is known that most
students enjoy breaks from the typical
classroom setting, yet know they are expected
to learn during their trip (Eshach, 2007).   Some
students may find leaving the comfort of school
and changing routine to be emotionally taxing.
Particular attention needs to be taken to
sensitively prepare students for the outing so
they can look forward to the experience
(Ballantyne and Packer, 2002; Dillon et al.,
2006; Eshach, 2007).

Since 2006, students from a primarily suburban
town in southwest Ohio have experienced non-
formal learning through a field trip program
conducted on a local campus.  Every fourth
grader in the district has had the opportunity to
spend two hours in a college laboratory using
microscopes to dissect flowers and learn about
the basics of sexual reproduction.  Additionally,
they spent two hours in a conservatory playing
a game of plant identification; the goal of the
field trip was to expose them to plant diversity
and build botanical vocabulary. This fourth
grade curriculum focuses on plant biology and
is part of the Ohio Department of Education
Academic Content Standards for Science (Ohio
Department of Education, 2004, p. 11).  The
content of the field trip correlates to a classroom
study that involves experimentation on Brassica
 cv. ‘Wisconsin Fast Plant®’ (Gladish,

There are few reports of longer-term post
assessments of non-formal programs and
how they were used to improve science
education programs.  The purpose of this
study was to assess the field trip portion of the
program, with a specific focus on what students
learned about plants and their attitudes towards

the trip.  Student surveys were used to gather
data on long-term content retention and student
perceptions.  Results support that students
recalled specific information about the trip
several months after it occurred, but that their
learning did not always match the intended
outcomes of the experience.  The data collected
were used to revise the program to facilitate
more directed student learning for future field

In 2005, a botanical conservatory with
approximately 5,200 square feet of greenhouse
space was opened on a regional campus of a
public mid-sized university in southwestern
Ohio. A native plants garden and prairie
grassland occur on the surrounding property
(Gladish, 2006).   This impressive structure
has the potential to enhance the learning of
students throughout the area and is currently
being used to educate fourth graders in the
nearby school district, as well as university

The fourth grade students who attend the field
trip to the conservatory are enrolled in a large
school district located in southwestern Ohio,
which serves both urban and rural students.
The majority of students are of European
descent (78%), 9.4% are African-American,
and 6.6% Hispanic, with less than a percent of
Asian students, and 5.3% of students from
multiracial backgrounds.  The majority of the
students are from economically disadvantaged
homes (57.1%) and 16.4% hold either cognitive
and/or physical disabilities.  Five percent of
students struggle with basic English proficiency
skills (Ohio Department of Education, 2008).

From October through December 2008,
approximately 700 fourth grade students and
their teachers visited the conservatory in groups
of about 50 students each day.  Students were
divided into two groups, one group heading
into the conservatory and the other into a science
laboratory.  Students in the science laboratory
were taught about plant reproduction and then
dissected Peruvian lilies using dissecting
microscopes and a structured worksheet.
Students in the conservatory engaged in a
question/answer session on plant processes
and were instructed on how to play an inquiry-

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

based game, the goal of which was to
accurately describe the features of a specific
plant so another classmate could identify the
plant (Gladish, 2006).  The primary author of
this paper assisted with the conservatory
portion.  After two hours, the students had
lunch and then switched locations.  By the end
of the field trip, each student had dissected a
lily in the lab and played the game in the

In February and March 2009, a survey (Table 1)
was created by the primary author and
administered to students by the science
teachers of each class.  Depending on when
the student visited the conservatory, the time
from visit to assessment ranged from three to
five months.  Every student who visited the
conservatory had the opportunity to fill out a
survey.  The science teachers were provided
with instructions on how to administer the
survey and the students took the survey during
normal class time; the primary author was not
present in the classrooms when the students
took the surveys.  An open response
questionnaire for the science teachers of these
students was posted online during the same
time period.  All data collection procedures
were approved by the university’s human
subjects review board.

The surveys asked students to recall how they
felt about the field trip experience, to describe
a plant they saw at the conservatory, and what
they learned on the field trip.  The survey also
included questions to identify students’ favorite
aspects of the trip and what students would
like to do on a future visit.  The structure of the
survey included both forced choice and open
response questions.  The responses to the
forced choice questions were chosen based
on the activities performed during the trip and
those that elicited the most excitement from
the students during their visit (e.g., the desert
room was the topic of many student
conversations when waiting for the bus, and
the clicker game was mentioned in thank-you
letters).  Students could select multiple
responses on the forced choice questions.

Every science teacher in the district returned
student surveys to the author, resulting in 100%
participation of the elementary schools.
Student surveys and teacher questionnaires

were analyzed by compiling frequencies of
each forced choice response and sorting the
open responses of students into categories.
Student descriptions of plants they
remembered often listed several characters,
and these were sorted separately from each
other.  The primary and secondary author
independently identified categories from the
data to increase validity of the results.
Disagreements in categories were resolved
through discussion.

A total of 560 student surveys were completed
and returned.  Twenty-seven surveys were
disqualified because the students had not
attended the field trip, so 533 surveys were
used for the results.  Six of fourteen science
teachers returned the teacher questionnaire.

Student attitudes towards the field trip were
assessed through questions 3, 4, 5, and 8.  The
results of the student survey revealed that 92%
of students liked visiting the college; 47% of
students had never been to a college before.
The most common student response about
leaving the school was being happy and excited
with 79% of students marking these emotions,
however, a significant number of students (35%)
were scared, nervous, or sad about leaving
school.  The majority of students, N=419,
responded that they like learning about plants.

When asked to describe a plant they saw at the
conservatory (question 7; open response),
students overwhelmingly focused on shape
and color, or tried to name a specific plant.  Many
students used several different types of
descriptors for the plants they recalled, but
overall, 93% of students (N=497) could describe
a plant from the field trip using characteristics
such as shape, color, type of movement (if
observed), and texture.  As shown in Figure 1,
students chose different ways to describe what
they remembered, most using shape, or
morphology, (N=224 of the students) to describe
plants such as “big,” “tree,” “spiky,” and “tall.”
The following plants were named specifically;
Venus fly trap (18%), the sensitive plant (15%),
cacti (11%), and cotton (4%).  37% of students
(N= 307) used color (such as the words “green,”
“purple,” “pink,” “white,” “red,” “yellow,” or
“brown”).  Responses (N=111) that fell into the
action category included words such as “move,”

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Figure 1. Student responses to  question 7; “describe a plant you saw at the conservatory,” grouped into
the most frequent descriptive categories.

Figure 2.  Student responses to question 9; “what did you learn on your field trip,” grouped into the most
frequently used categories.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

“close,” “eat,” “fold,” and “curl.”  The organ
category (N=70 responses) included “leaves,”
“flower,” “fruit,” “stem,” and “trunk.”  While texture
(N=51) was inclusive for “fuzzy,” “sharp,” “sticky,”
and “fluffy.”

When asked what they learned on their field trip
(question 9; open response), both the lab
dissection and the conservatory exploration
were catalysts to learning (Figure 2).  Overall,
481 students (90%) gave a plant-related
response.  Many students (N=149) wrote that
they learned that plants are diverse, writing
phrases such as “there are many different
plants in the world,” “there are many kinds of
plants that can do cool stuff,” and “there are
cool exotic plants then [sic] the ones in Ohio.”
Students also responded that they learned
how to dissect plants and how to use
microscopes (N=65), showing a gain in skills.
Students frequently noted that they learned that
plants have parts, writing “there is a female and
male part of a plant,” “about different parts of a
plant like a pistil,” and “about the four parts of
a flower.”  After the experience, some students
understood the significance of plants in the
world saying, “plants aren’t just pretty they help
the environment,” “how they give us oxygen,”
and “that the most important thing in the world
is plants.”  Several students mentioned
vocabulary terms that they had learned including
“stamen,” “pistil,” and “pollen.”  Students also
referred to learning the plant life cycle on the trip
writing, “how they grow and live,” and “when
pollen spreads the female part of the plant

The activities chosen by students (question 6;
forced choice) as their favorites during the trip
included; leaving school (54%), using the
microscopes (52%), and using the clickers
(47%).  Touching the plant that moved (46%),
learning about plants (45%), and dissecting
the flower (42%) followed close behind.  When
asked what they would like to do if they returned
to the campus, (question 10; forced choice)
students overwhelmingly chose to “take
pictures” (70%).  “Bringing family” came second
(65%), “touch the moving plant” followed (58%),
and “bringing friends” ranked fourth (57%).

