Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2017 v63 No 2 SummerActions

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#OhiaLove Project  

successfully funded...p. 64

Botanists March for Science 

on April 22, 2017...p. 58

BSA members attend  

Congressional Visits Day...p. 60

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                                                           Summer 2017 Volume 63 Number 2


Editorial Committee  

Volume 63

From the Editor

Kathryn LeCroy 




Environmental Sciences 

University of Virginia 

Charlottesville, VA  22904

Daniel K. Gladish




Department of Biology &  

The Conservatory 

Miami University  

Hamilton, OH  45011 



Melanie Link-Perez  



Department of Botany  

& Plant Pathology 

Oregon State University 

Corvallis, OR 97331 


Shannon Fehlberg 



Research and Conservation 

Desert Botanical Garden 

Phoenix, AZ 85008

David Tank 


Department of Biological 


University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID 83844


In this summer issue, you will find information 

about the upcoming Botany meeting in Fort Worth, 

Texas. I hope that many of you are planning to at-


In putting together each PSB issue, we particularly 

enjoy showcasing the activities of BSA members in 

scholarship, teaching, conservation, and outreach. 

In this issue, we share the list of winners of sever-

al Botanical Society of America awards, and many 

more will be included in our Fall issue. These awards 

highlight the diversity and quality of research and 

teaching in which botanists engage. Congratula-

tions to all! 

We are also pleased to highlight actions that speak 

to policy makers and advocate for plant science. In 

the public policy pages, you will find reports from 

those who participated in the Biological and Eco-

logical Sciences Coalition (BESC) Congressional 

Visits Day, as well as images from the March for 

Science held across the United States and abroad in 


BSA members are also interacting with the public 

in innovative ways and utilizing new approaches to 

moving science forward. On page 64, you will find 

a report on the successful crowd-funding campaign 

to raise funds for the conservation of ‘ōhi‘a seeds in 


These are just a few snapshots of what BSA mem-

bers have been doing this year. If you have exam-

ples of botanists in action, locally to globally, please 

don’t hesitate to share them with PSB!  

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Public Policy Committee Report from Congressional Visits Day ..................................59

The #OhiaLove Project: Banking Seeds During the Rapid

 ‘Ōhi‘a Death Crisis in Hawai‘i ............................................................................................................64

Botanical Society of America’s Award Winners .......................................................................66

Welcome to Where the West Begins! .............................................................................................65 


Three Sisters and Integrative Faculty Development ............................................................78

Tools for the International Botanist: Navigating the Nagoya Protocol

A 2016 Workshop Recap ......................................................................................................................86


PlantingScience participates in STEM for all Video Showcase .....................................91 

Urgent need for PlantingScience mentors for Fall 2017 Session .................................91 

Don’t miss Botany 2017: Botanical Crossroads .....................................................................92 


Getting the Most Out of BOTANY 2017: A Guide for Students ......................................95


Chrysler Herbarium Collections Manager Named  

Student Employee of the Year  ..........................................................................................................98


Ecology ......................................................................................................................................................... 100

Economic Botany .................................................................................................................................... 102

Evolution ....................................................................................................................................................... 115

Mycology ...................................................................................................................................................... 116

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Botanists March to Support 

Science: April 22, 2017

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By Marian Chau (Lyon Arboretum University of Hawai‘i at Mā-

noa) and Morgan Gostel (Smithsonian Institution), Public Policy 

Committee Co-Chairs, along with Ingrid Jordon-Thaden (Uni-

versity of California Berkeley), ASPT EPPC Chair

This year (2017) marks the sixth time that the 

BSA Public Policy Committee has participated 

in the annual Congressional Visits Day event, 

but the first just after the election of a new 

President of the United States. It is also exciting 

because members of the BSA Public Policy 

Committee have contributed to new legislation, 

H.R. 1054, colloquially referred to as the 

“Botany Bill”, which is receiving bipartisan 

support in the House of Representatives. 



