Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2011 v57 No 4 WinterActions

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Winter 2011 Volume 57 Number 4


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

PlantingScience continues to 

flourish with its biggest session yet!  

Details p. 129

Botany 2012 is coming to life & is 

online at  

Go to p. 178

Look what the American Journal of 

Botany has in store....p. 160

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From the Editor

                                                                                     Winter 2011 Volume 57 Number 4



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

Carolyn M. Wetzel 

Department of Biological 

Sciences & Biochemistry 


Smith College 

Northampton, MA 01063 

Tel. 413/585-3687


On the cover of this issue is a photo of some of the 

team that spent two days early in November brain-

storming about the future direction of Planting-

Science, potentially the most significant program in 

the history of botany education in this country.  Time 

will be the judge.  But to help put it into perspective, 

in this issue we feature the first of a planned series of 

articles describing the history of botanical education 

in America.   The growth of American botany was 

certainly dependent on support and examples from 

England and continental Europe, but many innova-

tions in pedagogy to teach botany in the schools and 

colleges originated in the United States.  In fact, some 

of the innovative “best practices” we struggle to dis-

seminate more broadly today were first proposed and 

implemented by botanists more than 200 years ago in 

the fledgling colleges, schools, and seminaries of the 

new republic.  

This issue also marks our full transition to an auto-

mated submission system for peer-reviewed manu-

scripts in the Plant Science Bulletin.  The system is 

now “live” with a hot link under: “publications,” 

“Plant Science Bulletin,” “current issue” on the BSA 

website.  This link leads to instructions for authors for 

four types of submissions, three of which should be 

submitted through the automated system.  Research 

articles, descriptive articles, and essays of general bo-

tanical interest should be submitted directly through 

Editorial Manager.  We are particularly interested in 

articles representing BSA sections that are not typi-

cally well represented in AJB.  Editorial Manager for 

the Plant Science Bulletin mirrors that used for sub-

mission of articles to the American Journal of Botany

and if you have registered as an author or served as 

a reviewer for AJB, you are already in the database 

(with a username and password).  

Book reviews, general news items, and requests 

should still be submit-

ted directly to the edi-

tor at  

Two articles are currently 

in review for publication 

in volume 58.  

Do you have one to 


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Table of Contents

Society News

2011 Contributors to the Botanical Society........... .........................................................126 
Students Urge Lawmakers to Invest in Science .............................................................128
Educational Resources for Botany (ERB) ......................................................................128

BSA Science Education News and Notes

PlantingScience ..............................................................................................................129
PlantIT Cases, Careers, and Collaborations ...................................................................130
Education Bits and Bobs: Recent Reports from the National Academies Press ............131


Editors Choice Reviews ...................................................................................................... 133

Reports and Reviews

Botanical Education in the United States: Part 1,  
The Impact of Linneaus and the Foundations of Modern Pedagogy ..............................134


Dr. David Mabberley Honored .......................................................................................159
“Next-Gen Sequencing” Special Issue Slated for AJB in 2012. .....................................161


Book Reviews ..................................................................................................................... 162 


Books for Review ............................................................................................................... 178 


Plant Science Bulletin Reviewers ....................................................................................... 179

Botany 2012 ........................................................................................................................ 180

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Dear BSA Colleagues,
On behalf of the Society I’d like to acknowledge and thank the following individuals (and families) for 

their contributions to the Botanical Society of America during our last financial year. The gifts were made 

to the BSA endowment, to various research awards, our educational efforts, and to the sections. This group 

donated close to $30,000 to support student research, our many awards, and student attendance at Botany 

2011 in St. Louis. Working with other organizations, the American Society of Plant Taxonomists and the 

National Science Foundation specifically, we were also able to support 28 student and early career travel 

grants to the International Botanical Congress.

Please understand, our contributions do make a difference. We encourage you to support the Society.  

(All gifts to the BSA are tax deductible.)


Linda Graham

BSA, At-large Director - Development

Society News

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011





























































































































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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Students Urge Lawmakers to Invest 

in Science

More than 2,900 students pursuing a Ph.D., 

Master’s, or bachelor’s degree in science, technology, 

engineering, or mathematics (STEM) have now 

signed a letter to federal lawmakers encouraging 

sustained investments in the nation’s scientific 

research, education, and training programs.

“Throughout the 20th century, sustained 

investments in the areas of science, technology, 

engineering, and mathematics helped build our 

nation’s economy and improved quality of life for 

people around the world,” states the letter. “If the 

United States is to remain a global leader, both 

economically and scientifically, we must sustain 

and reinvest in STEM research and development.”

“As future scientists and educators, federal 

funding is important to us all,” said Rachel Meyer, 

one of the co-authors of the letter. “While  addressing 

the nation’s budget challenges is essential, now is not 

the time to sacrifice investments in science.” Meyer 

is a doctoral candidate at the City University of 

New York, and Student Representative on the Board 

of Directors for the Botanical Society of America.

The petition was sent to all members of Congress 

on 8 September 2011. Congress is considering 

legislation to fund the National Science Foundation 

and other science agencies in fiscal year 2012.

“Science is a proven driver of economic growth 

in the United States,” said American Institute of 

Biological Sciences President Dr. James P. Collins. 

“Federal support for research and science education 

is vital for job creation and economic recovery, 

and for continued advancements in human 

health, national security, agriculture, energy, and 

environmental stewardship. The views expressed in 

this letter are a real credit to the foresight of these 

thousands of students.”

Students from all 50 states, Washington, DC, 

Puerto Rico, and Guam signed the letter. The 

students are pursuing degrees across a wide range 

of scientific disciplines, including biology, geology, 

chemistry, physics, linguistics, astronomy, math, 

computer science, and engineering.

The letter is the result of a joint effort between 

student members of the Botanical Society of 

America and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

A copy of the letter is available online at


Educational Resources for Botany (ERB)

Have you ever needed a good idea for a lab or the 

perfect image for a PowerPoint slide and couldn’t 

find one?  The Education Committee is developing 

a searchable database that will make finding these 

resources easy.  As part of the National Science 

Foundation’s National Science Digital Library 

(NSDL) Project, and supported by the National 

Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon 

Foundation, The Claire Giannini Hoffman Fund, 

the Microsoft Corporation, and the University 

of Wisconsin, the Botanical Society of America 

is contributing to the Collection Workflow 

Integration System (CWIS) and the development of 

a resource for science teaching.  This resource will 

be available to anyone with access to the Internet. 

We need you!  In order to build a robust system 

we need reviewers and we need submissions of 

resources.  Resources can be submitted using your 

BSA ID to login at  Author 

guidelines and the criteria reviewers use are here. 

The Educational Resources for Botany (ERB) 

accepts electronic materials that have been proven 

successful in teaching botanical terms and/or 

concepts.  These materials could be useful at any 

age level or for any type of audience (e.g., K-16, 

informal education settings, distance education).   

Examples include syllabi, lab exercises, in-class 

activities, videos, computer games, PowerPoint 

slides, images, videos, audio files, or other materials 

that aid in learning about plants. Currently, we 

are particularly interested in syllabi for plant-

related courses since there are many requests from 

new faculty for this information. Please consider 

submitting your syllabi now.  

The peer review process is slightly different 

from that used for AJB. Reviewers and authors will 

review and discuss the resource in an online format 

that will allow for more immediate feedback and 

collaboration.  Once all are in agreement that the 

resource meets the publishing requirements, the 

resource is made available via www.cwis.botany.


Please help create the “go-to” web site for 

botanical education resources.  If you are interested 

in volunteering as a reviewer, please contact Beverly 

J. Brown, Chairperson, Education Committee 

(  If you are interested in 

submitting a resource, please log in and complete 

the information needed to start the review process.  

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Yes, it’s super exciting to watch plants grow.  ;) The 

trichome number differ from the plants. Like our one 

plant in the high fertilizer has about five trichomes. 

While one plant in the low have about six while 

others have none. Why is this? And we don’t think 

we have quite enough information yet.”—Wichita 

North High School Student

Hello, my name is Makayla. I would really like 

to learn about plants, especially with a scientist! 

:)…I am currently in 7th grade.…Thanks for the 

opportunity! (:”—Northlake Middle School Student

Enthusiasm for learning about plants and 

understanding science is spreading, as these 

students have testified from the Fall 2011 mentored 

inquiry session.  And what an opportunity to ignite 

curiosity and critical thinking—across generations 

and across the globe.  Middle school, high school, 

and college classes from 22 states and as far away 

as South Korea and the United Arab Emirates 

are posting their research online.  This fall is the 

largest-ever PlantingScience session with over 225 

scientists and 2000 students. 

Student teams are getting encouragement and 

advice from their mentors on plant investigations 

covering genetics, germination, photosynthesis, 

pollination, life cycles, and physiology.  With the 

open nature of most inquiry modules and the open 

minds of young learners, the environment is ripe 

for creative questions.  For example, fall teams have 


•  Does the surface area of plant leaves affect 

their rate of photosynthesis?
•  Will scented flowers attract more pollinators 

than nonscented flowers?
•  How will the pH of agar affect the speed of the 

fern life cycle?
•  Is there a correlation between leaf area of 

Arabidopsis and root mass?
•  Will wind affect a plant’s growth?

BSA Science Education  

News and Notes

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

and the broader education scene.  We invite you to submit news items or ideas for future features.   

Contact:  Claire Hemingway, BSA Education Director, at or Marshall Sundberg, 

PSB Editor, at

Thanks to the many students, teachers, scientists, 

and 14 partner societies whose contributions 

make PlantingScience a vibrant online learning 


PlantingScience continues to evolve with 

participant feedback.  This session we are 

experimenting with mentor-teacher liaisons to 

respond to feedback from both mentors and 

teachers for greater communication.  Our thanks 

to the extra efforts of the 12 graduate students 

and post-docs sponsored by the American Society 

of Plant Biologists and the 23 sponsored by the 

Botanical Society of America who are taking 

on this role as part of their service on the 2011-

2012 PlantingScience Master Plant Science Team.  

Visioning for the future evolution will also be a 

key focus of a November Steering Committee 

meeting.  We always welcome your comments and 




An evening poster session with teachers asking 

students about their findings with chia seeds was a 

highlight of the second workshop.  Each year teachers, 

who traveled to Texas A&M University from across 

country, and students, who came mainly from the 

Houston area, worked together to try out plant 

investigative cases the teachers had developed the 

week earlier.  

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

PlantIT Cases, Careers, and 


Will introducing teachers and students to 

plant biology and plant-related careers through 

investigative cases bring a better understanding 

of science practices and solving of real world 

problems?  What does it mean for teachers and 

students to have opportunities to engage as 

members of a science learning community?  

Those were some of the driving questions behind 

the activities for teachers and students offered by 

PlantIT Careers, Cases, and Collaborations.  As the 

project, funded by a National Science Foundation 

ITEST award (DRL-0733280) to the Botanical 

Society of America, BioQUEST Curriculum 

Consortium, and Texas A&M University, comes 

to a close, we’re reflecting on outcomes and lessons 


The knowledge that you obtain once you are in an 

open environment such as this. Plenty of unopened 

doors open up.” Based on this student’s description 

of benefits she gained from attending the week-

long residential summer program, we hit some of 

our targets.

  Teachers visited a museum, research facilities, and 

field stations during half-day field trips like this one 

with Dr. Gaylon Morgan, as part of a comprehensive 

learning experience with cotton (fibers, seeds, DNA).  

Bioinformatics and natural fiber textiles was the 

exploration theme for the final summer workshop.

With fewer U.S. students choosing to pursue 

plant science and students’ classroom experience 

with plants often limited to abstract content, our 

project aimed to increase awareness of technology- 

intensive plant careers and practicing scientists and 

provide context for science investigations through 

investigative, case-based learning, a flexible variant 

of problem-based learning.  

During the summers of 2008, 2009, and 2010, 36 

teachers from 14 states and Puerto Rico attended 

two-week-long workshops hosted at Texas A&M 

University in College Station, Texas.  Sixty-four 

students primarily from Houston and rural 

southeast Texas attended the three residential 

summer camps that overlapped in the second week.  

We sought to reach primarily high school teachers, 

with selective extension to middle school teachers, 

and to serve primarily underrepresented students.  

Two-thirds of the workshop teachers taught in high 

schools and over three-quarters worked in schools 

serving underrepresented student populations. 


Students attending the residential summer camps 

were primarily female (females outnumber males 

by almost 3 to 1) and Latino/Hispanic (77.6%) or 

African American (13.8%).  An unexpected but 

highly welcome outcome was that over a whopping 

25% of the teacher participants and 13% of students 

returned to attend more than one summer.  

Exploring different biology themes for each 

workshop offered opportunities for participants 

to continue to build plant biology content 

including  pollen and remote sensing; seeds and 

ethnobotany; and fibers and bioinformatics.  For 

teachers, workshops introduced often-unexpected 

interdisciplinary links to plant content and some of 

the technological tools used in science,  for example, 

a 17th century sail introducing polymer science to 

preserve textiles and linking chemistry and biology 

to social science, or a seedy sock introducing plant 

identification and germination rates as clues to 

a crime.  Teachers delved into the investigative 

case-based learning pedagogy, the online tools for 

investigations, and the value of publicly sharing 

evidence-based conclusions with facilitators Ethel 

Stanley, Margaret Waterman, and Toni Lafferty.  

Field trips to research facilities and guest speakers, 

including representatives from Monsanto in two 

years, enhanced the teachers’ connections to 

science practices and scientists.  Teachers drew on 

all these experiences as they collaborated in teams 

to develop cases to take back to the classroom.

For students, the week-long residential program 

was an opportunity to explore cases with teachers; 

meet scientists and plant-related professionals; 


visit laboratories, gardens, and greenhouses; and 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

get a taste for college life.  A focus on careers was 

embedded throughout but took center stage in 

career panels and scientist interviews.  In the first 

two years, science communication expert Charles 

Kazelik prepared for the experience of talking 

with professionals they would meet and modeled 

interview techniques and technologies.  In the final 

year, students had three days of hands-on experience 

with scientists, learning about either integrative 

pest management or cell networking.  Texas A&M 

University and the environs proved to be a rich 

source of experts and facilities keen to connect with 

secondary school teachers and students.  Genetics, 

entomology, forensic palynology, agronomics, 

horticulture, phytochemistry, herbarium science, 

library science, and science communication were 

among the 50 diverse fields of study the 35 plant-

related professionals directly involved in the 

summer program introduced.  “There are so many 

different careers out there that I didn’t know about,” 

remarked one student.  Pre- and post-test survey 

results also support that students’ understandings 

of plant-related careers and plant biology increased.   

The following products of the project are 

currently available online.

Student-produced audio podcast interviews with 

Dr. Eubanks and Dr. Hinze are available on the 

myPlantIT website:





Dr. Biology’s interviews with Dr. Bryant and 

Flora Delaterre are available on the Science SPORE 

award-winning website, Ask A Biologist Website:



An e-book is coming soon that will contain 

a dozen teacher-developed cases addressing 

environmental science, structure and function, 

biodiversity, nutrition, global warming, and other 

topics that fit well in secondary school classrooms.  

For teachers concerned with helping their 

students identify future career possibilities, career 

connections are noted in each topic.

Students share a laugh with Dr. Vaughn Bryant as 

they conduct an interview while visiting his forensic 

palynology laboratory and learning about his career 

journey during the first summer program.  

Education Bits and Bob:  

Recent Reports from the 

National Academies Press

Reframing core ideas into new standards—“A 

Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, 

Crosscutting Concepts and Core Ideas”—presents 

a conceptual framework intended to guide the 

development of new K-12 standards.  This in turn 

will influence curriculum, instruction, assessment, 

and professional development across the nation 

for years to come.  New dimensions of Scientific 

and Engineering Practices and Cross Cutting 

Concepts are updates on the familiar overarching 

themes of Scientific Inquiry and Unifying Concepts 

and Processes.  In the Life Sciences, concepts are 

grouped under four core ideas that cover structures 

and processes, ecology, heredity, and evolution.  To 

learn more, including grade band endpoints, see:

A roadmap for increasing underrepresented 

participants in STEM—identifying best practices 

for increasing involvement and improving quality 

of education—is a practical outcome outlined 

in “Expanding Underrepresented Minority 

Participation: America’s Science and Technology 

Talent at the Crossroads.”   The report also reviews 

demographic data on rates of change and challenges 

and provides recommendations for education 

systems including higher education, government, 

and non-profit organizations. See  http://www.nap.


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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

What works in K-12 STEM education?—“Successful STEM Education:  A Workshop  Summary” 

synthesized examples of the kinds of schools, supporting practices, and conducive conditions for highly 

successful STEM schools and programs.  Empirical reasoning, scientific practices, reaching diverse and 

underserved students,  and assessment figured prominently in the practices that support effective STEM 

education.  See


Travels in Nature’s Time Machine

Piotr Naskrecki

Foreword by Cristina Goettsch Mittermeier

Relics is an exciting, adventure-filled, and scientifi-

cally important presentation by one of the world’s 

best naturalists and photographers.”—E. O. Wilson

cloth $45.00

The University of Chicago Press  •



From ChiCago

DecePtive Beauties

The World of Wild Orchids
christian Ziegler

With an Introduction by Michael Pollan and a Foreword by Natalie Angier

“Ziegler—a trained biologist, as well as photographer—shows these 

remarkable plants in the context of their habitat: marsh, semi-desert, 

tropical forest. That—and his astonishing photographs of orchids 

and their pollinators—reminds us how clever, precious, and diverse 

nature can be, and why conservation matters.”—Chris Johns, editor 

in chief, National Geographic Magazine

cloth $45.00



Manfred Ruddat, Editor-in-Chief

A major outlet for botanical research since 1875, the 

International Journal of Plant Sciences publishes current 

research in all areas of the plant sciences, including 

genetics and genomics, developmental and cell biology, 

biochemistry and physiology, morphology and structure, 

systematics, plant-microbe interactions, paleobotany, 

evolution, and ecology. 

IJPS emphasizes dynamic rather 

than purely descriptive work and regularly features new 

and exciting research presented at major botanical 

conferences. Readership includes research scientists, plant 

scientists, biologists, and educators. Nine issues per year.

2012 Subscription Rates:
Electronic - only $92

Print + Electronic $99

Student Electronic-only $50

Additional shipping and taxes apply 

to orders outside the USA.

Online at

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Student Perceptions of the Use of 

Inquiry Practices in a Biology Sur-

vey Laboratory Course

Fayer, Liz, Garreth Zalud, Mark Baron, Cyn-

thia M. Anderson, and Timothy J. Duggan.   

Journal of College Science Teaching 41(2): 



Inquiry is widely regarded among the science 

education community as being a best practice 

for teaching laboratory classes.  This paper 

demonstrates that for certain kinds of learning, 

college students also think inquiry is the most 

effective technique a teacher can employ.  This 

brings us back to the old point, “Why isn’t inquiry 

used more in the classroom?”  For the answer to 

this see the article of the same name by Costenson 

and Lawson, 1986, The American Biology Teacher 

48(3): 150-158.  Unfortunately, some things just 

don’t change!  BUT WE SHOULD TRY HARDER!

The Case for Forensic Botany

Barratt, Natalie M.    

The American Biology Teacher 73(7): 414- 417.

Barratt provides an interesting approach to make 

plant anatomy more interesting to students—

make plant structure the evidence required to 

solve a forensics problem.  She provides a variety 

of scenarios and prompts that can be used in 

an introductory laboratory and includes some 

nice references including Graham’s 2006 article 

published in PSB (52: 78-84). 

An Inquiry-Based Field & Labora-

tory Investigation of Leaf Decay: A 

Critical Aquatic Ecosystem Function 

Hopkins, Jessica M. and Rosemary J. Smith.   

The American Biology Teacher 74(9): 542-546.

Hopkins and Smith put an ecological spin on leaf 

decay concentrating more on macroscopic features, 

but which could easily also include microscopic 

examination.  The focus is on leaf decay rates under 

a variety of conditions, which opens the enquiry 

to a variety of biotic and abiotic conditions.  Both 

this article and the one above are appropriate for 

introductory level college classes.

Editors Choice reviews

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years ago. I was intrigued to discover more and to 

share those discoveries with colleagues devoted to 

improving botanical instruction in today’s colleges 

and schools and the botanical literacy of society at 


The current paper is the first of a planned 

series, growing out of the Ethel Belk Lecture, 

that will document the development of botanical 

education in the United States from earliest times 

to the present, with an emphasis on the role of 

the Botanical Society of America. Although a 

considerable amount of literature exists on the 

development of botany as a science, both in this 

country and in Europe, relatively little has been 

published concerning botanical education, outside 

of the biographies of some key individuals. This is 

particularly true before the mid-19th century. This 

inaugural paper focuses on the early development 

of botanical instruction in this country, from 

colonial times through the first indications of 

an American uniqueness in the early 1800s. Not 

surprisingly, the early botanists followed the lead 

of colleagues in England and Europe, but there 

are some notable exceptions where Americans 

broke new ground. Highlights of the paper were 

summarized in a presentation to the Historical 

Section of the Botanical Society during the Botany 

2010 meeting in Providence, Rhode Island.

A Sputtering Botanical 


It is well accepted that the earliest botanists in 

the United States were European collectors and 

naturalists collecting specimens for sponsors in 

Europe (Brendel, 1879). These collections added 

to the herbaria of Europe and were cataloged and 

described in floras and illustrated compendia. 

Occasionally the text might include information 

beyond taxonomic description that one might 

consider “educational.” The earliest example is 

William Hughes’ The American Physician, or a 

Treatise of the Roots, Plants, Trees, Shrubs, Fruits, 

Herbs, etc., Growing in the English Plantations in 

America (1672). In addition to plant descriptions, 

the text described, “…the Place, Time, Names, 

Kinds, Temperature, Vertues [sic] and Uses of 

them, either for Diet, Physik [sic], etc.: whereunto 

is added a Discourse of the Cacao-Nut Tree, and 

the Uses of its Fruit, with all the ways of making 

Chocolate, the like never extant before….” 