Teachers who responded to the questionnaire
enjoyed the opportunity to visit the campus, the
hands-on experiences for the students, and

the correlation to the classroom curriculum
(namely the Fast Plants project).  The use of
microscopes and models, the background
information and handouts that were provided
and the exotic plants in the conservatory were
also mentioned as positive aspects of the trip.
All six teachers who responded to the
questionnaire enjoyed the trip and were looking
forward to it in 2009.

From the 533 student surveys used in the
analysis of the results, students indicated that
although most enjoyed the field trip and the act
of leaving school, many were nervous about
the experience.  Three to five months after the
field trip, students had strong recollections of
the experience and what they learned.  They
used familiar words and identifiers to describe
plants they recalled, mentioning shapes,
common names, colors, and textures.  In spite
of the fact that leaf arrangement, leaf type (simple
v. compound), and leaf margins were presented
during the conservatory lesson, students did
not use these attributes to describe plants.
Students never mentioned petioles, nodes,
internodes, or apical meristems during the
game or afterwards in the survey.  These
findings were an inspiration to alter the program
materials to reflect what students were focusing
on about plants.  The students learned how to
dissect plants and use microscopes, that plants
are an important part of our ecosystem and
come in many different forms.  The students
understood that plants have parts and these
parts are responsible for growth and
reproduction.  They recalled specific terms
presented to them during the trip in regards to
plant parts such as stamens, pistils, petals,
and sepals.  The retention of these terms could
be the result of classroom reinforcement prior
to and after the field trip.  They rated the use of
tools and touching plants as the activities they
most enjoyed, and these aspects of the program
were maintained.

Implications of Study— Teachers who have
completed pre-visit activities, are fully engaged
during the field trip, and reinforce learning in the
classroom can significantly increase the level
of student enjoyment, understanding, and
retention in regards to non-formal field trips.
Strgar (2007) found that the enthusiasm and
competency of the teacher was positively

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

correlated to student interest in the non-formal
experience.  The conservatory staff encourages
teachers to look over the plant descriptions the
students are writing during the game and help
their students to use botanical vocabulary and
make accurate observations.  The overheads
used during the conservatory portion of the trip
were also made available to the teacher of
each class prior to the visit so they could review
the material before and after the visit.  This
helps to reinforce the content and also gives
students familiarity with the institution they are
visiting.  The surveys indicated that although a
majority of students were happy or excited
about the visit, many others were scared or
nervous about visiting the college; this attitude
has also been found in other studies
(Ballantyne and Packer, 2002; Dillon et al.,
2006; Eshach, 2007).  Eshach (2007) noted
that anxiety can result in undesirable behavior
such as acting out and an inability to focus on
learning tasks.  Ballantyne and Packer (2002)
established that although students valued the
experience of leaving the classroom, and
remembered the visit as enjoyable, those
students who had engaged in pre-visit activities
tended to mark the visit as more enjoyable than
those who had not.  Their study included data
collected from both primary and secondary
schools, supporting the fact that these results
can be applied to a wide range of students.

Students and botanists differ widely in the
terms they use to describe plants, and it is
important to understand students’
perspectives when designing botanical
programs.  Greenberg (2006) found that
students often rely on a mixture of newly-
acquired scientific terms and previously
learned vocabulary to describe novel objects.
Tunnicliffe (2001) analyzed student
conversations in a botanical garden and found
that the majority of students used dimensions,
colors, and sizes to describe plants.  The
students in her study noted leaves, visible
flowers and fruits, and other unique
characteristics to refer to specific plants.  The
fourth grade students who visited the
conservatory in 2008 also used layman terms
to describe plants including colors, textures,
movement, and common names instead of the
more technical terms introduced by instructional
staff during the program.  Encouraging students
to learn and use new botanical vocabulary

meant making revisions to the materials
currently used during the program.

The revisions were aimed at increasing student
use of botanical vocabulary about common
plant characteristics such as growth habit,
number of petals, and shapes in addition to the
frequent use of colors and texture.  To
accomplish this goal, the results from the survey
were used to construct new overheads, which
provided visual examples of growth forms, leaf
shapes and margins, flower shapes, and fruits.
Instead of seeing black and white drawings of
oak, maple, and locust tree leaves, the students
were presented with color representations of
actual plants in the conservatory such as
papaya leaves, palm trees, and pitcher plants.
The overheads also emphasized the use of
words like “tree,” “vine,” “needles,” and “lobes”
by marking them in bold letters beneath
examples depicting each character state.  The
directions for the game were rewritten to
emphasize the characters that the students
should focus on in their descriptions, such as
number of petals, the plant growth form (tree,
vine, hanging plant), and leaf or flower shape.
Based on recent observations, the photos of
plants on the revised overheads clearly excited
the students and increased their level of
anticipation for exploration of the conservatory.

Providing students with experiences with
familiar plants and allowing them to touch
plants is critical to conservatory programs.
Instructors should take advantage of student
fascination with carnivorous plants and familiar
crops to demonstrate leaf attributes, flower
function, and fruit production. For example, a
picture of a Venus fly trap is now used during the
program to demonstrate leaf margins, and to
explain that the teeth are not actually used for
chewing.  When discussing fruits, the students
are shown a picture of a cocoa pod and many
go searching for this fruit in the conservatory
after the lesson.  Students take great pride in
identifying an object that they are familiar with
(Tunnicliffe, 2001), and the majority of students
are aware of Venus fly traps and chocolate.
Letting students touch the plants clearly made
a positive impression on the students in our
study because variations in texture were
mentioned by several students in their plant
descriptions.  Being able to touch and smell
the plants gives students additional ways to

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

observe differences between species.  They
were also fascinated by the sensitive plant,
which has inspired the staff at the conservatory
to grow one sensitive plant (Mimosa pudica)
for each elementary school science room so
the students can extend their exploration into
the formal classroom setting.

The students were impressed with the
technology used during the field trip, especially
the dissection microscopes and clickers used
during the laboratory portion.  These results
have prompted the lab instructor to include the
use of document cameras and compound
microscopes mounted with prepared slides of
pollen and ovules.  Younger generations of
students are very tech savvy and respond well
to the appropriate use of modern tools during
instruction.  The conservatory staff is currently
looking into how cameras can be used in
response to the 70% of students who wanted
to perform this activity on a repeat trip.

Results of improvements— During the 2009
field trips, clue sheets were collected from the
students after they completed the conservatory
game, and analysis of these sheets showed
that students were describing plants using
terms discussed in the lesson such as “oval
leaves,” “needle-like leaves,” “small teeth,”
“long spikes on edge of leaves,” “starfish
flowers,” “bell-shaped flowers,” “3 petals,” “5
petals,” “tree-like,” “water plant,” and “vines.”
Students mentioning leaf margin attributes,
specific numbers, and growth forms was a
goal of the program and supports the notion
that the revisions are having an impact.

This study shows that student surveys can be
used to assess non-formal programs for long-
term student retention, and that students recall
specifics about a botanical field trip months
after it has occurred.  These types of
assessments can be used to revise programs
to facilitate additional student learning about
plants, by bridging the gap between what
students and botanists know about plants.

The authors would like to thank Dr. Daniel
Gladish and Terry White for access to the
program, and Dr. Daniel Gladish and two
anonymous reviewers for comments that
improved the manuscript.  The Department of

Botany at Miami University and the Garden Club
of America provided project funding to the
primary author.  We would also like to convey
our gratitude to the students and teachers who
visited The Conservatory and assisted with the


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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

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Table 1. Student Survey

1  Did you go on a field trip to [university] to learn
about plants? YES/NO/Don’t remember

2  If yes, when did you play the “find the mystery
plant” game in the conservatory? BEFORE
Lunch/AFTER Lunch/Can’t remember

3  Was this your first time at a college?   YES/
NO/Maybe/Don’t know

4  Did you like visiting the college?  YES/NO/
Maybe/ Don’t know

5  How did you feel about leaving school for the
field trip? Scared/Nervous/Happy/Excited/None
of these/Other_________________

6  What was your favorite thing about visiting the
lab and the conservatory? Leaving school/
Using the microscopes/Touching the plant that
moved/ Dissecting the flower/Using the clickers/
Looking at the Venus fly traps/The Desert room/
Eating lunch/Learning about plants/ Seeing all
the different plants in the conservatory/

7  Describe a plant you saw at the conservatory.
(open response)

8  Do you like learning about plants?
YES/NO/Maybe/Don’t know

9  What did you learn on your field trip? (open

10  If you went to the lab or the conservatory
again, what would you like to do? Look for neat
plants/Touch the moving plant/Use the
microscopes/Bring my friends/Ask questions
about plants/Use the clickers/Bring my family/
Dissect another flower

/Take pictures/

Look at the Venus fly traps/

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

From Plant Traits to Vegetation Structure:
Chance and Selection in the Assembly of
Ecological Communities
. Shipley, Bill. 2010.
ISBN 9780521117470 (cloth US $120.00); ISBN
9780521133555 (paper US$60.00), xi + 277
pp. Cambridge University Press, The Edinburgh
Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK.

