Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2011 v57 No 2 SummerActions

background image






Summer 2011 Volume 57 Number 2 

Matthew Koski wins the  

J. S. Karling Student Research 

Award.  Congratulations 

Winners 42

BSA Election Results - 

Congratulations all!.....  Page 48


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

1st Place

Triarch Botanical Images 

Student Travel Awards

James Riser

Washington State University

Showy milkweed and hawk 


PlantingScienceWins prestigious 

SPORE Award from AAAS. Page 49

background image

From the Editor

                                                                                     Summer 2011 Volume 57 Number 2



Editorial Committee  

Volume 57

Jenny Archibald  


Department of Ecology 

& Evolutionary Biology 

The University of Kansas 

Lawrence, Kansas 66045

Root Gorelick  


Department of Biology & 

School of Mathematics & 


Carleton University 

Ottawa, Ontario 

Canada, K1H 5N1

Elizabeth Schussler  


Department of Ecology  & 

Evolutionary Biology 

University of Tennessee 

Knoxville, TN 37996-1610

Christopher Martine 

Department of Biology 

State University of New York 

at Plattsburgh 

Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2681

KUDOS to the PlantingScience team and a quartet 

of outstanding botanists!

The PlantingScience website won the 2011 AAAS 

SPORE Award, announced in the 25 March issue 

of Science 331(6024): 1535-1536.  See BSA Educa-

tion News and Notes, p. 49,  for a brief description 

and a link to the Science article.  AAAS also recog-

nized three BSA members, Ned Friedman, Roger 

Hangarter and Jonathan Wendel, as 2011 AAAS 

Fellows and Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra was presented a 

Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and 

Engineers.  See the Personalia section, pp. 54-5. for 

more information about the awardees.

The main focus of this issue, however, is preparing 

for the 2011 meeting in St. Louis where the theme 

will be economic botany.  To set the tone we feature 

two articles with different approaches to the theme.  

In Market Botany, Chris Martine provides a differ-

ent twist to engaging students in the role of plants 

in modern life.  The field trip he outlines is not the 

usual anatomical/morphological foray to the pro-

duce section of the local supermarket.  Instead it is 

an analysis of product labels, not just food, with an 

eye toward the taxonomic distribution of economi-

cally useful plants.  An eye-opener to be sure!

Our second article is another in our recent series of 

notable botanists, this time of one of the founders 

of the field of ethnobotany, Richard Evans Schultes.  

As author Rainer Bussman notes, for an ethnobota-

nist, talking about Schultes “is like talking about 

god.”  I am not one of the chosen, being a disciple 

of Esau’s Anatomy, but Bussman’s interpretation of 

the world according to Schultes certainly gave me a 

greater appreciation 

for this alternative 

botanical perspec-

tive.  I hope you 

will find it just as 

rewarding and that 

you will “Meet me 

in St. Louis.”

Carolyn M. Wetzel 

Department of Biological 

Sciences &Biochemistry 


Smith College 

Northampton, MA 01063 

Tel. 413/585-3687


background image


Table of Contents

Register NOW....

Society News

Awards 2011  ...................................................................................................42
American Journal of Botany ............................................................................48
BSA Election Results ......................................................................................48     
BSA Science Education News & Notes ..........................................................49
Editor’s Choice Reviews .................................................................................53


White House award for Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra. ...................................................54
2011 AAAS Fellows. .......................................................................................55


Coming up Short:  Only 39 percent of North American endangered plant    
species are protected in collections .................................................................56
The Catalina Island Conservancy Herbarium (CATA) – call for institutional  
exchanges................................................ ........................................................57
Welcome to New BSA Staff Members ............................................................57


Cycad 2011 Meeting in Shenzhen, China........................................................58

     Global Strategy for Plant Conservation Conference........................................59

Reports and Reviews 

Market Botany: A plant biodiversity lab module. Christopher T. Martine. .....61

Reflections on the life and legacy of Richard Evans Schultes.   
Rainer W. Bussmann .......................................................................................66

Books Reviewed ..............................................................................


Books Received  ..............................................................................


To our Legacy Society Members  ....................................................


BOTANY 2011 ................................................................................


background image


Chi-Chih Wu 

University of Colorado, Boulder 

Advisor: Dr. Pamela Diggle - Botany 2011 

presentation: “The impact of the lower genetic 

relatedness of endosperm to its compatriot embryo 

on maize seed development” Co-authors, Pamela 

Diggle and William Friedman


The BSA Graduate Student 

Research Awards 

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards 

support graduate student research and are made 

on the basis of research proposals and letters of 

recommendations. Withing the award group is 

the Karling Graduate Student Research Award. 

This award was instituted by the Society in 1997 

with funds derived through a generous gift from 

the estate of the eminent mycologist, John Sidney 

Karling (1897-1994), and supports and promotes 

graduate student research in the botanical sciences. 

The 2011 award recipients are:

J. S. Karling Graduate Student 

Research Award

Matthew Koski 

University of Pittsburgh

Advisor, Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman, Breaking 

boundaries of human visual bias: selection on 

ultraviolet floral traits

BSA Graduate Student 

Research Awards

Gerardo Acero-Gomez

University of Pittsburgh

Advisor, Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman, Long live the 

flower: increasing flower longevity and outcrossing 

rate with increasing community diversity

Botanical Society of America 

Awards 2011

We are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2011 awards provided by the Botanical Society of America. 

Here we provide recognition for outstanding efforts and contributions to the science of botany. We thank 

you for your support of these programs.

Darbaker Prize

The Darbaker Prize in Phycology is given each 

year in memory of Dr. Leasure K. Darbaker. It 

is presented to a resident of North America for 

meritorious work in the study of microscopic 

algae based on papers published in English by the 

nominee during the last two full calendar years.  

This year The Darbaker Award for meritorious 

work on microscopic algae is presented to: 

Dr. Sallie (Penny) Chisholm 

Massachusetts Institute of 


Vernon I. Cheadle Student 

Travel Awards

(BSA in association with the Developmental and 

Structural Section).  This award was named in honor 

of the memory and work of Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle.

Jessica Budke 

University of Connecticut 

Advisor: Dr. Cynthia S. Jones - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Experimental Manipulation of the 

Moss Calyptra: The effect of cuticle removal and 

desiccation on sporophyte development in Funaria 

hygrometrica.” Co-authors, Bernard Goffinet and 

Cynthia Jones

David Duarte 

Cal Poly Pomona 

Advisor: Frank Ewers - Botany 2011 presentation: 

“Seasonal changes in the vessel anatomy of adults and 

resprouts of California black walnut trees following 

wildfire” Co-authors, Edward Bobich, Sarah Pak, 

Shawn Pham, Yasuhiro Utsumi and Frank Ewers 

Ari Novy 

Rutgers University

Advisor: Dr. Jean Marie Hartman - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Rapid evolution of phenology during 

invasion of the grass Microstegium vimineum in 

North America.” Co-authors, Luke Flory and Jean 

Marie Hartman

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Jose D. Zuniga 

Claremont Graduate University 

 & Rancho Santa Ana Botanic 


Advisor, Dr. Lucinda A. McDade, Systematics 

and biogeography of Sabiaceae with emphasis on 

Neotropical Meliosma.

The BSA Undergraduate 

Student Research Awards 

The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards 

support undergarduate student research and are 

made on the basis of research proposals and letters 

of recommendation. The 2011 award recipients are:

Keri L Caudle 

Fort Hays State University

Advisor, Dr. Brian R. Maricle 

Jennifer Collins 

SUNY Plattsburgh

Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine 

Jacqueline Rice 

University of Florida

Advisor, Dr. Pamela Soltis 

Eric Taber 

Colgate University

Advisor, Dr. Eddie Watkins

Megan Ward 

SUNY Plattsburgh

Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine

Developmental & Structural 

Section Student Travel Awards

Kelly Matsunaga 

Humboldt State University

Advisor, Dr. Alexandru Tomescu
Botany 2011 presentation: “Nectary Structure of 

Scoliopus bigelovii (Liliaceae).” Co-authors: Michael 

R. Meslerand Alexandru Tomescu

Lavanya Challagundla 

Mississippi State University 

Advisor, Dr. Lisa Wallace, Evolution of B 

chromosomes in the Genome of Xanthisma gracile 


Grant T. Godden 

University of Florida

Advisor, Dr. Pamela S. Soltis, Out of the bushes 

and into the trees: Alternative approaches to a 

problematic mint phylogeny

Daniel M. Griffith 

Wake Forest University

Advisor, Dr. T. Michael Anderson, Adaptive 

Significance of Sodium and Grazing Tolerance in 

Serengeti Grasses

Stephanie Pimm Lyon 

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Advisor, Dr. Thomas J. Givnish, Systematics and 

biogeography of Corybas (Orchidaceae)

Rhiannon Peery 

University of Illinois at 


Advisor, Dr. Stephen R. Downie, Understanding 

genome interactions within the carrot family 

(Apiaceae) using phylogenetic methods

Daniel Spalink 

University of Wisconsin-


Advisor, Dr. Kenneth J. Sytsma, Phylogeny, 

biogeography, ecology, and population genetics 

of the North American bulrushes (Scirpus

Cyperaceae): assessing the implications of 

endemism in a changing climate

Simon Uribe-Convers 

University of Idaho

Advisor, Dr. David C. Tank, Inferring Patterns 

of Biodiversity in a young Andean ecosystem: 

developing a novel high throughput sequencing 

approach for phylogenetic and phylogeographic 

studies in Bartsia (Orobanchaceae)

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Ecology Section Student 

Travel Awards 

Rupesh Kariyat

Pennsylvania State University

Advisor, Dr. Andrew Stephenson - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Volatile mediated indirect defense 

signaling is disrupted by inbreeding and genetic 

variation in Horsenettle (Solanum carolinense L) .” 

Co-author: Andrew Stephenson

Benjamin VanderWeide 

Kansas State University 

Advisor, Dr. David C. Hartnett - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Mark-recapture analysis of 

herbarium data from the northern Flint Hills of 

Kansas, USA.” Co-authors: Brett Sandercock and 

Carolyn Ferguson

Genetics Section Student 

Research Awards 

Genetics Section Student Research Awards provide 

$500 for research funding and an additional $500 

for attendance at a future BSA meeting. 

Guadalupe Borja 

Oklahoma State University

Masters Student Award - Advisor: Dr. Andrew 

Doust, for the proposal titled “Integrating 

phylogeny and population genetics: distinguishing 

incomplete lineage sorting and gene flow to infer 

the evolution of the Southeastern bladderpods 

(Paysonia spp.).”

Kim Thompson 

University of Cincinnati

Graduate Student Award - Advisor: Dr. David Lentz, 

for the proposal titled “Chloroplast Microsatellite 

Analysis of Manilkara zapota (Sapotaceae), a 

Tropical Fruit and Timber Tree.”

Genetics Section Student 

Travel Awards

Ari Novy 

Rutgers University

Advisor, Dr. Jean Marie Hartman - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Genetic Variation of Spartina 

alterniflora  Loisel. in the New York Metropolitan 

Area and Its Relevance for Marsh Restoration.” 

Co-authors, Peter E. Smouse, Jean Marie Hartman, 

Lena Struwe, Joshua Honig, Chris Miller, and Stacy Bonos

Robert Baker 

University of Colorado, Boulder

Advisor, Dr. Pamela Diggle
Botany 2011 presentation: “Making branches in 

Mimulus: intraspecific developmental variation in 

shoot architecture.” Co-author: Pamela Diggle

Geraldine Boyden 

St. John’s University

Advisor, Dr. Dianella Howarth
Botany 2011 presentation: “CYCLOIDEA-like 

genes are implicated in development and floral 

patterning in Fedia cornucopiae (Valerianaceae).” 

Co-authors: Diane Hardej, Amy Litt and Dianella 

Howarth x

Michael Malahy 

Oklahoma State University

Advisor, Dr. Andrew Doust
Botany 2011 presentation: “Pattern of vegetative 

architectural development in green millet (Setaria 

viridis) under varied planting densities.” Co-author: 

Andrew Doust

Ana Maria Almeida 

University of California, Berkeley

Advisor, Dr. Chelsea Specht - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Gingers BCs: The role of MADS-

box genes in floral evolution in the Zingiberales.” 

Co-authors: Wagner Otoni, Roxana Yocktenga and 

Chelsea Specht

Irma Ortiz 

University of California, Los Angeles

 Advisor, Dr. Ann M. Hirsch
Botany 2011 presentation: “A Bacillus strain 

isolated by undergraduate students at UCLA 

promotes plant growth by procuring soil nutrients 

and may also serve as a biological control agent.” 

Co-authors: Allison Schwartz, Erin R. Sanders, 

Andrew C. Diener and Ann M. Hirsch

Allison Schwartz 

University of California, Los Angeles

Advisor, Dr. Ann M. Hirsch
Botany 2011 presentation: “A newly isolated 

Bacillus strain affects legume plant architecture 

and pea nodule morphology by secreting auxin.” 

Co-authors: Irma Ortiz, Erin R. Sanders, Darleen 

Demason and Ann M. Hirsch

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Angelle Bullard-Roberts 

Florida International 


Advisor, Dr. Bradley Bennett - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Treating Sugar: Antidiabetic herbal 

remedies in Trinidad and Tobago.” Co-author, 

Bradley Bennett

Holly Summers 

Cornell University 

Advisor, Dr. Robert Raguso - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Intraspecific variation in floral 

display and breeding system in Oenothera flava 

(Onagraceae).” Co-author, Robert Raguso

Lindsey Tuominenx 

University of Georgia

Advisor, Dr. Chung-Jui Tsai - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Perturbation of Populus 

Phenylpropanoid Metabolism in Suspension Cell 

Cultures.” Co-authors, Raja S. Payyavula, Scott A. 

Harding and Chung-Jui Tsai

Pteridological Section & 

American Fern Society  

Student Travel Awards

 Fernando Matos 

New York Botanical Garden 

Advisor, Dr. Robbin Moran - Botany 2011 

presentation: “The ferns and lycophytes of a 

montane tropical forest in southern Bahia, Brazil.” 

Co-authors, Paulo Henrique Labiak and Andre, 


Monique McHenry 

University of Vermont 

Advisor, Dr. David Barrington - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Investigating morphological 

diversity of Andean Polystichum (Dryopteridaceae): 

seeking explanations for incongruence between 

sequence variation and morphological variation.” 

Co-author, Dr. David Barrington


Sean Ryan 

San Diego State University 

Advisor, Dr. Michael G. Simpson - Botany 

2011 presentation: “Molecular Phylogenetic 

Relationships and Character Evolution of Fritillaria 

subgenus Liliorhiza.” Co-author, Michael G. Simpson

Mycological Section Student 

Travel Awards 

Carla Harper 

University Of Kansas 

Advisor, Dr. Thomas Taylor - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Fungi from the Permian and Triassic 

of Antarctica.” Co-authors, Thomas Taylor and 

Michael Krings

Wittaya Kaonongbua 

Indiana University 

Advisor, Dr. James D. Bever - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Xerospora xerophila gen. et sp. nov., 

a new arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus from a semi-

arid region of North America.” Co-author, James D. Bever

Phycological Section 

Student Travel Award

Timothy Rocwell 

Illinois State University 

Advisor, Dr. Martha Cook - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Cell division in the charophycean 

green alga Entransia fimbriata.” 