This year, the BSA awarded the Public Policy 

Award to two BSA members: Maribeth Latvis 

and Andre Naranjo. Each of them traveled to 

Washington, D.C. to participate in this annual 

policy event on April 25 and 26 to advocate 

on behalf of federal funding for basic research 

through the National Science Foundation 

(NSF) and H.R. 1054. 

Maribeth Latvis’s  


In this changing political climate, there is a 

growing need for scientists to communicate 

the importance of their work with lawmakers 

and the public. This certainly became evident 

when viewing President Trump’s initial “skinny 

budget” proposal, which featured heavy cuts 

for many agencies funding scientific research. 

Interestingly, the National Science Foundation 

(NSF) was not part of this initial budget, and 

many of us were left wondering what fate 

would befall one of our largest sources of 

federal funding. With this in mind, I applied 

for a BSA Public Policy Award to attend the 

2017 Congressional Visits Day (CVD) in 

Washington, D.C., hosted by the Biological 

and Ecological Sciences Coalition (BESC). 

Another motivation was my upcoming new 

position at South Dakota State 

University as an Assistant 

Professor in 2017. I felt the 

CVD would provide me with 

important training in public 

policy during this career 

transition, an opportunity to 

advocate for the NSF funding 

on which my future research 

program will depend, and 

hopefully the opportunity to 

Public Policy Committee Report 

from Congressional Visits Day

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


establish ongoing relationships with legislators 

in my new home state of South Dakota. 

The CVD event spanned two days and 

included a panel discussion, training session, 

and the Congressional meetings themselves. 

Prior to this event, each participant received 

resources from BESC and from American 

Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS) Public 

Policy Office, including NSF fact sheets for 

each state, short legislator biographies, as 

well as a webinar training session. We were 

also encouraged to come equipped with 

state-specific examples of tangible payoffs for 

investing in biological research. This year’s 

event occurred on the heels of the March 

for Science and during talk of a government 

shutdown over budget disagreements. Thus, I 

traveled to D.C. feeling prepared, but a little 

intimidated and pessimistic about the task at 

hand. Our main goal was to request an NSF 

budget of $8 billion for fiscal year 2018, and 

I wasn’t sure how such a request would be 

received. (Spoiler: it went well, because we 

have a very strong case!)

The panel discussion during the first day was 

hosted by the Ecological Society of America 

(ESA) and featured biologists speaking off 

the record about working in government 

agencies, such as the Department of Energy 

and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric 

Administration. The speakers had wide-

ranging interests in the realm of public 

policy—from those who stepped away from 

academia to pursue government work, to 

those who secured professorships after their 

federal positions. A take-home message was 

that, as far as your involvement in public 

policy is concerned, you may take as big of a 

bite as you would like. For biologists wishing 

to stay in academia and dabble in this arena, 

it is effective to start at the local level. For 

example, legislator visits to district field offices 

are good opportunities for face time with 

them. They also discussed several training 

opportunities for students, postdocs, and 

faculty through the American Association for 

the Advancement of Science (AAAS). 

Following the panel discussion, all BESC CVD 

participants convened for a training session 

Congressman Scott Taylor (VA-2nd; center) meets with Andrew Owen (AIBS and George Mason 

University), Allison Cornell (Simon Fraser University), Morgan Gostel (Smithsonian Institution), 

and Maribeth Latvis (University of Idaho) during Congressional Visits Day.

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lead by Allison Mize from ESA, and Julie 

Palakovich Carr and Dr. Robert Gropp from 

AIBS. Those of us in attendance represented 

diverse research interests, backgrounds, 

geographic regions, and academic levels. All 

of us were passionate about our work and 

committed to securing this funding. The 

enthusiasm was infectious. I’ve also never 

seen so many biologists in business suits in 

one location, a testament to the formality of 

Washington, D.C. and working on Capitol Hill. 

Uncertainty hung in the air as we received an 

overview on the budget and proposed cuts to 

federal science funding. We were instructed on 

how to approach our meetings: start out with 

“the ASK” ($8 billion for NSF in FY2018), and 

follow up with specific examples of why this 

funding is important to you personally as well 

as to the state/district. Legislators want to see a 

high return on investment, so it helps to have 

concrete examples on how the NSF contributes 

to innovation, patents, jobs, and technical 

training. It is also important to emphasize that 

the NSF provides fundamental knowledge on 

which other, more applied, agencies depend 

(e.g., USDA). An effective message needed to 

be free of scientific jargon and non-partisan, 

and we practiced our spiel in groups toward 

the end of the training session. 