Botanical education in the United 

States: Part 1, The impact of Linneaus 

and the foundations of modern peda-


Marshall D. Sundberg

Department of Biological Sciences

Emporia State University

Emporia, KS 66801


Submitted 16 June 2011.

Accepted 27 September 2011.


Early botanical education in America was 

strongly influenced by Carl Linnaeus, both directly 

and through his influence on European botany. 

His Philosophia Botanica served as an outline for 

nearly all course syllabi and botanical texts used in 

the American colonies and early republic through 

the early 19th century. Not unexpectedly, botanical 

instruction was closely tied to medical instruction, 

and most of the key players during this time period 

were trained primarily in medicine and supported 

their plant studies through their medical profession. 

Nevertheless, by the early 1800s some distinctively 

American trends in botanical education began 

to appear, which continue to be touted as best 

practices even today.

Key words:  Barton, Colden, Eaton, education, 

Hosack, Linnaeus, Waterhouse

In 2006 both the Botanical Society of America 

and the Botany Department at Miami University, 

Oxford, Ohio, celebrated their 100th anniversaries 

(though it can be argued that the Society was 

founded 13 years earlier in 1893; Smokovitis, 2006). 

As part of the latter celebration, I was invited to 

present the Ethel Belk Lecture on Botany. Given the 

eminence of the department in botanical training, 

I chose to speak on “Botany in Curricula of U.S. 

Colleges and Universities: 1810-2010 and Beyond.” 

While researching that presentation, I was surprised 

by the number of “educational initiatives” of the 

past two decades that actually were anticipated by 

our botanical forefathers one and two hundred 

Reports and Reviews

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

What is not so well known is that botany had a 

sputtering start in the American college classroom 

as early as 1642 (Ford, 1964).  As New Englands First 

Fruits, a tract on early New England that depicts 

the founding of Harvard University, describes:  

“After God had carried us fafe to New England, 

and wee had builded our houfes…it pleafed God 

to ftir up the heart of one Mr. Harvard…to give 

the one halfe of his Eftate…towards the erecting 

of a Colledge, and all his Library…” (Peter and 

Weld, 1643, 1865 reprint, pp. 23-24). The times 

and order of studies for the four-year curriculum 

were clearly defined: at one o’clock on Saturday 

afternoons during the summer, Henry Dunster, the 

second “master” and first president of the college 

(1640-1654), offered “The Nature of Plants” (Peter 

and Weld, 1643, p. 30). According to Ford, the 

course textbook was Aristotle’s De Plantis. The 

manner of instruction was “The summe of every 

Lecture shall be examined, before the new lecture 

be read” (Ford, 1964, p. 59). This style of recitation 

involved rote memorization from a text with 

students demonstrating their mastery by reciting 

back to the teacher. It remained the dominant 

form of instruction into the 1800s. It is unclear 

whether botany continued to be taught at Harvard 

for the remaining 11 years of Dunster’s tenure as 

president, but it certainly disappeared thereafter, 

and for the next 100 years, no formal botanical 

instruction existed in America (Ford, 1964). Its 

reemergence was stimulated by the transplantation 

of the European Enlightenment to America and 

a trend toward “new learning” in the American 

colleges. Beginning at Yale in 1740, mathematics, 

the physical sciences, and medicine were added to 

the traditional classical curriculum; by 1776, six 

of the eight colonial colleges had professorships 

of mathematics and natural philosophy (Rudolph, 

1977). The works of Linnaeus (1751, 1753) were 

particularly important for botany.

The Linnaean System Comes to 

America: Cadwallader and Jane 


Among the early botanical texts that included 

species from America was Linnaeus’ Species 

Plantarum (1753). More significant to this story, 

however, was his publication of Philosophia 

Botanica two years earlier (Figure 1), which became 

available in an English translation in 1775 (Rose, 

1775). As noted in a review of the recent translation 

(Sundberg, 2005), Philosophia Botanica is much 

more than a justification for the forthcoming 

Species Plantarum. In fact, it was a syllabus for an 

introductory botany course that would be copied 

and modified by botanists in the future United 

States (and in Europe) for nearly 100 years. In 

the preface to his 1827 textbook, Thomas Nuttall 

noted, “Nearly all the elementary works on Botany 

extant are derived from the Philosophia Botanica of 

Linnaeus, a work of great labor and utility to those 

who would wish to make themselves masters of this 

fascinating branch of natural knowledge.” 

Figure 1. Cover of the 2003 reprint of Linnaeus’ Phi-

losophia Botanica. (Used with permission of Oxford 

University Press.)

Linnaeus began with a history of botany and an 

enumeration of the key botanical texts that should 

be included in any botanist’s library. This listing 

formed the basis of botanical works purchased 

by individuals and libraries during the colonial 

and early republic periods. The earliest American 

textbook authors followed Linnaeus’ lead in 

listing appropriate reference and supplemental 

texts at the beginning of their works. The second 

chapter provided a listing of alternative taxonomic 

systems culminating with Linnaeus’ own sexual 

system. Again, early American authors included 

an explanation of the Linnaean system, which they 

adopted, though they may have included examples 

of alternative systems. Benjamin Smith Barton 

(1803), in what is recognized as the first American 

textbook of botany (Ewan and Ewan, 2007), not 

only included examples of alternative systems but 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

became well known to visiting botanists, including 

John and William Bartram of Philadelphia; 

Alexander Garden of Charlestown, South Carolina; 

Peter Kalm of Sweden; Peter Collinson and John 

Ellis of England; and Linnaeus himself (Rickett and 

Hall, 1963; Smith, 1984; Harrison, 1995). Collinson 

wrote to John Bartram, “Our friend Colden’s 

daughter has, in a scientific manner, sent over 

several sheets of plants, very curiously anatomized 

after his [Linnaeus’] method” (Darlington, 1849, 

p. 201). To Cadwallader Colden, Collinson wrote, 

“I wish your fair daughter was near Wm. Bartram. 

He would much assist her at first setting out [with 

painting plants]” (Slaughter, 1996, p. 115). Later 

Bartram wrote to Jane, “Respected Friend Jane 

Colden: I received thine of October the 26th, 1756, 

and read it several time with agreeable satisfaction; 

indeed, I am very careful of it, and it keeps company 

with the choicest correspondence,—European 

letters…” (Darlington, 1849, p. 400). Then followed 

a discussion of several plants in which Bartram 

answered questions posed by Jane or corroborated 

her observations. Concerning Jane, Garden wrote 

to Ellis in 1755, “Not only the doctor himself is a 

great botanist, but his lovely daughter is greatly 

master of the Linnaean method, and cultivates it 

with great assiduity” (Smith, 1821, vol. 1, p. 342). 

Jane was the subject of several letters written 

directly to Linnaeus. In 1756 Peter Collinson 

wrote, “I but lately heard from Mr. Colden. He is 

well; but what is marvelous, his daughter is perhaps 

the first lady that has so perfectly studied your 

system. She deserves to be celebrated” (Darlington, 

1849, p. 20). Two years later, in 1758, Ellis wrote 

to Linnaeus, “This young lady merits your esteem, 

and does honour to your System. She has drawn 

and described 400 plants in your method only: 

she used English terms” (Smith, 1821, vol. 1, p. 

90). The work Ellis described is the unpublished, 

untitled manuscript describing New York plants 

that was subsequently titled Flora Nov.-Eboracensis 

or Flora of New York by the German botanist Ernst 

Baldinger, professor of botany at Jena, Göttingen, 

and Marburg. Baldinger sent the work to Sir Joseph 

Banks, who donated it to the British Museum, 

where it resides today (Smith, 1988; Figure 2). 

The 57 descriptions and sketches in Rickett and 

Hall (1963) are facsimiles of selected pages from 

the  Flora. Each entry consisted of a complete 

morphological description accompanied by one 

or more line drawings. For many of the plants, 

she described medicinal uses by the local people, 

including parts and amounts used and methods of 

made some modifications of Linnaeus’ system to be 

inclusive of some of the specimens he collected. The 

bulk of Philosophia Botanica consisted of chapters 

defining terms and explaining basic flowering 

plant morphology. Again, later American authors 

devoted substantial parts of their texts to similar 

information (Barton, 1804; Eaton, 1817, 1820; 

Locke, 1819; Nuttall, 1827). But we will come to 

these later.

Linnaeus was significant to botanical education 

in the future United States not only because 

of the published Philosophia and the natural 

system but through his influence as a teacher 

and correspondent. Among the Americans who 

collected specimens for and corresponded with 

Linnaeus was Cadwallader Colden. Colden was 

born in Ireland and graduated from the University 

of Edinburgh after studying for the ministry. He 

continued his studies, including coursework in 

botany, to become a physician before immigrating 

to Philadelphia in 1710. In 1718 he moved to New 

York, where he began a long career in public service, 

which included serving as lieutenant governor of 

New York from 1761 to 1776. In 1740, nearly 30 

years after settling in the colonies, Colden obtained 

a copy of Linnaeus’ Genera Plantarum and quickly 

assimilated the work. He began to collect local 

specimens, classify them following the Linnaean 

system, and send them to the master in Sweden. 

More than 300 specimens eventually made their 

way to Uppsala. Thus began a correspondence and 

exchange of materials with botanists and naturalists 

in Europe and in America, including John Bartram 

and Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. So 

appreciated was this work that in 1744 Linnaeus 

named a new genus Coldenia. In 1750 Peter Kalm 

(the Linnaean disciple for whom Kalmia is named) 

requested biographical information from Colden 

to be included in Biographica Botanicorum (Keys, 


More pertinent to our story, though, is Colden’s 

educational role as a mentor to his daughter, Jane. 

Jane was born in New York in 1724 and was four 

years old when the family moved to “Coldengham,” 

a 3000-acre estate near present-day Montgomery, 

New York, granted to Colden by the governor. It was 

here Jane grew up and learned the Linnaean system 

from her father, who translated (from Latin to simple 

English) the technical terminology and taught her 

to make ink leaf imprints. Jane exhibited a talent 

for careful observation and accurate description, 

including pen-and-ink illustrations. Her talents 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

preparation. Evidence of her critical analysis can be 

found in her descriptions in which she states and 

justifies discrepancies with Linnaeus. For instance, 

concerning Polygala Jane wrote the following:

Observat. Linnaeus describes this as being a 

Papilionatious Flower, and calls the two largest 

Leaves of the Cup Alae, but as they continue, till 

the Seed is ripe and the two flower Leaves, and its 

appendage fol [sic] together. I must beg Leave to 

differ from him [sic] Added to this, the Seed Vessell 

[sic],  differs from all that I have observed of the 

Papilionatious Kind. (Rickett and Hall, 1963, p. 53)


Figure 2. 1963 reprint of the British Museum copy of 

Jane Colden’s manuscript.  (Used with permission of 

The Garden Club of Orange and Dutchess Counties.)

It is also of note that Jane described and named a 

new species, which she called Fibraurea. Eventually 

the plant reached Linnaeus. Ellis suggested, “Her 

father has a plant called after him Coldenia, perhaps 

you should call this Coldenella, or any other name 

that might distinguish her among your genera” 

(Darlington, 1849, p. 20). This did not come to pass.

Smith (1988) noted that 50 years before Colden, 

Hannah English Williams of South Carolina 

collected natural history specimens, presumably 

including plants, for British naturalists, but she 

was only a collector. Jane Colden, on the other 

hand, made detailed descriptions and sketches of 

the plants she collected, noting their form and the 

arrangement and number of flower parts. From 

this she could generalize about generic and family 


Jane Colden was “…the first botanist of her sex 

in the country” (Gray, 1843). More significantly, 

“Although Colden’s botanical career was brief 

and her publications few, both ending with her 

marriage in 1759, she was America’s pioneer (and 

only) woman scientist for almost ninety years” 

(Rossiter, 1982, p. 3). In addition, “Jane Colden’s 

story illustrates the importance of both women’s 

scientific work and colonial participation to the 

eventual centrality of formal science in Western 

culture” (Gronim, 2007, p. 33). For the purpose 

of this paper, the most significant aspect of Jane 

Colden is that she was the first home-schooled 

botanist, and most likely the first botanist of any 

sort, trained in what would become the United 

States. As we will see later, this was to become a 

significant form of botanical instruction for young 

people in the developing country (Kohlstedt, 1990).  

Adam Kuhn Arrives in 


Most colonial botanists, even those born in 

the colonies, received their botanical training in 

Europe in preparation for a career in medicine, as 

had Cadwallader Colden. Since the 16th century, 

botany was recognized as a part of medical training 

in Europe, and this formal link persisted into the 

early 20th century (Monroe, 1911). In 1765 the 

first medical school in the British colonies was 

established at the College of Philadelphia (the 

forerunner of the University of Pennsylvania). 

Like Dr. Colden, the faculty members of the new 

college were trained at the University of Edinburgh 

and followed the English system. For nearly 20 

years Philadelphia was the sole seat of medical 

and botanical training in this country. In 1768, 

three years after its founding, Dr. Adam Kuhn was 

added to the College of Philadelphia faculty to 

teach botany and materia medica. Kuhn, who had 

studied at the University of Uppsala with Linnaeus 

from 1761 to 1764 (Kuhn was probably Linnaeus’ 

only American student) and received his M.D. 

degree from Edinburgh in 1767, thus became the 

first professor of botany in the future United States. 

On arriving in Philadelphia, he advertised in the 

May 5th, 1768, issue of The Pennsylvania Gazette:  

DR. KUHN’s introductory Lecture to his Course of 

BOTANY will be delivered on Wednesday, the 11th 

Instant, at Six o’Clock in the Evening, at his House 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

in Market-street. He will then also give a Plan of 

his Course, and fix the Days of Attendance.—Every 

Gentleman to pay Half a Johannes for the Course.

Readers familiar with the life of Charles Darwin 

and his college experience at Edinburgh (Browne, 

1996) will recognize that university professors 

frequently offered specialized courses outside the 

university in which students could enroll. Kuhn 

would give an introductory botany lecture at his 

home on Market Street, which could be the hook 

for students to enroll in the remainder of the course 

offered in the medical school of the College of 

Philadelphia. His botany course, if it in fact “made 

enrollment,” was offered only once, the first year of 

his tenure, because it never again appeared in the 

catalog. On the other hand, his materia medica was 

an annual offering in great demand by aspiring 

physicians. Despite Kuhn’s excellent training and 

background, William Darlington later wrote, 

“although he [Kuhn] had the advantage of studying 

under the illustrious Swede [Linnaeus] and was said 

to have been a favorite pupil (‘Linneo ex discipulis 

acceptissimus’), it does not appear that he ever 

did much for the Science” (Robbins, 1960, p. 294). 

Similarly, although he had a promising beginning, 

his impact on botanical education was minimal.

Benjamin Waterhouse, 

America’s First Endowed 

Professor of Botany (and 

Entomology), Brings Botany to 

the Curriculum

The honor of having presented the first regular 

course in botany (if not the first formal botany 

course actually taught in the United States) goes to 

Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse (Figure 3). Waterhouse 

was born in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1754 and 

attended medical schools in London, England; 

Edinburgh, Scotland; and Leiden, Republic of the 

United Netherlands. In London, under William 

Curtis’ mentorship, Waterhouse “‘herborized the 

environs of London two years in succession’…. [but 

his] interest in botany was not that of collecting” 

(Cash, 2006, p. 42). Curtis would have introduced 

Waterhouse to Linnaeus’ works because they were 

the foundation of his own botanical lectures, 

published posthumously in 1805.


The primary focus 

of botany at this time was on the collection and 

identification of plants and on their medical uses, 

but already Waterhouse was becoming interested 

in plants as organisms that supplied the nutritional 

as well as medical needs of humans. On his return 

to the United States in 1783, Waterhouse was hired 

by Harvard as professor of the theory and practice 

of medicine. The same year, he was elected a fellow 

(trustee) at Rhode Island College, now Brown 

University, and he served as professor of natural 

history there from 1784 to 1791 (Cash, 2006, p. 

871). At Rhode Island, he and the philosopher 

Joseph Brown were “engaged to give lectures in 

their respective branches, without any expense 

to the College while destitute of an endowment” 

(Brunson, 1914). At the time of Waterhouse’s hiring, 

Rhode Island College’s scientific instrumentation 

included a pair of globes, an electrical machine, a 

telescope, and two microscopes. Perhaps the latter 

were enough inducement for Waterhouse to accept 

the appointment in Rhode Island. 

Figure 3. Benjamin Waterhouse, 1776, by Gilbert 

Stuart. (Used with permission of Redwood Library 

and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island. Gift of Mrs. 

Louisa Lee Waterhouse.)

These early lectures at Providence, in 1785 

and 1786, according to Brunson (1914; note that 

Waterhouse stated this was in 1786 and 1787; 

see below), were not formal classes at the college. 

Rather, they were public lectures “…to bring the 

benefits of the college to the whole community” 

(p. 268). Although sponsored by the college, the 

lectures were given in the courthouse and were 

“open to both sexes of the public.… According to 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

the Providence Gazette, the first set of lectures were 

‘pleasing and instructive’ and were ‘attended by a 

large and very reputable audience’” (Cash, 2006, p. 

87). It seems that public service as a condition of 

employment at American colleges and universities 

has had a long history; outreach to the local 

community is not an invention of the late 20th and 

early 21st centuries!  

Perhaps, as in Kuhn’s case, these lectures were 

intended to entice potential students to enroll 

in the college. But rather than an individual’s 

initiative, this apparently was an early version of a 

college marketing plan. Given that Waterhouse was 

already employed at Harvard, he must have had 

other motivations. Perhaps it was a feeling of duty 

to his home state, or perhaps it was in response to 

a general attitude espoused by a contemporary, the 

American-born botanist Manasseh Cutler (1785, 

pp. 396-397), who wrote in the first volume of 

the Memoirs of the American Academy of Arts and 

Sciences, “The almost total neglect of botanical 

enquiries, in this part of the country, may be 

imputed, in part, to this, that Botany has never been 

taught in any of our Colleges, and to the difficulties 

that are supposed to attend it; but principally to the 

mistaken opinion of its inutility in common life.” 

This would change in three years.

There had never been any lectures on Natural 

History in the United States prior to the course 

referred to [see below]. Neither had Botany nor 

Mineralogy been publickly [sic] taught in any part 

of the union anterior to the year 1788; excepting, 

indeed, a short course of twelve lectures, on Natural 

History in general, given by the author in the college 

at Providence, in the years, 1786 and 1787, he being, 

at the time, Professor of the Theory and Practice of 

Physic in the University at Cambridge [Harvard]. 

(Waterhouse, 1811, p. vi)

In 1788 Waterhouse began presenting a formal 

series of botany lectures: units 8, 9, and 10 of 

his 20-unit Natural History course at Harvard 

(Waterhouse, 1804a). Unit 8 covered anatomy 

and morphology of the mature plant and seed. 

The former included microscopic examination of 

roots and stems. The latter included the effects of 

temperature and moisture on seed germination. 

The final lecture was “On the oxygenating process 

in the growing vegetable” (p. 310). The focus of unit 

9 was agricultural production, focusing primarily 

on nutrition. “Does the food of plants reside in the 

atmospherical air? or in water? or in putrid animal 

substances? or in a combination of them all?” (p. 

310). He also focused on a strict comparison of 

plants and animals, asking, “Do the two tribes 

of organized beings form, instead of two distinct 


transitioned through plants with obvious movement, 

such as sensitive plant, through hydras or polyps 

(p. 310). Finally, in unit 10 he briefly explains 

the Linnaean system, how to make a collection, 

and “Of the importance of the Art of Drawing to 

every man of education” (p. 310). Finally is a list 

of recommended readings, including Grew, Hales, 

and Malpighi. 

His first Harvard course in natural history, in 

1788, was presented with no fee. In 1789 he had 

five students registered for a fee of 1 guinea, and 

the following year, seven students were enrolled at 

the same rate. “In the fourth year he ‘allowed each 

to subscribe whatever he chose’ and the number 

jumped to 30. However, President Willard objected 

to the innovation and it was dropped” (Cash, 

2006, p. 87). It is interesting that the president’s 

son, Sidney, described Waterhouse’s lectures as 

“very popular” for their “vivacity and compass of 

expression” and for Waterhouse’s use of “anecdote 

and humor” (Cash, 2006, p. 88). A colleague 

encouraged Waterhouse to “Persevere and you will 

find a reward. Persue [sic] your plan of Natural 

History with courage, BOTANY especially, which 

will not fail to raise up friends and supporters. On 

this subject I will venture to prophecy, it will grow 

into an establishment” (Cash, 2006, p. 87).

At the urging of his students, Waterhouse 

published 15 of his lectures in the Monthly 

Anthology (Waterhouse, 1804b, 1805, 1807, 1808), 

a literary journal published in Boston. Although 

his students wanted him to include selections 

from notes on the mineral, vegetable, and animal 

kingdoms, he decided that “mineralogy would be 

less popular than botany” and that including both 

the animal and vegetable kingdoms would be “less 

likely to attract the attention and patronage of 

readers of both sexes” (Waterhouse, 1811, p. vi). 

Thus, “The Botanist” was serialized.  

As a result of these published lectures, “several 

gentlemen of opulence and literary influence in the 

government of the University came to the resolution 

of laying a foundation for a Professorship of Botany 

and Entomology; to which they determined to 

annex an extensive Botanic Garden” (Humphrey, 

1896, p. 32). Waterhouse assumed his new title, 

and the Harvard Botanic Garden was established in 

1805. This was the fifth botanic garden established 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

in the United States, and it eventually would 

be a factor in the appointment of Asa Gray to 

the faculty at Harvard (Darlington, 1848, p. 22; 

Sundberg, unpublished). America’s first endowed 

professorship of botany (and entomology) and the 

Botanic Garden were funded by a subscription of 

$30,000 to $40,000, a grant of two townships from 

the legislature, and for the Botanic Garden project, 

aid from the Massachusetts Society for promoting 

Agriculture (Humphrey, 1896, pp. 33-34).