Phytochemical Section 

Student Travel Award

Janna Rose 

Florida International 


Advisor, Dr. Bradley Bennett - Botany 2011 

presentation: “Isolation of Ellagic acid from the 

Bioassay-Guided Fractionation of Methanolic 

Crude Extracts of Rosa canina L. Galls.”

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Triarch “Botanical Images” Student Travel Awards 

This award provides acknowledgement and travel support to BSA meetings for outstanding student work 

coupling digital images (botanical) with scientific explanations/descriptions designed for the general public.

(See front cover for this years  1st Place Winner!)

2nd Place - $250 Botany 2011 Student Travel Award
Allison Schwartz
University of California, Los Angeles

Top view of a root nodule from Pisum sativum with DR5::GUS auxin responsive reporter construct.  
This image is a top view of a nodule on the root of a pea plant inoculated 

with symbiotic rhizobia. In order to study how the development of root 

nodules is influenced by Bacillus simplex 30N-5, a beneficial soil bacteria 

capable of secreting the plant hormone auxin, we used a pea plant with a 

reporter construct that is responsive to auxin. This DR5::GUS responsive 

element drives the beta-glucuronidase (GUS) reporter gene, ultimately 

resulting in a blue stain in areas responding to auxin. The “eyes” of this 

happy nodule are actually the ends of two prongs that connect to a single 

vein down the side of the nodule and end at the root’s xylem. These 

blue vein-like structures later become the vascular tissue of the nodule, 

allowing the nitrogen-fixing rhizobia inside access to water. Interestingly, 

pea roots co-inoculated with both rhizobia and and B. simplex 30N-5 

have larger nodules that develop more proto-vascular “veins” around the 

sides of the nodule. This is likely due to the auxin that B. simplex can 

secrete when associated with plant roots.

3rd Place (tie) $150 Botany 2011 Student Travel Award
 Alan Franck,
University of South Florida

One night only.  
The nocturnal flowers of Harrisia regelii are quite large (ca. 17 cm long x 

10 cm wide) compared to the elongate stem (ca. 1-2 cm wide) which can 

be seen in the background on the right. From initial bud formation, the 

flowers may take a month to effloresce. Despite this they last only one 

night and begin to close and wilt the next day. Studying their flowers 

can be difficult unless under constant supervision, as here in cultivation.

Tomas Zavada
University Of Massachusetts 

Pollinating chicory  
Cichorium intybus (chicory) is a self-incompatible species, owing its 

genetic variety to the outcrossing nature. It means that pollen has to come 

from other chicory plants in order to produce seeds. This process creates 

genetic diversity in next generations. The closely related domesticated 

species Cichorium endivia (endive) is self-compatible. Endive is a crop 

only known from cultivation and has much lower genetic diversity 

compared to chicory. Genetically uniform crop strains are in wide use 

and one of the big challenges these days is to maintain the disappearing 

diverse varieties of crops and their wild ancestors.

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

The BSA Young Botanist Awards 

The purpose of these awards are to offer individual recognition to outstanding graduating seniors in the 

plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the Botanical Society of America. 
The 2011 “Certificate of Special Achievement” award recipients are:

•  Gracie Benson-Martin, University Of California, Berkeley - Advisor, Dr. Chelsea D. Specht
•  Amanda Bieber, Old Dominion University- Advisor, Dr. Lytton John Musselman
•  Melanie Brusky, University of Cincinnati - Advisor, Dr. Theresa Culley
•  Sasha Dow-Kitson, State University of New York at Plattsburgh - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine
•  Joseph Gallagher, University of Florida- Advisor, Dr. Douglas Soltis
•  Rachel Germain, University of Guelph - Advisor, Dr. Christina M. Caruso
•  Arthur Grupe II, Humboldt State University - Advisor, Dr. Terry W. Henkel
•  Guillaume Chomicki-Bayada, University of Manchester - Advisor, Dr. Simon Turner
•  Alexandra Knight, Walsh University - Advisor, Dr. Jennifer A. Clevinger
•  Matthew Lettre, University of Tennessee - Advisor, Dr. Joe Williams
•  Starr Matsushita, University of Puget Sound - Advisor, Dr. John Hanson
•  William McKnight Moore, University of California, Riverside - Advisor, Dr. Darleen DeMason
•  Irma Ortiz, University of California, Los Angeles - Advisor, Dr. Ann M. Hirsch
•  Jaime Patzer, Willamette University - Advisor, Dr. Susan Kephart
•  Nikisha Patel   University of Connecticut - Advisor, Dr. Kent E. Holsinger
•  Kristin Pearson, Colorado College - Advisor, Dr. Tass Kelso
•  Megan Philpott, University of Cincinnati - Advisor, Dr. Theresa Culley
•  Melanie Poole, Connecticut College - Advisor, Dr. T. Page Owen Jr.
•  Gerald Presley, Eastern Illinois University - Advisor, Dr. Andrew S. Methven
•  Alex Scharf, State University of New York at Plattsburgh - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine
•  Klara Scharnagl, Florida International University - Advisor, Dr. Suzanne Koptur
•  Lilly Schelling, State University of New York at Plattsburgh - Advisor, Dr. Christopher T. Martine
•  Emily Scherbatskoy, University of Colorado, Boulder - Advisor, Dr. Pamela K Diggle
•  Paige Swanson, University of Colorado, Boulder - Advisor, Dr. Stephanie Mayer
•  Ericka Veliz, Salisbury University - Advisor, Dr. Ryan Taylor
•  Seana Walsh, University of Hawai’i at Manoa - Advisor, Dr. Tom A. Ranker
•  Keir Wefferling, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee - Advisor, Dr. Sara Hoot
•  Amanda Wildenberg, Eastern Illinois University - Advisor, Dr. Janice M. Coons
•  Lindsey Worcester, Kansas State University - Advisor, Dr. Carolyn J. Ferguson

Congratulations to all of this 

year’s winners!

background image


American Journal of Botany

American Journal of Botany: PubMed, Web 2.0, and Reviewing 

Editor Board

After many long months and with the strong support of BSA members and the Publications Committee, the 

American Journal of Botany has been selected to be indexed and included in the Medline/PubMed database 

(  This is good news for authors and researchers: PubMed is one 

of the leading sites used by researchers when conducting literature searches, and it is anticipated that BSA 

members and authors will reap great benefits from the increased and varied exposure provided. Deposits 

to PubMed will begin in June, and plans are in place to include previously published issues (back to late 

1997, when AJB first officially went online). The AJB staff thanks everyone in the BSA who helped make 

this possible, including all the authors, editors, and reviewers who contribute to the journal on a regular 

basis, as well as those who submitted letters of support on our behalf as part of the application process.
Additionally, the AJB, with the help of the journal’s online host, HighWire Press, is now a Web 2.0 site. 

Visitors to will immediately notice that the site is streamlined to be more user-

friendly and to offer more features than in the previous Web 1.0 site. The flexible three-column design 

places many features at the visitor’s fingertips without taking attention away from the core article content. 

Features most closely associated with the page content are placed closest to it, and this new platform allows 

the editorial staff more direct control over the site.  Feedback and suggestions are welcome.  Please contact 

the editorial staff at
And finally, the editors and staff thank all of the applicants for the Reviewing Editor Board positions 

for the  AJB Primer Notes & Protocols online-only section. The response to the call for applicants was 

fantastic. With the success and popularity of this section continuing to increase, these enthusiastic and 

knowledgeable graduate students and post-docs will help to strengthen the quality and turnaround time of 

papers and in return they will gain reviewing experience and mentorship from the section editors, as well 

as acknowledgment in the journal.


Elizabeth Kellogg 

university of missouri - st. louis



Program Director 

David Spooner 

University of Wisconsin - Madison 


Director at large-Development 

Linda Graham  

University of Wisconsin - Madison 


Student Representative  

Megan Ward 

State University of New York - plattsburgh


BSA Election Results 

Late Breaking News

Congratulations - Toby and all!

background image


BSA Science Education  

News & 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

PlantingScience Receives  

Prestigious SPORE Award


What an honor!  What a tribute to scientist mentors! What an amazing journey! PlantingScience was 

honored to receive the AAAS Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) Award.  A key 

reason cited by Science for selecting PlantingScience is its effectiveness at bringing the science process 

to students in online collaboration with plant biologists.   So this award belongs to the scientists and 14+ 

partner Societies.

Looking back to the Botany 2003 meetings when Dr. Bruce Alberts, then president of the National 

Academies of Science, challenged the BSA to help enhance science experiences in classrooms, the journey 

has been amazingly rewarding and timely.  Education research documents the effectiveness of inquiry 

learning and the short-shrift plants receive.  Agencies place cyberlearning as a priority, both for policy and 

funding initiatives.  Teachers are clearly seeking out this kind of opportunity for their students to actively 

and productively participate in authentic science experiences (see example of student team projects).  

And, fortunately, botanists are unabashedly enamored with plants and eager to promote botanical literacy 

within science literacy concerns.  Moreover, societies with an interest in plants see benefits of collaborating 

on outreach initiatives on education challenges of a national scope and scale.  

It is thrilling to share this recognition with you.  But it was a struggle to keep secret the good news we 

received back in August 2010 until the article was published on March 25, 2011.  

Read the Building Botanical Literacy essay:

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Additional PlantingScience  

Academic Year Highlights

Thank you!  Much of the success of PlantingScience lies in your 

volunteer efforts, which bring students and their teachers into the 

science enterprise of doing science in collaboration with scientists.  

PlantingScience grew again this year, and brought plants to 63 classes 

across the country and even internationally.  Over the Fall 2010 and 

Spring 2011 sessions, students in 15 middle school, 45 high school, and 3 

college classes conducted plant investigations with online mentors.  

We are extremely grateful to the dedicated scientists from the Botanical 

Society of America and our 14 Scientific Society partners who make 

PlantingScience possible. 

Thanks for this unique learning experience about plants also come 

directly from the students to their mentors:

“… now i will take home the water [plant]and grow it to it’s maximum! 

it was nice talking to you and i would be happy to let you know the results 

of the water plant after further research! thank you for helping us and 

challenging us to think” — Anderson School (middle school) student

“… Before this experiment I never really thought about plants and how 

they grow.  But this was very interesting to me in seeing how factors like 

temperature effect germination and plant growth.  Thanks for taking time 

out of your day to help us.” — Kamehameha School (high school) student

“We just did our presentation to the class and I’d say it went pretty well! 

…  We all thank you so much for allowing us to explore the world of biology 

and plants! We were so lucky to get such a friendly and consistent mentor!” 

— C. Milton Wright High School student

“This project was a lot of fun and I learned a lot more than I thought I 

would. It was very cool to see our plants go from mere seeds to flowers in 

weeks.  People like to think that humans are the most complex form of life, 

but in my opinion all living things are extremely complex and wonderful. 

Thank you for being our tutor. I’m grateful I cad the chance to do this, it 

game me an interest I never thought I’d have.” — Nassau Community 

College student

During this academic year, the Brassica Foundations of Genetics 

module joined the Wonder of Seeds and Power of Sunlight as open to 

any interested teacher to choose.  Field-testing, led by Curriculum 

Development Coordinator Teresa Woods, also continued this year on 

four modules: pollination, Celery Challenge, C-Fern®, and Arabidopsis 

genetics.  An exciting international collaboration was part of the C-Fern®       

field-testing this spring.  

Become A Mentor - Get involved!

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

The project gave students “the chance to work 

in real biological lab conditions and provided an 

experience that has made them the envy of the 

entire sixth grade!” says Stan Kosmoski, science 

leader from the Ferrell Middle Magnet Center for 

Language Exploration and Global Communication 

in Tampa, Florida.  

In February 2010, a Dutch web platform for 

PlantingScience (

org/) was launched by Edith Jonker from the 

Bonhoeffercollege.  Wanting to learn more about 

PlantingScience, Jonker attended a two-week 

institute for teachers in Texas sponsored by the 

Botanical Society of America and Texas A&M 

University last summer.  

Kosmoski and Jonker met last summer at the 

PlantingScience institute, and agreed to take the 

fern inquiry a step further and introduce their 

students online to each other.  The thirty-two 

students from The Netherlands had a chance to 

practice their English, and those from Tampa, 

Florida, learned a lot about a small country across 

the Atlantic Ocean.  Kosmoski notes that many of 

the twenty-one students of Ferrell Middle Magnet 

Center have never ventured beyond Tampa.  “This 

opportunity allows my students to not only meet 

students from another country but also to find out 

that they really aren’t all that different.”  

Students Grow Ferns and 

Friendship Across the Atlantic, 

contributed by T. Woods 

When spores from a special kind of fern were 

carried to The Netherlands this winter for the first 

time, more than plants grew.  Sixth grade students 

from The Netherlands and Tampa, Florida, 

also developed friendships in an international 

collaboration by sharing their experiences growing 

ferns.  Their work culminated in a videoconference 

between the students held Thursday, April 7.  (see 

figure of Ferrell students viewing Dutch class and T. 

Woods images projected on large screen.)

After corresponding online for a number of 

weeks, the 12 to 13-year olds finally had the 

chance to speak to each other live on camera.  

They introduced themselves and shared about 

their science inquiries.  At first a little nervous 

and very excited, students settled into asking each 

other questions about growing ferns, robotics 

competitions, daily living, and other interests.  

Students were well prepared with the help of their 

teachers: Sherri Cerni at Ferrell Middle Magnet in 

Tampa; and Arjan de Graaf at Bonhoeffercollege in 

Castricum, The Netherlands.   

De Graaf reports, “PlantingScience feels like 

education for the 21


 century, with plants and 

computers on the same table.  The students enjoy 

working in a community showing their results to 

the world.  There is much laughter in the classroom 

– science, knowledge, fun and creativity.  For the 

first time I really regret having only two hours of 

biology in a week!” (see image of Dutch students 

asking Florida students a question via SKYPE.)

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

PlantingScience Summer Meetings

June 23-30, 2011. College Station, TX: Summer Institute for Teachers
This June is the last Summer Institute for Teachers under our current NSF award (DRL-0733280).  And 

what a wonderful capstone inquiry immersion experience is being planned by scientists Marsh Sundberg 

and Larry Griffing along with teacher leaders Kim Parfitt and Randy Dix!  Carol Stuessy and her graduate 

students at Texas A&M University continue their fine job handling site coordination and education 


July 9-13, 2011. St. Louis, MO: Botany 2011
Attend the Teaching Section presentations at Botany 2011 to hear perspectives on PlantingScience from 

a classroom teacher and education researchers.  Kara Butterworth will share her students’ experiences 

and showcase their projects.  Co-PI Carol Stuessy and her graduate student Cheryl Ann Peterson present 

analyses of online interactions on the PlantingScience website and classroom observations of teacher 


July 30, 2011.  Melbourne, Australia: International Botanical Congress
Marsh Sundberg organized the “Rebuilding Botanical Capacity” Symposium at this summer’s IBC.  Claire 

Hemingway and Marsh Sundberg will share lessons learned thus far in PlantingScience by synthesizing 

project findings and research components conducted by Texas A&M University and BSCS collaborators.