What is a “plant community”? Is it a set of
interacting species growing at their
environmental optima (Clements 1916)? Is it a
random selection from a broader species pool,
each behaving idiosyncratically (Gleason
1927)? Is it a group of species each of which
represents a particular functional type as

defined by particular, morphological or
physiological traits (Warming and Vahl 1909):
Do species in a community represent strategic
“solutions” and “trade-offs”  constrained by
natural selection (Grime 1974)? Or, as Bill
Shipley writes in From Plant Traits to Vegetation
, (pp. 17-18), “What do you see when
you stand in a forest?...[P]lants belonging to
different species...or [a set of] plants
possessing different traits? And once one has
settled on a definition of a plant community, the
next important question is how such a
community comes to be, or, in the ecological
jargon  du jour, how it is assembled. Shipley
dispenses with definitions quickly and then

Books Reviewed


From Plant Traits to Vegetation Structure: Chance and Selection in the Assembly of Ecological
. Shipley, Bill. -  Aaron M. Ellison...............................................................................130

Plant Microevolution and Conservation in Human-influenced Ecosystems. Briggs, David.-Tan

The Art of Plant Evolution. W. John Kress and Shirley Sherwood. — Root Gorelick...............134

Economic Botany

Essential Oil-Bearing Grasses. The genus Cymbopogon.   Anand Akhila. - Lytton John

Maize Cobs and Cultures: History of Zea mays L. Staller, John E. - Edward Coe.................136


Gene Flow between Crops and Their Wild Relatives. Andersson, Meike S.  and  M. Carmen de
Vicente. - Lytton John Musselman....................................................................................................138


Flora of North America. Volume7. Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae. Flora of North
America Editorial Committee. — Neil Snow.....................................................................................139

Plants of Central Texas Wetlands.  Scott B. Fleenor and Stephen Welton Taber. -Lytton John

Lone Star Wildflowers: A Guide to Texas Flowering Plants.  Lashara J. Nieland and Willa F.
Finley.  -Traesha R. Robertson...........................................................................................................141

The Kew Plant Glossary: An Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Identification Terms. Beentje, Henk
J.  -Kevyn J. Juneau..............................................................................................................................142

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

uses statistical models to illustrate why trait-
based models of community assembly can
have more explanatory power than species-
based models of community assembly.

In this clearly written book, Shipley first argues
that different species are associated with
different environments because of different
demographic processes (births, deaths,
dispersal). These demographic processes in
turn are not caused by species identity but
rather are a function of morphological and
physiological traits that are subject to natural
selection. Therefore, plant communities are
best seen as groups of species that have traits
(or “strategies”) that are successful in their
local environments. Thus, community
assembly can be viewed as a process of
filtering: the end result of a set of (species with)
traits that pass through an environmental filter.
The key challenge, and the focus of the bulk of
From Plant Traits to Vegetation Structure, is to
turn this clear, but qualitative, link between
traits and environment into a quantitative
framework that can be used to link species that
have particular traits to the environment. Shipley
has been working on this problem for the better
part of 30 years, and his keen insights and
engaging style of writing lead the reader easily
through a very dense body of theory, models,
and data.

Shipley begins this journey with an analogy: the
process of community assembly is “nature-
as-a-biased-die” (p. 2). The world we see is the
result of constantly throwing dice. The face of
each die is a species, but the dice are loaded
– the traits of each species bias the dice. These
biases are expressed differently in different
environments, or to continue the analogy, on
different gambling tables. Because the
environment is constantly changing, the biases
are also constantly changing, and the dice
need to be re-rolled just to stay in the game (cf.
Van Valen 1973). So, consider the dynamics of
community assembly as equivalent to playing
craps with biased dice. Developing a
quantitative model of this endless crooked
game requires extensive use of probability
theory and statistical mechanics.

The central two chapters of the book (and
nearly 120 pages) take the reader through
probablity theory, Bayesian statistics,

information theory, and the “Maximum Entropy
Formalism”. Although the mathematics are
formidable, the verbal explanations carry the
reader along to the central idea: to “find the
distribution of relative abundances of species
[in a given community] from a [broader, regional]
species pool that maximizes the relative
[or degree of uncertainty] subject to
community-aggregated trait values
” (p. 133).
Chapter 4 focuses on the details of quantifying
relative entropy – the throwing of the dice.
Chapter 5 continues by incorporating traits as
constraints on assembly – the biases of the
dice. Both chapters include helpful computer
code snippets in the R language that illustrate
how to maximize entropy and simulate crooked
craps. (It is somewhat annoying that the code
was typeset without any attention to line-breaks.
Thus, the important comments (prefaced by
the # sign) are broken across lines, and if a
reader simply scanned or typed the code as
, it would fail to run because the R
interpreter would try to execute fragments of

A brief 12-page detour lets the reader view an
empirical example of community assembly
based on data collected during secondary
succession after some French vineyards were
abandoned  (Shipley et al. 2006). The results
of the confrontation of Shipley’s model with
Shipley’s data are encouraging but limited in
scope. The scope would be expanded if more
data were available or brought to bear on the
problem. Shipley asserts that this dataset is
the only one available to actually test whether
or not his models actually work. I suspect that
combining ecological studies with trait data in
floras and emerging databases would yield
more chronosequences of vegetation
composition, traits associated with the species,
and reasonable species pools – at least as
reasonable Shipley et al.’s dataset, which itself
was not collected to address this model..

The strength of the empirical example is that
Shipley et al. (2006) had detailed information
on the species pool, the actual species in the
sample, and their functional traits. In most
cases, however, the composition of the species
is not known. One needs precisely that
information to determine the relative abundance
of species in a given environment that results
from filtering of traits! However, we can use the

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

data we do have on traits and environmental
filtering to forecast a species abundance
distribution (SAD). A SAD illustrates the
expected number of species with n individuals
(on the y-axis) as a function of the number of
individuals (n) per species (on the x-axis).
Constructing a SAD requires no information
on the identity of each species. In contrast, a
relative abundance distribution illustrates the
number of species having a proportion p of all
individuals (on the y-axis) against p (on the x-
axis), and does require information on the
identity of each species. Chapter 7 explores
the application of the Maximum Entropy
Formalism to SADs. Although this chapter, as
Shipley himself notes (p. 213-214), is not
cleanly linked with the rest of the book, it does
illustrate well the generality of the maximum
entropy approach.

Ecologists have spent decades looking at
SADs and constructing and endlessly debating
complex models and ecological explanations
for the predictions of these models (the current
“niche-versus-neutral” debate is only the most
recent salvo; see Leibold and McPeek 2006).
But SADs are a special case of a general set
of “abundance distributions” – including not
only relative abundance distributions but also
distributions of income, classes of star types,
molecules of gasses, and bits of information
– that can be analyzed with a common set of
equations (Rostovtsev 2005). To me, bringing
this paper to the attention of ecologists and
expanding on this insight is one of the most
important messages of this book. The
observation that ecological phenomena are
part of a larger, mathematically unifiable
framework should encourage ecologists to
look beyond the idiosyncracies of individual
species or particular ecosystems and towards
more general rules that can be used to
understand natural phenomena.

Overall, From Plant Traits to Vegetation Structure
provides a quantitatively strong and pleasantly
readable treatment of contemporary ecological
theories of community assembly.
Nonetheless, despite an awareness that
natural selection works on traits, a longer view
of evolutionary dynamics is rarely evident. The
emerging field of community phylogenetics
(Cavender-Bares  et al. 2009) seeks to link
evolutionary history with community assembly.

Closely-related species often have similar
traits, and recent work illustrates that traits with
strong phylogenetic (and hence species-linked)
signals are filtered similarly along
environmental gradients (Pillar and Duarte
2010). Although Shiplely does not apply the
Maximum Entropy Formalism in this
evolutionary framework, the generality of the
model provides some cause for optimism. The
time spent reading From Plant Traits to
Vegetation Structure
 will be time very well spent
in preparing for the next generation of models
of community assembly.