Revisions of “The Botanist” articles, along 

with five new lectures, were compiled in The 

Botanist  (Waterhouse, 1811; Table 1), a textbook 

dedicated to the late president, John Adams, who 

promoted natural history studies as a means of 

self-improvement. In this work, Waterhouse noted 

the significance of Linnaeus in formulating not 

just a system of classification but an entire botany 

curriculum: “We would define Botany to be that 

branch of Natural History which teaches the 

anatomy, physiology, and economy of vegetables 

… we avow Linnaeus to be our lawful chief; and 

his  Philosophia Botanicum our rallying point 

and standard” (Waterhouse, 1811, p. 17). He also 

stressed that botanical instruction should not be 

restricted to the medical school curriculum: “From 

what has been said, the trans-Atlantic disciples of 

Linnaeus will see the reason, and therefore excuse 

the popular dress, in which Botany, that beautiful 

handmaiden of Medicine, has been introduced to 

the inhabitants of a region, characteristically called 

by the English a century ago, THE WILDERNESS” 

(Waterhouse, 1811, p. viii). Furthermore, whereas 

classification was important, Waterhouse considered 

other aspects of botany to be essential:

To be able to pronounce, at first sight, the name of 

each mineral, to distinguish one genus of plant from 

another,  and to discriminate stuffed animals in a 

museum were, it seems, enough to entitle a man to 

be considered a Natural Historian: when, at the same 

time, he perhaps knew nothing of the anatomy of a 

seed, and of its gradual development into a perfect 

plant and flower, producing again a seed or epitome 

of its parent, capable of generating its kind forever.…  

To know the name of a plant, and to be able to 

ascertain its place in the Linnaean system, is, in 

the opinion of many, to be a botanist; although 

such a person may be entirely unacquainted with 

its anatomy, or organic structure, and ignorant of 

its peculiar, or medicinal qualities; as well as of the 

nature of its food, and the means of its nourishment; 

yet these are the things which principally govern its 


It is of importance however that one universal 

language should be adopted by botanists; but it is 

wrong to make that, and classification, the primary 

object. Agreeably to this doctrine is the sentiment of 

the famous Rosseau, [sic, 1787] who, in his Letters on 

the Elements of Botany says, “I have always thought it 

possible to be a very great botanist, without knowing 

so much as one plant by name.” (Waterhouse, 1811, 

pp. xi-xiv)

Waterhouse, the physician naturalist, was not 

inclined toward classification. He did not follow 

strictly to the sequence of topics prescribed by 

Linnaeus or any of the other European botanists 

of the day. In fact, the 15 published lectures in 

the Monthly Anthology did not include one on the 

Linnaean system, and he purposely tried to avoid 

any terms with sexual connotation. He reported that 

this discretionary omission became more and more 

unmanageable, and he finally dropped it after “He 

communicated his delicate plan to a sensible friend 

… une sage femme … [whose] answer determined 

its fate.… What you call the objectionable part of 

botany is the principal stimulus to its study. Divest it 

of that charm, and you will diminish the number of 

its admirers among the men” (Waterhouse, 1811, pp. 

190-191). Thus, the Linnaean classification system 

became the subject of chapter 17 in his textbook, 

in which he tried to circumvent the possible 

objection by some parents to the classification of 

plants by their sexual characteristics by replacing 

the Linnaean metaphor of generation with that of 

nutrition (Table 2). Whereas classification was not 

included, the life of Linnaeus was the subject of 

both lecture 6 and chapter 8. Waterhouse’s plan of 

study began with a brief introduction to botany and 

the importance of microscopic investigation. “If he 

[the student] view the plant through a microscope, 

he will discover in it different orders of vessels, 

like those of an animal; and should he submit it 

to a careful and nice anatomical investigation, he 

will be convinced that a plant possess a vascular 

stem” (Waterhouse, 1811, pp. 18). He introduced 

the seed in chapter 2 and then proceeded with 

a plan of study allowing students to follow the 

growth and development of the plants, “Hence, the  

inquirer learns that a growing plant is not only a 

regularly organized body … but is … a living one” 

(Waterhouse, 1811, p. 18). Waterhouse proposed 

and used basically the same inquiry the Botanical 

Society of America recently developed as the first 

module in PlantingScience—the power of seeds! 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011


In teaching Botany, different authors have adopted 

different plans. Some begin with a description of the 

leaf; then of the stem; next the flower; afterwards the 

fruit, strictly so called, and lastly the seed. Others 

commence with the flower, then they describe the 

fruit and seed conjunctly, and lastly the root. We 

shall pursue a different order. We shall begin with 

describing a seed; after demonstrating its structure, 

we shall show that every seed contains, under several 

membranes, the future plant in miniature. There we 

may see by the help of a microscope, that the embryo 

plant has, not only a little radicle, which is hereafter 

to become the root, but also two diminutive leaves, 

which hereafter become the herb. We shall then 

endeavour to show how the embryo plant, when 

placed in a due degree of moisture, and a just degree 

of heat, and at such a proper depth in the ground,  

as not to exclude it from the vivifying influence of 

the air, gradually unfolds itself; the radicle extending 

itself into a root, which attaches itself to the earth, 

and the little leaf aspiring into a stem. We shall show 

how the foetal plant is supported by that part of the 

seed, which answers to the albumen, or white of an 

egg, until it is able to appear above ground, when 

this temporary nutritive part drops off and decays, 

leaving the plant, in future, to grow, and to flourish, 

by imbibing solid nourishment from its motherearth; 

and by inspiring vital air; and by inhaling the celestial 

light. (Waterhouse, 1811, pp. 19-20)

Waterhouse described the anatomy of various 

plant parts but unfortunately provided no 

illustrations for readers. He did, however, make 

frequent reference to Marcello Malpighi (1901) 

and especially Nehemiah Grew (1965), who 

included illustrations of their microscopic work 

on plant anatomy. Similarly, his physiological 

descriptions frequently referred to the work of 

Hales (1969). Nonetheless, it is clear that he viewed 

his descriptions as not just a summary of what 

Table 1. Selected botanical textbooks published in the United States. For complete publication titles see 

Literature Cited.

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

was discovered in Europe but as a contribution 

to the general understanding of plants, which 

would continue to grow in America. Although 

he recognized the contributions of the leading 

European naturalists of his day, including Grew, 

Hales, Du Hamel, Linnaeus, and Darwin (Erasmus), 

who described both morphology and anatomical 

detail of plants, he felt these advancements were 

achieved primarily because they “had the means for 

examining these things” (Waterhouse, 1811, p. 67). 

Now that microscopes were becoming available in 

the United States, he was convinced that Americans 

soon would be making valuable contributions to 

botanical understanding.

It is interesting that both in the articles (lecture 

11) and in his text (chapter 19), Waterhouse 

included “Women in Botany”: “The history of every 

civilized nation, nay every man’s own recollection, 

affords abundant proofs, that the female mind is 

equally capable with that of the male” (Waterhouse, 

1811, p. 298). As an example, he presented Elizabeth 

Blackwell (1839), whose drawings at the Physic 

Garden in Chelsea (London) were compiled in 

the two-volume A Curious Herbal, containing 500 

illustrations of the most useful plants that were used 

in the practice of physic, engraved on folio copper 

plates after drawings taken from life. “The Botanist 

cannot too strongly recommend to his fair readers 

the art of delineation or drawing… This art is not 

merely in itself amusing, but may be highly useful 

and important…” (Waterhouse, 1811, p. 215).

Waterhouse, who composed his lectures 

at the same time Goethe was working on his 

Metamorphosis of Plants, was profoundly influenced 

by Grew, Malphigi, and the other early plant 

anatomists. His training, however, was from the 

medical bias, and he was not connected with the 

new professional botanists who were beginning to 

work in Europe at that time. Yet his work paralleled 

that of the Frenchman Charles-François Brisseau de 

Mirbel (1802) and the Germans Christian Konrad 

Sprengel (1793) and Ludolph Christian Treviranus 

(1806), who felt “…that the examination of the 

internal structure of plants, as well as the describing 

them according to Linnaean patterns, was a part of 

botanical enquiry…” (von Sachs, 1906, p. 257). He 

observed plant movements, particularly in flowers, 

“Where their motions seem, at times, to mimic 

animal life” (Waterhouse, 1811, p. 217). He must 

also have been aware of the work by contemporary 

European chemists and physiologists who were 

demonstrating the relationship between light, 

Table 2. Comparison of Benjamin Waterhouse’s lessons in botany, published as “The Botanist” in the Monthly 

Anthology (1804, 1805, 1807, and 1808), and the corresponding chapters of his textbook, The Botanist (1811).

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

oxygen, and carbon dioxide (“In the day the leaves 

of plants exhale moisture and oxygen gas, and 

absorb  carbonic acid gas; but during the night, 

they emit carbonic acid gas and absorb oxygen gas” 

[Waterhouse, 1811, p. 154]) and that not only water, 

soil, and warmth but also oxygen are necessary 

for seed germination to occur. Given the proper 

conditions, he noted that “Indian corn seeds can 

germinate after 70 years” and that “1012 seeds of 

tobacco weigh 1 grain” (Waterhouse, 1811, p. 28).


It is interesting that he described the physiology 

of plant movements at the same time Maria E. 

Jackson (1811) published Sketches of the Physiology 

of Vegetable Life in London, which was concerned 

primarily with insectivorous plants and plant traps.


Today Waterhouse is known primarily for 

introducing the smallpox vaccine to the United 

States, but in his lifetime he also was devoted to 

botany instruction in the American colleges:

The foundation, or ground work of this independent 

and salutiferous profession [natural history] is the 

science of Botany; a science of as great importance 

to the youth of America as any now taught in our 

colleges, that alone excepted which has for its great 

object the cultivation of the human heart.  

It may perhaps be said that this branch of 

knowledge has not been neglected among us, and that 

the seeds of it were sown more than sixteen years since 

at Cambridge.* [footnote reference to Waterhouse, 

1804a] Be it so—Their growth has nevertheless been 

slow. Whether this is be owing to the soil, or the 

cultivators, we leave to the investigation of others; 

observing only, that a private individual, however 

cordially disposed to rear the nemorale templum, can 

do but little without the assistance, support, and co-

operation of the constituted fantores of science and of 

government. (Waterhouse, 1804b, p. 392)

Waterhouse might have felt himself to be a lone 

“cultivator,” but the botanical discipline was growing 

in European colleges, and that movement already 

had begun to expand in the United States. The 

Botanist was not well received. A New York reviewer 

said, “Though we do not think the performance 

before us will supersede the use of the elementary 

books, we nevertheless consider it as indicting 

the industrious research and scientific zeal of the 

author.… He has not adhered to rigid method, but 

makes his observations frequently in a desultory 

way” (Anonymous, 1812). To Waterhouse’s dismay, 

Federalist booksellers in Boston and Salem would 

not even carry the book. John Adams’ replied 

to Waterhouse, “The Booksellers in Boston and 

Salem who refused to take any of them, disliket the 

Dedicator as well as the Dedicatee” (Cash, 2006, p. 

293). Waterhouse’s successor in materia medica at 

Harvard, Jacob Bigelow, was more successful with 

his American edition of Smith’s An Introduction 

to Physiological and Systematical Botany  (Smith, 

1814; Table 1). Similarly, his replacement at the 

Botanic Garden, Thomas Nuttall, produced a 

better-known textbook (Nuttall, 1827; Table 1) that 

emphasized taxonomically useful morphology and 

the Linnaean system.

Benjamin Smith Barton’s 

Botanical Textbook

In 1782 William Bartram was offered a 

professorship in botany at the College of 

Philadelphia, but he declined. As a result, when 

Benjamin Smith Barton enrolled there in 1785 

(three years after the founding of the Harvard 

College medical school in Boston), he chose to 

work under the chemist Benjamin Rush. This 

was an auspicious year for botany in the United 

States because, near the end of the year, the 

nurseryman Humphry Marshall published “… 

the first treatise on American plants, written by 

a native American and printed in this country…” 

(Darlington, 1848, p. 28). Marshall (1785; Table 1) 

wrote Arbustrum Americanum to provide concise 

descriptions of the common woody plants and 

their economic uses, primarily for use by farmers 

and settlers in rural areas. Marshall meant the book 

to be an encouragement to its readers to become 

knowledgeable enough about botany to make 

additional observations and useful discoveries 

about the uses of plants in their areas. It was the 

earliest example of a method, continued by Barton, 

of combining botanical classification with materia 

medica and native use of plants (Schiebinger and 

Swan, 2005). It is likely that Marshall’s book had an 

early influence on Barton; it was the only American 

book Barton later would cite in his botanical 


Barton was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 

1766 and developed an interest in botany from his 

youth, learning the names of the local plants around 

Lancaster from his father. Thus, when Barton 

arrived at the College in Philadelphia, he was eager 

to take a botany course from Kuhn. However, as 

mentioned above, Kuhn had offered “Botany” only 

once and not as a formal college course, so Barton’s 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

botanical training was delayed until he began the 

medical program at Edinburgh. Even then, his 

formal training was limited to materia medica, as 

he informed readers in the preface to A Discourse… 

that he had “never attended any lecture, however 

imperfect, on the Natural History of Botany” 

(Barton, 1807). On his return in 1789, Barton was 

elected professor of natural history and botany 

at the College of Philadelphia (Figure 4), and his 

botany lectures were given in the late spring: “The 

lectures on Botany commence, annually, about 

the middle of April, and terminate in the first 

week of July” (Barton, 1803, verso of title page). In 

1791 the College of Philadelphia merged with the 

University of Pennsylvania, and his appointment 

in natural history and botany was confirmed. He 

also assumed the professorship of materia medica 

from Kuhn when the latter retired in 1796 (Ewan 

and Ewan, 2007).

Figure 4. Benjamin Smith Barton, 1789, by Samuel 

Jennings. (Used with permission of the American 

Philosophical Society.)

In the opinion of at least some students, Barton 

was a superior teacher. Years later, William 

Darlington fondly recalled his botany professor: 

“Professor Barton, in those days, occasionally 

gave a course of Lectures on Natural History 

and Botany, to small classes in the University of 

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

the writer had the privilege of attending): and 

there can be no doubt that he did more than any 

of his contemporaries, in diffusing a taste for the 

natural sciences, among the young men who then 

resorted to that school” (Darlington, 1849, p. 24). It 

is possible that Darlington used Barton’s Elements 

of Botany—the first textbook of botany produced in 

the United States—because Barton self-published 

300 copies in 1803 (Table 1; Figure 5; Ewan and 

Ewan, 2007). However, Darlington’s opinion of the 

book was somewhat mixed: “Though somewhat 

diffuse, it was a useful and dependable performance” 

(Darlington, 1849, p. 24). The following year, a 

British edition of considerably larger circulation 

was published in London (Barton, 1804).   

Barton’s 500-page text is divided into three 

parts and opens with a folding figure. At Barton’s 

direction, the first plate, Sarracenia purpurea, was 

printed facing the title page—an attractive and 

provocative introduction to the text! The first part 

is morphological and is divided into three chapters: 

the root, the herb (shoot), and the fructification 

(flower). Although this part is primarily terminology 

and examples, some physiology and uses of the 

various parts are introduced. His original intent 

was to focus part two on physiology. “The study 

of VEGETABLE PHYSIOLOGY has long been 

one of my most favorite pursuits. I have always 

considered it as the richest portion of Botany. I 

believe its practical tendency is highly important.” 

(Barton, 1803, p. viii). Although some physiology is 

inserted into each of the main sections of this part, 

most of the description is of an anatomical nature, 

covering general anatomy, the “vessels of plants,” 

and the structure and uses of leaves. The final part 

is an elaboration of the sexual system of Linnaeus. 

Throughout the book, he makes frequent reference 

to Linnaeus and occasionally to other botanists. 

In his appendix, he provides comparisons of 17 

other classification systems used by botanists since 

the time of Caesalpinus in 1583. At the end of the 

book are the remaining 29 plates with explanation 

pages; 24 of the sketches are by William Bartram 

(Slaughter, 1996, p. 247). 

Barton noted the difficulty of completing this 

work, in part because of his teaching schedule, which 

consumed seven months of the year (Barton, 1803, 

p. vi), and also because “The difficulty of composing 

an elementary work on Botany, or any other 

Science which, like Botany, is frequently changing 

its aspect, from the discovery of new species, and 

the researches and experiments of ingenious men, 

will be readily conceived and acknowledged. This 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

migrants degenerated when they settled in 

America. This idea was popular in Europe from the 

1770s to the 1790s and engaged Benjamin Franklin 

and especially Thomas Jefferson in refuting this 

popular European belief. Nevertheless, it persisted 

into the early 1800s (Dugatkin, 2009). The potential 

attribution of “degeneracy” did not hinder Barton’s 

English editor who said, “…he found it written in so 

popular a manner, with so much greater variety of 

matter than is contained in our present elementary 

treatises on the subject, that he had not a doubt of 

its proving acceptable to the public” (Barton, 1804, 

p. xi). Later, Maria Jackson (1811, p. 2) noted in 

her elementary text for British women, “To Dr. 

Benjamin Barton, an American, we are indebted 

for the first English elementary treatise, which, 

with an extensive delimitation of systematical 

botany, has combined a succinct view of the 

physiology of vegetation; mingling with the whole 

a variety of curious fact and observation from 

which the young student may derive a considerable 

portion of instruction and amusement.”



Barton’s (1803) textbook preceded Smith’s (1809) 

introductory British textbook by several years, 

and its only English-language competitors were 

Rose’s (1775) translation of Linnaeus and Martyn’s 

translation of Rousseau (1787). William J. Hooker, 

who later became the first director of Kew, called 

Barton a “great promoter of science, especially 

Botany, whose Elementary Botany is full of 

entertaining anecdotes” (Hooker, 1825, p. 271).  

Nevertheless, Barton’s English editor made some 

notable changes beyond exchanging some English 

plants for American ones in the text. The first 

striking difference is that the original two volumes 

were compressed into one, in part by reducing the 

font, and more importantly by making significant 

editorial deletions to the third part. The other 

striking difference is that the plates were colored 

(at least in the copy at the Missouri Botanical 

Garden—the version on Google Books is not), 

though the magnificent Plate One was reduced in 

size and reoriented to fit a normal page facing the 

title page. The editor also moved the descriptions of 

sexual reproduction from part one to part two: “…

and in a single instance the Editor has not hesitated 

to give a turn to a paragraph, directly opposite to 

the design of the Author; but for this he is confident 

he shall be thanked by every friend to female 

delicacy and virtue” (Barton, 1804, p. xii).

I have given a note to the last paragraph the 

analogical name by which Linnaeus has thought 

proper to designate the stigma. For that name there 

difficulty is peculiarly experienced by Americans, 

who, not withstanding the rapid growth of science 

in their country, are (with respect to the Science 

of the European nations) the inhabitants, as it 

were, of an Ultima Thule. I have to regret that in 

the composition of this work I often stood in need 

of that assistance, which it would have been easy 

to have obtained in Europe” (Barton, 1803, p. xi). 

Even so, he later acknowledged that “Botany has, 

certainly, been cultivated, with more attention and 

success, in the United-States, than any other branch 

of Natural History” (Barton, 1807, p. 39).

Figure 5. Barton’s Elements of Botany (1803), the 

first botanical textbook printed in the United States. 

(Photographed, with permission, by the author.)

Given Barton’s acknowledgement of the 

provincial state of botany in the former colony, it 

is perhaps surprising that his self-published text 

was picked up and reprinted the following year in 

London. This is especially true in light of the theory 

of American degeneracy, which supposed that 

not only were the plants and animals of America 

inferior to those of Europe, but even the European 

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have heard during the week—It is indeed...a highly 

delightful study but I believe that our venerable and 

eminent preceptor would make anything so. I have 

seen him take up a poplar leaf which I had trodden 

on, and thought destitute of every source of enquiry, 

and talk most earnestly and eloquently for a quarter 

of an hour on it… (Ewan and Ewan, 2007, p. 629)

Although Barton died in 1815, a revised third 

edition of Elements of Botany was published in 1827, 

and a new revised edition of his textbook, with a 

biographical sketch by his son William Paul Crillon 

Barton, was published in 1836—the same year Asa 

Gray would publish his Elements of Botany. The 

1827 edition was virtually a reprint of the second 

edition with a few unexplained anomalies. The title 

page reads “3rd edition, 1827,” but on the verso, 

privilege of the clerk of Pennsylvania (in which the 

seal is actually printed as opposed to being stamped 

in the earlier edition), it is dated 1812 in the first 

paragraph, though the last line of the second 

paragraph reads, “The third edition, corrected 

and greatly enlarged. In two volumes. Vol. I.” The 

only other change is at the end of the explanation 

of plates. In the explanations of both the third and 

fourth plates, p. 320 faces p. 320* and verso of 320* 

is 321*. In the third edition, p. 321 faces p. 321* but 

then continues properly with pp. 322-324. There 

is no explanation for duplicating the page number 

and adding an asterisk. The revised 1836 edition 

has normal consecutive page numbering in the 

plate explanations.


Presumably both these later 

editions were authorized by Barton’s son, William 

P. C. Barton, who succeeded his father as professor 

of materia medica and botany at the University of 

Pennsylvania. His syllabus (1819) followed the text 

precisely, and the course, like his father’s, consisted 

of three lectures and one or two excursions every 


David Hosack in New York

David Hosack (Figure 6), a contemporary of 

Barton, was born in New York City in 1769, the son 

of an “up-and-coming shopkeeper” (Hoge, 2007, p. 

3). He entered Columbia College (previously King’s 

College and later Columbia University) in 1786, 

where he excelled in the arts. He was encouraged 

by his professors to go into law but was fascinated 

with medicine. After fits and starts in medicine 

at Columbia, and later the College of New Jersey 

(later Princeton), he transferred to the University 

of Pennsylvania in 1790, where Barton had recently 

taken a position. “Influenced by both [Barton and 

is, I think, as much, and even more, foundation, than 

for some others which the burning imagination of the 

northern naturalist has imposed, not only upon the 

organa sexualia, but upon other parts of the plant. 