Our meetings on Capitol Hill occurred the 

following day. Participants were divided 

into teams by state and led by a team leader 

who would guide us to meeting locations 

throughout the day. My team represented the 

states of Alaska, South Dakota, and Virginia, 

and was led by Dr. Morgan Gostel from the 

Smithsonian Institution. Other team members 

included Dr. Allison Cornell (Simon Fraser 

University), Mr. Matt Norwood (Chincoteague 

Bay Field Station), and Mr. Andrew Owen 

(AIBS and George Mason University). 

Fortunately, I had a special opportunity to 

attend a “Sunrise Coffee” event for constituents 

from South Dakota. This included actual face 

time and photo opportunities with Senator 

John Thune (R-SD), Senator John Rounds 

(R-SD), Representative Kristi Noem (R-

SD), and their staffers! Interactions with the 

legislators themselves were brief and friendly. 

I introduced myself as an incoming faculty 

member at South Dakota State University and 

received a high-five and a “Go Jacks!” (both 

Senator Rounds and Rep. Noem are alumni 

of SDSU). Rep. Noem told me her daughters 

were interested in plant conservation, and that 

she would like to put them in contact with me 

to discuss this field! I had just enough time 

to mention the importance of NSF funding 

and the $8 billion FY2018 budget before I was 

ushered off. I had more time for discussion with 

the staffers at this event, who were similarly 

friendly and engaging. Everyone exchanged 

business cards, which is part of the standard 

protocol in D.C. Senator Thune, Senator 

Rounds, and Rep. Noem have reputations as 

fiscal conservatives against environmental 

regulations, so I expected increasing NSF 

funding was going to be a difficult sell in this 

crowd. I did my best to carefully connect 

NSF funding to agriculture and hunting, 

both important sources of revenue for the 

state, educational opportunities for students, 

as well as our overall national security. They 

responded, “Well, we like science!” 

Following the Sunrise Coffee, I met the rest of 

my team for our group meetings. I participated 

in meetings with the offices of Senator Warner 

(D-VA), Senator Murkowski (R-AK), Rep. 

Taylor (R-VA), Rep. Noem, and Rep. Connolly 

(D-VA). We ran into Rep. Taylor himself as 

he was visiting his office, and we had time 

for a conversation and photo op! Each team 

member took the lead representing his or her 

home state/district, with the rest of us there to 

offer support or share our own experiences. It 

was fun to discuss our scientific backgrounds 

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and the role that NSF funding has played 

throughout our careers. When visiting with 

the Representatives, we made a special point 

of asking for their support on H. R. 1054, “The 

Botanical Sciences and Native Plant Materials 

Research, Restoration and Promotion Act” 

(aka “the Botany Bill”).

What did it feel like to ask for $8 billion? It 

felt exhilarating and empowering. Our team 

presented a very strong case for increasing 

the investment in NSF. It was helpful to 

understand the backgrounds of the legislators 

to frame our discussion effectively, whether it 

was ties to agriculture, entrepreneurship, or 

medicine. Everyone listened to what we had 

to say and seemed receptive to our message, 

especially if we were from their district—it is 

their job, after all. 

The whole experience was enjoyable, and I am 

very grateful to the BSA for this opportunity. 

I left the CVD event motivated to keep in 

contact with my Senators and Representative 

from South Dakota, and to encourage other 

scientists to contact their legislators, as well. 

As Dr. Gropp said during our training session, 

“Advocacy is not a one-time event. You need 

to be persistent.” If we are diplomatic and 

persistent in our approach, the message will 

be heard. Given the threat of budget cuts 

under a new administration, scientists simply 

can’t afford to sit this out. 