– Aaron M. Ellison, Harvard University, Harvard
Forest, Petersham, Massachusetts 01366 USA


Literature Cited

Cavender-Bares, J., K.H. Kozak, P.V.A. Fine, and
S.W. Kembel. 2009. The merging of community ecology
and phylogenetic biology. Ecology Letters 12: 693-

Clements, F.E. 1916. Plant succession: an analysis
of the development of vegetation
. Carnegie Institution
of Washington, Washington, D.C.

Gleason, H.A. 1926. The individualistic concept of the
plant association. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical
 53: 7-26.

Grime, J.P. 1974. Vegetation classification by
reference to strategies. Nature 250: 26-31.

Leibold, M.A., and M.A. McPeek. 2006. Coexistence
of the niche and neutral perspectives in community
ecology.  Ecology 87: 1399-1410.

Pillar, V.D., and L.d.S. Duarte. 2010. A framework for
metacommunity analysis of phylogenetic structure.
Ecology Letters 13: 587-596.

Rostovstev, A. 2005. On a geometric mean and
power-law statistical distribution. Unpublished

Shipley, B., D. Vile, and E. Garnier. 2006. From plant
traits to plant communities: a statistical mechanics
approach to biodiversity. Science 314: 812-814.

Van Valen, L. 1973. A new evolutionary law.
Evolutionary Theory 1: 1-30.

Warming, E., and M. Vahl. 1909. Oecology of plants:
an introduction to the study of plant communities
Clarendon Press, Oxford, U.K.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Plant Microevolution and Conservation in
Human-influenced Ecosystems.
David. 2009. ISBN-13: 978-0521818353 ISBN-
10: 0521818354 (Hardcover US$157.99)
ISBN-13: 978-0521521543 ISBN-10:
0521521548 (Paperback US$75.00) xix + 598
pp. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge,

There is a tendency amongst ecologists and
evolutionary biologists to examine populations
in a “natural” setting; that is to say in the
absence of obvious human influence. In order
to try to untangle the complex interplay between
ecological and evolutionary processes and
the patterns they generate, it is necessary to
remove the confounding effects of human
influence given that one subscribes to the
assumption that most of these natural
processes have been taking place long before
Homo sapiens ever made their appearance.
There is a certain validity to this assumption
because the explosive growth of human
populations has resulted in the strongest
anthropogenic ecological impacts being
generated in the last few thousand years,
hardly even a tick on the evolutionary clock.
However, as we try to gaze forward and
comprehend the possibilities for the future,
this bias does not serve us well because it is
simply not possible to understand the process
of evolution today outside the context of human
influence. This is one of the central themes of
David Briggs’ new book, Plant Microevolution
and Conservation in Human-influenced
, a comprehensive yet accessible
treatment of evolutionary biology and
conservation issues, unique, as far as I am
aware, on its focus on plants. The stated
audience of the text is students, undergraduate
and post-graduate, as well as interested
general readers. With 500+ pages of text in 21
chapters and 79 pages of reference, there is
more than enough to appeal to and challenge
such a wide-ranging audience.

David Briggs is Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson
College and former Curator of the Herbarium
at Cambridge University. With the botanist Max
Walters, he wrote one of the classics of plant
evolutionary biology, Plant Variation and
1 Briggs and Walters has mentored
students for over four decades and is as
balanced and relevant today as it was in 1969

when the first edition was released. In many
ways Briggs’ new work is a companion to the
classic text with the latter being a standard
reference for a backward looking view on how
evolution shaped plant populations before
human influence (although, not exclusively)
and the former being a forward looking view
examining plant microevolution since the arrival
of humans.

Plant Microevolution and Conservation in
Human-influenced Ecosystems
 is essentially
organized into three-parts with a past, present
and future structure. In the first seven chapters,
Briggs provides a historical context and solid
overview of the Darwinian ideas and modern
methods used to look at plant microevolution
—evolution below the species level. He also
reviews the history of human-influence on
ecosystems as well as examines their impacts.
For areas that are close to the reader’s interests,
components of these chapters may come
across as being too basic. For instance, there
is a reproduction of the genetic code and how
the triplet codon sequence determines amino
acid sequence which seemed unnecessary.
However, it quickly becomes apparent that what
is repetitive for one reader will serve as a good
refresher for another as the substantial breadth
of introductory information is revealed. Few
readers would have familiarity with the entire
range of evolutionary, conservation and
anthropological observations and concepts that
the author summarizes. For example, many
parts of Chapter 4, the review of the human
history of ecological impact from the perspective
of human population growth, were fascinating
and new to me. I was reminded how dramatic
the human population expansion has been
and that many ecosystems that were largely
free of such influences just a few thousand
years ago now face anthropogenic pressures
akin to a plate of bacteria exposed to an anti-
biotic. This pressure creates what Briggs
identifies as a dichotomy between species that
are “winners” (i.e., the anti-biotic resistant
bacteria) and “losers” (i.e. all the other bacteria)
in the context of human influence.

The subsequent six chapters, Chapters 8-13,
will have a familiar feel to readers of Briggs and
Walters. With a logical and thorough approach,
the author looks at present plant microevolution
vis-à-vis some of the best-studied human

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

The Art of Plant Evolution. W. John Kress and
Shirley Sherwood. 2009. ISBN 978-1-84246-
421-2. Pp 320. Kew Publishing.

This is a curious volume that merges botanical
illustration with modern science. The idea is
fantastic, trying to teach botanists a little about
art and artists a little about science. Such a
cross cultivation of ideas can go a long way,
although probably requires a more idiosyncratic
approach than was taken here.

impacts on ecosystems such as farming,
ranching, forestry, pollution, introduction of
invasives, habitat fragmentation and habitat
destruction. Each topic is presented with an
identification of important questions and a
review of the studies that have tried to answer
these questions. For example, what is the
consequence of wide-spread herbicide use?
The author looks at why herbicides are used in
agriculture then proceeds to look at herbicide
resistance, the speed with which resistance
develops and then the population
consequences of this resistance. Extensive
references are provided, permitting particularly
motivated readers to follow up on each topic.
The benefit of an authoritative review of a topic
is that the answers that have yet to be
satisfactorily resolved, as well as new
questions become readily visible. For this
reason, readers will be stimulated to pursue
new lines of research in these areas.

A common question upon the identification of
our ecological impact is: “What can we do
about it?” The question of how we can mitigate
and manage the human impact on ecosystems
is the subject of the final eight chapters.  Briggs
critically examines the role of ex- and in-situ
conservation, restoration, reintroduction and
reserves. Each subject is broken down into key
components. For example, on the topic of
reserves, the reader is introduced to the
concepts of fragmentation, edge effects, the
impact and role of corridors and reserve design.
What is refreshing about this treatment is that
these ideas are generally illustrated from plant
examples, not just charismatic mega-fauna,
although animal examples are certainly used
when necessary. The last three chapters of the
book look at climate change and its over-
arching influence on the microevolution and
conservation issues that are discussed in the
previous chapters. There are times when these
chapters feel heavy with quotes from IPCC
reports and that they are tacked onto an already
complete book, but there is no debate that
much uncertainty in our understanding of
conservation issues hinges on the fact that we
can not refer to any past experience when it
comes to the influences of climate change.

Plant Microevolution and Conservation in
Human-influenced Ecosystems 
is a book that
successfully offers broad and balanced

coverage of Darwinian ideas as they operate
today in plant populations. It could only be
written by a professional botanist. However, a
lasting impression of the text is that it is also a
personal oeuvre, a coalescence of contrasting
impressions formed from a young age in South
Yorkshire where industrial landscapes were
juxtaposed against natural beauty. The
questions and concerns introduced in this
book are complex and multi-disciplinary, and
to tackle them requires a historical and scientific
knowledge, as well as social and political
awareness. Most of us are not educated or
experienced with such breadth and depth, and
there is a distinct sense that the author is trying
to contribute to the training of such individuals
by sharing the personal knowledge and wisdom
acquired in a productive and ongoing career.
The fact that ecologists, evolutionists and
conservation biologists have huge and
separate international annual meetings attests
to enormity of each field. As a result, the shear
amount of information required to grasp the
collective and overlapping issues is daunting
at times and this is why, in an environment
where journal articles are the norm, a
comprehensive book is required to centralize
major ideas. If a hallmark of science is the
generation of some predictive ability, Briggs
reminds us it is necessary to further integrate
these fields to try to understand what the future
offers. The book is thought-provoking as
advertised; it is also quite humbling.

-Tan Bao, University of Alberta.