It is to be regretted, that Linnaeus so frequently 

indulges in the use of terms which might, without 

any real injury to his writings, have been dispensed 

with… (Barton, 1804, p. 198)

The success of Barton’s text in America is 

evidenced by the fact that he revised and expanded 

the two-volume work in 1812 (volume 1) and 1814 

(volume 2). Although he intended to publish a 

Ladies Botany and advertised for subscriptions 

in 1811, this work was never published (though 

the manuscript exists in Barton’s papers; Ewan 

and Ewan, 2007, p. 636). It may simply have been 

easier to revise his previous work. He returned to 

his original format with little change to part one 

except for a section on “perspiration of plants.” Part 

two was nearly doubled in size by the addition of a 

section on sexual reproduction in plants and some 

economic botany. In part three he again returned 

to his original format but expanded coverage to 

include liverworts, algae, and fungi. Two notable 

additions were a 20-page index to common and 

scientific names at the end of volume 1 and a 12-

page index to terms at the end of volume 2. The 

other notable changes were the addition of 10 new 

plates and a multiple-page expansion of the notes to 

the Sarracenia plate, including speculations on the 

function of the pitcher leaves.

Barton’s success as a botany teacher was because 

of “…at least one very high and important quality—

and earnest and exciting enthusiasm, by which 

he induced his pupils to engage in the study of 

the science with a corresponding earnestness, 

accompanied by a resolution to teach themselves” 

(Middleton, 1936, p. 480). This enthusiasm was 

generated, in part, by field experience. “I this day 

closed my course in Botany by a lecture at the 

University & an excursion to Landreth’s garden. 

This is the first time, I have ever taken my class to 

Landreth’s—The permission to take it, I consider a 

valuable acquisition to my class” (Ewan and Ewan, 

2007, p. 627). Over the years, he also took classes 

on field trips to William Hamilton’s “Woodlands,” 

Bartram’s garden, the Schuylkill and Delaware 

rivers, as well as Landreth’s and other places. A 

former student describes a field trip experience as 


In these excursions we reduce to actual practice 

on any plant that presents those doctrines which we 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

which Hosack annotated heavily (Ewan and Ewan, 

2007, p. 417), undoubtedly formed the basis of 

Hosack’s future lectures.  

After spending the summer with Curtis, Hosack 

spent four months with James Edward Smith. Smith 

introduced him to Sir Joseph Banks and Thomas 

Martyn, Regius Professor of Botany at Cambridge 

University. But more importantly, he “…gave 

him access to the great herbarium assembled by 

the celebrated Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné 

(Linnaeus).” Smith, who was president of the 

Linnean Society, arranged for Hosack to be elected 

a fellow of the Linnean Society and made a gift of 

a collection of Linnaeus’ duplicate specimens for 

Hosack to take back to America. No record exists of 

the number of specimens or of the taxa represented 

in this gift, but the collection eventually was owned 

by the Lyceum of Natural History of New York (now 

the New York Academy of Sciences).  It was lost, 

probably in the fire of 1866. “Without doubt, the 

Hosack Herbarium contained the only substantial 

number of Linnaean specimens ever brought to the 

United States” (Robbins, 1960, p. 293).

Soon after Hosack’s return in 1795, he was 

offered the botanical professorship in the medical 

school at Columbia College and the following year 

also assumed the professorship of materia medica

Not surprisingly, considerable similarity exists 

between Curtis’ lectures and the syllabus Hosack 

was required by his university to publish. “At a 

meeting of the Trustees of Columbia College, held 

at the College Hall, on Monday, the ninth day of 

July, 1792: Ordered, That every Professor of this 

College who teaches by Lecture, do publish within 

one year, a Syllabus of his Course of Lectures” 

(Hosack, 1795). This earlier published syllabus 

had only two minor differences from the version 

he later published (Hosack, 1814, p. 462). First, 

the earlier account included a footnote that was 

deleted in the latter: “*For the instruction of those 

who may not be acquainted with the principles 

of the new system of Chemistry the Professor 

takes occasion to introduce a general sketch of 

the differences and improvements lately made in 

this branch of Science—referring for a particular 

detail to the valuable lectures of Professor Mitchill” 

(Hosack, 1795, p. 8). Second, a single phrase, “have 

no existence,” was added to part one, E, Anatomy 

of Plants number 8 “Trachae, or air vessels—have 

no existence—Structure and functions of plants 

illustrated by dissection and experiment—”. The 

significance of “have no existence” is unclear. 

Rush], he maintained an independent spirit in the 

years to come. With Barton he shared an active 

interest in botany and the hope for an ‘American 

Flora’” (Ewan and Ewan, 2007, p. 229).  

Figure 6. David Hosack. (Image in the public domain.)

Hosack completed his M.D. degree in 1791, but like 

most of his contemporaries, he felt it necessary to 

go to Europe to complete his training. The following 

year he traveled to the University of Edinburgh, 

where he was “Mortified by my ignorance of botany 

with which other guests were conversant. I resolved, 

at that time, whenever an opportunity might offer to 

acquire a knowledge of that department of science” 

(Robbins, 1964, p. 24). The following year was spent 

in London, where he studied with William Curtis 

and Sir James Edward Smith, president of the 

Linnean Society. Curtis, the editor of The Botanical 

Magazine, had just completed building his botanic 

garden at Brompton, which was arranged by 

medical and ornamental uses, and he allowed 

Hosack to visit daily. Once a week, Curtis himself 

led “an excursion” through the garden for friends 

and acquaintances. Hosack took advantage of this 

opportunity throughout the summer of 1793.

Curtis prepared a series of lectures (published 

posthumously by his son-in-law; Curtis, 1805), 

which probably included much of the information 

presented to Hosack on these visits. Robbins (1964) 

suggests that these notes, and Barton’s (1803) text, 

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soft spungy [sic]  paper such as Stationers call 

blotting paper or between sheets of the common 

wrapping paper; either of the last made into books 

will be found very convenient for the purpose. The 

quantity of paper to be placed between the different 

plant is to be determined by their structure and the 

quantity of moisture they contain.
•  When they are thus carefully arranged for 

drying they are to be put under pressure—some 

have contrived a machine for this purpose which 

consists of two pieces of plank, with screws to 

increase or diminish the pressure at pleasure, but it 

is equally convenient to produce the same degree of 

pressure by books or weights—it may be observed 

that the degree of pressure must be regulated by the 

structure of the plants.
•  The paper in which they are placed must be 

renewed every 24 hours until perfectly dry. In 

removing them from one book to another, care 

must be taken that the flowers be not injured and 

that they be not long exposed to the air as they are 

apt to shrivel.
•  When they are thus perfectly dried, they are to 

be removed and placed, every species by itself, in a 

large book for the purpose.
•  There have been many other methods employed 

in drying plants, but after various trials, the 

process I have described, I find to be the least 

troublesome and the most successful. (Robbins, 

1964, pp. 55-56)
At about the same time Hosack was establishing 

the Elgin Botanic Garden, he made the acquaintance 

of the young law student Amos Eaton. The practical 

Eaton had a love of natural history and was drawn 

to Hosack and botany even as he studied for the bar. 

Eaton would later share this love of botany with the 

young John Torrey, whom he tutored for several 

years. Unlike his mentor, Torrey sought a career 

in medicine and botany and began his studies 

under Hosack in 1815, receiving his M.D. degree 

in 1818. Hosack’s relationship with Eaton would 

sour, but Eaton and Torrey would remain botanical 

confidants until Eaton’s death.

The garden provided field instruction opportunities 

for Hosack and his students. He likely followed 

Curtis’ (1792) Proposals for a Course of Herborizing 

Excursions. Each student should collect a small 

specimen of every plant examined and place it in 

a collection book in the order gathered. After three 

or four hours of collecting, the class reconvenes, 

and the instructor takes an hour or two to go 

The first part of the course concentrated on the 

structure and function of plants, drawing on John 

Ray, Nehemiah Grew, and Linnaeus. Part two 

considered the history of botanical classification 

and the Linnaean system. 

Hosack’s experience working in Curtis’ Brompton 

garden confirmed in his mind the utility of a 

botanic garden for teaching. 

I now readily perceived that an abstract account 

of the principles of these sciences, as taught by books, 

coloured engravings, or even with the advantages of 

an herbarium, must necessarily be very imperfect 

and unsatisfactory, when compared with the 

examination of living plants, growing in their proper 

soils with the advantages of culture; … and that a 

botanical establishment was indispensably necessary 

in order to teach this branch of medical science with 

complete effect. (Robbins, 1960, p. 296)

In 1801 Hosack purchased 20 acres of land north 

of the city (including what is now the plaza of 

Rockefeller Center) to build a botanic garden for 

teaching botany and materia medica. For 10 years he 

used his personal fortune and contacts to build the 

Elgin Botanic Garden. By 1806, nearly 2000 plants 

were under cultivation on the grounds and in three 

glass houses “exhibiting a front of one hundred and 

eighty feet” (Hosack, 1811, p. 3). Among the plant 

contributors was Thomas Jefferson, who shared 

seeds sent from France (Robbins, 1964, p. 65). In 

addition to the living collection, Hosack sought 

to build the herbarium, providing directions for 

preparing specimens


similar to those we follow to 

this day:

•   As the flower and leaf are parts of the plant 

from which the botanic characters are to be 

determined, the specimen to be taken should 

possess both the flower and leaves in their most 

perfect state.
•  In collecting a specimen of an Herbaceous 

plant, care must be taken to cut it close to the 

ground, that the leaves near the root which are the 

most perfect, may be preserved.
•  In collecting a specimen of a Tree or Shrub it is 

only necessary to cut one of the smallest branches 

containing the flowers and some of the most perfect 

leaves, from whatever part of the tree or shrub they 

may be procured.
•  They should be gathered on a dry day.
•  They are to be carefully placed between the 

leaves of a large book, or between sheets of large 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Botany is a branch of Natural History that 

provides many advantages; it contributes to the 

health of the body and cheerfulness of disposition, by 

presenting an inducement to take air and exercise; it 

is adapted to the simplest capacity, and the objects of 

its investigation present themselves without expense 

or difficulty, which renders them attainable to every 

rank in life; but with all these allurements, till of late 

years has been confined to the circle of the learned, 

which may be attributed to those books that treated 

it, being principally written in Latin: a difficulty that 

deterred many, particularly the female sex, from 

attempting to obtain a knowledge of the science… 

(Wakefield, 1807, pp. i-iv)

James Edward Smith (1809), in his An 

Introduction to Physical and Systematic Botany

went further to justify botany as a means of 

promoting the intellectual abilities of young people. 

In addition to the content of learning the Linnaean 

system of classification, other reasons to teach 

botany included the following:

To explain and apply to practice those 

beautiful principles of method, arrangement and 

discrimination, which render botany not merely an 

amusement, a motive for taking air and exercise, or 

an assistant to many other arts and sciences; but a 

school for the mental powers, an alluring excitement 

for the young mind to try its growing strength, and a 

confirmation of the most enlightened understanding 

in some of its sublimest most important truths.

(Smith, 1809, pp. x-xi)   

The idea that botany was an appropriate school 

topic was picked up almost simultaneously 

throughout New England a decade later. In 

Northampton, Massachusetts, Jane Welch (1819) 

published a small, 34-page booklet titled, 

Botanical Catechism (Table 1). Welch suggested, 

“The teacher will find it expedient to have an 

example of some perfect and complete flower, 

for the purpose of pointing out the elementary 

organs as the answers are given” (p. 24). “It is the 

best book for very young students, particularly for 

ladies’ schools…” (Eaton, 1820, p. 4). In Hartford, 

Connecticut, the following year, George Sumner 

(1820; Table 1) drew heavily on Smith’s (1809) 

introductory text to produce A Compendium of 

Physiological and Systematic Botany. At 300 pages, 

plus figures, “This compendium was designed as 

an introduction to the study of American plants, 

and it is published for the convenience of those 

who wish to pursue consult the floras which 

have, within a short time, been published in various 

through a demonstration for each plant, including 

identification and description of key features.  

According to Robbins (1964), Hosack’s copy of 

Proposals for a Course of Herborizing Excursions is 

in the library of the New York Botanical Garden. 

Within a few years, the expense of maintaining 

the Elgin Garden was becoming a burden, and 

Hosack eventually convinced the New York State 

Legislature to purchase the garden in 1811 and 

transfer it to Columbia College, where he could 

still oversee operation. After the state agreed to 

purchase the botanical garden, Hosack sold his 

botanical library and donated his herbarium 

(including the Linnaean specimens) to the New 

York College of Physicians and Surgeons, where 

he now taught after a merger with the Columbia 

College medical school. However, after the spring 

1813 semester, Hosack dropped his botany lectures, 

and the course was no longer taught at Columbia. 

Interest in botany as an adjunct to medical 

teaching was waning; John Torrey, after he began 

teaching chemistry and botany at the College 

of Physicians and Surgeons in 1827, constantly 

complained of his students’ lack of interest in the 

natural sciences. At Columbia itself, botany as a 

major subject had disappeared from the curriculum 

and was not to be reinstated until near the end of the 

century. (Robbins, 1964, p. 98)
Today Hosack is remembered primarily as the 

attending physician to his good friend, Alexander 

Hamilton, who died after his infamous duel with 

Aaron Burr.

Bringing Botany to the 


At the turn of the 19th century, a new interest 

in botany began, not as the necessary handmaiden 

of medicine but as a discipline of its own that was 

worthy of study. This trend, begun in Europe, was 

described by Wakefield (1807) in An Introduction to 

Botany in a Series of Familiar Letters from a fictitious 

Felicia to her sister, Constance. This fifth edition of 

her work was republished in Boston in 1811 and 

influenced contemporary American writers.  

The design of the following Introduction to Botany, 

is to cultivate a taste in young persons for the study 

of nature.… Children are endowed with curiosity 

and activity, for the purpose of acquiring knowledge. 

Let us avail ourselves of these natural propensities, 

and direct them to the pursuit of the most judicious 

objects: none can be better adapted to instruct, and at 

the same time amuse, than the beauties of nature.…

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

sections of the United States…” (Sumner, 1820, 

p. vi). In many ways it looks quite modern. The 

introduction provides a brief history of botany 

from Theophrastus in ancient Greece through his 

contemporary botanists in Europe and the United 

States. The next 200 pages begin with an overview 

of plants and follow the plant life cycle from 

germination through fruit formation. There are 

separate chapters for each organ type, concentrating 

primarily on anatomy and morphology, but unlike 

Barton, Sumner includes a large physiological 

chapter on “Saps and Secretions.” Classification 

and the systems of Linnaeus and Jussieu are 

covered briefly in the final chapters. This is the first 

American introduction to the “natural system” of 


Intermediate in size between Welsh’s and 

Sumner’s texts is Locke’s (1819; Table 1) 160-

page  Outlines of Botany, produced in New York. 

Eaton called it “…an excellent elementary school 

book” (Eaton, 1820, p. 4). (It is interesting that 

my personal copy of Locke was used at a different 

level—the College of Pharmacy of the City of New 

York [Columbia University] in 1842!) Locke listed 

four reasons to recommend science and the study 

of botany in the schools:

•  The science of botany is valuable, as medicine, 

agriculture, and the arts are more or less dependant 

upon it.
•  The study recommends itself as a “rich source of 

innocent pleasure”…
•  The study is profitable to the young especially, 

as it forms the mind and regulates the modes of 

•  The study of nature is acknowledged to be 

highly important, as it gives us just views of the 

character of the Supreme Being (Locke, 1819, pp. 

Locke went on to say, “The study of botany is 

every year becoming more and more attended to 

by academies and common schools, and from its 

recommendations as a study for the young, every 

encouragement should be afforded” (Locke, 1819, 

pp. xii-xiii). His small book was divided into 

five parts containing 13 chapters. Root, herbage, 

and fructification filled the first half, parts one 

to three. The Linnaean system was covered in 

part four and anatomy and physiology in part 

five. An interesting section at the end had some 

observations on instruments for botanizing and the 

method of preparing a herbarium. Recommended 

instruments included a small knife, pair of scissors, 

bodkin (dissecting needle), forceps, and glass or 

microscope. “A simple glass of from one- to two- 

inch focus, such as the watch-makers use, or a 

penknife with a glass in the handle, as may now be 

obtained in the shops, will answer very well” (Locke, 

1819, p. 123). He provided instructions for making 

a bodkin and forceps. In addition, one should have 

a tin box for fresh specimens and a portfolio filled 

with a parcel of paper and furnished with strings. 

At the end of the text were three pages of 80 self-

test questions for students, which included the 

pages where correct answers could be found. At 

the end of the text were 16 plates of figures and a 

good index. Locke provided some good advice to 


The student should, if possible, examine plants 

from the very commencement of studying the 

elements, especially those which are mentioned as 

examples.… From what little experience I have had 

in instructing, I cannot recommend to teachers to 

oblige their pupils to commit any of the following 

pages formally to memory; in doing which they are 

by no means certain to get the ideas… (Locke, 1819, 

pp. xiii-ix)

Amos Eaton: A New Way to Teach

The preceding quote from Locke sounds 

remarkably like the philosophy of Amos Eaton, 

“…a pivotal person in the teaching of American 

botany” (Stuckey and Burk, 2000, p. 164) and “… 

our first professional teacher of natural history, 

and especially of botany…” (Humphrey, 1896, 

p. 35). Eaton (Figure 7) was born on a farm near 

what is now Chatham, New York, in 1776, and as a 

youth acquired practical experience as a surveyor. 

In 1799 he graduated from Williams College in 

Massachusetts, and although he was interested in 

the natural sciences, he moved to New York City to 

study law. In New York he met Dr. David Hosack, 

the physician/botanist at what is now Columbia 

University, and was an occasional houseguest.  

Eaton arrived in New York at about the time 

Hosack was building the Elgin Botanic Garden on 

the site currently occupied by Rockefeller Center, 

as noted above, but his primary study was law, and 

he was admitted to the bar in 1802. He moved to 

Catskill, New York, where he practiced law and 

worked as a land agent and surveyor. But he also 

continued his interest in natural history. He later 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

noted, “In May, 1810, I had the first attempt in this 

country at a popular course of lectures; with a view 

to make practical Botanists of young persons of all 

conditions and pursuits. For this class I compiled 

a small elementary treatise” (Eaton and Wright, 

1840, p. v). This treatise, The Young Botanist’s Tablet 

of Memory (Eaton, 1810), was an 11-page pamphlet 

that provided the definitions required to use the 

Linnaean system as well as a synopsis of the classes 

and orders of flowering plants. Memorization was a 

component of botanical education but only so far as 

to be useful in identifying plants. Nevertheless, the 

last three pages provide etymological descriptions 

of the Greek origins for the terms. Eaton was 

interested in the practical application of botany and 

the other sciences, not science for its own sake. As 

a result, his teaching methods aimed for effective, 

tangible results that empowered his students. Later 

that summer he received a letter from Hosack:

I received yours of the 8th instant, and am happy 

to be informed of the progress of the Botanical 

Institution at Catskill, under your direction. You have 

set an example that, I doubt not, will be followed by 

many, if not most, of the Academies throughout the 


You have adopted, in my opinion, the true system 

of education: and very properly address yourself to 

the senses and to the memory, instead of the faculties 

of judgment and reason, which are, comparatively, of 

slow growth.

To your pupils and their teacher, as first in the field, 

much praise is due. I doubt not they will reap both 

pleasure and profit, as the reward of their enterprise. 

If I can contribute to either, I shall be happy to do it, 

in any manner that you may suggest. (Eaton, 1818, 

p. 9)

The following year, Eaton was convicted of 

forgery in a land dispute (he maintained his 

innocence) and spent nearly five years in the New 

York City jail. The jailer’s name was Torrey, and he 

had a young son, John. “Already at the age of 15, 

[John] Torrey had become interested in botany by 

meeting in his father’s jail the enthusiastic Amos 

Eaton, with whom he studied there” (Stuckey and 

Burke, 2000, p. 188). Eaton and Torrey would 

remain friends for life, and Torrey later bridged 

the “hostility” of Asa Gray, Torrey’s protégé, 

toward Eaton (McAllister, 1941, p. 238). On his 

release, Eaton spent a year at Yale studying under 

Benjamin Silliman and the botanist Eli Ives, where 

he translated Richard’s Botanical Dictionary from 

French. Then in 1817, he returned to his alma 

mater, Williams College, as a lecturer in botany and 

geology. His “small elementary treatise” of seven 

years earlier was expanded for use by the class, as 

few botanical books were available for students. At 

the end of the year, in gratitude for his enthusiastic 

mentorship, the students paid to publish the 

work—the first edition of A Manual of Botany for 

the Northern States (Eaton, 1817; Table 1). This 

book, always following the Linnaean system, went 

through eight editions by 1840. Eaton made a strong 

impression on then 10-year-old Albert Hopkins 

(future professor of astronomy at Williams), who 

later commented on how the teacher sparked his 

interest in science:  

I will remember attending a lecture of his in my 

native town, the first scientific lecture I ever attended, 

and, if I may judge by the sharp outline of it still in my 

mind, one of the most interesting and impressive.… 

He had an easy flow of language, a popular address, 

and a generous enthusiasm in matters of science, 

which easily communicated itself to his pupils. 

(Ballard, 1897, p. 203)



Figure 7. Amos Eaton. (Image in the public domain.)

Eaton was a missionary to local townspeople 

throughout the region but also to neighboring 

colleges. His first visit was to Northampton, 

Massachusetts, where he was the first man in 

America to enroll women in the study of science.

Mr. Amos Eaton was employed in this town 

to deliver a course of evening lectures on Botany, 

and a course of evening lectures [on] Chemistry, 

Mineralogy, and Geology. As his class consisted 

chiefly of ladies, and as these branches of learning 

have not hitherto generally engaged the attention of 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

that sex, we take the liberty to state that from this 

experiment we feel authorized to recommend these 

branches as a very useful part of female education. 