The plants have it!   

The April/May 2011 issue of 

Science Scope,  

NSTA’s middle school journal,  

is devoted to botany.

background image


Teaching Principles of Experimen-

tal Design While Testing Optimal 

Foraging Theory 

Schwagmeyer, P.L. and S.A. Strickler  2011.  

American Biology Teacher 73(4): 238-241.

For nectar-feeding insects, it is all about the food 

reward to maximize net energy gain per unit time, 

according to optimal foraging theory.  The 

authors present an outdoor laboratory exercise 

manipulating nutritive value of flowers to 

aid students’ understanding of designing and 

interpreting experiments.

Engaging Students in Natural 

Variation in the Introductory Biol-

ogy Laboratory via a Statistics-

based Inquiry Approach 

Thompson, E.D., Bowling, B.V., Whitson, M., 

and R.F.C. Nazi.  2011.    American Biology 

Teacher 73(2): 100-104.

Variation is core to students’ understanding of 

diversity, and the diversity leaf morphology lends 

itself to student investigations.  Seeking to make 

introductory biology lab activities more than show-

and-tell, the authors describe a guided-inquiry that 

draws on plants of the Ohio River Valley, but could 

be adapted to other areas and to high school classes.

Doing an Ethnobotanical Survey in 

the Life Sciences Classroom 

De Beer, J., and B.-E. van Wyk.  2011.    Ameri-

can Biology Teacher 73(3): 90-97.

The Power of Plants:  Introducing 

Ethnobotany and Biophilia into 

Your Biology Class.   

Babian, C. and P. Twig.  2011.  American Biol-

ogy Teacher 73(4): 217-221.

Teaching Cultural and Botanical 

Connections: Ethnobotany with Tea.   

Poli, D.  2011.  American Biology Teacher 

73(4): 242.

Are looking for an interdisciplinary in-road for 

botany in your courses?  Consider ethnobotany.  

The three articles above provide a variety of ideas 

for diverse activities, to engage students with plants.  

Moonstruck by Herbaria 

Flannery, Maura C.  American Biology Teache


As Maura notes, she is not a botanist, but she has 

recently been drawn to botany (and attended last 

year’s BSA meeting in Providence) and to herbaria in 

particular.  This “outsiders view” of herbaria is very 

perceptive and a concise argument for the value of 

herbaria to society, for science, and for education.   

It provides some history and background as well as 

some current trends and uses.  

Editor’s Choice Reviews

The Kaplan Memorial Lecture Committee is proud to announce the Second Annual Kaplan 

Memorial Lecture in Comparative Development at Botany 2011 

This year’s speaker is Professor Ralph S. Quatrano who will speak on “Mechanisms of cellular 

polarity: a comparative approach from mosses to seed plants.”
A ticketed cocktail repection will follow.   Sign up at

Second Annual  

Kaplan Memorial Lecture in Comparative 

Development  in Botany 2011

Everyone is welcome!

background image



White House award for plant 

research presented to  

Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra

Jeffrey Ross-Ibarra has been selected to receive the 

prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for 

Scientists and Engineers.  Ross-Ibarra, an assistant 

professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the 

University of California - Davis, and BSA member, 

was among 85 researchers chosen by President 

Barack Obama to receive the award, the nation’s 

highest honor for professionals in the early stages 

of their scientific research careers. He will receive 

the award at a later date during a White House 

 “I am quite humbled to be receiving such an honor 

in only my second year at UC Davis, “ said Ross-

He was nominated for the award by the U.S. 

Department of Agriculture for a research project 

that uses a novel approach, based on population 

genetics, to identify genes that would be useful in 

improving varieties of maize, also known as corn.
In this research project, Ross-Ibarra and his team 

plan to identify the genotype, or genetic profile, 

of 60,000 single nucleotide polymorphisms. These 

are genetic variations that occur when just a single 

nucleotide or building block in the DNA sequence 


As part of its nomination, the U.S. Department of 

Agriculture will provide Ross-Ibarra’s project with 

$150,000 in annual support for three years.
Ross-Ibarra’s research program deals with the 

evolutionary genetics of adaptation in plants, with a 

particular focus on the study of plant domestication 

and the evolution of crop plants. His laboratory 

uses maize as a model crop for these studies.
“Much of this work uses population genetic 

modeling to investigate the importance of natural 

selection, gene flow and demographic history in 

patterning diversity and divergence in the maize 

genome,” he said.
In addition to work on identifying genes important 

for maize domestication and improvement, Ross-

Ibarra’s lab is currently collaborating on a number 

of projects, including work on chromosome 

evolution and studies of natural populations of the 

wild ancestor of maize in Mexico.
Ross-Ibarra’s nomination from the U.S. Department 

of Agriculture noted that the plant geneticist has 

“an excellent track record of productivity ... and 

professional service.” It added that, by focusing 

on maize, one of the most important crops for the 

U.S. economy, and on techniques that can be used 

with other important cereal crops, Ross-Ibarra’s 

research will help “promote sustainability of U.S. 

agriculture and international food security, while 

enhancing the environment by reducing pressure 

on cultivatable land resources.”
Ross-Ibarra and colleagues also are working to 

facilitate international scientific exchange through 

a program that will bring students from Mexico 

to work in U.S. laboratories, where they will study 

chromosome biology in maize. The exchange 

program is part of a research project, funded by 

the National Science Foundation, that focuses on 

completing the sequence and assembly of maize 

centromeres, the central region of chromosomes.
After earning his doctoral degree in genetics from 

the University of Georgia in 2006, Ross-Ibarra 

completed his postdoctoral research at UC Irvine. 

He also received a master’s degree in botany in 2000 

and a bachelor’s degree in botany in 1998, both 

from UC Riverside. He joined the UC Davis faculty 

in 2009

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Jonathan Wendel 

Wendel’s research interests 

encompass molecular & genome 

evolution, phylogenetics, and 

phenotypic evolution of higher 

plants. He uses a diverse set of 

technologies and approaches 

to explore the manner in 

which genomes change over 

evolutionary time, as well as 

the relationship between these 

events and morphological 

change. His particular interest is 

in the mysterious and common 

phenomenon of polyploidy, with 

a special focus on the cotton 


2011 AAAS Fellows

   Roger Hangarter

Hangarter is interested in the 

physiological and molecular 

mechanisms by which plants 

perceive and respond to 

environmental stimuli. Together, 

light and gravity have profound 

effects on plant development and 

much of his research focuses on how 

plants integrate the information 

from these environmental stimuli 

in order to understand how 

various environmental sensory 

responses function and interact to 

coordinately regulate plant growth 

and development. Hangarter is 

also the lead creator of sLowlife, a 

dynamic multi-media exhibition 

that features time-lapse movies 

to show plants as living beings, 

sensing and responding to their 



William (Ned) 


Friedman’s research is devoted 

to investigating the origin and 

early evolution of flowering plants 

(Darwin’s abominable mystery). 

His primary focus is on the 

evolution of double fertilization 

and endosperm, two of the most 

important and defining features 

of flowering plants.  He also has 

a strong interest in the first major 

radiation of photosynthetic life 

on land, that of the vascular 


Congratulations, Gentlemen!

background image


Coming up Short:  

Only 39 percent of North 

American endangered plant 

species are protected in 


The first comprehensive baseline knowledge on 

North America’s plant conservation efforts just 


Washington, D.C. – Only 39 percent of the nearly 

10,000 North American plant species threatened 

with extinction are protected by being maintained 

in collections, according to the first comprehensive 

listing of the threatened plant species in Canada, 

Mexico and the United States. Seed banks or living 

collections maintained by public gardens and 

conservation organizations across North America 

provide an insurance policy against extinction for 

many threatened species.

The North American Collections Assessment 

– conducted collaboratively by Botanic Gardens 

Conservation International U.S., the U.S. 

Botanic Garden, and Harvard University’s 

Arnold Arboretum – found that 3,681 of 9,494 

of North America’s most threatened plant species 

are maintained in 230 collections. Much more 

collaborative work is needed to conserve North 

America’s botanical wealth and to provide true 

protection against extinction, say the report’s 


Andrea Kramer, Botanic Gardens Conservation 

International U.S. executive director, said, “These 

assessment results are hopeful, but also a call 

to action. For many public gardens, this report 

marks the first time their potential to assist in the 

conservation effort has been recognized. We hope 

this is a watershed moment.”

“As the U.S. Botanic Garden, we felt a critical need 

for a common baseline of understanding among 

the entire conservation community,” said Holly 

Shimizu, U.S. Botanic Garden executive director. 

“To move forward together to protect North 

America’s native plants, we have to understand 

where we are today. Now that we know both what 

is threatened and what needs to be protected, there 

is a solid foundation on which to build future 

conservation work.” 

“One of the lessons we learned from this 

assessment is how important it is to curate for 

conservation,” said Michael Dosmann, curator 

of living collections at the Arnold Arboretum. 

“Curators and horticulturists have not always 

considered conservation value as they go about their 

routines. Yet by participating in this assessment, 

many for the very first time saw the direct value 

of their plants in bolstering efforts to conserve 

our threatened flora. We hope this becomes a new 

paradigm in collections management.”

Assessment results indicate that North America 

did not reach the Global Strategy for Plant 

Conservation’s (GSPC) Target 8 goal set in 2002 of 

protecting 60 percent of threatened plant species in 

collections by 2010. While botanical organizations 

across Canada, Mexico and the United States 

are making progress to achieve these targets, 

the report found that 3,500 or more additional 

threatened plant species will need to be added to 

current collections to meet the new GSPC goal of 

conserving 75 percent of known threatened species 

in North America by 2020. This will require nearly 

doubling the current capacity.

The assessment calls for the strengthening 

of conservation networks and collaboration 

in conservation planning and data sharing. 

Institutions are urged to contribute plant lists to 

BGCI’s PlantSearch database and update them 

regularly. It is crucial to increase cooperation and 

coordination among a broad and diverse network 

of gardens and conservation organizations with 

different expertise and resources. To win this race 

against extinction, conservation organizations will 

need to prioritize the development of genetically 

diverse and secure collections to ensure meaningful 

protection of threatened plants.

Additional information and the full North 

American Collections Assessment can be found at


background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

The Catalina Island Conservancy Herbarium (CATA) – call for 

institutional exchanges

Catalina Island is one of the eight California Channel Islands, located approximately 35 km southwest 

of Los Angeles. At 194 km2, 88% of which is managed by the non-profit land trust Catalina Island 

Conservancy, Catalina is the third largest Channel Island and is the second tallest with an elevation of 639 

meters. Mediterranean in climate, at least 8 defined plant communities (and up to 16) have been identified 

on the island, from coastal marsh, to island woodlands, to open grasslands. Over 400 species of plants are 

native to the island and nearly 200 non-native plants have become naturalized or are invasive on the island. 

The staff of the Catalina Island Conservancy Herbarium (CATA) is responsible for cataloging the plant 

diversity of Catalina Island as part of a long term, integrated plant management and conservation program. 

In addition to documenting the unique and varied plants of the island, CATA staff is interested in building 

the herbarium as a research and education tool. Herbaria specializing in plants of the California Floristic 

Province as well as herbaria with Mediterranean climate floras are encouraged to enter into reciprocal 

exchanges with CATA. For more information about CATA please see our listing at Index Herbariorum, For additional information on the Conservancy 

and Catalina Island or to establish an exchange, please contact the curator, John R. Clark, Ph.D., at, 310.510.9544, PO Box 2739, Avalon, CA 90704, USA.

Dr. Catrina Adams 

Education Technology Coordinator

Catrina joined the BSA in March 2011 after working as an instructor for 

the Missouri Botanical Gardens, where she helped to run a field science 

training program for St. Louis area high school students and taught classes 

on the ethnobotany of native Missouri plants. In 2009, Catrina received 

her Ph.D. from Washington University with a focus in paleoethnobotany. 

For her dissertation she studied seed remains from a Viking Age/Medieval 

farm site in Scotland’s Orkney Islands to learn more about agricultural and 

land use changes over time. She has a strong interest in inquiry learning, 

teaching technologies, and helping students to experience authentic 

scientific research. Her focus at the BSA is to continue to grow and improve 

the PlantingScience program and to enhance interactions among the 

program’s scientists, teachers, and students. 

Birgit Spears 

Development Director

Birgit brings a broad set of skills to the BSA with her combined experience 

in development and marketing communications. Prior to joining the 

BSA, Birgit helped design and launch a comprehensive brand and capital 

campaign plan for a non-profit broadcast and media arts organization in St. 

Louis. Earlier in her career, she launched a non-profit visual and performing 

arts organization in New York City that served artists from around the 

world. In addition to her non-profit experience, she has also worked in 

the private sector with marketing agencies and international technology 

companies where she was responsible for communications strategies and 

business development. Birgit’s focus at BSA will be to assist with developing 

relationships to increase awareness and funding opportunities through corporate and foundation giving, 

and to further develop strategic partnerships, and committee memberships that will help achieve the long-

term goals of the BSA.

Welcome New BSA Staff Members

background image


Cycad 2011 Meeting in 

Shenzhen, China.

The 9th International Conference on Cycad 

Biology is being hosted by Fairylake Botanic 

Garden in Shenzhen, China, on December 1-7, 

2011. Held every three years, this cycad meeting 

brings together scientists, professionals, and 

dedicated enthusiasts to share their work, catch up 

with each other and learn the latest findings from 

the field, garden and laboratory. Under the auspices 

of the IUCN, the Cycad Specialist Group also holds 

their regular meeting at this conference. Cycad 2011 

is truly a “rare event,” with so many world cycad 

experts and enthusiasts together in such a unique 

place. We write to enthusiastically encourage you to 

be a part of Cycad 2011. No other meeting this year 

will focus on this beloved group of plants, with such 

depth, breadth, expertise and interest. 

The Conference Program

The Cycad 2011 Organizing Committee is 

building the conference around eight themes: 

(1) Genetics and Genomics, (2) Conservation, 

(3) Taxonomy and Phylogeny, (4) Ecology, (5) 

Horticulture, (6) Toxicology, (7) Economic Botany, 

and (8) Information Management. In addition to 

presentations, Cycad 2011 will include networking 

opportunities, cultural events, a tour of Fairylake 

Botanical Garden and the Chinese National Cycad 

Conservation Center, and a field visit to a native 

Cycas fairylakea population.  A Post-Conference 

Field Tour will also feature visits to native 

populations of Cycas debaoensis, C. dolichophylla, 

C. ferruginea, C. sexseminifera, C. segmentifida and 

other species. 