Andre Naranjo’s Experience

Advocating on behalf of science has never 

been more critical to our field or our country 

as it is now. Scientists have been stereotyped 

as keeping to themselves and lost in the world 

of their own subspecialty, oblivious to the 

impact decision makers were having on their 

work. After the Congressional Visit Days 

organized by BESC, I realized this stereotype 

could not be further from reality. I have always 

been interested in public policy and advocacy; 

with the recent announcement of the Trump 

administration’s desire to cut research and 

development funding to several government 

agencies that fund the sciences, the interest to 

advocate on behalf of science funding grew 

even more. So when the opportunity arose, I 

applied for a BSA Public Policy Award to attend 

the 2017 Congressional Visits Day (CVD) 

in Washington D.C., co-hosted by AIBS and 

ESA. I believed CVD would provide me with 

important training in public policy necessary 

to further my experience in science advocacy 

as well as connect me with policy specialists in 

different congressional offices that represent 

me and other scientists in Florida.

BESC planned the two-day event, with day one 

covering the fundamentals of science funding 

across the federal government, and meeting 

with our teams to practice our meetings for 

the next day. Prior to this event, we received 

an NSF fact sheet for the nation at large and 

for our state, short legislator biographies, as 

well as a webinar training session.

  The next 

day we met with congressional staff at Capitol 

Hill to pitch our request: $8 billion for the 

National Science Foundation. We met with 

our team leader, Dr. Mary Klein, a member of 

the AIBS Board of Directors. We visited offices 

under teams organized by state, with my team 

representing Florida and New Hampshire.


The first office of the day we visited was 

that of Republican Representative Francis 

Rooney, from the 19th Congressional District 

of Florida. We spoke about the importance 

of NSF funding to wetland ecology research 

currently taking place in the area of Fort 

Myers, FL, and we were told the Congressman 

would support NSF funding. Phew—and I 

thought this would be more difficult! We then 

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met with Representatives Alan Lawson and 

Carlos Curbelo, who represent Tallahassee 

and Miami, respectively. Congressman 

Lawson’s staffer assured us they would work 

to get the appropriate funding for NSF, and 

Congressman Curbelo’s staffer went beyond 

that to ensure science funding was a priority 

for the next budget. 

Later in the day, we met with Senator Bill 

Nelson and Senator Marco Rubio’s staffers. 

I described my personal story to Senator 

Rubio’s staffer, and how NSF has helped fund 

outreach opportunities that got me and other 

first-generation Hispanic college students 

interested to pursue a career in a STEM field. 

He assured me the senator was committed 

to helping advance science education and 

outreach, and would support NSF funding at 

current or higher levels than present. Senator 

Nelson’s office was very friendly, with an 

almost instantaneous assurance of support 

for our goal! We spent the rest of the time 

discussing our personal research to the staffers 

who were all very interested. Senator Maggie 

Hassan’s office was similarly supportive of 

our request. The last meeting of the day was 

with Congressman Ted Yoho, a well-known 

conservative firebrand who I thought would 

be reluctant about our request. I was proven 

wrong. His staffer informed us science/

research & development funding is “one of 

the few things the government does well!” We 

all chuckled and thanked the congressman for 

his support.

Moving forward, I have a recommendation: 

contact those who represent you in Congress. 

Reach out to their staffers, describe your 

concerns, and express how a particular policy 

affects you as a constituent. It was incredibly 

reassuring for me to learn how willing 

representatives and senators are to sit down 

with their constituents and how willing they 

are to fight for their interests. Once you meet 

with congressional staff, exchange contact 

information (the most prized currency in 

D.C. is a business card). Once you have a 

relationship with the staff, do not be afraid 

to reach out frequently whenever there is a 

policy development that affects you and the 

representative’s district. Persistence is key 

to achieving policy outcomes you advocate 

for. It is imperative, however, that all of your 

communications be civil and tactful, especially 

if you are representing the interests of an 

institution that receives federal funding. Now 

more than ever, we need scientists expressing 

their views and communicating with decision 

makers about the future of our field and what 

is at stake for humanity as a whole. Be on the 

lookout for different professional societies 

offering travel opportunities to D.C. to meet 

with representatives. Being given the honor to 

convey the need for NSF funding by the BSA 

is something I am beyond grateful for. 