(Ballard, 1897, p. 209)

It is interesting that by 1822, Eaton could write 

that “The recommendation of the study of botany 

to the attention of ladies, subscribed by the late 

Governor Strong of Massachusetts, and others … is 

unnecessary at this day; for I believe more than half 

the botanists in New England and New York are 

ladies” (Eaton, 1822, p. 11). His fame as a lecturer 

in the Berkshires of Massachusetts spread south to 

Albany, New York, and in 1818, Governor De Witt 

Clinton invited him to present a course of lectures 

before the New York State Legislature. He was so 

well received that he moved to the Albany/Troy 

area and concentrated on lecturing and geological 

work along the route of the Erie Canal. In 1818, he 

wrote the following in a letter to John Torrey:

Devised a new way of teaching botany … much 

better for teacher and pupils.… I am to take five 

classes for the season, in five neighboring villages. 

Northampton is to be my headquarters. I lecture 

at each every fifth week, through the season.... 

In this way every class will have the benefit of a 

course keeping pace with the progress of vegetation. 

(McAllister, 1941, p. 184)

Two years later Eaton confided the following to 


I am now printing a little book of Exercises in 

Botany [1820; Table 1] … it grew out of the necessities 

known only to teachers.… The Exercises will contain 

the generic descriptions of plants most common in all 

the classes. Then a full list of all species in the manual, 

arranged in the same way without descriptions. This 

is to relieve the teacher while his pupils are labeling 

plants. (McAllister, 1941, p. 221)

 During this work, he cultivated a friendship 

with the wealthy Stephen Van Rensselaer and in 

1824 convinced him to found the Rensselaer School 

at Troy, New York, with Eaton as senior professor. 

This began the most productive and influential 

period of his career.

Already at Williams College Eaton had 

demonstrated the utility of the laboratory and 

field trips in promoting student learning, and 

these became the centerpiece of the Rensselaer 

approach. In Europe, laboratories were beginning 

to be used for instruction in chemistry, and medical 

schools had small laboratories for the preparation 

of  materia medica, but at Rensselaer, Eaton 

insisted that each of the sciences have a laboratory 

where “students were to learn by doing, in sharp 

contrast to the conventional method of learning 

by rote” (Rezneck, 1971, p. 274). Botany laboratory 

instruction was pioneered at Rensselaer in the 

1820s, but it was an innovation that would not 

have widespread adoption for another half century 

(Rudolph, 1996). Student-active learning was the 

key. “The pupil in the place of the professor, he 

necessarily acquires a knowledge of the principles 

of the science on which he lectures; while the 

experimental demonstrations of the laboratory 

render him familiar with the practical application of 

those principles to agricultural and manufacturing 

operations.” (Nason, 1887, p. 18) 

The most distinctive character in the plan of the 

school consists in giving the pupil the place of the 

teacher in all his exercises. From schools or colleges 

where the highest branches are taught to the common 

village schools, the teacher always improves himself 

more than he does his pupils. Being under the 

necessity of relying upon his own resources and of 

making every subject his own, he becomes an adept 

as a matter of necessity. Taking advantage of this 

principle, students of Rensselaer School learn by 

giving experimental and demonstrative lectures with 

experiments and specimens. (Good, 1941, p. 467)

Throughout his career, Eaton espoused what 

now seems a contradictory philosophy of teaching 

botany. On the one hand, he was an innovator in 

designing and implementing student-centered 

pedagogy that challenged students and promoted 

self-discipline and discovery. On the other hand, 

his approach to botany was diametrically opposed 

to that of Waterhouse. Where the latter stressed the 

structure and function of plants as living organisms, 

Eaton’s botanical focus was rote taxonomy, as one of 

his pupils aptly emphasized:

No one should ever be employed as a teacher of 

Botany, unless he can give his pupils at sight the 

names of at least four hundred species of indigenous 

plants, growing in the vicinity of his school; and he 

ought to be able to recognize from the mere habits of 

plants six or eight hundred species. (Johnson, 1834, 

p. vi)

Eaton saw his manuals as the perfect tool for 

teaching botany to students. The language was 

simple, the Linnaean system was functional for 

identification and easy to apply, and he included 

exotic species that had become domesticated. But 

his protégé, John Torrey, was being influenced by 

his own student, Asa Gray, who saw Eaton as old-

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fashioned and out of touch with modern botany 

(the natural system). Gray also did not favor the 

democratization of botany that resulted from 

Eaton’s teaching-centered approach. Gray was on 

the rise, and like Joseph Hooker in England, he was 

struggling to raise the status of professional botany 

among the sciences. Nevertheless, Eaton (1836) 

pointed out that, whereas “the celebrated Hooker” 

used the natural system and wrote in exquisite 

Latin in his Flora Borealis Americana written “for 

learned botanists,” he used the Linnaean system, 

and English, for his system of British plants because 

“The experience of nearly one hundred years has 

proved to every unprejudiced mind, that no system 

has appeared that can be compared with that of the 

immortal Swede (Linneaus) for the facility with 

which it enables any one, hitherto unpracticed 

in botany, to arrive at the genus and species of a 

plant” (Eaton, 1836


 p. iv). Eaton goes on with his 


It ought to be understood that from the beginning 

of the Authors services in the cause of Botany, he 

has never aspired to any thing above that of teacher, 

translator, and compiler. He has made but few new 

discoveries and constructed but few species. Hence 

his manual has consisted of a series of advertising 

sheets for aspiring botanists, and a depository of their 

discoveries. (Eaton, 1836, p. iv)

Eaton had influence through his students who 

carried on his philosophy well into the 19th century. 

Among the most notable were a quartet of women: 

Jane Welch, whose Botanical Catechism (1819) was 

referred to above; Laura Johnson, author of the 

Botanical Teacher (1834); and the sisters Emma 

Willard and Almira Hart Lincoln Phelps. Phelps was 

the author of Familiar Lectures on Botany (1853), 

which would go through multiple editions and sell 

more than 275,000 copies, primarily in schools and 

women’s seminaries. Later, Eaton encouraged the 

botanical discoveries of a young Elizabeth Knight 

(future wife of Nathaniel L. Britton) by publishing 

her finding of the rare curly grass fern from Nova 

Scotia in 1879 (Kass, 1997).

Eaton had little sympathy for those promoting 

botany as a tool to promote intellectual development or 

as “a pleasing substitute for frivolous or mischievous 

amusements etc., etc. When a parent or guardian 

asks ‘What is botany good for?’ you must answer 

that ‘it teaches the virtues of plants’—the practical 

application of what good comes from plant study.” 

His task was to train teachers to do this. Near the 

end of his career, he wrote the following to teachers:

If you have any respect for yourselves, or for human 

science, I beg that you will never lend your aid in that 

public imposition which has, within the last dozen 

years, degraded and debased the study of botany. I 

mean that of pretending to teach practical botany by 

school lessons, without having each student hold in 

his hand a system of plants and living specimens for 

perpetual demonstration…. It is true that pictures 

may be studied; so may the picture of a blacksmith 

shoeing a horse be studied. But can you become a 

blacksmith by studying this picture? (Humphrey, 

1896, p. 36)

Eaton is the fulcrum for a pivot in American 

botanical instruction. He was the epitome of the 

Linnaean approach to taxonomy in the United 

States, but this system was in rapid decline as Asa 

Gray and the Europeans developed and promoted 

the natural system. At the same time, Eaton 

developed a method of instruction, promoting 

individual hands-on laboratory and field work by 

students, and focusing on student-active learning 

that foreshadowed Charles E. Bessey and others 

at the end of the 19th century, as well as many of 

the “innovations” of contemporary educational 

pedagogy. It is interesting to note Eaton’s assessment 

of botanical instruction near the end of his career in 


A few words on the present state of botany in this 

country, as a subject of study, may not be misplaced 

here. The number of students in botany has greatly 

increased and is daily increasing; but it is not as 

well taught in most of our large schools at this date 

as it was in the same, and in similar schools, six or 

seven years since. At that time plants were collected 

and analyzed by students, and extensive herbaria 

were made by them…. Now a few “said off” lessons 

from elementary treatises, without any exercises with 

specimens, or with very superficial ones, seems to be 

all that is required in some schools of considerable 

celebrity, where botany is professionally taught.

(Eaton, 1936, pp. v-vi) 

A Summary of the Early Years

In the United States, botanical education has a 

history as long as its oldest college, Harvard. Its 

inclusion in the curriculum was no doubt tied to 

the divine creation of plants for the pleasure and 

sustenance of man. Virtually all colonial college 

curricula were designed “to preserve the purity and 

continue the propagation of the faith” (Rudolph, 

1977). However, this was an ephemeral inclusion 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

presumably tied to the preferences of the first 

president of the college. The first lasting impact 

was that of Linnaeus’ Philosophia Botanica, which 

not only provided the foundation for interpreting 

his sexual system of classification but outlined 

broadly a plan of study of the whole plant and the 

foundations of botany as a discipline. The earliest 

American instruction in this system was informal 

home-schooling by knowledgeable parents, and this 

would remain important well into the 19th century. 

Formal instruction, with one notable exception, 

remained tied to medicine and depended on 

foreign instruction, particularly in England. 

It is instructive that even today, the table of 

contents of Linnaeus’ Philosophia Botanica (1751) 

would provide a good initial outline of a course 

syllabus in introductory botany. The methods of 

instruction employed, however, would not be a 

good model to follow. Colleges used the recitation 

model, where students were responsible for reading 

the text, listening to his (gender specification 

intended) professor, and being able to recite the 

memorized information back to the professor.  

Botanists were among the first college professors 

to use field and classroom observation to 

supplement recitations. Waterhouse was among 

the first to suggest that botany should be taught 

as a stand-alone discipline rather than as simply a 

component of medical instruction. He recognized 

the importance of learning how to make and record 

observations, and he used a microscope in his 

teaching. He also employed the technique of inquiry, 

challenging students to teach themselves, and had 

access to the first university botanical garden in 

the country, which was built specifically to support 

student instruction. Barton, best known as the 

author of the first American textbook of botany, was 

a strong proponent of the field experience as a means 

to learn about plants. This was a natural extension 

of the herborizing excursions that he, Waterhouse, 

and Hosack participated in as students in England. 

Whereas Barton depended on the availability of a 

number of local gardens in the Philadelphia area, 

including Bartram’s Garden, which still exists, and 

Waterhouse had benefactors build and donate a 

garden to the college, Hosack built his own garden 

in New York, which eventually was transferred to 

the college, to support his botanical teaching. Each 

of these American pioneers in botanical education 

was trained in medicine, shared mentors and 

collaborators, particularly in England, and, not 

unexpectedly, had a strong British influence.

The notable exception to European influence in 

botanical teaching was Amos Eaton, who never 

traveled to Europe to study. He came from rural 

New York, studied in rural Massachusetts, and 

obtained a degree in law, not medicine. He was a 

self-made man who dedicated himself to providing 

the means for every young person, both men and 

women, to learn how to learn. Whenever possible, 

the outdoors and the laboratory were used as a 

classroom, and students were given responsibility for 

leading discussions and laboratory demonstrations. 

The teacher was more a mentor than a professor. 

Eaton’s primary concern was not to train professional 

botanists but to train professional teachers who 

could propagate the discipline among the citizenry.

By the beginning of the 19th century, a solid 

botanical foundation was in place on which to 

build botany as a professional basic science in the 

colleges and to expand it into applied areas and 

the curriculum for kindergarten through 12th 

grade. However, a dichotomy also was established 

between building a professional elite and building 

an informed society, which mirrored political 

factions in society as a whole. These subjects will 

be the focus of part two of this series, which will 

examine the continued development of American 

botanical instruction from the early 19th century 

through the founding of the Botanical Society of 



I want first to thank my wife, Sara, a colonial 

historian who constantly encouraged me to look for 

the bigger picture. Although many of the resources 

cited are now available online, the collections of 

the John Hay and John D. Rockefeller Jr. Libraries 

at Brown University, the Anchutz and Spencer 

Libraries at the University of Kansas, the Hale 

Library at Kansas State University, the Missouri 

Botanical Garden Library, and the William Allen 

White Library at Emporia State University were 

essential resources. I also want to thank Dr. Lee 

Kass and one anonymous reviewer for insightful 

critique of the original draft and their helpful 


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NTBG to Honor Scientist Who “wrote the book”

Renowned botanist and author recognized for his contributions

Kalāheo, Kaua‘i, HI USA (August 25, 2011) —

The National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) 

announced today that it will bestow one of its 

highest scientific honors to a British-Australian 

botanist, historian, educator, and author. Dr. David 

J. Mabberley has been named the 2011 recipient 

of the Robert Allerton Award for Excellence in 

Tropical Botany or Horticulture. A medal will 

be presented to Mabberley on September 18 in 

San Francisco during NTBG’s Board of Trustees 


The Allerton Award recognizes specific 

achievements or a lifetime of achievements in 

tropical plant science. “Professor Mabberley has 

made enormous contributions to science and 

education, and has reached plant lovers who wish 

to explore and better understand their world,” said 

Chipper Wichman, NTBG’s Director and CEO. 

“Through his published works and extraordinarily 

active career he has enriched the lives of countless 

people in so many countries, all the while protecting 

plant life far and wide.”

Mabberley literally “wrote the book” on plants. His 

internationally acclaimed Mabberley’s Plant-Book: A 

portable dictionary of plants, their classification and 

uses is considered an indispensable reference guide 

to more than 24,000 entries. The book is widely 

popular with scientific and non-scientific readers. 

Well-known botanist and conservationist Dr. Peter 

Raven has said that he could think of no more 

useful reference in the whole field of botany. As an 

author, Prof. Mabberley’s works are not restricted 

to academia and scientific communities, but often 

target general readers, an approach that reflects his 

recognition of the important role the public plays in 

effecting change in behavior and policy.

Over the course of his career, Mabberley has 

discovered, described, or named more than 200 taxa 

of plants. During this time, he has lectured around 

the world on taxonomic theory, biogeography, 

ecology, botanical art, plant history, plant disease, 

agriculture, forestry, the role of botanic gardens in 

society, and various other aspects of biology and 

Professor David Mabberley examines a fruit of Citrus medica. Credit: Andrew McRobb. Photo 


Director and Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

horticulture. The professor has written extensively 

on plant-related topics within scientific and 

environmental fields for both popular and peer-

reviewed journals as well as print, web, television, 

and radio media.

The Robert Allerton Award is named after one 

of NTBG’s founding trustees and its principal 

initial benefactor, and consists of a bronze medal 

and honorarium. Prof. Mabberley will be the 20th 

recipient, joining the ranks of other esteemed 

scientists, such as Sir Ghillean Prance and Dr. 

Alwyn Gentry.

Prof. Mabberley, upon hearing he had been 

selected to receive the Allerton Award, responded, 

“having visited NTBG and seen the great Allerton 

legacy, I am thrilled to be honored in this way, 

doubly so because the inspiration for my whole 

career in tropical botany was Prof. E.J.H. Corner, 

my doctoral advisor, who himself received the 

award in 1981.”

“We are pleased to pay tribute to a botanist as 

accomplished and respected as Prof. Mabberley,” 

Wichman remarked. “His Plant-Book in itself 

merits special recognition. Looking at his body of 

work as a whole, there is no one more deserving of 

this distinction.”

The National Tropical Botanical Garden is a not-

for-profit, non-governmental institution with nearly 

2,000 acres of gardens and preserves in Hawai‘i 

and Florida. Its mission is to enrich life through 

discovery, scientific research, conservation, and 

education by perpetuating the survival of plants, 

ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical 

regions. NTBG is supported primarily through 

donations and grants.

Additional Background 

Information on Prof. Mabberley

Current Position: Executive Director, New South 

Wales Royal Botanic Gardens Trust

Born in Gloucestershire, England, David J. 

Mabberley was educated at colleges in Cirencester, 

Oxford, and Cambridge. He completed a 

studentship program at Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew, before embarking on a career that is 

remarkable for its breadth and depth. In addition 

to specializing in tropical plant ecology, economic 

botany, and botanical history, Prof. Mabberley has 

conducted four decades worth of research and 

field work in Europe, Asia, Africa, Oceania, North, 

South, and Central America, and the Middle East, 

with extensive work in East Africa and Madagascar.

To date, Prof. Mabberley has written 16 books 

and over 280 scientific papers and popular articles. 

Well-known reference books include works related 

to historical and modern botanical art and history, 

tropical ecology, and systematics. Prof. Mabberley’s 

books include Tropical Rainforest Ecology, The Story 

of the Apple, Paradisus: Hawaiian Plant Watercolors 

with Geraldine King Tam, and Arthur Harry 

Church: The Anatomy of Flowers.

As an educator Prof. Mabberley has devised 

courses, programs, and associated learning 

materials for scientific bodies, primary school 

children, undergraduate and postgraduate 

university students, gardening and tree clubs, 

and other groups as diverse as the International 

Botanical Congress and members of the United 

States military stationed in Britain. While at 

Wadham College, Oxford, Prof. Mabberley 

served both as Dean and Senior Proctor while 

simultaneously holding academic posts and serving 

as a member of various committees and boards 

related to garden and university management, plant 

sciences, plant conservation, publishing, natural 

history museums, and fine arts.

Prof. Mabberley’s academic and professional 

background is far-reaching, covering a vast range 

of plant-related topics, but he has given special 

attention to researching the systematics of the 

economically important plant families Rutaceae 

(citrus), Meliaceae (mahogany), Vitaceae (grape), 

and Labiatae (teak).

In addition to holding prestigious positions 

at Oxford University; the University of Leiden, 

The Netherlands; and the University of Western 

Sydney, Australia, over Prof. Mabberley’s 35-plus-

year professional career, he has served in more 

than two dozen positions including: tutor, lecturer, 

research fellow, faculty board member, department 

head, director, dean, curator, president, chairman, 

judge, external examiner, senior proctor, and chief 

executive officer of the not-for-profit organization 

Greening Australia (NSW) Inc.

From 2004 to 2008, the professor served as 

Director of the University of Washington Botanic 

Gardens before returning to Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew, as Keeper (Director) of the Herbarium, 

Library, Art, and Archives. For three years (2008-

2011), Prof. Mabberley was responsible for the 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

world’s largest herbarium and fungarium, largest plant-science library, Kew’s Economic Botany Collection 

with more than 200,000 pieces of botanical art, and two art galleries.

In August 2011 Prof. Mabberley departed Kew for Australia, where he has held dual British-Australian 

citizenship since 1999, to serve as Executive Director of the New South Wales Royal Botanic Gardens Trust, 

which comprises the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain (Sydney), the Australian Botanic Garden (Mt. 

Annan), the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden (Mt. Tomah), and the National Herbarium of New South 


“Next-Gen Sequencing” Special Issue 

Slated for 

AJB in 2012

“Methods and Applications of Next-Generation 

Sequencing in Botany” is the theme of a special issue in 

the American Journal of Botany.  The issue, led by special 

editors David Spooner, Ashley Egan, and Jessica Schlueter, 

will focus on the application of new genomics technologies 

in botanical sciences. The AJB has already featured several of 

the articles at its website (, including:

“Genomics of Compositae weeds: EST libraries, 

microarrays, and evidence of introgression” by Zhao Lai, 

Nolan C. Kane, Alex Kozik, Kathryn A. Hodgins, Katrina 

M. Dlugosch, Michael S. Barker, Marta Matvienko, Qian 

Yu, Kathryn G. Turner, Stephanie Anne Pearl, Graeme D. 

M. Bell, Yi Zou, Chris Grassa, Alessia Guggisberg, Keith L. 

Adams, James V. Anderson, David P. Horvath, Richard V. 

Kesseli, John M. Burke, Richard W. Michelmore, and Loren 

H. Rieseberg

“Navigating the tip of the genomic iceberg: Next-generation sequencing for plant systematics” by 

Shannon C. K. Straub, Matthew Parks, Kevin Weitemier, Mark Fishbein, Richard C. Cronn, and Aaron 


“Using next-generation sequencing approaches to isolate simple sequence repeat (SSR) loci in the 

plant sciences” by Juan E. Zalapa, Hugo Cuevas, Huayu Zhu, Shawn Steffan, Douglas Senalik, Eric Zeldin, 

Brent McCown, Rebecca Harbut, and Philipp Simon

Be sure to follow these articles—and all AJB Advance Access articles—by signing up for RSS feeds at, and follow AJB on the BSA’s Facebook page and Twitter feed.

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Book Reviews

Books Reviewed

Developmental and Structural

Flower and Fruit: Morphology, Ontogeny, Phylogeny, Function & Ecology .......... 162


Pollination and Floral Ecology ................................................................................. 163


Life of Earth: Portrait of a Beautiful, Middle-Aged, Stressed-Out World ............... 165 


Botany and History Entwined: Rachel Hunt’s Legacy ............................................. 167
Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter .................................................................168
The Smallest Kingdom: Plants and Plant Collectors at the Cape of Good Hope .....169


The Book of Fungi: a Life-size Guide to Six Hundred Species ................................169


Plants in Mesozoic Time .......................................................................................... 171


Aloes: The Definitive Guide .....................................................................................172
A Field Guide to the Ferns and Lycophytes of Louisiana ........................................ 172

Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian  

Mountains and Piedmont: A Naturalist’s Guide to the Carolinas,  
Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia ....................................................................... 173

Wetland Plants of the Adirondacks: Book 1: Ferns, Woody Plants and  

Graminoids and Book 2: Herbaceous Plants and Aquatic Plants. ..................... 175

Developmental and Structural

Flower and Fruit: Morphology, On-

togeny, Phylogeny, Function and 



Leins, P. and C. Erbar 

2010. (Cloth $99) 439 pp.  

Schweizerbart Science Publishers.  

ISBN 978-3-510-65261-7  



Flower and Fruit is a translated and slightly 

updated version of Leins and Erbar’s (2008) Blüte 

und Frucht, which is itself a revised edition of Leins’ 

(2000) text of the same name. As such, and because 

it appeared in 2010, there have already been a 

number of reviews of this edition (Anonymous, 

2011; Frey, 2011; Schmid, 2011; Vrijdaghs, 2011). 