Fairylake Botanical Garden

Fairylake Botanical Garden is a world-class 

horticultural treasure which sees millions of 

visitors per year, in a unique tropical landsite 

covering 590 hectares (1,457 acres). As part of the 

Chinese Academy of Science, a very active and 

robust research program at Fairylake focuses on 

plant biology and horticulture, and this augments 

the garden’s conservation efforts. The Chinese 

National Cycad Conservation Center is located at 

Fairylake Botanical Garden, and includes extensive 

conservation plantings in a beautiful valley 

setting, as well as a collection of spectacular dwarf 

cycads on display in a unique courtyard as well 

as an extensive horticulture program. The cycad 

collection at Fairylake is unique in breadth, depth 

and beauty. Extensive conservation horticulture 

of  Cycas debaoensis is a leading project, among 

many other rare Cycas species being propagated 

at Fairylake. Fairylake Botanical Garden also hosts 

the Shenzhen Paleontological Museum, home to 

many spectacular fossils centered on an enormous 

20 meter Sauropod, Mamenchisaurus jingyanebsis

The museum’s outdoor exhibition features one of 

the world’s finest collections of fossilized wood 

from China and around the world, beautifully 

arranged as living forest, and landscaped with tree 

ferns, cycads, podocarps and other architectural 



Shenzhen is a young, vibrant city that has been 

recognized for its foresight in city planning and its 

leadership in civic horticulture. Extensive space is 

devoted to public parks, well-designed roadside 

landscapes, vibrant floral displays and impressive 

groves of palms and flowering trees. Shenzhen is 

a leader in innovating “Green Roofs,” and rooftop 

gardens are increasingly common. Shenzhen has 

recently been recognized as a “Garden City” and a 

“Green City” for these accomplishments. 


background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

 Travel to Cycad 2011

Travel to Shenzhen is quite easy. Shenzhen city is situated adjacent to Hong Kong in south China. A ferry 

terminal located within Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) offers regular service without clearing 

Hong Kong customs. Ferry service from HKIA to the Shekou port takes just under one hour, and runs 

more or less hourly between 9:00 and 21:20. Visitors can check luggage directly to Shekou Port. Visitors 

will require a Chinese visa, which is easily obtained through a number of service providers. Fairylake 

Botanical Garden is arranging transport for conference delegates from the Shekou port to the Conference 

hotel. In addition, express or MTR (Mass Transit Railway) is also available from HKIA to Shenzhen Luohu 

Station or Huanggang Customs, or directly to some hotels.

For more information
Please see the conference website at for more information, including dates, 

registration info, and important conference announcements. 

We look forward to seeing you

Please make your plans right away -- We look forward to seeing you at Cycad 2011!





Conference to Address 

Worldwide Goal to Advance 

Plant Conservation

The Missouri Botanical Garden will host the 

2011 Conference of the Global Strategy for Plant 

Conservation, bringing together plant conservation 

scientists, policy makers and practitioners from 

all over the world to share methods and results 

that will advance plant conservation measurably. 

This conference, titled “Supporting the worldwide 

implementation of the Global Strategy for 

Plant Conservation,” is organized by the Global 

Partnership for Plant Conservation (GPPC) in 

association with the Secretariat of the Convention 

on Biological Diversity (CBD) and Botanic 

Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). The 

conference is expected to attract a wide range of 

participants to share their experiences and further 

the development of plant conservation action in 

this the U.N. Decade of Biological Diversity. 
“The adoption of the updated Global Strategy 

for Plant Conservation in 2010 provided a new 

challenge for the world to halt the loss of plants 

by the year 2020,” said Missouri Botanical Garden 

President Peter Wyse Jackson. “If we are to be 

successful in this work, we need to be clear about 

our individual priorities and responsibilities.”       

In October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan, the 10th 

Conference of the Parties of the Convention 

on Biological Diversity adopted a decision 

incorporating a consolidated update of the Global 

Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) from 

2011 through 2020, including 16 targets for plant 

conservation to be achieved by 2020.  The role of 

the Global Partnership for Plant Conservation is 

recognized by by the CBD in supporting GSPC 

implementation worldwide; the conference at the 

Garden aims to help guide future plant conservation 

The conference will assist in efforts made to expand 

and evaluate progress in implementing the GSPC 

from 2002 to 2010 and how these experiences can 

support enhanced implementation over the coming 

decade. Examples will be shared from around the 

world on GSPC implementation, particularly 

during the period 2002 to 2010, to provide 

guidance and support for national and regional 

GSPC implementation entering into the new phase. 

Sharing experiences will assist those that are setting 

national targets for plant conservation or using the 

GSPC and CBD Strategic Plan to provide a flexible 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Notice for a Recently Published 

Ethnobotanical Study

That Hard Hot Land: Botanical 

Collecting Expedition in the Anglo-

Egyptian Sudan, 1933-1934.   

Mary L. Keenan.  

2011. ISBN: 978-0-9564910-0-8 (Cloth 

£52plus post & package)  

416 pages, 22 maps, 270 photographs.  

Published by the author.

Between December 1933 and April 1934 three 

very different men travelled 6000 miles through 

western and southern Sudan by train, motor car, 

lorry, river steamer, donkey, and on foot.  The 

expedition aimed to investigate the relationship 

between the vegetation and soil through a strip of 

country with similar temperatures but with great 

variations in rainfall.
James Edgar Dandy, botanist at the British 

Museum, Natural History Department (later 

Head Keeper of Botany), wrote a diary, took over 

300 photographs and collected over 700 plants.  

Dunstan Skilbeck, lecturer in Soil Science at 

Oxford University (later Principal of Wye College, 

London), collected numerous soil samples and 

wrote a diary.  Cecil Graham Traquair Morison, 

lecturer in Soil Science at Oxford University, was 

leader of the expedition (continued to lecture at 

Oxford, and undertook further ecological surveys 

in Africa, including the Sudan).
Accompanying them were six local men, employed 

as cook, drivers, and servants.  Dandy?s diary 

and field notebook, short and to the point, are 

supplemented by his photographs and letters, and 

complement Skilbeck?s longer, more colourful 

and descriptive diary.  The diaries record the 

work undertaken, the terrain, people met, daily 

hardships, humour, aggravations, conversations, 

soul searching, and life changing events.
A ten day trek to the volcanic caldera of Jebel 

Marra, Darfur is described with geological, 

botanical, and ethnographical observations. 


Journeys are described, hunting with local tribes, 

fishing, and shooting for bushmeat.  Tribes 

and their customs, chiefs, government officials, 

governors, district commissioners, doctors, 

teachers, tourists, missionaries, and all others 

met during the expedition; as well as agriculture, 

water, cotton growing, salt mining, experimental 

fruit farms, roads and railways, hospitals, schools, 

and much more, are described and researched.

framework for their efforts in plant conservation at 

all levels.
Attendees will support the ongoing efforts to 

consider and develop further the technical 

rationales, milestones and indicators for the GSPC 

up to 2020 and synchronize with the Strategic Plan 

for Biodiversity 2011-2020. In addition, attendees 

will help evaluate a draft GSPC toolkit that is being 

prepared to support GSPC implementation at all 

levels prior to its submission for review by the 

 The conference will also provide an opportunity 

for strategic discussion on mainstreaming plant 

conservation in national development agendas, 

such as including links to the implementation of the 

CBD’s Strategic Plan as well as providing guidance 

and suggestions for countries that are updating 

National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans 

(NBSAPs) to include the targets of the GSPC. 
Finally, the conference aims to build leadership 

amongst the participating organizations for 

monitoring and delivery of the GSPC targets going 

“I have no doubt that this conference will help 

to set a working agenda for many participating 

organizations worldwide,” said Wyse Jackson.
With scientists working on six continents in 35 

countries around the globe, the Missouri Botanical 

Garden has one of the three largest plant science 

programs in the world, along with The New York 

Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew (outside London). The Garden focuses its 

work on areas that are rich in biodiversity yet 

threatened by habitat destruction, and operates 

the world’s most active research and training 

programs in tropical botany. Garden scientists 

collaborate with local institutions, schools and 

indigenous peoples to understand plants, create 

awareness, offer alternatives and craft conservation 

strategies. The Garden is striving for a world that 

can sustain us without sacrificing prosperity for 

future generation, a world where people share a 

commitment to manage biological diversity for the 

common benefit.
For more information on the Global Strategy for 

Plant Conservation Conference, visit: www.mobot.

For more information about the Missouri Botanical 

Garden visit: The Missouri 

Botanical Garden is located at 4344 Shaw Blvd., St. 

Louis, Missouri, 63110

background image


Central Concepts:

Humans use an impressive number of species, but 

we also rely heavily on only a small number of 

species/families for much of our caloric intake. 
The importance of certain taxonomic groups above 

others is perhaps less about chance than it is related 

to the combination of evolutionary history within 

lineages and thousands of years of agricultural and 

horticultural activities (including the selection of 

desirable characteristics within crops) by humans. 
Communities of organisms (the market plant 

“community” used as a proxy) can be quantified 

in terms of the taxa of which they consist. These 

calculations can be useful in drawing comparisons 

within and between communities, and can generate 

new hypotheses. 


•  Recording materials (notebooks/writing 

boards, pencils/pens)
•  Taxonomic resources (books and computer access)
•  Excel or other spreadsheet software
•  Transportation to site (we use institutional vans) 


The Market Botany lab module has been run with 

up to 20 students at a time. The activity can be used 

as a field trip in any botany course above the 100 

level or modified and used as a lab-based activity 

(and then perhaps serve a larger class size). As 

presented here, the module consists of three parts, 

the first two completed during a 3-hour lab period 

and the third done for homework. 
An underlying pedagogical concept here is one 

I try to employ in all of my botany coursework: 

Students are more likely to remember subject 

matter if they have a personal connection with the 

material.  The value of this approach was impressed 

on me as an undergraduate student by Dr. Roger 

Locandro, Rutgers University, who never missed 

an opportunity to feed to us the very things we 

were learning about. Although students are not 

eating from the shelves during this module, per 

se, this activity does connect taxonomic/biological 

concepts and names with their personal experiences 

of familiar foods and products. 

Market Botany: A plant biodiversity 

lab module

Christopher T. Martine

Dept. Biological Sciences, SUNY Plattsburgh

101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901

Submitted 24 January, 2011 

Accepted 26 April, 2011 


Market Botany is a variation on an approach many 

instructors of plant diversity have employed: using 

the grocery store as a teaching space (see Appendix 

A). This version, included as a module in my Field 

Botany (BIO 345) course at the State University 

of New York at Plattsburgh since 2007, meets 

experiential curriculum objectives by employing 

a group research experience during which the 

grocery store is used as “the field” for a biodiversity 

survey. Students are introduced to general concepts 

in community ecology, in concert with learning 

objectives related to plant diversity and economic 



•  Students recognize the diversity of plant 

species/groups we use as foods and in other 

products through an experiential learning 

•  Students evaluate the importance of certain 

plants over others in terms of human usage.
•  Students become familiar with the taxonomic 

hierarchy of the Plant Kingdom, including key 

families and orders.
•  Students learn to compute and compare 

measures of species richness and relative 

•  Students access and utilize current hard 

copy and electronic resources for taxonomic 


Reports and Reviews

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Once the students record a species they should 

not do so again. While many plant names will be 

obvious, others might be more difficult to recognize. 

I tell them it is better to record something they 

think could be a plant name then to leave it out; 

quality control can wait until the master list is 

compiled back in the lab. Although they are sent 

blindly into the data collection, there is a benefit to 

this approach (see later). My role during the survey 

is to move throughout the store, checking on each 

group/student and occasionally offering assistance 

or making sure that they have recorded rare-

occurrence species that might otherwise be missed 

(e.g., “Did you get this guarana soda over here?”). 
The students are highly unlikely to catch every 

species, given the short timeframe and their varying 

levels of knowledge. My goal in the activity is not to 

make an exhaustive list, but to gather enough data 

points such that the results can be accepted with 

I prefer to let the students record their data in the 

fashion they find most agreeable, but a standardized 

datasheet could just as easily be generated and 

provided. The keys are to gather the data quickly, 

prevent your participants from feeling frustrated 

or overwhelmed, and encourage them to become 

invested in the quality and comprehensiveness of 

their datasets.
The class is typically divided among the following 

aisles of the store (and these then become categories 

of use to be evaluated later): 
1. Deli/bakery
2. Produce
3. Pharmacy and health
4. Beauty/cleaning
5. Pet and baby
6. Chips/soda/seasonal
7. Candy/nuts/crackers
8. Pasta/canned vegetables/condiments
9. Tea/ethnic/soups
10. Baking, spices + Dairy/beer (2 aisles)
11. Cereal/juices/canned fruits
12. Bread/jellies/frozen desserts
13. Frozen vegetables/entrees
Not assigned: Floral (plenty of interesting things, 

but too many species without identification labels). 

Permission from the store should be sought for the 

market survey. I contact the manager of our local 

grocery store a few weeks before our scheduled 

visits so that he can clear the activity with the 

chain’s corporate office. I have never been denied 

permission, in part because we do not violate the 

three main requests of the store manager: 1) No 

photos are taken in the store, 2) The activity should 

not interfere with customer access to products 

(time of day can be an important factor), and 3) 

When we leave, shelves and displays look the same 

as they did when we arrived. The latter request is 

easily met by reminding students to put products 

back exactly as they were found, including facing 

the fronts of packages/cans out. 


Part One (Store survey)  

60-80 minutes (not including 

travel time): 

Summary: Students explore the diversity of plant-

based products available for sale at a local grocery 

store by recording the names of plant products 

they encounter. How botanically diverse are the 

products we use everyday? 


After a brief introduction to the activity and the 

goals of the visit, students/teams are given pre-

assigned sections of the store (usually by aisle). This 

is easiest to do if you are already familiar with the 

store you visit for class, something that is possible 

through one pre-class visit. Deciding who to 

assign where and who will work individually is an 

important step and should be done based on your 

knowledge of each student’s ability and personal 

interests – and with some attention to who works 

well with who.
Students are told to keep a cumulative list of the 

species they encounter in their assigned aisle 

by reading labels and ingredient lists. Given the 

content of my course, the students already know 

something about the use of common versus 

Latin names – including how to properly format 

the latter. Because of this they quickly recognize 

the inconsistencies in the way plant names are 

included in product ingredient lists (the bane of 

nomenclaturally-inclined botanists everywhere!). 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Part Two  

(Taxonomic research and data 

entry), 45-80 minutes: 

Summary: Students research the taxonomy of the 

plants they recorded during the survey and enter 

that information into a common spreadsheet. Do 

our data support the observations/assumptions we 

made while recording? 



In the classroom/lab, the list of species is now 

actively entered into a common spreadsheet 

managed by the instructor and projected onto a 

screen so the class can follow along. The spreadsheet 

has the following headings: species name, family, 

order, upper taxonomic group (see below), and one 

heading per category of use (in this case, each use 

category is an aisle of the store). 