 Briggs, D. and Walters, S.M. (1997).  Plant

variation and evolution (3


ed.) Cambridge

University Press, Cambridge, UK. 256 pp.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

This book is organized around a modern
phylogenetic tree, largely generated by the
Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (APG), with a
few gymnosperms, pteridophytes, bryophytes,
and two out groups (a fungus and a brown
algae) thrown in. The authors, Shirley Sherwood,
an art collector, and John Kress, an evolutionary
botanist, cover over a hundred botanical
illustrations from Sherwood’s collection,
representing a wide swath of taxa, especially
angiosperms. They devote two pages per plant,
with both author’s contributing text in their areas
of expertise. Each pair of facing pages contains
one botanical work of art, plus occasionally a
zoom-in detail. Although a scala natura is no
longer fashionable, the authors present plants
in such a traditional order, albeit with an
unexpected interleaving of rosids between
several groups of non-rosid/non-asterid core

For each plant illustrated, Sherwood provides
a brief biography of the artist, while Kress
provides a summary of how molecular biology,
especially DNA sequencing, implies
phylogenetic placement. Occasionally, the
author’s provide other snippets, such as about
the artist’s style or about the plant’s
biogeography or pollination mode. Kress’s brief
insights into pollination were always nice. Often
there is a lot of white space on each page,
allowing us to really appreciate the illustrations.

Emphasis of the text is on sytematic placement,
so this book may have been better called “The
Art of Plant Systematics”. Both the main text and
the inside back cover provide a visually elegant
simplified phylogenetic tree. As a casual reader
or as an artist, this is much better than looking
at boring computer-generated output from a
phylogenetic computer program. But there is
much more to plant evolution than simply
phylogenetics and systematics. And these other
evolutionary aspects are unfortunately largely
missing from this book.

In rare instances, interesting evolutionary gems
are mentioned. For instance, with temperate
violets, “It is a curious fact that the same plants
also produce much reduced flowers hidden
under the soil that never open and are
consistently self-pollinated and inbred.” I would
have loved such pearls on most pages. That

would have really drawn non-biologists into
science, much more so than discussing
who is related to who. The botanical painting
of the violet is also lovely insofar as it is a rare
illustration of the entire root system. While
not as technical, another pearl is that
Heliconia was named after the Greek
mountain Helicon, home to the muses,
thereby signifying that Heliconia was and still
is thought to be related to Musa. Many non-
botanists would love reading that sort of
material from cover-to-cover…and Kress
probably has that knowledge at his fingertips.

The editing of this book was substandard,
with lots of redundancy, self-contradiction,
and other gaffes. For example, at the top of
one page Kress says, “This order [Arecales]
consists of a single family, the palms, with
2,000 species. Yet, near the bottom of that
same page Kress says, “Over 2,775 species
and 200 genera make up the palm family.” A
few assertions are blatantly wrong, yet could
have been very illuminating about plant
evolution. Kress says that Gingko biloba
gametes are wind dispersed, by which I
assume he means male gametes. However,
since the late 1800s, we have known that
gingko and cycad male gametes – i.e. sperm
– swim to the egg using numerous flagella.
While gingko pollen is dispersed by wind,
pollen is a gametophyte, not a gamete, thereby
missing an important evolutionary lesson
that could have been taught to non-scientists.
As a final example, we do not need to know
that “Vicki Thomas is an attractive and
energetic botanical artist.” Of course she is
a botanical artist and, more importantly, her
attractiveness is irrelevant.

Overall, I really like this book, but was
nonetheless hoping for better. The book
needs more quixotic observations,
remembering that, “Darwin admonished us
not to ignore the ‘oddities and peculiarities’
of life as we see it today. It is by the analysis
of such oddities that evolutionary history can
be reconstructed.” (Margulis & Sagan 1988:

—  Root Gorelick, Department of Biology,
Carleton University, Ottawa, ON Canada K1S

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Maize Cobs and Cultures: History of Zea mays
. Staller, John E. 2010. ISBN 978-3-642-
04505-9 e-ISBN 978-3-642-04506-6 DOI
10.1007/978-3-642-04506-6 (Cloth US$
179.00) ix + 262 pp. Springer. P.O. Box  2485,
Secaucus, NJ 07094-2485.

This volume is a digest and a progression
from papers in the massive 48-author volume
edited by Staller, Tykot, and Benz, 2006. The
author here follows other books in the same
sphere he has written or co-edited recently.
The main emphasis is on the prejudgments
and influences that have affected studies and
interpretations on (a) the origin and phylogeny
of maize, (b) the antiquity of maize, and (c) the
value systems of maize held by pre-Columbian
peoples in the Western Hemisphere. In some
respects this is an apologia for past
assumptions by ethnohistorians,
ethnographers, archaeologists, and
ethnobotanists, and an effort to set a current
perspective. The author’s works are covered
comprehensively. Substantial parts of the
same analysis, less repetitive and more easily
digested, are in the 2006 book, which has the
added value of glossaries of terms in the
various articles. Nonetheless, the 2010 book
is thoroughly referenced and is a compilation
resource. Accordingly, the writer, while
presenting his own synthesis and a composite
view, provides a service to the research-user.
Thankfully, searches can be done in the entire
text through Springer’s access via Amazon,
and the reader can locate citations and terms
at will.

The influences of past assumptions are visited
repeatedly throughout. Highlighted are
uncritical absorption of ill-supported claims
for the origin and phylogeny of maize; time
determinations based on limited
methodologies such as associations rather
than on direct dating with multi-dimensional
evaluations; and biases in perspective that
have been imprinted onto indigenous peoples.
Much emphasis is given to Old World bias,
among students of New World agriculture,
with respect to productivity of grain per se. In
contrast, substantial information is provided
for the use of stalks for sweet juice, of maize for
fermented beverages, and of the plant and
grain for social and intercultural and religious
form. According to the author’s studies, in

Essential Oil-Bearing Grasses. The genus
.   Anand Akhila, Editor.  2010.
ISBN 978-0-84937-857-7. (Cloth US$139.95)
245 pp.  CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL.

The audience for this book appears to be the
industrial users of extracts of lemon grass, the
overall common name applied to this genus of
tropical grasses. Cymbopogon flexuosus is a
major source of citral used for flavoring as a
substitute for lemon. In addition, citronella oil,
derived from Cymbopogon winterianus and C.
, is important for the perfume industry,
repellants, soap, and other uses.  References
cited are extensive.
A great deal of technical information on the
chemistry of the compounds is presented and
the chapters are rife with structural formulae.
In addition to chemistry, there are chapters on
toxicology, trade, and harvest.  Inexplicably,
little information on the culture of these grasses
is presented.  Also lacking is significant
information on their role in natural plant
communities and how indigenous people used

The book could benefit from more careful
editing.  For example, names for all
Cymbopogon species on the International
Plant Name Index site are listed with little
indication as to which are synonyms. How is
the reader to use this information? Likewise,
the table recording the export of lemongrass
oil from India takes four pages.  There are
similar extensive tables with little informative
value, i.e., French South and Antarctic
Territories imported 1 kg of lemongrass oil
from India in 2007.  One gets the impression
that data is presented without any—no pun

The few black and white images are poorly
produced resembling those from an office
photocopier.  While this small expensive
volume (about $0.60/page) might be a helpful
resource for anyone working with plant
essential oils, I would not recommend it for any
but the most specialized user.

-Lytton John Musselman, Department of
Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University,
Norfolk, VA 23529-0266.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Ecuador maize was a secondary food source
in its earliest identified introduction,
approximately 4000 BP. If maize was
domesticated to be a storable grain, initiating
static agriculture, the argument of the author is
that ethnobotanical evidence provides little
support. The origins of agricultural practices
are encircled but not defined in the book. I
expected, but did not see, mention of one major
difference between domestication of cereals in
the Fertile Crescent and in the Western
Hemisphere: In contrast to the small grains,
which are largely cleistogamous and self-
fertilizing, maize is freely cross-pollinating and
promiscuous.  This has supported great
diversity and high plasticity of the species.