The text of these reviews can be found on the 

publisher website (

publications/detail/artno/181201001). All of these 

are strongly positive, as they should be. While not 

wishing to cast aspersions on the quality of the book, 

it falls to me, the Johnny-come-lately reviewer, 

to point out some of its shortcomings. I do this 

only in the hope that future authors can consider 

these points as they prepare their texts. Flower and 

Fruit is a wonderful book, one that summarizes 

and consolidates a large body of mostly European 

literature, and one that is well worth having on your 

shelf. As Frey (2011) notes, there is no comparable 

book in the botanical oeuvre.

My main problem with the book concerns its 

coverage, or more precisely, its lack of thorough 

coverage. When I say that the book mainly 

summarizes the European literature, I am perhaps 

being too generous. Vrijdags (2011) links it solely 

to the “German morphological school,” which may 

be a fairer assessment, though still may be a bit 

generous. It is certain that none of Vrijdaghs’ papers 

are cited, nor are those of his mentor, Smets. This 

lack cuts off two of the major authors in Belgium. 

Rudall receives one citation, and Tucker four. 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

That eliminates the two most prolific English and 

American authors in these areas. Of our Canadian 

colleagues, Posluszny is not cited, and Sattler is 

cited four times, but nothing of his is mentioned 

after 1978. So who is cited? What exactly is the 

coverage of this book? Reading between the lines, 

and looking closely at the “selected” references, 

reveals that it is primarily a summary of the work 

of Leins and Erbar. Leins is cited 47 times, and 

Erbar 37 times, as first author. This is wonderful 

work and well worth the treatment it receives here, 

but it is not the only work that has been done in 

these areas, nor should it be taken as the definitive 

view on these subjects. My difficulty is not that 

the authors have presented their own work. No 

one is better equipped to do this then they are. My 

problem is that they do not make their presentation 

bias explicit. They present much of the data as if it 

were all that there was know of these subjects, with 

only brief (or no) mention of taxa on which they 

have not worked. 

Here is a specific example. On p. 82, in the 

chapter on the gynoecium, the authors say, “The 

carpels arise from the floral apex as hemispherical 

to transverse-oval primordial (Figs. 15, 79a). The 

proceeding development is essentially determined 

by two processes, namely placation and peltation.” 

This statement only applies to superior ovaries 

with apocarpous gynoecia (the choricarpy of the 

authors), yet it is presented as if it had universal 

validity. Looking back a few pages, we find this 

error perpetuated from the beginning of the 

chapter. At the beginning of the chapter the carpel 

is compared to an “obliquely cut tube.” That is, 

apocarpous gynoecia are presented as if they were 

the only type of gynoecia. The illustrations support 

this definition. At the beginning of the chapter, 

they are all of apocarpous gynoecia. To be fair, the 

authors do turn to syncarpous (but not inferior) 

gynoecia (their coenocarpy) after six pages on 

apocarpy, but by then the equivalence of apocarpy 

with all “true(?)” carpels is set in the reader’s mind.

What can we expect a student to learn from this 

type of presentation? That all carpels are tube-like? 

That conation among carpels is rare? That there has 

been little work on taxa with inferior ovaries? This 

is an important question for a book that is clearly 

written with students in mind. As other reviewers 

have noted, the language is kept as simple as 

possible throughout the book, and the explanations 

(and especially the diagrams) are clearly presented 

(Schmid, 2011; Vrijdaghs, 2011). Terms are often 

defined in the text, and Greek and Latin roots 

are sometimes even parenthetically given. It is 

precisely this clarity of presentation that makes 

the author’s lack of clarity on their bias surprising. 

Such a wonderful book should not be marred 

by consistent oversights in presentation. Floral 

form and function in the covered taxa is certainly 

interesting and important, but this information is 

best presented for what it is, not when it is used to 

represent all current knowledge about flowers and 


Literature Cited

ANONYMOUS. 2011. Flower and fruit: Morphology, 

ontogeny, phylogeny, function and ecology. 

Frontiers of Biogeography 2: 102.

FREY, W. 2011. Leins, P & C. Erbar: Flower and 

fruit. Morphology, ontogeny, phylogeny, function 

and ecology. Nova Hedwigia 92: 561-562.

LEINS, P. 2000. Blüte und Frucht. Schweizerbart 

Science Publishers, Stuttgart.

LEINS, P., and C. ERBAR. 2008. Blüte und Frucht: 

Aspekte der Morphologie, Entwicklungsgeschichte, 

Phylogenie, Funktion und Ökologie. Schweizerbart 

Science Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany.

SCHMID, R. 2011. The new, new Payer, but also the 

new Eames-Weberling-etc. Taxon 60: 935-936.

VRIJDAGHS, A. 2011. Book Review: Peter 

Leins, Claudia Erbar (2010) Flower and fruit: 

Morphology, ontogeny, phylogeny, function 

and ecology. Plant Ecology and Evolution 144: 119.

-Bruce Kirchoff, Department of Biology, University 

of North Carolina at Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 



Pollination and Floral Ecology

Willmer, Pat.  


ISBN 978-0-691-12861-0 (Cloth US$95.00)  

828 pp.  

Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, 

Princeton, New Jersey 08540-5237. 

The theme of specialization and generalization 

is commonplace in plant-animal interactions 

and, indeed, the field of ecology (Graham and 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Dayton, 2002).  Pollination and Floral Ecology by 

Pat Willmer, professor of zoology at the University 

of St. Andrews, conforms to a more general work, 

examining the ecology and evolution of the form 

and function of flowers and their interactions with 


Voluminous treatments of floral and pollination 

ecology and evolution date back to Sprengel (1793) 

and Darwin (1841), and still regularly appear, but 

have been more specialized (e.g., Jones and Little, 

1983; Waser and Ollerton, 2006).  Notwithstanding 

other works and our gain in knowledge, a general, 

thorough book on pollination and floral ecology 

has not emerged in nearly three decades (Faegri 

and van der Pijl, 1979).  Willmer sought to and 

successfully captured the advances in the field 

of the past 30 years in a single, general reference 

that will surely be a companion of any pollination 

ecologist in the foreseeable future.

Pollination and Floral Ecology contains over 600 

pages of text that are broken into four main parts: 

“Essentials of Flower Design and Function,” “Floral 

Advertisements and Floral Rewards,” “Pollination 

Syndromes?,” and “Floral Ecology.”  The first part, 

Essentials of Flower Design and Function, covers 

all the basics one needs to dive into the rest of 

the book, including floral design and function 

(Chapter 2); pollination, mating, and reproduction 

in plants (Chapter 3); and evolution of flowers, 

pollination, and plant diversity (Chapter 4).  Much 

of the latter chapters were very readable and the 

figures were simple, clear, and drawn in the context 

of the text, which prevents distracting figures laden 

with labels.  The evolution chapter was a bit abrupt, 

considering the role of evolution in co-shaping 

flowers and pollinators.  Implicitly, coadaptation 

and cospeciation were discussed, but an explicit 

chapter on this material would aid the evolutionary 

and coevolutionary message of the book.

The second part, Floral Advertisements and 

Floral Rewards (Chapters 5–10), deals with 

advertisements, rewards, and the economics of 

pollination.  The advertisement chapters discuss 

how plants have exploited animal pollinators’ 

sensory modalities to attract them for their 

pollination services through complex suites of 

visual signals (e.g., color, structure) and olfaction.  

Willmer highlights and exhibits the complexity 

of detecting and measuring attractants, which 

may be one of the axes of differentiation that 

researchers have yet to fully incorporate into their 

treatments of pollination syndromes.  The rewards 

and economics of pollination were physiologically 

based and seemed short on detail.  However, later 

in the book (floral ecology part), the economics of 

pollination was more greatly expanded upon.

Throughout the book, but more specifically in 

the third part, Pollination Syndromes?, Willmer 

admittedly takes a more classic approach to plant-

pollinator interactions by showcasing pollination 

syndromes.  Ten of the 29 chapters of the book 

explicitly regard pollination syndromes, seven of 

which describe in detail syndrome classes (flies, 

butterflies and moths, birds, bats, bees, water and 

wind, and oddities).  Willmer invokes van der Pijl 

(1961) to discuss syndromes as “classes with bad 

boundaries but a clear center.”  This view has fallen 

out of favor in the past decade (e.g., Ollerton and 

Watts, 2000) but the arguments are given a fair 

and thorough discussion based on theoretical and 

empirical grounds (Chapter 20: Syndromes and 

webs: Specialists and generalists).  The ultimate 

argument Willmer makes, however, is that the 

baby should not be thrown out with the bathwater 

because, although not all flowers conform to 

distinct, specialized syndromes, a syndrome-based 

approach can still be informative.  The question is, 

then, how?

Lastly, the fourth part of the book is on floral 

ecology.  Herein, the end of the book reads like 

most ecology texts, as many of them draw from the 

interactions of plants and pollinators because of 

their elegance and simplicity.  Many of the aspects 

could be used in applied fields given the predictions 

of climate change affecting flowering timing and 

patterns (Chapter 21), pollinator populations, 

and the interactions of the two (Yang and Rudolf, 

2010).  Further, justice was done to the idea that 

interactions evolve to become less negative and how 

the evolution of pollination presumably shifts from 

parasitism to mutualism (e.g., Chapter 26).  One 

chapter discusses community-level interactions 

(Chapter 22: Living with other flowers:  Competition 

and pollination ecology), but it primarily focuses on 

the antagonistic effects of competition and excludes 

the importance of positive effects (facilitation), 

which could potentially increase the pollination 

service to the community by living with other 

flowers (e.g., Bruno, Stachowicz, and Bertness, 

2003; Bronstein, 2009).

Willmer covers basic principles taught 

in undergraduate education, such as flower 

morphology and plant reproduction, to newer and 

more advanced ideas and tools such as network 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

analysis.  The concision of Willmer’s writing suits 

the demographic that the book was aimed at: 

advanced undergraduates to professionals.  The 

readability will assist the former—beginners 

entering plant-pollinator research—and bring the 

latter researchers unfamiliar with the literature up 

to date.  Further, the ultimate two chapters (Chapter 

28: The pollination of crops; Chapter 29: The global 

pollination crisis) are likely to be of use to land 

managers and decision makers because economies 

and ecology need effective pollination for crops.

There is seemingly very little missing from this 

book.  Nearly every page has a redrawn figure 

or table that aids the understanding of the text.  

Further, there are 40 pages of color plates (more 

than 300 photos) that exemplify the astounding 

diversity of flower morphologies and types.  To see 

the array of diversity of flower forms in a single text 

brought out profound curiosity and the fantasy of 

rising from my chair and immediate go outside to 

study plant-pollinator interactions!  Further, no 

part of the world seems to be left out, nor was there 

noticeable taxonomic over-representation.

In sum, the book should largely be used as a 

reference book, which, again, can be used by those 

with any level of experience.  It is inexpensive relative 

to  the amount of material covered.  I commend 

Willmer for the presumably massive undertaking of 

the compiling of this vast subject into this relatively 

small volume.  Like other reference books, the 

material will not become obsolete for many years, 

and it should be the companion of any pollination 

ecologist entering the field.

Literature Cited

BRONSTEIN, J. L. 2009. The evolution of 

facilitation and mutualism. Journal of Ecology 

97: 1160-1170.

BRUNO, J. F., J. J. STACHOWICZ, and M. D. 

BERTNESS. 2003. Inclusion of facilitation into 

ecological theory. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 

18: 119-125.

DARWIN, C. R. 1841. Humble-bees. Gardeners’ 

Chronicle 34: 550.

FAEGRI, K., and L. VAN DER PIJL. 1979. The 

principles of pollination ecology. Oxford: 


GRAHAM, M. H., and P. K. DAYTON. 2002. On 

the evolution of ecological ideas: Paradigms 

and scientific progress. Ecology 83: 1481–1489.

JONES, C. E., and R. J. LITTLE. 1983. Handbook of 

experimental pollination biology. Van Nostrand 

Reinhold, New York.

OLLERTON, J., and S. WATTS. 2000. Phenotypic 

space and floral typology: Towards an objective 

assessment of pollination syndromes. Norske 

Vidensk.-Akad. 1. Mat. Naturvid. Kl. Skrif. Ny. 

Ser. 39: 149-159.

SPRENGEL, C. K. 1793. Das entdeckte Geheimnis 

der Natur im Bau und in der Befruchtung der 

Blumen. Berlin: Friedrich Vieweg.

VAN DER PIJL, L. 1961. Ecological aspects of 

flower evolution. II. Evolution 15: 44-59.

WASER, N. M., and J. OLLERTON. 2006. Plant-

pollinator interactions: From specialization to 

generalization. University of Chicago Press, 


YANG, L. H., and V. H. W. RUDOLF. 2010. 

Phenology, ontogeny and the effects of climate 

change on the timing of species interactions. 

Ecology Letters 13: 1-10.

-Christopher Moore, Program in Ecology, Evolution, 

and Conservation Biology, University of Nevada, 

Reno 89557.


Life of Earth: Portrait of a Beautiful, 

Middle-Aged, Stressed-Out World 

Rice, Stanley A. 


ISBN 978-1-889878-26-3 (hardback $20.00 

US) 255 pages

Prometheus Books, Amherst, New York, USA.

 Evolution is an ongoing process. It occurs right 

before our eyes and is critical to understanding 

many aspects of population and community 

ecology.  Evolution is not static or straightforward 

but is complex and unpredictable, making it 

challenging to teach and comprehend.  Life of Earth:  

Portrait of a Beautiful, Middle-Aged Stressed-Out 

World  by Stanley A. Rice offers an evolutionary 

history of our planet earth (which he calls Gaia). 

He uses many modern metaphors and examples to 

convey evolutionary developments, and addresses 

how humans are pivotal in determining the future 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

life of our planet.  Throughout the text he raises 

questions, defines terms such as fitness, sexual 

selection, superorganism, and describes the 

evidence of major extinctions in life history.

Life of Earth is not written as a technical 

text.  Instead it is written for nonscientists 

or undergraduate science students, although 

professors who teach general biology, historical 

geology, and evolution and systematic courses 

could implement many concepts that are presented 

throughout the book.  I particularly bracketed and 

highlighted portions of many pages throughout the 

first six chapters to use as instructional material in 

teaching my freshman course “Biology and Human 

Concerns.” The book contains an introduction, 

nine chapters, a section titled “Notes” that provides 

references cited in each chapter, a bibliography, 

and an index.  Dr. Rice enlivens his account with 

references to writers such as Mark Twain, Ernest 

Hemingway, and Kurt Vonnegut, public figures 

such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, as well 

as Charles Darwin and E. O. Wilson. Additionally, 

he defines and explains many terms and scientific 

concepts including exponential growth, inclusive 

fitness, neoteny, and natural selection.  Most of the 

book is intriguing, and excellent transitions occur 

from one section to the next.  

Dr. Rice tends not to discuss evolutionary 

chronological phenomena in sequence. Throughout 

the book, especially chapters three through six, 

most of the attention is given to pivotal evolutionary 

developments that have enhanced Earth’s 

biodiversity: sexual selection, altruism, symbiosis, 

the role of photosynthesis, as well as evolutionary 

innovations. Chapter three, for example, focuses 

on innovations that occurred through geological 

history and the new opportunities that arose for 

species that acquired these novel traits.  Topics 

included single-celled organisms, Edicarean 

organisms, origin of vertebrates, advent of flight, 

advantages of homeothermy, amniotic eggs, the 

plant vascular system, and pollen. He further 

describes the origin of bipedalism in hominins, and 

the development of stone tools and the use of fire. 

Chapter four addresses symbiosis.  Rice begins 

the chapter with symbiotic mergers that enabled 

the complex history of life: how photosynthesis 

arose, how complex eukaryotic cells originated, 

and how big multicellular organisms appeared 

and proliferated.  The second half of the chapter 

shows how symbiosis was essential to the spread 

of terrestrial life.  Rice describes several examples: 

mycorrhizae and plant roots, intestinal bacterial 

flora in the guts of animals (including humans) 

that help them digest plant forage, and the role of 

animals in both pollen and seed dispersal.

The fifth chapter addresses sex. Dr. Rice notes 

how much easier life would be without sex, and 

that asexual organisms produce more offspring.  

However, he counters that sex is an importance 

evolutionary innovation that enhances genetic 

diversity, competition, and has filled the world with 

drama and violence.  Most of the chapter pertains 

to aspects of sexual selection as noted by subtitles 

such as “Why Males Fight,” “Female Choice,” 

“Exuberant Beauty,” and “Sexual Selection and 

Cultural Extensions.”  I particularly enjoyed the 

short three-page section entitled “A Sexual History 

of Plant Life” describing the phenology of male and 

female cottonwood trees in light of relative risks 

such as frost, bud burst, etc.  

Chapter six addresses all facets of altruism: bees 

and kin selection, reciprocity and intelligence, 

reciprocity and empathy, direct and indirect 

reciprocity, altruism in recent history, unselfish 

altruism, and reciprocity and trust. Particularly 

intriguing to me were examples of altruism in 

plants, for example, that plants grow better when 

close genetic relatives are nearby. More dubious 

is his claim that human altruism has been dying 

for the past five thousand years and has been 

suppressed in public and private sectors.  For 

example, he contends that “corporations benefit 

by having people buy things to gratify themselves, 

not by having people help one another” (p. 160). 

He adds that when large global corporations and 

political parties are in control, then evolutionary 

benefits of altruism are lost.  In the final paragraph 

of this chapter, he states that the collapse of the 

human economy could rival the disruption of 

the Earth greater than the asteroid impact that 

occurred at the end of the Cretaceous.

 Chapters seven and eight are where I part 

company with the author. He indulges in 

questionable comments that are likely to alienate 

members of faith communities and individuals 

with political beliefs that differ from his own. For 

example, Dr. Rice states that religion is a set of 

powerful memes that have conquered the human 

mind, are used as a vehicle of propagation, and 

are used to manipulate other people and groups.  

Statements of opinion such as “Christianity is 

the Western religion that has created the most 

environmental destruction” (p. 180), “there are 

many scientists who are conservative Christians, 

but not very many outstanding ones” (p. 188), and 

“religious groups can brainwash their children to 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt (1882-1963) was 

born to wealth, this book makes clear, though 

the authors are much too discreet to mention any 

numbers.  In June of 1913, she married Roy Arthur 

Hunt (1881-1966).  His father was one of the 

founders of Aluminum Company of America, now 

officially Alcoa; Roy Hunt served his 63-year career 

with the company.
The present volume chronicles the interest of 

Rachel Hunt in botany, book collecting, and book 

binding.  This culminated in the establishment of 

the Hunt Library (1961) on the campus of what is 

today Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.  

The exterior of the five-story building is largely 

glass and (not surprisingly) aluminum. The Hunt 

Institute occupies the fifth floor.
Much of the focus of the catalogue is on the visually 

impressive works of many of the great botanical 

illustrators of the 19th century.  But there is also 

a charming portrait of the four sons of the Hunt 

marriage, none of them yet teenagers (p. 13), which 

the reader might care to compare with the group 

photograph from 1961, p. 79.
Because the book is meant to be an accompaniment 

to an exhibition, there is but passing mention of the 

scholarship for which the Hunt Institute is so famed.  

One of the great strengths of the collection is the 

Strandell Collection of Linnaeana, pp. 92-93.  The 

authors modestly make mention of information on 

the collection in Taxon for 1976.  A fuller citation 

of the nine papers is merited:  Taxon 25(1): 3-74. 

February 1976.  The ninth of the papers is by 

George H. M. Lawrence, who retired from being 

director of the Hunt Institute in 1970.  His paper is 

on the preparation of “A Catalogue of Linnaeana,” 

which regrettably was never published.  
Understandably, this book (meant for the general 

public) makes no mention of such works as Kiger, 

Tancin, and Bridson. 1999. Index to Scientific 

Names of Organisms Cited in the Linnaean 

Dissertations together with a Synoptic Bibliography 

of the Dissertations and a Concordance for 

Selected Editions. v + 300 pp.  Botanico-Periodicum 

Huntianum, 1968, its Supplementum, 1991, and 

BPH-2, 2004, indispensable to plant taxonomists, 

are exemplars of the Institute’s scholarly work, and 

they are given brief mention, pp. 88 and 89, along 

with the Institute’s journal, Huntia.
It is altogether fitting that the Hunt Institute for 

Botanical Documentation should have as its home 

Carnegie Mellon University, philanthropy at its best.
– Neil A. Harriman, Biology Department, Univer-

sity of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Oshkosh, Wisconsin 


automatically reject anything that does not conform 

to their church doctrines” (p. 191) would be 

extremely unsettling to many students whom I teach 

in the sciences. Such comments serve to reinforce 

the belief among many deeply religious people that 

secular scientists hold them in contempt, and do 

not belong in an introductory biology text. There 

are many examples of individuals who are both 

deeply religious and excellent scientists: geneticist 

Francis S. Collins, director of the National Institutes 

of Health, and evolutionary biologist Kenneth R. 

Miller, as well as former apostles in the Latter-day 

Saint church including James E. Talmage and John 

A. Widtsoe, spring to mind. I, myself, have always 

found religion and science to be compatible and 

to go hand-in-hand.  I do not consider them to be 

polar opposites.  What I see as a scientist helps me 

to appreciate and increase my faith and to find truth 

in all aspects of life.  

It is a pity that the author chose to end his 

otherwise excellent book with a thesis that appears 

to antagonize the very groups whom he should be 

trying the hardest to reach.  Despite my reservations 

toward this part of the text, I would recommend it 

to individuals who want to learn about evolution 

over the past 4.6 billion years on the earth and the 

impact of humans on this process.  If the earth is 

only halfway through its 10-billion year existence, 

then humans need to be better stewards if we want 

to survive as a species!
-Nina L. Baghai-Riding, Professor of Biology and 

Environmental Science, Delta State University.


Botany and History Entwined:  Ra-

chel Hunt’s Legacy  

Charlotte A. Tancin, Lugene B. Bruno, Angela 

L. Todd, and Donald W. Brown. 


ISBN 978-0-913196-85-4.  Pictorial stiff pa-

per cover; 97 pp.; 147 color figures; US $22, 

plus S&H, at http://huntbot. andrew.cmu.