Record the occurrence of each species (and the 

sections in which each was recorded) on the 

common spreadsheet, using one row per species 

and one column per survey team (so one column 

per store aisle). An individual species may thus 

be recorded (by entering a “1”) in more than one 

survey column, thus providing us with both a list 

of species and a record of the total occurrences of 

each species. Using a “1” for each occurrence allows 

the students to easily sum up columns later (just by 

clicking the column). As each student/team reports 

this information to the instructor, the class starts 

searching for and recording:

•  Latin name for each species.
•  Family each species belongs to.
•  Order each family belongs to.  (It is worth noting 

here that Family and Order definitions may vary 

depending on the resources the students use. My 

tendency is to lean towards the designations used 

in the latest edition of the textbook I use in our 

plant systematic course (currently Judd, et al.) in 

order to maintain consistency. 
•  “Upper Taxonomy” of each Order (Algae, 

Bryophytes, Fern Allies, Ferns, Gymnosperms, 

Monocot Angiosperms, Non-monocot 

Angiosperms. (It is a given that “algae,” “fern 

allies,” “ferns,” and “dicots” are all problematic 

names. “Non-monocot angiosperms” can be 

used in place of the now-obsolete term, “dicots,” 

but the others are still used here – and addressed 

by me in this and other courses as appropriate.)

Some sections are more challenging than others, 

whether by the volume of products or diversity of 

ingredients they contain (e.g., pharmacy, ethnic). 

The produce section has many species, but they 

are all obvious and easy to record. Other sections 

might be more difficult, so I find it best to try 

to match those assignments to students with a 

strong botanical background or specific interests. 

Pharmacy/health is both rich in plant products 

and inclusive of “oddball” species that may not 

be recognizable to all students; this is a good 

assignment for the student(s) with an interest in 

pharmacology, medicine or other health-related 

fields. Pet Food is surprisingly species-rich and 

a good match for the student with an interest 

in veterinary or animal science. Well-travelled 

students, lovers of ethnic food and international 

students do well in the Tea/Ethnic section. The beer 

section….. Well, that one isn’t hard to find a match 

for (actually, it’s a great assignment for a home-

My students are usually wrapping things up within 

about an hour and will record on the order of 230 

species in that time. This may seem surprisingly 

rapid, but the cumulative nature of the lists makes 

for many unrecorded repeats. The first students to 

finish their sections are sent to assist classmates 

who are still working. Once most groups are done, 

I send them to the coffee counter (store managers 

like it when you also spend some money before you 

leave) and help anyone still recording to finish up.
Once all of the data are collected and just before 

we leave the store I ask them to spend the trip back 

to campus discussing what they observed and what 

they think the most important groups might be. 

Then we’re in the vans and back to the classroom 

for Part Two (which could just as effectively be 

done on a later class day). 
If transporting your class to a store is problematic, 

here are two options: 1) Collect the data yourself 

(or offer extra credit for a group of students to 

gather the data), then start the process at Part 

Two, or 2) Create your own “market” in the lab by 

stocking selected products in the teaching space, an 

approach by which one could limit the number of 

species recorded and/or drive the direction of the 


background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

The final Excel datasheet is posted on-line and 

downloaded by each student. The posted data are 

used to determine the following: 

•  Richness: Count the number of species 

occurring in the community. How many species 

are recorded for each Upper Taxonomic Group, 

Order, and Family? 
•  Relative abundance: Count the number 

of species occurrences (how many columns 

each species is recorded in), then calculate the 

percentage a species contributes to the total 

number of occurrences. Occurrence in an aisle/

section is treated the same as would be the 

occurrence of an individual of a species in a wild 


The students are asked to prepare a 2-3-page 

summary of their results, including a discussion 

of what the most economically important groups 

are across all taxonomic levels (as defined by 

how common they were in the store). They are 

also asked to compare the conclusions they reach 

from each of the two community measurements. 

Do we learn something different if we consider 

not just whether a species is present (is used by 

people), but how often it occurs (used in multiple 

ways)? The concept of the “ecological community” 

is something we use throughout my Field Botany 

course, so the students are familiar with it and are 

able to make the leap required to apply the concept 

here. In another type of course students may need 

additional clarification on what communities are 

and the measurements used to describe them.  


Most students expect to find that the grass groups 

(Poales, Poaceae) will lead the lists for both richness 

and abundance – in part because of all they have 

heard about the dominance of corn, rice, and other 

grains in terms of agricultural input and annual 

calories consumed. Although they are surprised by 

the importance of other groups, their awareness of 

Poales/Poaceae facilitates a better understanding 

of the differences between richness and relative 

abundance (see results below). Both Poales and 

Poaceae move up their lists of most important 

groups when considering abundance rather than 

richness. A truly comprehensive survey of every 

Poales/Poaceae occurrence in the store (by product 

rather than aisle) would surely send those groups to 

the very top of the abundance lists. 
Many students also casually hypothesize that the 

number of species encountered should be relatively 

Resources (Truncated list; many others appropriate): 
Key books in the lab include:

•  Judd, et al., Plant Systematics, Sinauer
•  Simpson, Plant Systematics, Elsevier
•  Zomlefer, Flowering Plant Families, Chapel Hill
•  The Complete Food Guide, Könemann
•  Mabberley, The Plant Book, Cambridge
•  Vaughan and Geissler, New Oxford Book of 

Food Plants, Oxford U. Press

We also book the departmental computer lab 

for this period and encourage the use of key web 

resources, including:

•  International Plant Names Index (IPNI) 
•  USDA PLANTS Database
•  Tropicos (Missouri Botanical Garden)

The process of making the list takes time, patience, 

and organization. I find that the process is done 

most efficiently if I am the only recorder, with the 

students reporting to me. I can keep track of what 

species have been entered, where each species was 

recorded, and, later, serve as the check point and 

quality control for taxonomic entries. In cases 

where the information they find is conflicting, I act 

as final arbiter. 
The research process is where I see the benefit of 

not telling the students anything about the plants 

before they started making lists. It is far better for 

them to discover on their own the several crops 

that come from Brassica oleracea, or the multiple 

varieties of the same species of Citrus or Malus, or 

that cilantro and coriander are the same taxon. 

Part Three – Analysis 


Summary: Students quantify their results by 

calculating measures of species richness and 

relative abundance. Do some groups contribute 

more species for our use? 


background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Total occurrences: 868
Top Upper Taxonomic Group:

•  Non-monocot Angiosperms: 65.0% (563 of 868) 

Top Orders:

•  Rosales: 35.0% (82 of 868)
•  Poales: 28.6% (67)
•  Fabales: 20.5% (48)
•  Lamiales: 18.3% (43)
•  Asterales: 17.0% (40)

Top Families:

•  Rosaceae: 34.1% (80)
•  Poaceae: 28.6% (67)
•  Fabaceae: 18.3% (43)
•  Lamiaceae: 17.9% (42)
•  Asteraceae: 17.0% (40)

Top Grocery Aisles (percentage of total species 

occurring in a given aisle)

•  Produce: 38.9% 
•  Tea/Ethnic/Soup: 33.3%
•  Pharmacy/Health: 33.3%
•  Cereal/Juices/Canned fruits: 23.9%

Final thoughts:

Students in my Field Botany course, a semester-

long experience that includes visits to numerous 

sites in the Adirondack and Lake Champlain 

regions, consistently rate the Market Botany 

module as one of their favorite activities. Perhaps 

more importantly, they also consider it to be one of 

the course experiences where they learn the most. 

The module usually changes the students’ view of 

their world, generating comments like, “I will never 

walk through the grocery store the same way again.” 
There are numerous potential extensions to this 

module, including: 

•  Choose a commonly used family and offer 

example products for tasting/smelling. Ask the 

students to consider why this group has become 

commonly used and whether the reasons are 

tied to the phylogenetic history of the group 

(e.g., secondary compounds in Brassicaceae 

and Lamiaceae and whether the biochemical 

characters are synapomorphies for each family). 
•  Closely examine the horticultural history and 

low, having read books like Michael Pollan’s 

“Omnivore’s Dilemma.” To their astonishment, my 

fall 2010 group listed 234 species (even while missing 

some species that were present). This outcome 

gave them a greater appreciation for the diversity 

of plants we use, even though the community 

calculations provide evidence that much of that use 

comes from only a handful of taxonomic groups. 

An additional worthwhile discussion could focus 

on the fact that the total number of species they 

encounter in one store, while impressive, is still but 

a fraction of the potentially-useful plants on Earth. 

Example results (fall 2010 



Total: 234 species (from 78 families) 

Upper Taxonomic Group

• Non-monocot Angiosperms: 189 species 

(80.8% of total)

• Monocot Angiosperms: 37 (15.8%)
• Gymnosperms: 4 (1.7%)  
• Algae: 4 (1.7%)

Top Orders

• Asterales: 20 species (8.6% of total)
• Fabales: 20 (8.6%)
• Lamiales: 15 (6.4%)
• Rosales: 14 (6.0%)
• Poales: 13 (5.6%)
• Brassicales: 13 (5.6%)
• Violales: 13 (5.6%)

Top Families

•  Asteraceae: 20 species (8.6%)
•  Fabaceae: 17 (7.3%)
•  Rosaceae: 14 (6.0%)
•  Lamiaceae: 14 (6.0%)
•  Poaceae: 13 (5.6%)

•  Brassicaceae: 12 (5.1%)

Relative Abundance:

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

cultivated varieties of a species like Brassica 

oleracea, using the multiple forms as case studies 

in plant morphology or breeding. 
•  Run the same survey and analysis in a second 

grocery/market in a different geographic, 

cultural or socioeconomic locality and compare 

the results; or have a discussion of how the 

results would differ if the study was done in a 

different place.
•  Reconsider the list of plant species recorded 

and separate them by whether they are 

consumed or used in some other fashion. Do the 

calculations change? 
•  Discuss the causes and consequences of 

reliance on a relatively few species/groups, 

perhaps by integrating films such as “King Corn,” 

or “Botany of Desire.” 
•  Expand the community analysis component by 

also generating diversity indices and measures of 

dominance; or compare the results of the market 

survey with results generated by a true field 


Thanks to Curt Gervich, F. Daniel Vogt and 

three anonymous reviewers for comments on the 

manuscript; and to Casey Binggeli, Jillian Post, 

Alex Scharf, Tim Shearman and Megan Ward for 

sharing thoughts about participating in the module 

as students.  
Appendix A. Selected references for previously-

published articles relating to the use of markets/

stores as learning spaces for biology courses. 
Arnott, H.J. 1965. Supermarket plant anatomy. 

American Biology Teacher 27: 104-105. 
Burrows, G.E. and J.D.I. Harper. 2009. Supermarket 

botany. Teaching Science 55: 47-50.
Clifford, H.T. 2010. Seeds and shopping centres. 

The Victorian Naturalist 127: 11-14. 
Irwin, H.S. 1977. Grocery store botany. The Curator 

20: 5-14.
Thompson, L.K. 1993. Grocery store botany. Tested 

Studies for Laboratory Teaching 14.
Rahn, J.E. 1974. Grocery Store Botany. New York: 


Reflections on the life and legacy of 

Richard Evans Schultes

Dr. Rainer W. Bussmann,

William L. Brown Center and William L. 

Brown Curator of Economic Botany

Missouri Botanical Garden, P.O. Box 299, St. 

Louis, MO 63166-0299, USA

Submitted 14 February, 2011.  Accepted 28 

April, 2011.

For many ethnobotanists, talking about Richard 

Evans Schultes is like talking about god – and how 

could one even attempt such a thing, especially 

so when one has never had the privilege to meet 

the man? This was a challenge I faced when being 

asked to contribute a lecture on Richard Schultes 

to the “Botanists in New England” Symposium of 

the Economic Botany and History Sections of the 

Botanical Society of America in 2010. My initial 

strategy, and perhaps the only way to appreciate 

Schulte’s thinking, was to simply head out into the 

field, somewhere in the upper Amazon, to collect 

plants and think about how to meet this challenge. 
Apart from “One River”, Wade Davis’ biography of 

Schultes (Davis, 1996), astonishingly little has been 

written about the founder of modern ethnobotany. 

Even the most complete bibliography in the obituary 

by Prance (2001) is far from presenting a complete 

picture of Richard Schultes’ extensive writing. How 

could it happen that the “father of ethnobotany” is 

nowadays often unknown to students, and maybe 

only vaguely known to colleagues, despite his 

reputation as the man who “discovered” almost 

every single psychoactive species known in the 

New World?
For example take myself. When starting my 

ethnobotanical work, a friend asked me “So, do you 

know Richard Scholtees?” (at least that is how his 

name sounded to me, and the mispronunciation 

certainly did not help I simply had no clue who 

that might be). So, “Richard who?” was my 

understandable answer. Schultes himself would 

most certainly have flinched at the mangling of his 

name. He was very well known for insisting on the 

correct spelling and pronunciation of Latin, Greek, 

and any other language. 
Who was this man, who collected over 25,000 

botanical specimens, wrote two dozen books and 

almost 500 scientific papers? 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

Schultes, pronounced like the “u” like “o” in 

“who”, and the “e” like “e” in “the,” had an unlikely 

background for someone who was to become the 

world’s most famous ethnobotanist. Born in 1915 

to a poor working class family in East Boston with 

German and English roots, , Schultes excelled at 

school, especially in the Classics, and ultimately 

earned a stipend to attend Harvard Medical School 

in 1934. Looking to fulfill his pre-med science 

requirements, he happened to walk into Oakes 

Ames’ Economic Botany class, a fateful event that 

determined the course of the rest of his life.
When asked to review an ethnobotanical study for 

a class assignment, Schultes, hard pressed for time, 

grabbed the thinnest volume on the book desk: 

“Mescal – the divine plant and its psychoactive 

effects” by Heinrich Kluever, and literally got 

hooked. The very next class Schultes asked Ames 

if he could write his thesis about the plant, and 

from this point his research life inevitably took on a 

different character.
In 1936, Schultes, together with colleague Weston 

LeBarre, piled into an old Studebaker and headed 

west from Massachusetts to Oklahoma to study 

peyote use amongst the Kiowa. It is hard to imagine 

how difficult it must have been in those days to 

make such a trip. Over endless days on rutted roads 

the car broke down constantly. What also made 

the trip unusual was to have a botanist going into 

the field to talk to people. Botanists traditionally 

ventured out to collect plants. “Collecting stories” 

was more the task of anthropologists or linguists 

- “soft scientists” - as many molecular oriented 

biologists still believe. On this trip, a botanist and 

an anthropologist were working together! For 

Schultes, the experience of being in a strange setting 

under the full effects of the Lophophora compounds, 

must have quite profound. Photographs from the 

journey, nevertheless, always show a perfectly 

groomed Schultes, while LeBarre definitely shows 

the effects of all-night Peyote ceremonies. This 

was to become a trademark of Schultes: always 

conservatively and correctly dressed, rather more 

like a Victorian professor than somebody who 

during the 60s would lecture on mind-altering 

substances. Only one year after his first trip to the 

Kiowa, the young Schultes was found testifying to 

congress in support of the legalization of peyote in 

traditional ceremonies. Quite a stand for a young, 

unknown botanist. 
Despite his conservative appearance (Schultes 

is rumored to have always voted in presidential 

elections for Elizabeth II as a write-in candidate 

and always lectured in coat, tie, flannel trousers 

and a white lab coat) Schultes was a great advocate 

for personal choice. He abhorred government 

interference in one’s personal life and decisions, and 

despised the Kennedy clan, whose patriarch made 

his fortune in bootlegging during prohibition, 

when the brewery Schultes’ father was working at 

was forced to shut down.
After finishing his undergraduate thesis on the 

Kiowa’s plant use, young Schultes immediately 

embarked on another project, the identification 

of “Teonanacatl” and “Ololiqui”, two plants sacred 

to the Aztecs that so far had defied attempts to 

scientifically identify them. The task led Schultes, 

by any kind of transport imaginable, deep into 

the then most remote corners of Mexico. In 

a remarkably short time, the young botanist 

managed to solve a mystery that had confounded 

colleagues for centuries. Teonanacatl turned out 

to be a group of mushrooms, mostly Psilocybe spp. 

and  Paneolus spp., while Ololiqui was identified 

as Turbinia corymbosa (L.) Raf., a Morning Glory. 