The treatment of the origin of maize may mislead
a casual reader, specifically if one does not
read the whole. The historical survey has P. C.
Mangelsdorf quoted or cited early and over 50
times in the text. As the author ultimately points
out, Mangelsdorf held the dubious honor of
maintaining a theory (more appropriately an
hypothesis) of the origin of maize that was
experimentally discounted on cytological
grounds and was untenable. That hypothesis
was a baseline for many, though not all,
ethnohistorical studies for well over 50 years.
A more tenable proposal by Beadle in 1939
(and others) was based on sound and rational
grounds, has since been steadily supported by
morphological and phylogenetic studies, and
has been proven by molecular means, —but
full proof is not documented until p. 94. Even
some claims by some of Mangelsdorf’s
protégés are afforded attention early on. Staller
cites one protégé multiple times, implying at
first credibility to questionable evidence, which
is only discounted on p. 94 and pp. 123-124.
The issue is fully faced on pp. 119, 123-124; –
The paper by Bennetzen et al., 2001, which is
the definitive presentation of genetic evidence
and multidisciplinary evidence regarding the
origin of maize, is cited then as a “final rebuttal”
but at in only two places in the volume. That
paper, in full, lays out both the validating evidence
for the teosinte origin and the invalidating
evidence for a Tripsacum hypothesis. Uneven
weight, besides that for Bennetzen et al. 2001,
is given to key sources: The chapter by Galinat
(1988) is a comprehensive and primary
resource, but is only cited once, and only
incidentally, in the text. The book by Mangelsdorf

(1974), however, is cited repeatedly. One
source of information is overlooked: Crosses
of Tripsacum with maize, backcrossed
repeatedly to maize (e.g., Grimanelli et al.,
1980 a, b), were conducted to transfer
diplosporous apomixis from Tripsacum to
maize.  Despite exhaustive efforts, their results
in no way supported ready transfer of traits into
fertile maize, much less transitions from one to
the other, and are contradictory to any
conspecific relationship.

Very nearly contradicting the previous, p. 222
states the following: “Despite the enduring
controversy [reviewer’s italics] over the
phylogeny, origins, chronology, macrobotanical
identification, and routes of dispersal of
maize…. …” – itIt should be more appropriate,
instead of “enduring controversy,” to use words
like “unfolding story.” The phylogeny and origins,
at least, are no longer controversial.

Criticisms: The writing is dense with terms that
are not always defined in place, especially
native or Spanish words. The flow is also
interrupted throughout by references cited in
clusters, some of which are less relevant than
others and some even inconsistent.  In addition,
the production of the book is seriously flawed.
The writer and the publisher have previously
produced highly readable and editorially clean
papers, but the text is so sprinkled with errors
in syntax, typography, and redaction that it is as
if it has been dictated, transcribed without
review, and published hastily without
emendation by the publisher.  On the other
hand, there is no acknowledgment of help from
a transcriber, reviewer, or editor.  Comma
faults, subject-verb agreement, misspellings,
extraneous words, incomplete words or
sentences, repeated phrasing, repeated
concepts, citation errors, and grammatical non-
sequiturs are so common that they often leave
the meaning unclear or distract the reader.
Some errors of a bit higher order: (1)
Mismatches between text citations and the
Reference list (a few examples, cited but not in
references: p. 141, Hard et al. 1976; p. 94,
deWet and Harlan 1976; p. 192, Hart and
Matson 2009). (2) Fig. 2.26(a) shows ears
from Cuzco that are described as popcorn but
are instead the well-known, large-kernel flour
corn from this area. (3) Fig. 3.1, “Map showing
the spread of maize …” is important yet is all but

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Gene Flow between Crops and Their Wild
. Andersson, Meike S.  and  M. Carmen
de Vicente.  2010.  ISBN 978-0-8018-9314-8.
(Cloth US$60.00) 564 pp. Johns Hopkins
University Press.  .

This is a timely, well-edited compendium of
information on major crops and gene flow
between them and their wild relatives.  It
“focuses on one particular concern that is of
utmost importance for the release of GM
[genetically modified] crops in or around areas
with concentrated crop diversity—the likelihood
of gene flow and introgression to crop wild
relatives and other domesticated species.”
With the increased use of GM crops around the
world, this book will be of value.

Twenty crops (Banana and plantain, barley,
canola, cassava, chickpea, common bean,
cotton, cowpea, finger millet, maize, oat, peanut,
peal millet, pigeonpea, potato, rice, sorghum,
soybean, sweet potato, and wheat) based on
world acreage, availability of GM technology,
and role of the crop in food security.  Each of the
twenty crops are discussed relative to center of
origin and diversity, general biology (ploidy
level, hybrids), flowering including phenology,
pollinators and general life history; pollen
dispersal and viability, sexual reproduction
(heterozygosity, genomic information),
vegetative reproduction,

-Lytton John Musselman, Department of
Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University,
Norfolk, VA 23529-0266.

unreadable; its source or credit is unstated. (4)
Fig, 3.3 states that “Maize is highly mutagenic”
– the correct term is “mutable”. .” (5) Puzzling
meaning, p. 106: “Some members of the related
genus Tripsacum are locally referred to as
“teosintes,” plants that have compound leaves,
a Cycad.” (6) Terminology: the term “cob” should
be used only for the structure upon which the
kernels are borne, and “ear” for the filled cob.
The text often uses “cob” for ears. “Spout” is
often used where “sprout” is meant. (7) Fig.
3.11, a photograph of teosinte, is cited on p.
120 in respect to Tripsacum origin but is not
relevant. (8) P. 143, footnote 23 is cited but is
not shown. (9) P. 156 cites Fig. 2.13a but refers
to Fig. 3.13a, and cites Fig. 2.2b but refers to
Fig. 3.2b. (10) Fig. 4.3, “Teosinte male
inflorescence or tassel.”— – this morphology
does not represent all teosintes. (11) P. 177
cites Fig. 2.7 but refers to Fig. 3.7. (12) P. 197,
13C decay data are described as “resulting in
what are referred to as C3 and C4 plants.”— –
the data do not result in, but discriminate,

If one has deep curiosity about maize and
cultures (that is, cultures of indigenous peoples
and of scientists who study maize history); if
one is prepared to expand study by referring to
sources; and if one has tolerance with text
flaws and redaction, this volume is a thorough
access point.

-Edward Coe, University of Missouri, Columbia,
Missouri 65211-7020.

-Grimanelli, D., O. Leblanc, E. Espinosa, E. Perotti, and
D. G. De Leon et al., 1998a  Mapping diplosporous
apomixis in tetraploid Tripsacum: one gene or several
genes? Heredity 80:33-39.

-Grimanelli, D., O. Leblanc, E. Espinosa, E. Perotti, and
D. G. De Leon et al., 1998b  Non-mendelian
transmission of apomixis in maize-Tripsacum hybrids
caused by a transmission ratio distortion. Heredity

-Mangelsdorf, Paul C, 1974.  Corn: Its Origin
Evolution and Improvement.  Cambridge, MA. The
Belknap Press

-Staller, John E., Robert H. Tykot, and Bruce F.
Benz. 2006 .Histories OfMaize:Multidisciplinary
Approaches To The Prehistory, Linguistics,
Biogeography, Domestication, And Evolution Of
. Academic Press.

“To know the name of a plant, and to be able
to ascertain its place in the Linnaean system,
is, in the opinion of many, to be a botanist:
although such a person may be entirely
unacquainted with its anatomy, or organic
structure, and ignorant of its peculiar, or
medicinal qualities: as well as of the nature
of its food, and the means of its nourishment;
yet these are the things which principally
govern its nature.”

  -Benjamin Waterhouse, 1811, The Botanist
(2nd botany textbook written in the United

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Flora of North America. Volume7.
Magnoliophyta: Salicaceae to Brassicaceae.
Flora of North America Editorial Committee.
2010. ISBN 978-0-19-531822-7 (Hardback.
US $95.00; £60.00) 797 pp. Oxford University
Press, 198 Madison Avenue, New York, New
York 10016, U.S.A.

With Volume 7, the FNA Editorial Committee
has produced 16 volumes, thereby passing
the halfway point in publication of this landmark
series.  General commentary concerning the
layout is unnecessary given that it is unchanged
from previously volumes and most readers of
this review probably are well familiar with other

This book treats eleven families, including (in
order) Salicaceae (which now includes
Flacourtia  and  Xylosma, formerly of the now
non-existent Flacourtiaceae), Tropaeolaceae,
Moringaceae, Caricaceae, Limnanthaceae,
Koeberliniaceae, Bataceae, Resedaceae,
Capparaceae, Cleomaceae, and
Brassicaceae.  These families include 125
genera, 17 of which are endemic, and 923
species, of which 593 are endemic.  Of these,
196 taxa of conservation concern, many of
them in Brassicaceae.  Introduced species
(138) account for ca. 14.9% of the Flora.
Approximately 31% of the taxa are illustrated.