Despite a deeply divided culture of Congressional 

politics this year, it is encouraging to see that 

support for federal funding for basic research, 

which leads to transformative innovation in the 

United States, is supported on both sides of the 

aisle, with bipartisan recognition of the value of 

this investment. 
Our job, as botanists, is not only to continue to 

contribute leading research in plant sciences, 

but find our common voice and communicate 

the value and importance of our work to the 

policy makers and the public as well as to 

advocate for its continued support and growth 

in the face of challenges ahead for the future. 

If you are interested in contributing to the BSA’s 

Public Policy Committee or attending a future 

Congressional Visits Day, please don’t hesitate 

to contact us at or

On behalf of the BSA’s Public Policy Committee, 

Maribeth Latvis, Ph.D., Andre Naranjo, Mor-

gan Gostel, Ph.D., and Marian Chau, Ph.D.

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The #OhiaLove Project: Banking Seeds During the Rapid 

‘Ōhi‘a Death Crisis in Hawai‘i

In 2015, a fungal disease called Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a 

Death (ROD) was spreading on Hawai‘i Island, 

killing thousands of ‘ōhi‘a trees (Metrosideros 

polymorpha)—the keystone species of 

Hawaiian native forests. I recognized an urgent 

need to collect and bank seeds, and I knew, 

from our research at the Seed Conservation 

Lab in Lyon Arboretum’s Hawaiian Rare 

Plant Program, that the small seeds of ‘ōhi‘a 

could be stored for decades under proper 

conditions. However, emergency funding 

was unavailable. Since one of the ways ROD 

spreads is via human activity, there was also 

an urgent need for outreach. I spearheaded 

the #OhiaLove Crowdfunding Campaign to 

raise both money and awareness. We launched 

in February 2016, and in 4 months, we raised 

$50,000 with 457 donations from across 

Hawai‘i and mainland U.S., and even from 

other countries. I appeared on television news 

programs and other media, and joined the 

diverse and dedicated ROD Working Group 

to cooperate on statewide outreach efforts.

Once we had funding, I collaborated with 

Laukahi Hawai‘i Plant Conservation Network 

and the Hawai‘i Seed Bank Partnership to 

establish collection strategies, goals, and 

protocols. A year later, we now have collected 

and banked over 2 million ‘ōhi‘a seeds from 

more than 10 regions on three islands. In 

February 2017, Lyon Arboretum was awarded 

$100,000 through Hawaii Tourism Authority’s 

Aloha ‘Āina Program to build on these efforts 

with a ROD Seed Banking Initiative in 2017-


Lyon Arboretum would like to say mahalo 

to all the BSA members who donated to this 

project or helped spread the word!
By Marian Chau, Lyon Arboretum University 

of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Ten thousand of the ‘ōhi‘a seeds that have been 

saved through the 

#OhiaLove Project.

Ōhi‘a trees in the Ko‘olau mountains on the is-

land of O‘ahu.

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Welcome to  

Where the West Begins!

As botanists from around the world arrive at Fort Worth, Texas for BOTANY 

2017, they’ll have a unique opportunity to experience a global research 

institute and learning center nearby: the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 

(BRIT). Staff members at BRIT are thrilled to have conference attendees 

visiting right in their own backyard during this year’s annual meeting. In 

addition to a great conference for which they have helped arrange some 

exciting field trips, there is much to do and see in Fort Worth—and of 

course, they’d love to have you come visit BRIT!

From the conference hotel, BRIT is just a short bus, Uber, or cab ride away at 1700 University 

Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76107, located next door to the Fort Worth Botanic Garden. BRIT is 

open to the public Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, and by appointment outside those 

times. And in celebration of an influx of botanical visitors to the city, BRIT is offering free 

tours Tuesday through Friday at 1:30 pm, during which you can visit our herbarium, tour the 

grounds, and check out their current exhibit, “The Hidden Gardens of BRIT: BRIT collections 

on display.”

Please stop by and share your love of botany!  