This small volume, the catalogue of an exhibition 

(16 Sept-15 Dec 2011), is richly illustrated, and one 

Frank A. Reynolds is credited with the reproduction 

photography.  He deserves credit along with the 

authors themselves.

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Marianne North: A Very Intrepid 


Michelle Payne, 2011

Kew Publishing

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

One does not need to read too far into this book 

before running calculations through one’s head to 

figure out how Marianne North could have painted 

832 paintings in 14 years. Let’s quickly consider the 


832 paintings in 14 years.
That’s 59.4 paintings per year.
There are 8,760 hours in a year.
In the world of botanical art, 200-hour projects 

are not unusual. Let’s assume this is the average 

length of time required to complete a painting. This 

means one can complete 43.8 paintings per year, or 

3.65 paintings per month. It would take 730 hours 

to complete 3.65 paintings in one month. In a 30-

day month, there are 720 hours.

In 1871, at the age of 40, Marianne North began 

an adventure that would take her to 15 countries. 

An amazing feat in her time, and an even more 

amazing feat by today’s standards after you consider 

the modern conveniences Marianne did not have 

at her disposable and the way she must have had 

to carry her oil paints and art supplies from place 

to place.

You might think Marianne North is a one-of-a-

kind wonder.  However, she shares the title of brave 

pioneering female naturalist with women such as 

Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), who was one 

of the first to describe metamorphosis, and Jeanne 

Baret (1740-1807), who was the first woman to 

circumnavigate the globe and the herb woman 

whose expertise as a field botanist made her an 

invaluable asset to botanist Philibert Commerson 

during the Bougainville expedition (1765-1768).

Marianne North was born in 1830 into a wealthy 

family accustomed to frequent travel. In 1871, she 

embarked on the first of many excursions to explore 

the plants of the world. Between 1871 and 1885, she 

traveled to 15 countries and painted the plants and 

landscapes of every country she visited.

When Marianne painted her habitat studies, 

plant portraits, and botanical still life paintings, she 

had an educational objective in mind. Marianne 

was concerned about the public’s “ignorance of 

plants and botany” (p. 15)—an ignorance that 

today falls under the heading of “plant blindness.” 

What fed Marianne’s enthusiasm for plants?  It 

was her plant mentor. 

Marianne’s mentor was her father.  Marianne 

helped care for the plants growing in his greenhouses 

and she accompanied him on several visits to the 

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  One of the people 

she came to know at Kew was the garden’s director, 

Sir William Hooker.  Hooker is credited as being 

the man who piqued Marianne’s interest in tropical 

plants; an interest that fueled her strong desire to 

paint the tropical plants of the world. 

Even though Marianne had little formal 

education, she made several contributions to 

botany.  These contributions are touched upon 

in this absorbing synopsis of Marianne North’s 

life written by author and Kew editor, Michelle 

Payne. Payne’s careful selection of Marianne’s plant 

portraits and habitat paintings complement her 

accounts of the pioneering artist’s jaunts across the 


Through engaging storytelling and the inclusion 

of excerpts from Marianne’s own memoir, Payne 

lures the reader into Marianne’s life and transports 

the reader to North America, Jamaica, Brazil, 

Tenerife, Japan, Singapore, Borneo, Java, Sri Lanka, 

India, Australia, New Zealand, the Seychelles, 

and Chile to acquire a sense of what Marianne 

experienced in these countries. 

Late in the book, Payne takes readers back to 

Jamaica and Sri Lanka as she tells the story of a 

Kew photographer who set out to find the locations 

depicted in Marianne’s paintings from these two 


As fascinating as Marianne’s story is, the story 

behind the restoration of the Marianne North 

Gallery at Kew (the building) and its famous 

contents is just as fascinating.  Payne explains what 

was involved in the restoration of the 1881 building 

built specifically for Marianne’s artwork and paid 

for by Marianne herself.  Before-and-after photos 

of exterior and interior views show how the gallery 

has changed and how the recent renovation has 

restored the gallery to its 19th-century beginnings.

As the book comes to an end, Payne turns her 

attention to Marianne’s 832 paintings and how 

they were repaired and prepped for long-term 

preservation by a team of conservators who spent 

three years working on the paintings—their work 

ending only this year in February.

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Marianne North: A Very Intrepid Painter is 

written for a general audience and is recommended 

to anyone with a special interest in natural history 

or art. This book is a wonderful resource for 

teachers and informal science educators wanting to 

incorporate art into their life science curriculum or 

interpretive programs.
- Tania Marien, ArtPlantae,

The Smallest Kingdom: Plants and 

Plant Collectors at the Cape of 

Good Hope

Fraser, Mike and Liz Fraser

2011. ISBN 978-1-84246-389-5 (Cloth 

£25.00, US$40.00). 220 pp.  

Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew, Richmond, Surrey.  Available from The 

University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th 

Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Fynbos? Karoo? Do these biome names baffle you? 

They are carefully defined in The Smallest Kingdom, 

a beautifully illustrated, compelling account of 

botanical discovery described in language easily 

understood by amateurs and technically accurate 

to satisfy professionals, about South Africa’s Cape 

Floral Kingdom. The Cape is the ancestral home 

of numerous familiar cultivated plants, including 

Gladiolus, Haemanthus, Pelargonium, and Protea; 

these and many other plants that this region has 

given to the world’s gardeners are on detailed 

Mike and Liz Fraser, whose 12 years’ residence 

in South Africa gave rise to this work, bring the 

vegetation of the southernmost tip of continental 

Africa to life. Liz Fraser’s paintings of flora and 

fauna, historical illustrations from Kew and other 

major botanical collections, and contemporary 

photographs reveal the region’s floral landscapes.  

Mike Fraser scoured travelers’ accounts from the 

Age of Exploration and, with expert advice from 

Kew’s editors, arranged the text and photographs 

into a gripping page-turner.  Early botanists—

christened “Men of Questionable Sanity”—provide 

the title of one chapter. The misadventures and 

pitfalls of plant collectors’ experiences are cataloged 

(some admittedly exaggerated for audience appeal); 

occasionally, the authors have unearthed narratives 

of abduction, adultery, and abuse.

A sample of Fraser’s writing introduces readers to 
the location: “Bounded to the south by the Indian 
Ocean, to the west by the cold Atlantic, and to the 
north and east by the almost desert-like expanse of 
the Karoo, the south-western Cape represents an 
ecological island, isolated and distinct from the rest 
of South Africa and the African continent.” Home 
to more than 9,000 different plant species, seventy 
percent of which are endemic only to the Cape 
Floral Kingdom, this small region was designated 
a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2004, as well 
as a global biodiversity hotspot.  During its 250-
year history, the botanical richness of the plants 
of the Cape—and, of course, their collectors—
have contributed greatly to the establishment of 
the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as a preeminent 
center for botanical research. 

Because so many species described here have given 

rise to horticultural cultivars, perusing The Smallest 

Kingdom will appeal to botanical artists, botanical 

historians, gardeners, naturalists, and travelers to 

the Cape.  Targeted for a generalist audience, the 

authors provide limited coverage of only a few 

representative species of the region. Specialists, 

including this reader, might wish for an additional 

comprehensive list of species (or at least plant 

families) of the Cape’s unique flora.
-Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Missouri 

Botanical Garden, St. Louis


The Book of Fungi: A Life-Size 

Guide to Six Hundred Species from 

Around the World  

Peter Roberts and Shelley Evans.  


ISBN 978-0-226-72117-0  (Cloth US$55.00) 

656 pp.  

University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th 

Street, Chicago, Illinois, 60637. 

The vast diversity and intrinsic beauty of fungi 

are often overlooked, perhaps because we see 

fungi every day as the stout, bulbous mushrooms 

growing out of the wood, the expansive crusts 

blanketing the landscape, or the truffle delicacies 

we find at restaurants. Or perhaps it is because they 

are associated with decaying matter, sometimes 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

poisonous, or shrouded in mysterious folklore.  

Whatever the case, the brilliantly colored and 

crystal clear images found in the Book of Fungi: 

A Life-Size Guide to Six Hundred Species from 

Around the World, prompt nothing short of awe 

for these undeniably bizarre yet ecologically 

essential organisms. This book introduces an 

array of interesting species by blending the useful 

information of a field guide with the spectacular 

imagery of a coffee table book. Highlighting both 

the visual identifiers for and the unique attributes 

of a broad range of fungi, this visually stunning 

collection by experienced mycologists Peter 

Roberts and Shelley Evans does not disappoint.

It is undoubtedly the illustrations that are this 

book’s most striking feature, and the specimens 

shown convey the marvelous diversity of fungal 

form, sampling species from various regions and 

phyla.  Not only are the images accurate in size 

(which are appropriately labeled if more than 

one image is included), but their bold colors also 

convey textural details that make each specimen 

come alive on the page and give each species 

its own personality.  The smaller fungi include 

magnified images as well, showing gills, veins, 

and pores with beautiful clarity.  From the glossy 

surface of the Jade Pinkgill to the bristly cup of 

the Hairy Tropical Goblet, I dare any reader not to 

reach out and touch the page. Both common and 

rare species are presented with equal individual 

attention. From the common Jelly Rot, Tropical 

White Polypore, or False Chanterelle species to the 

strange and aptly named Orange Golfball Fungus, 

the Dalmation-spotted Nail Fungus, or the rare 

Coralhead Stinkhorn (something that resembles a 

slimy science fiction creature), each is celebrated 

and gorgeously depicted.

In addition to its aesthetic value, the Book 

of Fungi is logically organized and provides 

information about the distribution, growth, and 

edibility of each species.  The fungi are categorized 

by similar morphological features and are divided 

into Agarics, Boletes, and a hodgepodge of other 

subcategories that include Brackets, Puffballs, 

Lichens, Morels, and Earthstars among many 

others.  The characteristics of each of these groups 

are clearly defined along with examples in the 

picture guide found in the introduction. This 

section also includes a brief overview of fungi, 

their functions and symbiotic roles, and tips for 

collecting and conservation. Slightly more in-

depth introductions to each category are also 

given along the way, which further explain the 

distinguishing features. From there, each page takes 

you progressively into stranger territory, marveling 

at the labyrinthian gills of the Oak Mazegill or the 

weeping branches of the Pendant Coral. In species 

such as the Devil’s Tooth, Fairy Sparkler, and 

Chinese Caterpillar fungus, it is no stretch of the 

imagination to see how they earned their common 

names. The descriptive captions that accompany 

each illustration give additional identification 

parameters, noting phenological variations and 

mistaken identities to watch out for in the field.

The concisely written descriptions included 

with each species complement the illustrations 

with intriguing historical, medicinal, and linguistic 

anecdotes. The fungi’s most notable features are 

described, as well as their changes throughout the 

life cycle and relevant information about culinary 

usage, distinctive odors, species discovery, bruising 

patterns, or unusual behavior. Threatened species 

for which conservation is a concern are also 

brought to the reader’s attention throughout. To 

further alleviate mistaken identity in the field, as 

well as to touch on more than just the 600 featured 

species, a separate paragraph under the description 

is devoted to similar species, which includes 

examples from the same genus as well as those 

that may just have similar features. Other reference 

tools include smaller illustrations located in the side 

margins alongside height and diameter dimensions 

for easy browsing. A conveniently placed global 

distribution map shows growth regions and the 

accompanying table lists habitat, growth form, 

abundance, spore color, and edibility for each 

species.  The appendices also feature a glossary, two 

indexes to search by scientific or common name, 

and several additional resources including regional 

field guides and informational websites.

Although each image unequivocally captivates 

your attention, many of the fungi are illustrated 

from one view only. Some pages are noticeably 

sparse and could be filled out in this way with 

additional angles to give a more complete picture 

of the fruitbodies, caps, or spores. It also seems 

spatially wasteful to have two images of nearly 

identical specimens shown from the same 

viewpoint, as is the case, for example, for Witches’ 

Butter and Conifer Brain fungi. A greater number 

of cross-sectional views could be included, 

microscopic images may be a welcome addition, 

and illustrating colonies of some species would 

be helpful for everyday identification. The family 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Plants in Mesozoic Time: Morphological 

Innovation, Phylogeny, Ecosystem by Carole T. Gee 

is an excellent contribution to the life of the past. 

Gee dedicated the volume to her academic father, 

Ted Delevoras, one of the leading paleobotanists 

in America. She paid tribute to his manifold and 

valuable contribution to knowledge of the Mesozoic 


The Mesozoic, about 185 million years ago, 

was an age of giant dinosaurs, flying reptiles, and 

crown-tufted plants. In the past much less attention 

has been given to Mesozoic flora than its fauna. This 

detailed book make up for this lack of information 

on the Mesozoic flora.

The book, a collection of the latest research by 

the world’s top paleobotanists, is divided into three 

parts with chapters reflecting the latest research on 

a specific plant or plant group. Part one explores 

the morphological innovations of Mesozoic plants 

including gymnosperms such as Bennettitales, 

cycads, and conifers. It also discusses traits in early 

Mesozoic sphenophytes such as Spaciinodium 

cullinsonii,  which is regarded as one of the best 

understood members of the group. The last 

chapter by Taylor on evolutionary developmental 

biology deals with the evolution of flowering 

plants, extended over 75 million years and dividing 

innovation in six steps.

Part two of this book focuses its attention on the 

phylogeny of Mesozoic plants with a discussion 

of gymnosperms and dicotyledonous lianas. The 

study ranges from Antarctica and Argentina to 

North America, including Utah and New Mexico. 

The area of study is illustrated with helpful maps at 

the beginning of each chapter. Furthermore, light 

micrographs of palynomorphs add beauty to this 

book. Endemism of Early Cretaceous conifers in 

western Gondwana is also discussed.

Part three contains an interesting discussion of 

the ecosystem of Mesozoic plants. The  palynoflora 

of the Morrison Formation is analyzed for a 

reconstruction of Jurassic vegetation. The last 

chapter sheds light on the evidence for herbivory and 

food preferences of dinosaurs. The relationships, of 

major groups of dinosaurs, mummified skulls, and 

enamel microstructure of dinosaur teeth by SEM 

are carefully explained. The role of plants and their 

relationship with Mesozoic reptiles are depicted to 

help illustrate the Mesozoic ecosystem.

This book will be a valuable reference for 

anyone interested in the biology, paleontology, 

that each species belongs to is included, and a 

chart illustrating current taxonomic classifications 

is found in the appendix; however, the chart is 

not a complete list and is somewhat difficult to 

use.  So, someone seeking to locate a particular 

species within its phylum and order, especially 

those who are visually oriented, may do better to 

consult a phylogenetic tree for easier reference.  

Despite these minor suggestions, the details of each 

illustration and verbal description contribute to a 

greatly detailed picture of how and where to find 

each species.

Over 1.5 million species of fungi are estimated 

to exist, only a small portion of those have been 

studied and classified, and only a percentage of 

those are described here, but each entry gives cause 

for being excited about fungi. The authors have 

done an outstanding job of creating a truly visceral 

experience of each species, bringing the field into 

your home (which is a good thing since this book 

is anything but travel sized).  Anyone could easily 

get lost within this visual bath of fungi, spending 

hours perusing through species, wondering what 

odd organisms are yet to be discovered on each 

following page,  and continuously coming back 

to discover them all over again.  The beautiful 

images and detailed descriptions connect the 

reader to the pervasive and unusual world of 

fungi that exists right beneath our feet; it compels 

expert mushroom hunters and novices alike to 

explore these fascinating organisms and elicits an 

overwhelming urge to take to the field immediately.  

This is an excellent addition to the library of anyone 

interested in mycology, botany, biology, or just 

simply fascinated by the design of nature.
-Lauren Nalepa, University of Southern California.


Plants in Mesozoic Time: Morpho-

logical Innovations, Phylogeny, 


Gee, Carole T. (ed.).  


ISBN 978-0-253-35156-3 (Cloth US$89.95)  

424 pp.  

Indiana University Press, 601 North Morton 

St., Bloomington, IN 47404-3797.

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

and paleobotany of the Mesozoic flora and fauna 

including earth and life scientists and academics, 

paleontologists, geologists, and environmental 

scientists. This very detailed book clearly represents 

a lifetime of study by the author and is a valuable 

contribution to the literature.
- Arooj Naseer, Department of Botany, University of 

Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.


Aloes: The Definitive Guide  

Carter, S., J. J. Lavranos, L. E. Newton, and C. 

C. Walker.  


ISBN 978-1-84246-439-7 (Cloth US$160.0) 

760 pp.  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.  

Distributed by University of Chicago Press 

1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637.

This attractive and abundantly illustrated book 

devotes a descriptive page to each of the 500+ 

species currently recognized for the emblematic 

southeast African genus Aloe.  It is not a new 

treatment of the genus but rather a current view 

of its diversity.  The work draws on an extensive 

scientific literature to which the authors themselves 

have contributed substantially.  While little in 

plant systematics seems to ever be truly definitive, 

the authors use this term with serious intentions, 

appending several pages of illustrated addenda that 

include names added or changed in the brief period 

since the book was assembled.  

With infragenetic relationships still poorly 

understood, this work sorts out Aloe species into 10 

habit/form groups, and organizes those within each 

group in order of increasing size of the plant.  This 

system may seem a bit arbitrary, and individual 

users will decide for themselves whether it serves 

their needs better than would, say, an alphabetical 

ordering of species within each group.  Individual 

species can in any case be found via the index, and 

keys are provided to group and to species within 

each group.  

A great many photographic illustrations 

accompany the species descriptions, many or most 

taken in situ with beautiful, stark landscapes as a 

backdrop.  This is a great advantage to the many 

readers who will not otherwise have an opportunity 

to see the plants in their natural habitats.  On the 

other hand, it is also apparent that the harsh, high-

contrast light in these sun-drenched environments 

does not always make for optimal photographs.

The book also includes an exceptional amount 

of information    —over 70 pages—on the history of 

botanical work on the genus, again with numerous 

illustrations of original source material and the 

botanists and explorers who collected and studied 

them.   This is not necessarily dry reading, as 

searching for aloes can be more hair-raising than 

one might expect.  One collector, we learn, was 

killed by a charging elephant in Ethiopia; another 

had to abort an excursion when his vehicle was 

destroyed by a leaping kudu.  Although the 

introductory pages are extensive, they are dedicated 

almost exclusively to the botanical history of the 

genus.  The appeal of this handsome book might 

reach a broader botanical public if it included a 

little more general information on other salient 

aspects of aloe biology, such as anatomical features 

of these leaf succulent plants, the kind of secondary 

growth that occurs in the arborescent species, and 

whether aloes have CAM photosynthesis.  There 

are also three brief paragraphs on cosmetic and 

medicinal uses of aloes (some aloes are poisonous, 

we learn, and have even been used traditionally to 

poison hyenas).  Regrettably little detail is provided;  

mention is made, for example, of the Socotran aloes 

of commerce, but we are not told what exactly they 

are used for, or what compounds are involved.  

The target public for this impressive work is 

clearly one focused on identification of aloes and 

appreciation of their diversity.  Those with such 

interests will not wish to do without this guide.  
-William B. Sanders, Department of  Biological Sci-

ences, Florida Gulf Coast University.

A Field Guide to the Ferns and Lyco-

phytes of Louisiana

Neyland, Ray.  

ISBN 978-0-8071-3785-7.  (Paper $23.95). 

104 pages.  

Louisiana State University Press, Baton 

Rouge. 2011.

The diverse pteridophyte flora of Louisiana, 

one of the richest in North America, has been 

the subject of three books.  Neyland’s is the most 

recent and the shortest.  The first is the treatment 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

by Brown and Correll (1942). Their book is a 

period piece covering the history of pteridophyte 

research, propagation, morphology, and economic 

importance (the two species of Osmunda harvested 

for growing orchids).  A detailed key and very 

Fernaldian descriptions make up the bulk of the 

book—helpful and germane almost 70 years later.

More recent is the book by Thieret (1980), 

which, like its predecessor, is out of print.  This is 

unfortunate as it is an excellent treatment of ferns 

and fern allies providing a cogent introduction to 

the group, their cultivation, and other topics covered 

in Brown and Correll.  It would be an excellent text 

for a beginning course in pteriodology. All of the 

taxa are illustrated with line drawings and, unlike 

the other two books, there are maps showing the 

distribution by parish.

A Field Guide to the Ferns and Lycophytes of 

Louisiana is the Reader’s Digest version of the 

earlier books, which makes sense since the serious 

student of the state’s pteridophytes would know the 

1942 and 1980 volumes.  Unlike the first two, this 

is truly a field guide—easily fitting into a backpack.

The plan of the book is simple.  Plants are 

arranged alphabetically by family, then by genus and 

species. Updated nomenclature is used so that the 

euphonius  Pseudolycopodiella caroliniana replaces 

Lycopodium carolinianum.  The treatment for each 

species includes a single photograph of the plant.  

Image quality is good but often does not show the 

important characters, and overall the pictures are 

too small, leaving much of the page blank. Instead, 

diagnostic features are provided in the short, terse 

descriptions that include origin (exotic or native), 

habitat, and growth form. Lycopodiella prostrata is 

described as a sub-shrub, a growth habit that does 

not occur in clubmosses.  Interesting tidbits about 

each species, including many Native American 

uses, are given.

Following the species treatment are keys to the 

genera and then a key to the species within each 

genus.  An illustrated glossary is included which is 

generally helpful though the ligule for Selaginella 

is not labeled. The putative hybrid origin of Isoetes 

louisianensis, a federally endangered species, is 

noted but with no reference to the thousands of 

individuals found in Louisiana and Mississippi 

since it was originally described. The ligule is 

lacking in the diagram of the Isoetes sporophylls 

as is any reference to a velum.  The second part 

of the glossary is four pages of terms followed by 

references and a helpful index.

This compact volume will be useful for anyone 

interested in the ferns and fern allies of Louisiana 

and contiguous states.  For more in-depth 

information, though often dated, I recommend one 

of the earlier books.