The majority of Volume 7 covers the willows
(Salicaceae) and mustards (Brassicaceae).
Considerable attention is given to hybridization
in Salicaceae (Populus  and  Salix).  Populus
(written by James Eckenwalder) includes
separate keys to flowering, fruiting and leafy
(sterile) specimens. The genus Salix  (by
George Argus) includes 113 species in the
FNA region. Over 5-1/2 pages are devoted to a
discussion of the biology of the willows,
including an historical overview of the generic
classification, information on its ecology
(including seedling establishment),
propagation, morphology, intraspecific
variation, hybridization, polyploidy, economic
uses, and conservation.  I was happy to see
Argus plug his own interactive key for Salix

), which he

suggests may be more reliable than the printed
dichotomous keys, given the widespread
variation within some taxa.  Where needed, a
separate paragraph summarizes the biology

and recognition of confirmed hybrids after
description of the parental taxon.  In some
cases (e.g., S. alba,  S. arctica)  the space
devoted to the biology of the hybrid taxa exceeds
considerably that of the focal species.  In some
cases (e.g., S. ovalifolia), a key is given to the
named hybrid taxa (in this case, at the varietal
level). Of notable value is discussion of similar
species, which will help workers identify difficult

Capparaceae is now treated apart from
Cleomaceae, the latter of which is much more
prevalent in the FNA region. The well-known
Rocky Mountain bee-plant is now Peritoma (not
Cleome)  serrulata. The common moniker of
this species is appropriate.  For several years
in Colorado we allowed one plant in a small
native plant garden to grow to full size (over a
meter tall and nearly as wide, when watered
heavily). Bees visited the plant in great numbers,
which we can only presume led them to other
flowers nearby.

Slightly over 70% of the volume (excluding
introductory material, literature cited, and the
index) covers Brassicaceae, which was written
largely by Ihsan Al-Shehbaz, a lifelong student
of the family.  Prepare to re-learn some generic
boundaries among the mustards, for plenty of
changes have occurred in recent years. A short
key to genera (p. 229) directs users to 4 groups
of genera keys, based on type of trichomes,
presence or absence of cauline leaves (and
whether auriculate), and whether fruits are linear
of some other shape. A 4-winged, circular icon
(see p. 228) is included at the end of generic
couplets if mature fruits and seeds are needed
for identification of subordinate couplets; this
feature surely will help many users. The entirety
of  Lesquerella  is now in synonymy under
Physaria, which at 88 species in the FNA region
is third in size within the family (in the FNA
region) behind Draba  (121 species) and
Boechera (109 spp). Considerations of ploidy
level and apomixis were given particular
attention in re-consideration of recognized
species in Boechera.

In my view, Volume 7 is a desirable, if not
required, addition to the library of any active
North American plant ecologist or taxonomist,
given that virtually all broad taxonomic or
ecological field study inevitably leads workers

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Plants of Central Texas Wetlands.  Scott B.
Fleenor and Stephen Welton Taber.  2009.
ISBN 978-0-89672-639-0. (Paper$27.95.) 275
pp.Texas Tech University Press, Lubbock, TX.

This is the kind of book I would like to write, a
flora of a local area of great botanical interest
imbued with the passion of the authors. The
title is somewhat misleading, the plants occur
in the Ottine wetlands of south-central Texas
rather than in the more expansive central Texas
region.  These wetlands include elements
from the southeastern United States at their

western extent as well as western species
near their eastern limit making the flora of
phytogeographical interest.

The plan of the book is simple, straight forward,
and effective.  In the first chapter, the geology,
soils, vegetation history, plant communities,
and detailed descriptions of some areas are
described.  The majority of the book is devoted
to entries dealing with individual species.

These entries are thorough with descriptions
perhaps more extensive than necessary with
loads of fascinating references to the biology of
the plants and the authors’ observations.  For
example, I was interested to learn that Lobelia
, a plant I have studied, has a
fenestrated corolla admitting  nectar thieves
(page 148).  In some large and complex groups,
as  Carex, superficially similar species are
discussed (page 110).

For the user, an identification guide like this
requires quality images.   Overall, the pictures
are clear, informative, and well printed with very
good color separation.  One could point out
minor problems like the vertiginous attitude of
Lamium amplexicaule (page 120) or the close
up of Boehmeria cylindrica (page 185) giving
the initiate no idea of what the plant looked like
but these and a few other problems do not
detract from the immense value of the 260 full
color pictures.

A nice feature of the book, usually absent from
such guides, is the inclusion of some
bryophytes (though no Sphagnum) along with
the algae Chara and Nitella.

The back material is extensive and useful—
including a complete checklist, what appears
to be an excellent index, and references cited.

This volume is well produced and carefully
edited. A real value at less than $30.00! It is an
exemplar for future studies and will be an
invaluable reference for anyone interested in
the flora of the southeastern United States,
especially wetlands.

-Lytton John Musselman, Department of
Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University,
Norfolk, VA 23529-0266.

to species of Salicaceae and Brassicaceae,
and both families have many challenging
taxonomic groups.

My complimentary copy arrived with
considerable water damage along the lower
part of the spine and front cover.  I can use this
situation as a point of praise, since the binding
and signatures withstood the damage, despite
the inevitable wrinkling and a small amount of
reddish fungal growth.  After 72 hours on a plant
drier, however, the volume was perfectly usable.

Like all volumes of the series, this contribution
represents the only taxonomic summary across
the FNA region for most of the taxa covered.  If
past and potential granting agencies wonder
whether the volumes are worth their long
gestation periods, this reviewer answers
unhesitatingly in the affirmative.  Delays do
arise in production and publication, but that
typically is a price we pay for good science.

May the FNA series come to its full fruition in the
years ahead.

— Neil Snow, Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice
Street, Honolulu, HI 96817.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

The Kew Plant Glossary: An Illustrated
Dictionary of Plant Identification Terms.
Beentje, Henk J. 2010. ISBN 978-1-84246-
422-9 (Paper US$30.00) 170 pp. Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew, Press through University of
Chicago Press, 11030 S. Langley Avenue,
Chicago, IL 60628.

The  Kew Plant Glossary, compiled by Henk
Beentje, a botanist at the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew, is a thorough collection of
terminology relevant to botany. The glossary
contains 4144 defined terms with 735
accompanying illustrations. It also has 28
illustrated plates of grouped terms, a
bibliography, and lists of common symbols,
prefixes, and suffixes.

This glossary is a welcome companion to my
collection of plant keys and field guides. It is an
approachable work with readable font and
concise definitions. The author provides only
one or two definitions to prevent confusion and
provide much needed continuity in the field.
Though the glossary focuses on descriptive
terms and plant morphology, it also provides
definitions to many terms common throughout
all plant literature ranging from ecology,
genetics, evolution, to forestry. There are,
however, some poorly defined terms in this

Lone Star Wildflowers: A Guide to Texas
Flowering Plants
.  Lashara J. Nieland and
Willa F. Finley.  2010.  ISBN: 978-0-89672-644-
4.  321 pages

Lone Star Wildflowers: A Guide to Texas
Flowering Plants contains a wide range of
information covering the myths and legends,
medicinal or landscape uses, history, and
other fun facts for various Texas wildflowers.
The book is not meant to be a field guide on
plant identification but more as a supplement
to these guides.  The text is well-written and
flowing.  It starts out with a brief biography for
each family, followed by a presentation of various
wildflower species separated on the basis of
flower color.  The family biographies are
insightful and provide distinct traits for each
family.  Within each color chapter, the flowers
are further separated into families, then
species.  Each species is listed with its scientific
name, several common names, information
on current and historical uses, and a striking
photograph focusing on the floral details.  Each
color chapter ends with an ‘Exploring Further’
section containing more in depth photographs
of some plants, including flower color variations,
leaves, buds, fruits, and entire plants.

There are no morphological keys in this book
since the book was intended to provide a
broader range of information, but the book
would have benefited from a map of Texas
showing the general localities for these flowers
so readers knew where to look for them and
could gain further insight into the historical
information included.  Although the
photographs are very detailed, most lacked a
name immediately next to the picture, and it
was not always obvious which picture went
with which description.  Furthermore, the
photographs are deceptive with respect to
flower size, and since there is no mention of
size in the species descriptions, this may create
some confusion for general users.  Also, two
of the color chapters, green flowers and white
flowers, are so similar for some species that
it may be more useful to combine the two
chapters or place them next to each other to
avoid confusion.  Poaceae is not included in
the guide, but Ephedraceae is listed even
though it is a gymnosperm.  However, this fact
is clearly indicated in the text.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book and perfect
for Texas flower enthusiasts who wish to learn
insightful facts about the history and uses of
wildflowers.  However, while the book is a
useful supplement to other plant identification
guides, it is not useful alone, since there is little
information on plant morphology, habitat, or
distribution.  This book is more suited for general
botanists who wish to learn more fun facts
about wildflowers.  Still, it is a truly outstanding
work and a pleasure to read.