For more information, please go to


Photo by Glen E. Ellman

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Botanical Society of America’s 

Award Winners

Jennifer Richards  

Wins 2017 Distinguished 

Fellow Award

The Botanical Society of America 

Distinguished Fellow Award is the highest 

honor our Society bestows. Each year, the 

Merit Award Committee solicits nominations, 

evaluates candidates, and selects those to 

receive an award. Awardees are chosen 

based on their outstanding contributions 

to  the  mission  of  our  scientific  Society.  The 

committee  identifies  recipients  who  have 

demonstrated excellence in basic research, 

education,  and  public  policy,  or  who 

have  provided  exceptional  service  to  the 

professional botanical community, or who may 

have made contributions to a combination of 

these categories.

Dr. Jennifer Richards  has made many 

important contributions in the diverse areas of 

plant morphology, development, and ecology 

of plants. Her research questions have ranged 

from the development of vegetative and 

reproductive parts of plants, to the ecology of 

their forms and functions, and comparisons 

of the evolutionary pathways of different 

taxa in the same and in different communities 

in response to environmental variation. 

Trained in classical plant morphology, she 

is now a whole-plant ecologist specializing 

in macrophytes of the southern Florida 

Everglades ecosystem, working with many 

collaborators  in  diverse  fields  of  ecology 

and other disciplines to assess community 

and ecosystem effects of the extensive, long-

term restoration projects taking place in the 

Everglades.  She has also investigated  the 

development and ecological implications of 

distyly  in  flowers,  the  function  of  leaves  in 

carnivorous plants, the significance of water 

lilies as indicators of a healthy freshwater 

ecosystem in the Everglades, and potential 

methods of control for invasive exotic ferns. 

Richards has served the BSA in a number 

of capacities, including the Conservation 

Committee, Developmental and Structural 

Section, Education Committee, AJB associate 

editor, Election Committee, the Committee 

on Committees, and Secretary of the BSA. 

In 2006, the BSA recognized Richards with 

a Centennial Award for her outstanding 

service to the field and the Society. She is an 

outstanding scientist, educator, and colleague 

who remains humble, approachable, and 

receptive to anyone with an interest in plants. 

Nominated by many of her colleagues, she is 

a botanist’s botanist, who continues to serve 

the BSA, the botanical community, and her 

institution with 


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Benjamin Blackman 

Receives BSA Emerging 

Leader Award

Dr. Benjamin  Blackman  is an Assistant 

Professor in the Department of Plant and 

Microbial Biology and the University of 

California, Berkeley.  Blackman earned 

his B.S. in Biological Sciences at Stanford 

University and then continued on there 

as a technician in the lab of Dr. David 

Kingsley.  Blackman received his Ph.D. in 

2009 from Indiana University, Bloomington, 

where he worked with Drs. Loren Rieseberg 

and Scott Michaels, and he completed an 

NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology at 

Duke University and University of California, 

Berkeley with Drs. John Willis and Daniel 

Rokhsar, respectively.  Blackman  served as 

a faculty member in the Department of 

Biology at the University of Virginia for 

seven semesters before starting his current 

position at UC Berkeley in January 2016. 

Over this period, Blackman has been a highly 

productive researcher, authoring over 25 

publications, and he also has an impressive 

record of fellowship and grant support from 

the National Science Foundation.

Blackman's research takes a highly integrative 

approach to understanding how plant 

development responds to seasonal and 

diurnal environmental fluctuations and 

how these plastic responses evolve during 

adaptation or domestication. His work 

applies genomic, functional, and comparative 

approaches in two classic and diverse 

systems: sunflowers and monkeyflowers, In 

doing so,  Blackman  has made many novel 

insights spanning from the nucleotide level 

to population ecology in the evolution of 

photoperiodic flowering as populations 

adapt to local habitats, the contribution of 

gene duplication to evolutionary innovation 

during domestication, and the biology of solar 


Blackman’s commitment to teaching, 

outreach, and professional service is also 

impressive. Since defending his Ph.D.,  he 

has mentored over 70 undergraduates 

and high school students. Many of 

these diverse students have continued 

on in STEM fields, and  Blackman  was 

recognized as an outstanding faculty 

mentor by the VA-NC Louis Stokes Alliance 

for Minority Participation in STEM in 

2015.  Blackman  has also organized several 

regional meetings and symposia, and he has 

served on the BSA Public Policy Committee 

since 2013. Among his achievements in 

outreach, Blackman mentored K-12 Planting 

Science teams for five years, helped develop 

and implement a discovery-based genomics 

curriculum for high school summer interns 

at the National Museum of Natural History, 

and is now a lead organizer of Walking with 

Wildflowers, a new citizen science initiative 

for monitoring plant phenology along the 

Pacific Crest Trail.