Both contained essentially the same psychoactive 

compounds chemically similar to LSD, and it 

would take more than 60 years to prove that the 

Psilocybin in the seeds of Turbinia, identical to 

the compound found in “magic mushrooms,” 

is in fact produced by a fungus that frequently 

infects the plant, rather than by the vine itself. 

The re-discovery of the identity of these two 

Mexican hallucinogens by Schultes earned him 

a PhD. in 1941; his work would later become the 

foundation of the psychedelic era, when colleagues 

like Timothy Leary dug up Schultes’ papers on the 

subject, started to experiment with the plants, and 

made the properties of the plants known to the 

public. Schultes himself would always criticize the 

recreational use of plants and their psychoactive 

compounds. This, however, did not keep him from 

traveling the states to defend students accused of 

smoking Marijuana. His argument was simply that 

Cannabis indica (the prohibited species) was in a 

ground up stage not distinguishable from Cannabis 

sativa, which was still widely grown for fibers and 

perfectly legal at that time. This effort certainly 

added to Schultes’ fame amongst students and 

After finishing his PhD in 1941, Dr. Schultes faced 

two choices: Either start teaching at a small college, 

or accept a government assignment to head to the 

Amazon to collect data on arrow poisons. Taking 

Oakes Ames’ advice - “If I were a young man 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

shortsighted decision, as we will see later.
Schultes returned to Harvard and in 1953 became 

Curator of Oaks Ames’ Orchid Herbarium. 

As a result he had to concentrate all his efforts 

on Orchids, which left virtually no time for 

ethnobotanical work. In 1958, Schultes was finally 

given the position of Curator of Economic Botany. 

Despite his tireless work, however, it took another 

decade before he was named Executive Director 

of the Harvard Botanical Museum in 1967, and 

Director in 1970. During his tenure at Harvard, 

Schultes worked tirelessly on the ethnobotany of 

the Northwestern Amazon, describing a plethora 

of new species form his collections, and publishing 

the results of his long term Amazonian studies. 
Although Schultes for many years taught one of 

the most popular courses at Harvard, and had 

found his real vocation in teaching and advising 

students, he only became a professor in 1973. 

Many of his students went on to become well 

known ethnobotanists and medicinal practitioners, 

including Tim Plowman (decesased), Mike 

Balick (New York Botanical Garden), Bob Bye 

(Universidad Nacional Autonioma de Mexico), 

Djaja Soejarto (Chicago Field Museum), Jim 

Zarucchi (Missouri Botanical Garden), Andrew 

Weil (Weil Lifestyle), Mark Plotkin (Amazon 

Conservation Team) and Wade Davis(Explorer in 

Residence at National Geographic Society). 
Schultes encouraged students to follow their 

dreams, rather than working on thesis subjects of 

the kind described by Oakes Ames in a letter to 

Schultes in 1940: “…cover the procedure under which 

some of these lads write….”1. Find some topic devoid 

of human interest. 2. Sift out every spark of human 

interest and write so badly….that your ambiguity 

seems to imply erudition. 3. If you are capable of 

giving birth to a single worth-while idea, conceal. 4. 

Write a cryptic summary.” (Ames et al. 1980).
Among his many accomplishments, Schultes 

published the “Harvard Botanical Leaflets” for 

decades, was editor of Economic Botany for 15 

years, wrote hundreds of book reviews for the 

journal, and was a leading figure not only in the 

establishment of the Society for Economic Botany, 

but also in the creation of the International Society 

for Ethnopharmacology. Simultaneous to his 

academic work, Schultes started to advocate the 

need for conservation in areas like the Amazon, as 

well as the traditional knowledge associated with 

plants found there. During his career, Schultes 

received countless honors, including becoming 

beginning my career all over again, I should try 

through intensive research in economic botany and 

ethnobotany to bring more light into the intellectual 

realm and to take my place, not in a laboratory 

cubicle, but in the world…” (Oakes Ames to Schultes 

1941; Ames et al. 1980). Schultes fortunately chose 

the latter, of course not knowing that this would 

keep him in the Columbian Amazon almost 

without interruption until 1953.
America’s entry into WWII found Schultes deep in 

the tropical forest. Returning to Bogotá to volunteer, 

he was rapidly incorporated into the war effort. 

Natural rubber supplies came at that time, and still 

come, mainly from plantations in SE Asia. These 

were occupied by the Japanese in 1942. Although 

the US petrochemical industry started a synthetic 

rubber program, and the USDA planted rubber 

yielding plants, especially Dandelions (Taraxacum 

officinale), in almost every state, rubber from Hevea 

spp. was simply irreplaceable. Planting the species 

in the new world (e.g., in the humongous Hevea 

plantations at “Fordlandia” in Brazil), had failed 

because of rampant leaf blight infections. To remedy 

this situation, the US government established the 

Rubber Reserve Company, obtaining all recyclable 

scraps of rubber, and finding new sources in nature. 

What was needed were blight resistant varieties, as 

well as a way to again extract rubber from natural 

populations found in the Amazon basin. Both 

tasks were part of  the assignment given to Schultes 

that would keep him busy for most of the next 14 

years. During this time, Schultes traveled an area 

the size of Belgium, mostly on foot and dugout 

canoe, mapping thousands of individual rubber 

trees and providing seeds for the establishment of 

blight resistant trial plantations in Colombia and 

Central America. At the same time, he managed 

to collect almost 25,000 herbarium numbers, and 

documented the uses of 2,000 plant species among 

two dozen different tribes. The attitude that made 

his task possible was certainly his willingness to 

respect everybody, treat them fairly, and honor the 

value of local knowledge. This work, in particular 

in the first half of the 1950s, would be the basis for 

over 400 papers and two dozen books.
In 1953 the government suddenly reversed its 

position on natural rubber. Some bureaucrat 

decided that, with the end of the war and the 

advance of synthetic rubber, the natural rubber 

program was no longer needed. Schultes and 

colleagues had to wrap up work and leave. The trial 

plantations were ultimately cut down, the collected 

material was forgotten. This would prove a rather 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

the danger exists that the supply of one of the most 

important commercial and strategically important 

natural products could be disrupted by a large scale 

outbreak of blight, whether “natural” or caused by 

an act of bioterrorism.
Sadly enough, the blight-resistant clones Schultes 

and colleagues collected have been destroyed, and 

his priceless collection is slowly turning to dust. 

Once lost, the material will be hard to replace, 

because botanists who can correctly identify the 

material are themselves critically endangered; most 

Botany programs in the US have been replaced by 

“more useful” molecular science. The regions where 

Schultes collected, even if collection permits were 

issued, which is very unlikely, given that the US 

still has not ratified the Convention of Biological 

Diversity, are coincidentally exactly the areas that 

we have systematically fumigated in our ill advised 

strategy to eradicate Coca, and little of the natural 

vegetation remains.
German colleagues have already reverted to what 

The Economist, oblivious to the efforts of the 

Rubber Reserve Program, named one of “The 50 

best inventions 2009:
“DANDELOIN Rubber: A fast-spreading fungus 

is ravaging the world’s rubber trees. But thanks to 

researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for 

Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology, there’s 

now an alternative: dandelions. Scientists have 

long known that the weed’s sap contains latex, but 

it’s difficult to harvest because dandelion ooze 

polymerizes — goes gummy — when it hits the air. 

The Fraunhofer team overcame that sticky problem 

by switching off a key enzyme. The new, improved 

dandelion produces 500% more usable latex than the 

old weed does.”
Welcome to the past….
Richard Schultes died 10 years ago, and it is high 

time to honor his legacy and make sure that his 

groundbreaking work is no longer neglected.

Ames Plimpton, P., G. Plimpton. 1980. Oakes Ames: 

Jottings of a Harvard Botanist. Botanical Museum of 

Harvard University, Cambridge, MA.
Davis, W. 1996. One River – explorations and 

discoveries in the Amazon rainforest. Touchstone, 

New York.
Prance, G. 2001. Richard Evans Schultes (12 

January 1915 – 10 April 2001): A Tribute. Economic 

Botany 55(3), 347-362.

one of the first Distinguished Economic Botanists 

(1979), Tyler Ecology Prize (1987), Gold medals of 

both the Linnaean Society and the World Wildlife 

Fund (1992), election as a Global 500 Forum 

laureate (1994), and the highest order of Columbia 

given to both civilians and military. 
However, despite his publication and teaching 

record, and despite all national and international 

recognition Schultes received, Harvard did not 

see it necessary to maintain his legacy. As soon 

as he retired in 1985, his journal was closed, his 

famous lab dismantled, and his huge collection of 

ethnobotanical material placed in an attic, where it 

remains, largely uncurated, to this day. 
One of the plants Schultes’ students worked on 

intensively was Coca (Erythroxylon novogranatense 

(Morris) Hieron and E. coca Lam.), the sacred 

leaf of the Andes and today the notorious source 

of cocaine. Schultes’ students noted decades 

ago that the traditional use of the plant is in fact 

harmless, contributes to a balanced nutrition, 

and had nothing whatsoever to do with drug use 

and production. The plant has nevertheless now 

become the central focus of the so called “war on 

drugs.” Rather than addressing the social problems 

that foster drug use in the “developed” world, 

including the US, we have spent billions of dollars 

in recent decades to wage chemical war, fumigating 

millions of acres of coca fields, especially in 

Columbia. This effort very much reminds me of 

the use of Agent Orange in the Vietnam war, and 

coincidentally the herbicides used in the war on 

drugs are produced by the same companies that 

supplied defoliants to the military during the 1960s 

and 1970s. Unfortunately, the coca eradication 

program destroys not only coca, but all other crops, 

like coffee and corn, and has detrimental effects of 

the health of the local population. Ultimately, the 

chemicals affect the whole ecosystem, and with it 

the traditional knowledge Schultes took great care 

in documenting. 
This brings us back to Schultes’ original rubber 

work in the Amazon. Despite the advances in 

synthetic rubber production, natural rubber 

remains the material of choice for highest quality 

products and applications, from gaskets, space 

and military applications to surgical gloves and 

condoms. Even radial tires cannot be produced 

without natural rubber, and 95% of the production 

is still coming from plantations in SE Asia. 

Unfortunately, due to faster transport possibilities 

in a global economy, leaf blight has finally reached 

that region, and while outbreaks have been small, 

background image


Book Reviews

Developmental & 


An Introduction to Plant Structure 

and Development: Plant Anatomy 

for the Twenty-First Century

Charles B. Beck.  

Second edition. 2010. Cambridge University 

Press, Cambridge, UK.

This book is an overview of plant anatomy that 

does not attempt to directly compete in the shade 

beneath Esau’s dated yet still authoritative reference 

text.  Slimmer in detail and more selective in its 

coverage, it thrives, as innovative genotypes do, in a 

somewhat different niche. What this work attempts, 

and substantially accomplishes, is the connection 

of key topics in plant anatomy with contemporary 

knowledge in contiguous disciplines, particularly 

cell biology, plant physiology and to some extent 

The book is well-provided with figures that include 

light and electron micrographs as well as drawings.  

Most of them are excellent, although in a number of 

cases one regrets the micrographs were not printed 

larger (The book’s format is not small, but a wide 

margin along the unbound edge takes up more 

than one-third of the page area).  Each individual 

chapter has two separate lists of bibliography under 

the headings References and Further Reading.  The 

former is apparently intended to include work cited 

in the text, the latter additional relevant sources.  

However, some works cited in the first chapters 

(Hoffmeister [sic] 1867; Sharp 1906) do not appear 

in either list.  Many recent publications on various 

aspects of plant biology are included, making this 

account both contemporary and integrative.
Certain statements, however, seem a little out of 

synch with the heralded “twenty-first century” 

perspective.  In reference to mitochondria and 

chloroplasts (p. 47): “ has been suggested that 

these organelles might have evolved from bacterial 

symbionts (e.g. Cohen 1970, Raven 1970).”  Surely 

a less tentative statement and more contemporary 

bibliography is warranted from the last forty years 

of research on this fundamental topic.  Reference is 

made to “double fertilization in both Gnetum and 

Ephedra and the light it throws on the phylogenetic 

relationship of these taxa to the angiosperms” (p. 

362), but no mention is given to the controversy 

following that developmental interpretation nor the 

repeated failure of DNA sequence data to support 

its phylogenetic assertions.  The details of plication 

and leaflet separation in palm leaf development are 

described as “controversial,” citing works from the 

early 1960´s (p. 339), while studies published two 

decades later contributed much toward resolving 

these controversies (one is listed under Further 

Reading but not cited or discussed).  On page one 

we are told that “shared features comprise the 

Books  Reviewed

Developmental and Structural

An Introduction to Plant Structure and Development: Plant Anatomy for the  
Twenty-First Century.  Charles B. Beck. - William B. Saunders  .................................. 70


Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, and Conservation. Ghazoul, J. and D. Scheil. - 
 ........................................................................................................................................ 71


In Splendid Isolation: A history of the Willie Commelin Scholten Phytopathology
Laboratory 1894-1992.   ................................................................................................. 73


National Wildlife Federation Field Guide to Wildflowers of North America.  - Michael A. 
Vincent ............................................................................................................................ 73
Trees of Panama and Costa Rica.   ................................................................................. 74

Wildflowers of Southern Western Australia.   ................................................................ 75

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011


Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diver-

sity, and Conservation. 

Ghazoul, J., and D. Sheil.  

ISBN 978-0-19-928587-7 (Cloth £65.00) 516 pp. 

Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon 

Street, Oxford OX2 6DP, Great Britain.

In writing Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, 

and Conservation, Ghazoul & Sheil hoped that 

their text would offer “something of value in all 

sections for all readers” and we fully agree that it 

did.  With surprising success the authors conveyed 

uncompromising passion for the field of tropical 

ecology and effectively articulated contemporary 

ecological and conservation issues.  Their book was 

divided into three sections.  Section I presented an 

excellent and broad survey of the natural history 

of biological diversity within tropical rainforests.  