-Traesha R. Robertson, Texas Tech University.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Books Received

If you would like to review a book or books for
PSB,contact the Editor, stating the book of
interest and the date by which it would be
reviewed (15 January,15 April, 15 July or 15
October).  E-mail

, call, or write

as soon as you notice the book of interest in this
list because they go quickly!   

Note that books

in green are already in review and no longer

  Books received are now posted on

the web site as they become available and may
be requested as soon as they are posted.
- Editor

Botanic Gardens: Modern-Day Arks.  Oldfield,
Sara.  2010.  ISBN 978-0-262-01516-5 (Cloth
US$29.95)  240 pp.  MIT Press, 55 Hayward
Street, Cambridge, MA 02142.

Botanical Sketchbook. Scott, Mary Ann, and
Margaret Stevens. 2010. ISBN 978-1-59668-
232-0. (US$24.95) 126 pp. American Artist
Books, 29 W 46th Street, New York, NY 10036.

A Color Atlas or Photosynthetic Euglenoids.
Ciugulea, Ionel and Richard Triemer. 2010.
ISBN 978-0-87013-879-9. (Oversized
US$89.95) 232 pp. Michigan State University
Press, 1405 South Harrison Road, Manly Miles
Building, Suite 25, East Lansing, MI 48823.

Dictionary of Plant Breeding, 2


 ed.  Schlegel,

Rolf H.J. 2010.  ISBN 978-1-4398-0242-7.
(Cloth UD$99.95) 571 pp.  CRC Press, Taylor
& Francis Group, 6000 Broken Sound Parkway,
NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742.

Diversity and Ecology of Lichens in Polar and
Mountain Ecosystems.  
Hafellner, Josef, Ingvar
Kärnefelt and Volkmar Wirth (eds).  2010.  ISBN
978-3-443-58083-4  (Paper •104.00) 389 pp.
J. Cramer in Borntraeger Science Publishers,
Johannesstrasse 3 A, 70176 Stuttgart,

Diversity, Phylogeny, and Evolution in the
 Seberg, Ole, Gitte Petersen,
Anders S. Barfod, and Jerrold I. Davis (eds).
2010. ISBN 978-87-7934-398-6. (US$68.50
[398,00 DKK]) 664 pp. Aarhus University Press,
Langelandsgade 177, DK – 8200 Århus N.

Essentials of Conservation Biology, 5



glossary. For example, “d.b.h.” is defined as
“diameter at breast height” and has an
illustration of a person standing next to a tree
trunk with an arrow on the tree at the person’s
chest height. It would be more accurate to
define “d.b.h.” as the diameter of a tree bole at
4.5 feet or 1.37 meters from the ground, the
standard in forestry. These cases are few and
in no way take away from the value of this work.

The illustrations, by Juliet Williamson, are
simple sketches or line drawings that
accompany many of the terms to provide visual
clarification. The structures and forms
illustrated in this book are clear, but arrows that
point to specific features are left out in some of
the more detailed illustrations. This may be
because these structures are obvious to the
author, illustrator, and botanists, but these
structures may not be obvious to those outside
the field. Again, this only occurs in a few cases.
The number of illustrations is nicely balanced;
the glossary is not overrun with illustrations,
nor does it contain too few.

One of the more valuable features of this
glossary is the 28 illustrated plates of grouped
terms. This section provides a series of
illustrations of various morphologies, e.g. leaf
shapes, surfaces, and inflorescences, for
comparison. There will always be confusion
due to plant variation, but these plates certainly
help the reader determine what form or shape
particular terms describe.

Overall this glossary is beyond my expectations.
I’ve yet to come across a confusing or unknown
term in an identification key that was not in The
Kew Plant Glossary
. The addition of the
illustrated plates of grouped terms, list of
common symbols, prefixes, and suffixes, and
a bibliography greatly add to the value of this
book. I am sure this glossary will be the first
resource many botanists, ecologists, and
naturalists reach for when an unfamiliar term
springs up in identification keys, journal articles,
or plant descriptions. My copy of The Kew Plant
 has found a permanent home next to
my dissecting microscope.

-Kevyn J. Juneau, The School of Forest
Resources and Environmental Science,
Michigan Technological University, Houghton,
MI 49931.

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

Primack, Richard B. 2010.  ISBN 0-87893-640-
8 (Cloth US$86.95) 538 pp.  Sinauer Associates,
Inc., P.O. Box 407, Sunderland, MA 01375-

Ethnoveterinary Botanical Medicine: Herbal
Medicines for Animal Health.  
Katerere, David
R. and Dibungi Luseba (eds.).  2010.  ISBN.978-
1-4200-4560-4  (Cloth, US$139.95) 434 pp.
CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 6000
Broken Sound Parkway, NW, Suite 300, Boca
Raton, FL 33487-2742.

Fern Ecology.  Mehltreter, Klaus, Lawrence R.
Walker, and Joanne M. Sharpe (eds).  2010.
ISBN 978-0-521-89940-6.  (Cloth US$125.00)
444 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Grasslands of Wales” A Survey of Lowland
Species-Rich Grasslands, 1987-2004.
Stevens, D.P., S.L.N.Smith, T.H. Blackstock,
S.D.S. Bosanquet, and J.P. Stevens.  2010.
ISBN 978-0-7083-2255-0 (Cloth US$85.00)
336 pp.  University of Wales Press, distributed
by the University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60


Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Habitats of Wales: A Comprehensive Field
Survey, 1979-1997.  
Blackstock, T.H., E.A.
Howe, J.P. Stevens, C.R> Burrows, and P.S.
Jones.  2010.  ISBN 978-0-7083-2257-4 (Cloth
US$85.00)  240 pp.  University of Wales Press,
distributed by the University of Chicago Press,
1427 E. 60


 Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

An Introduction to Plant Structure and
Development: Plant Anatomy for the Twenty-
First Century, 2


 ed.  Beck, Charles B.  2010.

ISBN 978-0-521-51805-5  (Cloth US$75.00)
441 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Marine Phytoplankton: Selected
Phytoplankton species from the North Sea
around Helgoland and Sylt.
 Hoppenrath, Mona,
Malte Elbrächter, and Gerhard Drebes.  ISBN
978-3-510-61392-2  (Paper •18.80) 264 pp.  E.
Schweizerbart’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung
(Nägele u. Obermiller), Johannesstrasse 3 A,
70176 Stuttgart, Germany.

Methods in Molecular Biology, Volume 631.
Plant Epigenetics, Methods and Protocols.

Kovalchuk, Igor, and Franz J. Zemp (eds).  2010.
ISBN 978-1-60761-645-0 (Cloth US$119.00)
255 pp.  Humana Press c/o Springer Science,
333 Meadowlands Pkwy, Secaucus, NJ 07094.

New Flora of the British Isles, Third Edition.
Stace, Clive.  2010.  ISBN 978-0-521-70772-5
(Paper US$90.00) 1232pp.  Cambridge
University Press, 32 Avenue of the Americas,
New York, NY 10013.

Nova Hedwigia Beiheft 135, Diatom
Taxonomy, Ultrastructure and Ecology:
Modern Methods and Timeless Questions.  A
tribute to Eugene F. Stoermer.
 2009.  ISBN
978-3-443-51057-2 (Paper •139.00) 369 pp,
J. Cramer in Borntraeger Science Publishers,
Johannesstrasse 3 A, 70176 Stuttgart,

Plant Physiology, 5


 ed.  Raiz, Lincoln and

Eduardo Zeiger.  2010.  ISBN 0-87893-866-4.
(Cloth US$124.95)  782 pp.  Sinauer Associates,
Inc.  P.O. Box 407, Sunderland, MA 01375-

Science and Technology of Organic Farming.
Barker, Allen V. 2010.  ISBN 978-4398-1612-7
(Cloth US$69.95)  224 pp.  CRC Press, Taylor
& Francis Group, 6000 Broken Sound Parkway,
NW, Suite 300, Boca Raton, FL 33487-2742.

Seeds of Amazonian Plants.  Cornejo,
Fernando and John Janovec.  2010.  ISBN 978-
0-691-14647-8 (Paper US$24.95) 186 pp.
Princeton University Press, 41 William Street,
Princeton, New Jersey, 08540-5237.

Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, and
  Ghazoul, Jaboury and Douglas
Sheil.  2010.  ISBN 978-0-19-928587-7  (Cloth
£65.00)  516 pp.  Oxford University Press, Great
Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, Great

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Plant Science Bulletin 56(3) 2010

St. Louis, Missouri 


Healing the Planet  July 9 - 13, 2011

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