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        



Dr. J. Philip Gibson, of the Department 

of Microbiology & Plant Biology and the 

Department of Biology at the University of 

Oklahoma, clearly brings all of the qualities 

recognized by the Charles Edwin Bessey 

Teaching Award: enthusiasm, innovation in 

teaching that increases student and/or public 

interest in botany, innovation in teaching 

botany that increases the quality of botanical 

education, and BSA Membership. Gibson’s 

commitment to effective teaching began in 

graduate school where he developed a forest 

ecology summer field course because he 

recognized the critical importance of taking 

students into the field and providing research 


As a faculty member, Gibson’s pioneering 

work with student engagement has expanded 

to include development of numerous case 

studies that use primary research to teach 

fundamentals, flipped classes complete with 

YouTube videos, and card games that teach 

phylogenetic concepts.  Gibson is exceedingly 

generous with each of these innovations. 

The case studies are provided as freely 

available PowerPoints and are meticulously 

documented with notes for using the case 

studies in the classroom. Not only is Gibson 

committed to improving education for college 

students, he has published three textbooks 

aimed at K-12 students. 

His commitment to public outreach is equally 

impressive. Throughout his career, he has 

given presentations at venues ranging from 

Native Plant Societies, to Natural History 

Museums, to Community Centers. Gibson 

twice led the BSA contingent at the USA 

Science and Engineering Festival (http:// attended by 

many thousands of visitors. Finally, Gibson is 

a loyal and energetic member of the BSA. He 

has taken on leadership roles in the Teaching 

Section, including service as chair, vice chair, 

program coordinator, and now secretary/

treasurer.  Gibson took on the leadership of 

PlantEd, where he is committed to providing a 

platform for disseminating new developments 

in education.

J. Philip Gibson 


Charles Edwin Bessey 

Teaching Award

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Triarch “Botanical Images” Student Travel Awards

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

work coupling digital images (botanical) with scientific explanations/descriptions designed for the 

general public.


Ya Min 

Harvard University  

Feast for the pollinator

Aquilegia petal spurs can produce a large volume of nectar when fully blooming.

Diverse forms of petal spurs of Columbine flowers are always used as textbook 

examples of pollination syndrome and adaptive radiation: most species are mainly 

pollinated by one kind of pollinator, and the lengths of the petal spurs match 

the pollinators' tongue lengths. The fully blooming flower in the photo is of a 

horticultural strain “Origami”, with sweet and delicious nectar filled almost half 

of the long petal spurs—what a feast for the pollinators!

1st Place

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Kelly Matsunaga 

University of Michigan   


Carolina Siniscalchi 

University of Memphis 

Hitting the sweet spot 

2nd Place  

3rd Place  

This image depicts a digital transverse section 

of a Pinus resinosa (red pine) seed cone, based 

on X-ray micro-computed tomography (µCT). 

µCT is a technique used in many scientific 

disciplines for non-destructively imaging and 

analyzing three-dimensional objects. Simi-

lar to hospital CT, or CAT scans, µCT scans 

produce a series of high resolution 2D X-ray 

images taken through 360 degrees of rotation, 

which are then reconstructed using computer 

software. These reconstructions generate 3D 

data sets that can then be analyzed in a wide 

range of programs to study the internal and 

external structure of the object. µCT scans of 

plants have many applications in botanical 

research and education because they can be 

used to efficiently and non-destructively study 

3D morphology and anatomy, perform digital 

dissections, and produce 3D models that are 

useful for teaching, scientific communication, 

and public outreach. In this digital section of 

the seed cone we can see the cone axis, includ-

ing the pith and secondary xylem, diverging 

ovuliferous scales, and seeds.