Literature Cited

BROWN, C. A. AND CORRELL, D. S. 1942. Ferns 

and Fern Allies of Louisiana. Baton Rouge: 

Louisiana State University Press.

THIERET, J. W.  1980.  Louisiana Ferns and Fern 

Allies.  Lafayette, LA:  Layfayette Natural 

History Museum.

-Lytton John Musselman, Department of Biologi-

cal Sciences, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, 

Virginia 23529-0266. 

Wildflowers and Plant Communi-

ties of the Southern Appalachian 

Mountains and Piedmont: A Natu-

ralist’s Guide to the Carolinas, 

Virginia, Tennessee, and Georgia  

Spira, Timothy P.  


ISBN 978-0-8078-3440-4 (Cloth US$50.00) 

540 pp.  

The University of North Carolina Press, 116 

South Boundary Street, Chapel Hill, NC 


Like so many biologists who love to be in the 

field, I have mixed feelings about many field guides 

written for popular audiences.  While I find them 

useful on some level, I am always disappointed in 

something.  Most focus on species identification, 

yet diversity and evolutionary relationships are 

short-changed while ecology and community 

relationships rarely amount to more than a 

statement here and there on habitats for various 

species.  Nevertheless such guides draw many 

budding scientists into the field, and they act as an 

entry point for the lay public into natural history—

plus they often have great photographs.  On the 

flip side, there are many guides to various natural 

areas, but they tend to lack information that would 

help users identify plants.  Recently, some have 

tried to cover both areas of interest by writing 

identification guides with an ecological bent or 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

vice versa.  While this approach has great appeal, 

the earliest attempts that I recall were disappointing 

as they attempted too much and succeeded at too 

little.  Clemson University botanist Timothy Spira’s 

new work, Wildflowers and Plant Communities of 

the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont  

deserves great credit as it advances this holistic 

approach to field guides.  Because he focuses on the 

ecology of more exclusive groups of organisms in 

a more exclusive geographic range, it is a dramatic 

improvement over many of the earlier works.   It 

deserves a good look from individuals interested 

in natural history, plant communities and diversity, 

and conservation.  I should mention that a similar 

approach was taken by Porcher and Rayner (2001), 

also with good results, but with a slightly different 

geographical approach.  Because Spira’s work is 

written with more of an educated popular audience 

than a professional audience in mind, this review 

focuses more on utility and accuracy than on 


The guide is divided into four parts:  Introduction, 

Photo Key, Plant Community Profiles, and Species 

Profiles.   The 25-page introduction presents 

information on how to use the book and taxonomy.  

It is followed by two chapters introducing the 

regions covered by the book, ranging from the 

southern Appalachians from southwest Virginia, 

western North Carolina, northwestern South 

Carolina, east Tennessee, and Georgia, into the 

Piedmont, east to the Fall Line, where the coastal 

plain begins.  The coastal plain is not covered in 

this work.  These chapters describe the important 

factors affecting vegetation, including conservation 

concerns.  The chapter on the Appalachian 

Mountains includes discussions of physiographic 

provinces, the effects of glaciation, and the high 

level of diversity in the southern Appalachians.  The 

chapter on the Piedmont focuses more on the role 

that humans have played, with a strong emphasis 

on agriculture, development, and fire suppression.  

The introduction concludes with a chapter that 

introduces plant community ecology, including 

discussions of diversity, succession, disturbances, 

and factors that determine community types.

Part Two is the photo key, which is 70 pages 

long and consists of a three- to four- page entry for 

each community with a thumbnail gallery of the 

important species in that community.  Each species 

is represented by a single photograph, approximately 

3.5 cm by 3.5 cm, and there are 30 to 45 species 

pictured for each community.  The photographs 

are arranged with the trees first, followed by 

shrubs and vines, followed by herbaceous plants.  

Within each of these three groups, the species 

are in alphabetical order by scientific name.  The 

photographs are linked by photograph and page 

number to the description of that species later in 

the book.  Unfortunately, there is no page number 

listed for the detailed plant community description 

in Part Three of the text.

Plant community descriptions, each five to six  

pages long, comprise Part Three.  Each description 

begins with a vegetation photograph, includes 

a species list, and describes the vegetation and 

other characteristics that can aid in identification 

of the community.  The descriptions also discuss 

the factors that control the vegetation and the 

geographic distribution of the community.  A few 

of the species in the list are not within the text, 

but those are noted.  Each community description 

concludes with a list of references for suggested 


Each community description also includes a 

box that explores one of many important topics 

to plant ecology.  They include discussions of 

the southeastern North American/southeastern 

Asian species pairs, rivers as dispersal agents, 

and adaptations that plants have to the mountain 

environments.  While the topics are not necessarily 

related to the community where they are placed, 

they are a good addition to the book in my opinion.  

Section Four is Species Profiles, the longest 

section of the text at approximately 250 pages.   

Each species profile includes a slightly larger 

version of the image in the Photo Key and a two- 

thirds page description of the species.  The entry 

includes notes on habitat range, taxonomy, ecology, 

wildlife relationships, and uses of the plants.  The 

taxonomy paragraphs often tell how many species 

are in a genus other than the one listed, and they 

often give good identification hints, but I’m not 

sure these really qualify as “taxonomy.”  Multiple 

species within a genus might be better served with 

a single taxonomy section that helps distinguish 

members.  Synonyms are given at the end of the 

species descriptions, but not in the taxonomy 

section.  My biggest criticism is within this section.  

Besides a few botanical inaccuracies (e.g., referring 

to the ovuliferous cones of Juniperus as “fruits”), the 

section is arranged in the same artificial manner as 

the photo gallery pictures:  trees, shrubs and woody 

vines, and herbs.  Within each growth type, species 

are arranged alphabetically by scientific name, but 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

a more natural arrangement would aid users who 

would leaf through the section to learn closely 

related species.   

While I find the book to be very useful, small 

changes such as those above could make it more 

user friendly.  Additionally, while the photos are 

accurate and high quality, they lack any indication 

of scale or the season when they were taken.  A 

larger number of photographs for each species 

would definitely increase the book’s utility.  The 

other main weakness is in the area of references.  

Besides the three to five references at the end of 

each community description, there is a good list of 

reference materials at the end of the book, but no 

citations within the text.

Overall, I rate this book to be a good resource 

for anyone interested in learning about the plant 

communities of the southern Appalachians and the 

Piedmont.  I like the approach the author has taken, 

and I enjoy using it myself.  

Literature Cited

PORCHER, R. D. AND D. A. RAYNER.  2001.  

A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina.  

University of South Carolina Press: Columbia, SC. 

-Douglas P. Jensen, Biology Department, Converse 

College, Spartanburg, South Carolina 29302.

Wetland Plants of the Adirondacks: 

Book 1: Ferns, Woody Plants and 


Wu, Meiyin and Dennis Kalma. 


ISBN 978--42696-057-4 (Cloth US$25.00) 

183 pp. 

Wetland Plants of the Adirondacks: 

Book 2: Herbaceous Plants and 

Aquatic Plants

ISBN 978-1-426 96-062-8 

(Cloth US$25.00) 

169 pp. 

Trafford Publishing, 1663 Liberty Drive, 

Bloomington, IN 47403.

Wu and Kalma’s guides contain descriptions of 

312 wetland plants found in the field.  The concept 

for these books is great: provide an easy-to-use 

tool to identify these commonly found plants.  

The execution of this concept, however, could use 

some work.  The books, published through Trafford 

Publishing, unfortunately illustrate some of the 

concerns with self-publishing as the books contain 

some questionable illustrations and could use some 

more editing.

Some of the issues I have with the books are 

trivial.  For instance, the introductions for both 

books are identical; they both refer to themselves 

as “the first of two books.”  Some of the family 

names do not reflect the changes made by APG III 

(2009), which takes into account recent molecular 

evidence. To be fair though, the USDA PLANTS 

Database (2011) has not yet adopted the new 

classification either.  Other minor issues include 

some typos, which gives me the impression that 

these books were rushed to print.  I would also like 

to see which species are native and non-native to 

the Adirondacks, something these books do not 

identify.  On the topic of non-native species, the 

books do not include European frogbit (Hydrocharis 

morsus-ranae, Hydrocharitaceae), a non-native 

wetland plant that has become highly abundant 

in the Adirondacks over the past few decades.  It 

would also be nice to have some Adirondacks-

related content in the book such as a map, a list of 

wetland sites to visit, or information about species 

distributions in the region.  If anything, having 

a title that suggests these books are only useful 

in the Adirondacks actually limits the authors’ 

potential audience, while at the same time serving 

as a disappointment to anyone hoping to learn 

something specific about the Adirondack flora. 

It is a little unclear what the target audience 

for these books is.  The back cover states that the 

books are geared towards “the naturalist and field 

worker,” yet the introduction suggests a broader 

audience with “no botanical training.”  The books 

successfully explain much of the terminology 

used in identifying species, and descriptions are 

easy to understand for any layperson.  However, 

certain information included in the books might 

not be very clear to people without some wetland 

experience.  For example, the books include the 

wetland indicator status for each species (which is 

great); however, they do not explain what the codes 

mean.  Someone with no experience with wetlands 

would not likely know what a status of FACW+ 

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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

means without an explanation included somewhere 

in the books.  

The quality of illustrations ranges from mediocre 

to poor.  On the last page of Book 1 (incorrectly 

numbered as page 133), the authors list 54 

graminoid species and state that the illustrations 

for them are uncopyrighted and taken from the 

USDA website.  While it is true that the images are 

uncopyrighted material, the USDA does suggest 

that the artist and original publication (which 

they provide) be given credit, which is not done.  

Strangely, aside from the 54 graminoid species 

listed, the majority of the other illustrations are 

taken from the USDA PLANTS Database as well.  

It is unclear why only the graminoid species are 

listed.  What is even more unsettling is that those 

illustrations not taken from the USDA seem 

to be lower-quality traces of other well-known 

sources such as Newcomb’s (1977), Crow and 

Hellquist (2000), Flora of North America (2002), 

or combinations of these and USDA illustrations.  

These illustrations are not cited in the books, which 

raises some ethical questions.  However, both books 

can be found in an online form (available at: http:// 

ID manual/plantindex.html), which does include 

citations for the illustrations.  

Aside from these flaws, some of which may be 

borderline nitpicking, these books can be pretty 

useful. The format of the books is simple and 

effective.  A short dichotomous key directs readers 

to different sections of the books, which they then 

must flip through until they find a match between 

an illustration and the plant they hope to identify. 

Taking the books (which are light and thin) into 

the field, I was able to successfully identify most 

of the species that I attempted.  The one exception 

was between northern and southern water plantain 

(Alisma triviale and A. subcordatum, Book 2, 

page 16).  Wu and Kalma list A. subcordatum as 

having larger flowers than A. triviale. According 

to Clemants and Gracie (2006) and Gleason and 

Cronquist (1991), it is the other way around.

If the illustrations were improved on (and cited) 

and the other details listed above corrected, I would 

say that these would be good books for students, 

nature enthusiasts, and field workers alike.  If the 

authors also added some interesting factoids about 

each species, I would say that the books would be 

“must haves.”  Sadly, in their current state, I will 

not be replacing my current stock of field guides 

with these, even if my backpack ends up being 

heavier.  Hopefully a new edition will correct these 


Literature Cited

APG III. 2009. An update of the Angiosperm 

Phylogeny Group classification for the orders 

and families of flowering plants: APG III. Bot. J. 

Linn. Soc. 161: 105-121. 

CLEMENTS, S., and C. GRACIE. 2006. Wildflowers 

in the Field and Forest: A Field Guide to the 

Northeastern United States. Oxford University 

Press, New York. 

CROW, G. E., and C. B. HELLQUIST. 2000. 

Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern 

North America, Vol. One & Vol. Two. University 

of  Wisconsin Press, Madison.


COMMITTEE. 2002. Flora of North America, 

Volume 26: Magnoliophyta: Liliidae: Liliales and 

Orchidales. Oxford University Press, NY. 

GLEASON, H.A., and A. CRONQUIST.  1991.  

Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern 

United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. 

New York Botanical Garden, NY. 

NEWCOMB, L. 1977. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. 

Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA. 

USDA, NRCS. 2011. The PLANTS Database (http://, 6 September 2011.). National 

Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 

-Timothy Shearman, Natural Sciences Graduate 

Program, State University of New York (SUNY) 


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Plant Science Bulletin 57(4) 2011

Wildflower Wonders showcases the most spectacular displays 

of wild blooms on the planet, from infrequent flowerings in 

the Mojave and other deserts to regular but no less stunning 

alpine wildflower “events” in Italy, South Africa, and Australia. 

This magnificently illustrated volume features 200 panoramic, 

full-color photographs as well as a color map for every site and 

at-a-glance information panels that highlight the kinds of flowers 

at each location and the best times to see them in bloom. The 

informative text gives a botanical profile of each location, and 

also describes the ecology and conservation status of these sites 

and the animal life to be found at them.

Cloth  $27.95  978-0-691-15229-5



The 50 Best Wildflower 

Sites in the World

Bob Gibbons

With a foreword by 

Richard Mabey

See our E-Books at

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21st Century Guidebook to Fungi.  Moore, David, Geoffrey D. Robson, and Anthony P.J. Trinci.  
2011.  ISBN 978-0-521-18695-7 (Paper US$65.00) 626 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32 Avenue of 
the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Aquatic Plants of Pennsylvania: A Complete Reference Guide.  Block, Timothy A., and Ann Fowler 
Rhoads.  2011.  ISBN 978-0-8122-4306-2 (Cloth US$59.95) 400 pp.  University of Pennsylvania Press, 
Penn Press Warehouse, P.O. Box 50370, Baltimore, MD 21211.

The Biology of Island Floras.  Bramwell, David, and Juli Caujapé-Castells (eds.).  2011.  ISBN 978-0-
521-11808-8 (Cloth US$120.00) 522 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32 Avenue of the Americas, New 
York, NY 10013. 

Early Flowers and Angiosperm Evolution.  Friis, Else Marie, Peter R. Crane, and Kaj Raunsgaard 
Pedersen.  2011.  ISBN 978-0-521-59283-3 (Cloth US$160.00) 585 pp.  Cambridge University Press, 32 
Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10013.

Guide to the Flowers of Western China.  Wilson-Grey, Christopher, and Phillip Crib.  2011.  ISBN 
798-1-64246-169-3 (Cloth US$115.00) 642 pp.  Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.  Available from The 
University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

The Last Great Plant Hunt: The Story of the Millennium Seed Bank Project.  2011.  Fry, Carolyn, 
Sue Seddon, and Gail Vines.  2011.  ISBN 978-1-84246-432-8 (Cloth US$45.00) 192 pp.  Royal Botanic 
Gardens Kew.  Available from The University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Medicinal Plants in Australia:  Volume 2: Gums, Resins, Tannin and Essential Oils.  Williams,  
Cheryll.  2011.  ISBN  978-1-87705-894-3 (Cloth US $69.95) 344 pp.  Rosenberg Publishing. Available 
from International Specialized Book Services, 920 NE 58th Ave. Suite 300, Portland, OR 97213.

Size- and Age-Related Changes in Tree Structure and Function.  Meinzer, Frederick C., Barbara 
Lachenbruch, and Todd E. Dawson (eds.).  2011.  ISBN 978-94-007-1241-6 (Cloth US$209.00) 510 pp.  
Springer Science + Business Media, 333 Meadowlands Parkway, Secaucus, NJ 07094.

The Smallest Kingdom: Plants and Plant Collectors at the Cape of Good Hope.  Fraser, Mike, and 
Liz Fraser.  2011.  ISBN 978-1-84246-389-5 (Cloth US$46.00) 220 pp.  Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.  
Available from The University of Chicago Press, 1427 E. 60th Street, Chicago, IL 60637.

Tree-ring Research in Asia. Pumijumnong, Nathsuda, Qi-Bin Zhang, Dieter Eckstein, and Pieter Baas 
(eds.).  2009.  (Paper US$35.00) 112 pp.  International Association of Wood Anatomists, P.O. Box 9514, 
2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands.

Wood Science for Promoting Legal Timber Harvest.  Wiedenhoeft, Alex C., and Pieter Baas (eds.). 
2011.  (Paper US$35.00) 176 pp.  International Association of Wood Anatomists, P.O. Box 9514, 2300 
RA Leiden, The Netherlands.

Books Received

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Jenny Archibald

Nina Baghai-Riding

Beverly Brown

G. E. Burrows 

Root Gorelick

Carol Hotton 

Lee Kass 

Bruce Kirchoff

Christopher T. Martine

Elizabeth Schussler 

Julian Shaw

Vassiliki B. Smocovitis

Marshall D. Sundberg

Nicholas Tippery

Lisa Wallace

Carolyn Wetzel

John Wiersema

Plant Science Bulletin 


Thank you for your contributions to this year’s  

Plant Science Bulletin  - Volume 57

Botany ranks high among the sciences because plants provide: 

“…the principle subsistence of life to man and beast, delicious 

varieties for our tables, refreshments from our orchards, the adorn-

ments of our flower-borders, shade and perfume for our groves, 

materials for our buildings, or medicaments for our bodies.”


Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cooper, October 7, 1814.

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Botany 2012 will be held in Columbus, Ohio, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. The theme 

of this year’s meeting, “Botany, the Next Generation,” focuses both on new techniques of importance to 

our members as well as fostering growth and participation in our student members, who are becoming 

more and more important as student representatives on our committees. 

Participating societies at Botany 2012 are the American Bryological and Lichenological Society, 

Canadian Botanical Association/L’Association Botanique du Canada, American Fern Society, American 

Society of Plant Taxonomists, International Association for Plant Taxonomy, and the Botanical Society 

of America.

The Program Committee met in Columbus recently to inspect our meeting facilities, meet the on-

site staff, coordinate programs, and plan events for our upcoming meeting. Downtown Columbus and 

the surrounding natural areas in Ohio offer tremendous opportunities for a memorable meeting this 

year. The convention center and attached space in the Hyatt Regency offer beautiful and state-of-the-art 

facilities for our meeting. The rooms are spacious and are serviced by professional staff who will quickly 

attend to any needs that may arise to ensure a seamless set of events. The hotel and convention space are 

immediately adjacent to each other, and contain restaurants and nearby shops. Downtown Columbus is 

ideal for evening socializing, with many restaurants, bars with outdoor seating, and entertainment venues.

Ohio has noted natural areas and our field trip schedule is taking shape with field trips suiting 

attendees in all of our diverse disciplines. We are making every effort to have wonderful field trips led by 

professionals fully knowledgeable in the plants and sites under their direction.

Our symposia and colloquia are taking shape and are currently listed on the conference website, as 

well as noted speakers. This year’s Sunday evening Plenary speaker is Peter Crane who will address our 

conference theme.

Botany 2011 experienced record levels of student involvement, and Botany 2012: The Next Generation 

is gearing up to be a great meeting with many opportunities for students to network and socialize. The 

Short North district of downtown Columbus is an art-centric portion of the city with a great nightlife, 

bars, unique restaurants, boutique fashion and vintage shops, and art galleries. This year, Saturday 

evening coincides with the Short North Gallery Hop. The Gallery Hop draws thousands of visitors each 

month, with many shops and bars remaining open later into the evening, and marks the opening of the 

monthly exhibits at each gallery. Forthcoming email updates will include information about the Student 

Involvement event and Graduate Student Mixer. Columbus is a vibrant, eclectic city that is sure to be the 

host of a great conference. Hope to see you all there!

Abstract submission will begin on February 2 and close April 1, and we will keep you posted of this 

date and other activities and speakers as the meeting planning progress. We look forward to seeing you 

in Columbus this summer!

Keep checking the conference website for details as they evolve!

David Spooner

BSA Program Coordinator
Any questions - please feel free to contact Johanne Stogran (

July 7 - 11, 2012

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Plant Science Bulletin 

 Featured Image

  Winter 2011 Volume 57 Number  4

Plant Science 


ISSN 0032-0919 

Published quarterly by  

Botanical Society of America, Inc.  

4475 Castleman Avenue 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 

Periodicals postage is paid at St. 

Louis, MO and additional mailing 



Send address changes to:

Botanical Society of America 

Business Office 

P.O. Box 299 

St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 

The yearly subscription rate of $15 is 

included in the membership 

Address Editorial Matters (only) to: 

Marshall D. Sundberg 


Department of Biological Sciences  

Emporia State University  

1200 Commercial St. 

Emporia, KS 66801-5057 

Phone 620-341-5605

The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership 

society whose mission  is to: 

promote botany, the field of 

basic science dealing with the 

study and inquiry into the form, 

function, development, diversity, 

reproduction, evolution, and uses 

of plants and their interactions 

within the biosphere.|

.......Keeps on Growing

In the photo (left to right) are:
Katie Enger (ASPB), Catrina Adams (BSA), Claire 

Hemingway (BSA), Crispin Taylor (ASPB), Teresa Mourad 

(ESA), Adam Fagan (ASPB), Marsh Sundberg (BSA), Larry 

Griffing (ASPB), Beverly Brown (BSA), Bill Dahl (BSA), 

Carol Stuessey Dickson (TA&M), Rob Brandt (BSA), and 

Tom Meager (SSE).  Not shown are Pat Harrison (BRIT) and 

Jane Larson (BSCS).

Also participating via Skype included: Anton Baudoin 

(American Phytopathological Society), Betty Carvellas 

(National Academies), Erin Dolan (ASPB), Sam Donovan 

(AIBS), Karen Kellison (James Madison University), David 

Lindbo (Soil Science Society of America), Valdine McLean 

(Pershing County High School), Kevin Ong (APS), Colleen 

McLinn (Cornell Lab of Ornithology), Kenneth Newbury 

(University of Toledo), Sheila Voss (MBG), and Bob Coulter 


A recent summit was held to further 

the collaboration efforts of the 



Steering Committee.

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July 7-11, 2012



Symposia, Posters, Workshops, Field Trips and more... 

Registration and Abstract Submission - early 2012

The Annual Meeting of these 

premier scientific societies 

Make your plans now !!

Greater Columbus Convention Center

Columbus, Ohio

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