Section II focused on tropical rainforests from 

evolutionary, biogeographical, and ecological 

perspectives.  Section III outlined the history and 

impact of humans with tropical rain forests.  The 

main goals of the book (p. 5) were to “evaluate past 

and current ecological debates,” to “outline major 

patterns and underlying processes,” and “consider 

future challenges and possible responses.”  Though 

these were ambitious goals, we unanimously concur 

that the authors met these goals and produced a 

well-written text.  In particular this book would 

be particularly valuable for new graduate students 

wanting an excellent introduction to tropical forest 

The first section of the book focused on taxonomy 

and natural history and was divided into four 

chapters: plants, microorganisms, vertebrates, and 

invertebrates.  These chapters were well organized, 

thoughtful, and informative and each showcased 

the uniqueness of tropical rain forests by exploring 

the complexity and diversity of organisms.  The 

strength of these chapters centered on inspiring 

descriptions and “cool” anecdotes.  Side boxes 

highlighted stimulating material about particular 

species, processes, and patterns.  For example, Box 

4.2 described the widespread behavior of geophagy 

among organisms ranging from invertebrates to 

humans.  Overall, these introductory chapters were 

up-to-date, informative, and just a “good read.”  

Moreover, they stress how little is actually known 

about the diversity and ecological importance of 

major evidence that vascular plants, possibly also 

bryophytes, evolved from green algae...,” leaving 

a contemporary reader to wonder what other 

origins are conceivable for bryophytes.  Indeed, 

what alternatives are envisioned in the book’s 

first sentence, which states that land plants are 

represented “largely” by bryophytes and vascular plants?  
A title is a negligibly small part of a book, but 

the choice has its implications.  Here the title 

and subtitle conflate plant structure with plant 

anatomy, and the subsequent blurb describes this 

book as providing “a comprehensive coverage of 

plant structure...”  One would hope it unnecessary 

to have to point out that the study of plant 

structure and its development is also the province 

of plant morphology, a discipline distinct from 

but no less significant than that of plant anatomy. 

The principles of morphological organization 

and morphogenesis, and the fundamental 

concerns of plant morphology, are for the most 

part unrepresented in this book.   (It defines 

sympodium as “a vascular bundle of the stem and 

the associated leaf trace.”) The author does, quite 

helpfully, begin an early chapter by contrasting 

the cell and organismal theories corresponding 

to these two different levels of organization.  That 

the book chooses to consider structure almost 

entirely from the perspective of cells can hardly 

be considered a shortcoming; it is an impressive 

enough achievement to have summarized a single 

discipline effectively.  A less ambitious title would 

render such criticisms irrelevant. 
And yet there are a few places where more attention 

to morphology would be helpful.  For example, 

the author repeatedly contrasts animal and plant 

development in terms of histogenesis (p.12; p. 

83.): “That is, plants have the ability to add new 

cells and long as the plant lives.” “As a 

consequence [of apical meristems] plants have the 

potential to increase in size at regular intervals 

throughout their lives…” Yet many animals have 

these capabilities as well.  A clearer distinction can 

be made at the morphogenetic level: animals do not 

continually form new organs throughout their lives.   In 

Figure 6.11 and its legend, the terms embryophytes and 

embryophyta are used disconcertingly as synonyms for 

“seed plants,” to the exclusion of other land plant groups.
Imperfections aside, An Introduction to Plant 

Structure and Development: Plant Anatomy for the 

Twenty-first Century is a significant and informative 

synthesis.  Those interested in plant structure are 

likely to find it a valuable reference worth owning.  

For me, it is already proving its usefulness in both 

teaching and research.
-William B. Sanders, Florida Gulf Coast University.

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

unworkable.  These chapters were presented in a 

consistently objective way and the authors typically 

provided sound scientific and anthropological 

findings from the primary literature to support 

their views.  Their upbeat message was bolstered by 

a great sense of humor.  They explained how safe sex 

with Natex condoms could help save the rainforest 

(Box 17.2) and included a figure (18.2) depicting 

small do-it-yourself  “Grow Your Own Rainforest 

Kits” with the caption “All may not be lost.”
The format of the book could be improved by 

reducing the number of boxes and copious 

footnotes.  While useful in some cases, many times 

these were distracting and inconsistent in content.  

For example, some boxes detailed specific ideas 

already discussed elsewhere (e.g., Boxes 11.3, 14.2 

and 15.5), while the information in others would 

be best incorporated into the main text (e.g., 

Boxes 16.5 and 17.7).  Doing so would create a 

more cohesive flow within chapters and prevent 

cumbersome switches among the main text, 

footnotes, and boxes. 
In a few places Ghazoul and Sheil made fairly strong 

generalizations but failed to provide citations.  For 

example, in chapter 10 the authors stated, “the 

availability of moisture is the single most important 

factor determining the distribution of major biomes 

in the tropics including the rain forests.”  While 

we have no reason to doubt this, a source would 

seem mandatory.  Other examples lacking citations 

occurred in chapter 7, where the authors stated “In 

African forests lianas are more abundant than in 

other regions -- but this may simply reflect climatic 

conditions or past disturbance history” (p. 146) and 

later in chapter 10, where the authors asserted “light 

is probably the main factor explaining variation in 

plant form and dynamics within any given forest 

site” (p. 227).  Overall, it remains unclear how much 

support there are for these claims.  Nonetheless, 

however, this problem was not common and in 

total the book was well referenced and current.  
Tropical Rain Forest Ecology, Diversity, and 

Conservation was read and reviewed as part 

of a graduate-level seminar course. Without 

exception, we all enjoyed this book and felt it 

was quite an achievement; most readers will be 

satisfied and challenged by it.  Overall, the authors 

incorporated ideas and evidence from multiple 

fields of scientific study including biogeography, 

evolution, climatology, geography, and population 

genetics.  In addition, Ghazoul and Sheil explored 

the use and future impact of modern molecular 

tropical rainforests.  We were surprised to learn 

that even in the 21


 century “more than 2,000 

species and 90 new genera are described” each year, 

and that these new discoveries show “no sign of 

declining.”  Indeed, in Borneo somewhere between 

15 and 35% of the flora remains undescribed (p. 

10).  We felt these chapters made for an enjoyable 

and enlightening stroll through the incredible 

biodiversity of the tropics.
Section II reviewed the origins, patterns, and 

processes of tropical rain forests.  The strength of 

each chapter varied fairly widely, from particularly 

comprehensive syntheses on geologic land 

formation and flowering plants (chapters 6 and 

12, respectively) to comparatively weaker chapters 

on ecological processes and biotic interactions 

(chapters 9 and 13).  At times, the patterns that 

were reviewed were not tightly linked to underlying 

processes.  For example, the authors described 

changes in vegetation patterns observed along 

an elevation gradient in wet tropical mountains:  

“The canopy gets progressively lower and lianas 

become increasingly scarce then disappear and 

are replaced by dense moss and other bryophytes, 

straggling lichens, bamboos, and tree ferns” (p. 

133).  Unfortunately, there was little mention of the 

processes that might generate these patterns.  In 

chapter eight, “So many species, so many theories,” 

Ghazoul & Sheil did an admirable job of addressing 

the hyperdiversity of tropical rainforests, which 

for many is the Holy Grail of tropical ecology.  

We felt that this chapter provided a thorough list 

of the theories and mechanisms that underlie the 

evolution and maintenance of diversity but we 

had hoped for a bit more synthesis here.  Still, 

the authors were quick to remind us that many of 

these “mechanisms are likely to operate together” 

and “we should not lose sight of the historical 

environmental changes that have influenced 

dispersal, speciation and extinction processes” (p. 

177).  These were important take home messages.  
Lastly, Section III delved into the history of human 

interactions with tropical forests, explored how 

these interactions have influenced tropical forests 

worldwide, and reviewed current and potential 

conservation efforts.  The final three chapters read 

as a call to action to conserve tropical rainforests 

in the name of biodiversity.  The authors avoided 

the dogmatic tone that often accompanies this 

perspective.  They pointed out that rainforests 

are crucial to the livelihoods of millions of people 

and thus a purely preservationist approach is 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

and genetic techniques in tropical research (e.g., 

section 12.3), approaches which have only recently 

been introduced to the field.  We certainly hope 

and encourage the authors to update this book 

in the future.  This text would be excellent for an 

advanced undergraduate course in tropical ecology 

or a graduate course with supplemental reading 

from the primary literature.  In total, we highly 

recommend this book.   
- Griffin, E.A., R. Bendis, N. Brouwer, J. Hua, M. 

Koski, G. Meindl, & W.P. Carson, University of 



In Splendid Isolation: A history 

of the Willie Commelin Scholten 

Phytopathology Laboratory 1894-


Faasse, Patricia, E. 2009  

ISBN 13:9789069845418 (Cloth US$60.00) 

304 pp. Edita-the Publishing House of the 

Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and 

Sciences. Distributed by the University of 

Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th Street Chicago, 

IL 60637.

Have you ever wondered how Dutch elm disease 

became known as Dutch?  It is because it was 

studied extensively in the Netherlands.  Patricia 

Faasse describes this and many other intricacies 

of the history of phytopathology research in the 

Netherlands in her book “In Splendid Isolation”.  She 

delves into the personal and intimate aspects of the 

story of the Willie Commelin Scholten laboratory, 

which she has uncovered through searching and 

exploring for the bits of history that remain on 

this laboratory.  The history of phytopathology 

research would be incomplete without mention of 

the Netherlands based Willie Commelin Scholten 

laboratory.  This laboratory was born out of the 

tragic death of Willie Commelin Scholten and 

the determination of his parents to develop a 

laboratory devoted to the scientific work that their 

son so enjoyed.  The laboratory was founded on the 

work of female scientists on Dutch elm disease in 

the nineteenth century.  It continued for nearly an 

entire century, evolving into a university affiliated 

research center before being dismantled and 

distributed between universities.

This book is one of a series called “The History of 

Science and Scholarship in the Netherlands.”  This 

book, along with the series, is an excellent form of 

historic preservation and succeeds in sharing the 

rich scientific history of the Netherlands.  Being 

a person interested in the history of scientific 

disciplines and how they evolve, reading about 

some of the foundation of phytopahthology was 

intriguing.  For those studying phytopathology 

today, some of the goals remain the same as when 

the Willie Commelin Scholten Phytopathology 

Laboratory was founded in 1894.   Plants today 

continue to experience pests and diseases to which 

they are often ill adapted to respond to.  This is 

becoming an increasing concern as globalization 

and the spread of invasive and alien species 

continues to rise.  This book would be particularly 

interesting for those who study these topics and 

search for solutions to problems caused by such 

movements around the globe.  This history is 

accessible and informative, reading like a novel that 

is packed with rich information about the nuances 

of the lab’s development and ultimate decline, and 

most importantly the science that resulted from the 

hard work of a devoted group of women and men alike.   
-Katherine E. Kovach, Department of Biology, Duke 



National Wildlife Federation Field 

Guide to Wildflowers of North 


David M. Brandenburg.   

2010. ISBN: 978-1-4027-4154-8 (paperback, 

$19.95) 673 pp., Andrew Sterling Publishing 

Co., New York, New York.

What a remarkable book!  From front cover to 

back, this field guide is absolutely crammed full 

of beautiful illustrations, maps, descriptions, and 

useful information.  This is one volume that any 

naturalist should have on the bookshelf, in the car, 

or in the backpack.
This hefty volume (weighing in at over 2.25 

pounds) is a great size for a field companion to 

the wildflowers.  It is encased in a waterproof 

binding which appears well attached and durable.  

Immediately inside the front cover are a foldout 

page of descriptive diagrams of botanical terms, 

and a scale-bar in inches and centimeters.  After 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

this is an introduction to the volume which spells 

out the scope of the volume (North America north 

of Mexico), followed by discussions of names, 

nomenclature, classification (this guide follows 

more “traditional” family delimitations), habitats, 

and conservation.  Next is a description of how 

the volume is laid out, and then descriptions 

and diagrams of terms useful in identification of 

wildflowers.  An ingenious key follows, which 

utilizes a combination of flower color and shape, 

coupled with thumbnail photographs of flowers, 

to lead the reader through the identification 

process.  The bulk of the remainder of the text is the 

descriptive section, arranged alphabetically by plant 

family, with brief family descriptions and maps, 

descriptions of species (arranged in genera) listed 

by common and Latin names, with maps and color 

photographs of each.  While not comprehensive in 

its coverage of all species, the book is astoundingly 

complete in what it does include (over 2200 

species!).  Additional descriptive information is 

included for some families, such as line drawings 

of schizocarps in Apiaceae, cypselas in Asteraceae, 

and fruit types in Malvaceae.  A separate section 

of 38 pages contains descriptions and illustrations 

of introduced species that are likely to be more 

generally distributed.  The volume concludes with 

references, a synonymy list, extensive photo credits, 

and an index.
The descriptions and maps are very helpful for 

identification purposes, and separation of similar 

species is made easier by small comparisons.  

Great care was obviously taken with selection of 

the more than 4000 photographs, and the result is 

a magnificent array of images that delight the eye 

and are a tremendous aid to identification.  I find 

it astonishing that a tome so filled with beautiful 

plates is priced so inexpensively, and the author and 

publisher are to be thanked for this, since it makes 

the book accessible to many more people than 

the dozens of less inclusive, but more expensive, 

wildflower books currently available.
This book is perfect for anyone interested in 

wildflowers, whether beginning enthusiast or more 

seasoned expert, and would serve as field manual 

for classes in most areas of North America.  I will be 

buying copies for my students, friends, and family.  

I congratulate David Brandenburg for his superb 

job with the construction of such a manual!
-Michael A. Vincent, Department of Botany, Miami 

University, Oxford, OH  45056-1879 USA.  email:

Trees of Panama and Costa Rica.  

Condit, Richard, Rolando Pérez, & Nefertaris 


ISBN 978–0-691-14710-9 (paperback, 

US$45) 494 pp.  Princeton Field Guides; 

Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, 

Princeton, NJ 08540.

There are said to be 2321 tree species native to 

Panama, with “tree” defined as a woody, single-

stemmed plant at least 2 m tall.  There are possibly 

the same number in Costa Rica.  Of these, this 

guide treats nearly 500 species, distributed among 

83 families.  The species shown with distribution 

maps, color photographs, and brief descriptions 

are the most common and most accessible ones.  

The authors collectively have many decades of 

experience in the Central American tropics, and 

one surely can trust their judgment.
There are no keys.  The arrangement throughout 

is alphabetical, by family, genus, and species.  The 

binomials are given without authors, unusual in 

botanical works, but these can easily be got from 

the Tropicos website, along with a great deal 

more information, including total known range.  

Common names are given, virtually all in Spanish, 

and these are fully indexed at the end of the book, 

along with the Latin binomials.  (There are five quite 

unrelated species called “limoncillo,” for example.  

There are two species of Pouteria, Sapotaceae, 

called “faldita de puta”; nowhere are the common 

names translated, which is probably just as well.)
The species not treated and pictured are given 

mention, even if only a few words.  There are 

no references anywhere in the book to more 

technical literature on the genus or family under 

consideration, not even to the Flora of Panama 

series in the Annals of the Missouri Botanical 

Garden.  One infers that the “field guide” format 

forces the authors to eschew literature references.  

There is no synonymy given in the body of the 

book, but a few synonyms are included in the Index.  

The authors make the point that “Scientists have 

precise rules about Latin names; indeed, only one 

name can be the officially accepted name.”  There 

are certainly times when one wishes this were so; 

alas, it can never be. 
The book in paperback (6” × 9”) weighs just over 

one kilogram.  I think this book as a backpack 

item is going to get awfully heavy after a day in 

the tropical sun.  But, as the authors point out, the 

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011

species diversity in the tropics is overwhelming – in 

places, 200 or more species of trees can be found 

on a walk of a few hundred meters.  They could 

scarcely have made the book smaller or lighter.
Quite rightly, the publisher claims there is no other 

book like this one.  It well merits a long life in the 

hands of nature lovers of all stripes.
–Neil A. Harriman, Biology Department, University 

of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901.

Wildflowers of Southern Western 



Corrick, Margaret G. and Bruce A. Fuhrer. 

2009. ISBN 9781877058844 (Paper 

US$39.95) 224 pp. Rosenberg Publishing 

Pty Ltd. PO Box 6125, Dural Delivery Centre 

NSW 2158, Australia.

If you are heading “Down Under” for the 

International Botanical Congress in Melbourne 

this year and plan to botanize in the western half 

of the country, you would be keen to pack along 

the third edition of Wildflowers of Southern 

Western Australia by Margaret G. Corrick and 

Bruce A. Fuhrer. This book highlights over 750 of 

the common angiosperms found in the Southwest 

Botanical Province, a global hotspot of plant 

diversity, as well as portions of the Eremaean and 

Northern Botanical Provinces.  Included maps 

outline the major botanical provinces and districts 

of the region, which are referred to in each plant 

description, as well as local towns and major 

geographical features.  The concise introduction 

describes the major vegetation communities of 

the region and some background on climate, 

geological history and floristic composition, 

though overreliance on common names is 

frustrating yet endearing to North American 

readers anxious to see their first blackbutt, mulla 

mulla, or triggerplant. A selected list of references is 

given, but a more comprehensive review of floristic 

treatments in the area and scholarly papers written 

about the evolution of the flora would be helpful to 

a wider scientific audience.
While written to be usable by amateurs, the 

botanical descriptions, habitat information 

and abundant accompanying photographs are 

substantial enough to assist in identification, 

particularly when in flower.  The photographs of 

both floral and vegetative aspects of each included 

species are uniformly excellent.  Descriptions of 

species and families are sprinkled with interesting 

tidbits about Aboriginal uses of plants, ecology, 

etc.  The book unfortunately does not contain 

keys and is basically organized alphabetically.  The 

descriptions of the included plant families are a bit 

lacking and a more expansive botanical description 

and placement into the broader classification would 

have been appreciated by those of us unfamiliar 

with endemic groups such as Gyrostemonaceae 

and Chloanthaceae.  Similarly, recent taxonomic 

changes have not been comprehensively 

incorporated into this latest edition. Those new to 

the flora of Western Australia will want to consider 

checking other more comprehensive botanical keys 

and descriptions at Florabase (http://florabase. and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium 

( but this book will 

be a welcome field companion for many and the 

photography alone is enough to get any botanist 

excited for the trip to Australia.
-Rachel Schmidt Jabaily, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Re-

searcher, Department of Biological Sciences, 110 

Mills Godwin Building, Old Dominion University, 

Norfolk, VA 23529

The Botanical Species Concept - - Augustin-

Pyramus De Candolle

“…the collection of all the individuals who 

resemble one another more than they resemble 

others; who are able, by reciprocal fecundation, 

to produce fertile individuals; and who 

reproduce by generation, such kind as one 

may by analogy suppose that all came down 

originally from one single individual.”  (take 

note of that Ernst Mayr!)

Théorie élémentaire de la botanique, ou 

exposition des principes de las classification 

naturelle et de l’art de decrier et d’étudier les 

végétaux. 2nd ed.; Paris, 1819.

background image


Bromeliads for Home and Garden.  Kramer, Jack.  2011.  ISBN 798-0-8130-3544-4.  
(Paper US$26.95) 176pp.  University Press of Florida.

Bryophyte Ecology and Climate Change.  Tuba, Zoltán, Nancy G. Slack, Lloyd R. 
Stark.  2011.  ISBN 978-0-521-7577-5 (Paper US$60.00) 506pp.  Cambridge University 
Press, 32 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Distribution of Grasses in Texas.  Shaw, Robert B., Barron S. Rector, Amanda M. Dube.  
2011.  ISBN 978-1-889878-32-4 (Paper US$20.00) 196pp.  Botanical Research Institute 
of Texas, 1700 Universit Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76107-3400.

A Field Guide to the Ferns and Lycophytes of Louisiana.  Neyland, Ray.  2011.  (Paper 
US$24.95) 89 pp.  Louisiana State University Press, 3990 West Lakeshore Drive, Baton 
Rouge, LA 70808.

Life of Earth: Portrait of a Beautiful, Middle-Aged, Stressed-Out World.  Rice, Stan-
ley A.  2011.  ISBN 798-1-61614-225-4.  (Cloth US$28.00) 255pp.  Prometheus Books, 
59 John Glenn Drive, Amherst, New York 14228-2119.

Light and Phytosynthesis in Aquatic Ecosystems, 3rd ed.  Kirk, John T.O.  2011.  ISBN 
978-0-521-15175-7 (Paper US$90.00) 649 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32 Avenue of 
the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter.  Payne, Michelle.  2011.  ISBN 978-1-84246-
430-4.  (Paper, US$17.00) 96 pp.  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, distributed by University 
of Chicago Press, 1427 East 60th Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60637-2954.

Plant Chromosome Engineering: Methods and Protocols. Methods in Molecular Biology 
701.   Birchler, James A.  2010.  ISBN 978-1-61377-956-7 (Cloth US$139.00) 340 
pp.   Humana Press 333 Meadowlands Parkway,  Secaucus, NJ 07094. 

Reaching for the Sun: How Plants Work.  King, John.  2011.  ISBN 978-0-521-73668-
8 (Paper US$39.99).  298 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32 Avenue of the Americas, 
New York, NY 10013.

The Shaping of Life: The Generation of Biological Pattern.  Harrison, Lionel G. 2011.  
ISBN 978-0-521-55350-6 (Cloth US$99.00)  247pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32 
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and 
Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas, Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia.
Spira, Timothy P.  2011.  ISBN  978-0-8078-3440-4 (Cloth US$50.00) 540 pp.  The Uni-
versity of North Carolina Press, 116 South Boundary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514-3808. 

Books Received

background image


To Our Legacy Society Members

Dear Legacy Society Members,  

We’d like to invite you to the BSA Legacy Society reception at the Botany 2011 Conference in St. Louis on 

Wednesday afternoon, July 13, from 5 – 6 pm. Please RSVP to Bill Dahl at 

The Legacy Society was founded in 2006 as an active way for you, a Society member, to register support for 

the BSA as a component in your legacy planning. For more information, please go to http://www.botany.


Join us and learn how the BSA “in perpetuity” gift subscriptions are expanding the reach of botany and 

botanical research.  What is an  “in perpetuity” gift subscription you ask, learn more at http://www.botany.


Your Society is already hard at work supporting the upcoming Botany Conference, and as I write this note, 

we have funded over $15,000 in student research and travel grants for the year, and we’re just getting 

started. Your Board has set a goal of adding another $20,000 in research grants for students over the next 

five years.

The Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrows Scientists (PLANTS) grant program, is taking off and 

is led by Dr. Ann Sakia and supported by Dr. Ann Hirsch. This is adding $20,000 per year into our travel 

grant program supporting “undergraduate” attendance at the Botany Conference.

In another move supporting botany, a team of people, led by Dr. Dick Olmstead, put in an NSF grant 

supporting travel to the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne. In conjunction with ASPT, ABLS 

and AFS, we’ll fund over $60,000 in student/early career support to this important botanical gathering.

Remember, there’s more to our mission in relation to awards. Here’s a note from Dr. Chelsea D. Specht, 

University of California, Berkeley, talking about the excitement an the non-monetary “Young Botanist 

Award” created for her student, Ms. Gracie Benson-Martin, a 2011 award recipient.

I put in the following story on Gracie’s getting Young Botanist Award, and it has been picked up by The 

Berkeleyan newsletter (news feed) and is rotating on the home page of

!  Lots and lots of hits 

for both of these news sources.  People are stopping Gracie all across campus and congratulating her, and 

i’m getting emails from other faculty and even graduate students to congratulate her.  Gracie is thrilled!  

I think it’s really significant that the campus news community picked up on this and made it such a 

highlight, demonstrating the importance of these sorts of awards not only to the undergraduate who 

receives them, but to the campus community at large.  Thanks to you for continuing to support and direct 

these awards.

I never really thought about it as a very big deal before, but the way the university picked up the story 

and ran with it makes me feel like people are starved for this sort of feel-good, healthy, productive, positive 

news.  Nice that BSA can contribute!

All of our awards are a BIG DEAL. They run to the core of our mission as a Society, and may very well 

be the spark that ignites someone’s career!

And we hope you’ve heard about how BSA support for educational outreach 

has taken botany and plants into middle and high school classrooms around the 

country and the world. Programs like 



myPlant IT

 have allowed 

BSA educational leaders to begin the slow process of taking plants and botany back 

into the curriculum. They have also allowed the Society a place at many tables where 

future education policy and educational concepts are developed.

All of these great programs are possible due to the for-sight of BSA leaders and 

members who have gone before us. These men and women, as do the members of 

the Legacy Society, consider the work the Society important enough to ensure we 

were a part of their legacy planning. Importantly, they built a strong financial base 

for the Society.   We can’t stress enough how critical having a strong endowment and 

financial position is to the BSA.

The tradition continues amongst our peers, and we invite you to join us and play an important part in the 

future of the BSA.

Thank you for your time, and we’ll see you in St. Louis!

Dr. Dennis Stevenson                                    Dr. Ed Schneider                                    Dr. Linda Graham

BSA Board Member                                    Chair, Development                       Incoming BSA Board Member

Development                                                      Committee                                                Development

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011


UP TO $100


$1000 OR MORE


$500 OR MORE


$250 OR MORE


$100 OR MORE




Our sincere thanks to the 

following supporters of Botany  

for your donations

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011




“One morning [in 1839] [Asa] Gray and Joe Hooker went to the College of Surgeons [in London] to 

see the great Hunterian Museum, which was the best the American traveler had seen.  Their primary 

object was to pay respects to Professor Richard Owen, but in the course of the visit they ‘there met 

Mr. Darwin, the naturalist who accompanied Captain King [sic] in the Beagle.’  The heavy-browed 

young explorer made small impression compared with Owen, a ‘profound scientific scholar,’ whom 

Gray thought ‘the best comparative anatomist living, still young, and one of the most mild, gentle, 

childlike men I ever saw.’  Twenty-one years later Olympian thunder would have accompanied a 

meeting of Darwin, Owen, Hooker, and Gray.”  

A. Hunter Dupree, Asa Gray. 1959.  p. 81

background image


Plant Science Bulletin 57(2) 2011


The conference is being held July 9-13 at the Chase 

Park Plaza, located in the vibrant Central West 

End of St. Louis - close to a fabulous line up of 

restaurants and pubs for after science socializing. 

In addition, it is directly across from Forest Park, 

home to the St. Louis Zoo (free admission!) and 

the St. Louis Science Center as well as acres and 

acres to explore. St. Louis is the perfect place to 

plan your vacation around the BOTANY 2011 

conference with plenty of things for all ages to do! 

One of the major jewels of St. Louis is the Missouri 

Botanical Garden and no trip to the city would be 

complete with out a visit - so for all attendees of the 

conference we have arranged for FREE admission 

to the Garden with your conference badge!


A collection of FREE workshops on Sunday, July 

10 will cover a wide diveristy of topics for your 

educational development. From Plant Genome 

Analysis and DNA Barcoding to Preparing Your 

Manuscript for Publication and Sustainable 

Teaching, the BOTANY Conference will provide 

a valuable learning experience for students, 

professionals, and educators.


Sign up for one or more of the fantastic field trip 

opportunities for BOTANY 2011! From Shaw 

Nature Reserve, to the revival of Forest Park, an 

economic botany tour of St. Louis City, a tour of 

Monsanto or the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

If it’s botanical, we have it here at BOTANY 

CONFERENCE in St. Louis! http://www.2011.



Plenary Address - Dr. Peter H. Raven, one of 

the world’s leading botanists and advocates of 

conservation and biodiversity
Regional Botany Lecture - Dr. Matthew Albrecht 

is Assistant Curator for Conservation Biology 

in the Center for Conservation & Sustainable 

Development of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Enhancing Scientist Diversity in Plant Biology 

Luncheon - Dr. Mary Clutter, former assistant 

director of the National Science Foundation (NSF)
Kaplan Memorial Lecture in Comparative 

Development - Dr. Ralph S. Quatrano, Dean of 

the School of Engineering & Applied Science at 

Washington University
Healing the Planet: Medicinal Plants and the 

Legacy of Richard E. Schultes - a terrific line up of 

leading professionals in economic botany
Annals of Botany Lecture - Dr. Pam Soltis on 

“Angiosperm Phylogeny: The Role of Polyploidy in 

Diversification and Genome Evolution”

Visit the Botany 2011 Conference Website to 

register and view the abstracts and schedule online. 

If you are into social media, check out the ASPT, 

BSA, or SEB Facebook pages and become a fan. 

We regularly post breaking and important meeting 

information on the Facebook pages. In addition, 

you can find us on Twitter at “botanical_” where we 

will be tweeting the latest information on ticketed 

conference events, local restaurants, and meeting 

happenings during the conference.

Come share your research with the friendliest faces in Botany and advance your science, enrich your career 

and extend your network in St. Louis, MO from July 9-13. This is the joint annual meeting of the Botanical 

Society of America, the Society for Economic Botany, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the 

American Fern Society. We would love to see you there!

We look forward to seeing you in St. Louis!  

Questions? We are always here to help!  

Contact:  J ohanne S togran, Director of  Conferences,             

(740) 927-8501 or

background image

Plant Science Bulletin 

 Featured Image

 Summer 2011 Volume 57 Number 2

Plant Science 


ISSN 0032-0919 

Published quarterly by  

Botanical Society of America, 


4475 Castleman Avenue 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 


The yearly subscription 

rate of $15 is included in the 


Send address changes to:

Botanical Society of America 

Business Office 

P.O. Box 299 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299

Address Editorial Matters (only) 


Marshall D. Sundberg 


The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership 

society whose mission  is to: 

promote botany, the field of 

basic science dealing with the 

study and inquiry into the 

form, function, development, 

diversity, reproduction, 

evolution, and uses of plants 

and their interactions within the 


A hawk moth taking nectar from the 

blooms of showy milkweed (



Showy milkweed flowers are an important source of nectar 

for many insects. If large enough to remove the pollinia, some 

insects act as pollinators. This hawk moth is unlikely a pollinator 

as it never lands on the milkweed flowers. Instead it takes nectar 

while hovering like a humming bird.  This picture taken during 

the Botany2010 meeting.

Visit this and all the current   

Conant Student Travel Award Submissions at:

1st Place - $500 

Botany 2011 Student Travel Award 

James Riser

Washington State University

background image

Support our Sponsors & Exhibitors  

at Botany 2011 

Support Our 

Exhibitors & Sponsors 

Back to overview