Ant drinks nectar from nectary on the ex-

ternal part of a corolla on a Chresta speciosa 

flower. Plants have developed a wide range 

of defense mechanisms to protect them-

selves against herbivory. Some produce tox-

ic compounds on leaves and flowers, other 

have dense layers of hair protecting leaves 

and some recruit insects to help with the 

work. This species, Chresta speciosa, has a 

tiny nectar-producing gland on the outside 

of the corollas; this may look like a waste of 

energy, but the nectar droplets attract ants. 

Some ants are very aggressive regarding pro-

tection of food sources and will fight other 

bigger insects when they try to prey on the 

plant. Therefore, by producing extra nectar, 

the plant manages to keep lots of ants on its 

stem and inflorescences, and they will protect 

the plant from most predators. 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


BSA Public Policy Awards

The Public Policy Award was established in 2012 to support the development of tomorrow’s leaders 

and a better understanding of this critical area. The 2017 recipients are:

Andre A. Naranjo, Ph.D. Student, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida 

Maribeth Latvis, Postdoctoral Associate, Tank Lab, University of Idaho

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards, including 

the J. S. Karling Award

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards support graduate student research and are made 

on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendations. Within the award group is 

the Karling Graduate Student Research Award. This award was instituted by the Society in 1997 

with funds derived through a generous gift from the estate of the eminent mycologist, John Sidney 

Karling (1897-1994), and supports and promotes graduate student research in the botanical 


The J. S. Karling Graduate Student Research Award

Ya  Min, Harvard University (Advisor: Elena Kramer), for the proposal: The genetic architecture 

of stamen whorl variation in Aquilegia

The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards

Prabha Amarasinghe, University of Florida (Advisor: Nico Cellinese), for the proposal: An 

integrated approach for understanding the drivers of diversification in Memecylon 


Lauren Audi, Northwestern University (Advisor: Nyree J. C. Zerega), for the proposal: Genetic 

characterization of Caribbean Breadfruit: Advancing food security and local sustainable agriculture 

via germplasm conservation and collaboration with local growers

Nicholas  Bard,  University of Colorado at Denver (Advisor: Leo P. Bruederle), for the 

proposal: The diversity of adaptation: A population genomic study of two disjunct conspecific 

plant taxa

Amanda Benoit, University of Tennessee (Advisor: Susan Kalisz), for the proposal: Sit-and-

wait predators as drivers of plant mating system evolution

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Brittany Cavazos, Iowa State University (Advisor: Haldre S. Rogers), for the proposal: The 

impact of frugivorous bird extinction on plant reproductive traits

Alexa DiNicola, University of Wisconsin at Madison (Advisor: Kenneth J. Sytsma), for the 

proposal: Evolution of the Potentilla breweri complex: Adaptation, hybridization, and radiation 

in the Great Basin sky islands

Anna  Farrell,  Northern Illinois University (Advisor: Nicholas A. Barber), for the 

proposal: Functional plant trait variation along disturbance gradients in restored prairies

Jessica Hoch, Columbia University (Advisor: Matthew I. Palmer), for the proposal: Drivers 

of microbial assemblages, plant-microbial mechanisms, and ecosystem services in urban green 


Johanna Jantzen, University of Florida (Advisor: Pamela S. Soltis), for the proposal: Diversification 

and niche evolution in Neotropical Tibouchina s.s. (Melastomataceae)

Melanie Kazenel, University of Vermont (Advisor: Alison K. Brody), for the proposal: Assessing 

the consequences of bumblebee declines for native plants and pollinators

Xiaoxian  Liu,  University of Florida (Advisor: Doug Soltis), for the proposal:  Evolutionary 

impact of genome duplication on alternative splicing: Genome-wide assessment in a polyploid 

plant (Tragopogon)

Chelsea  Pretz,  University of Colorado at Boulder (Advisor: Stacey D. Smith), for the 

proposal:  Pollination biology and hybridization among Tomatillo (Physalis) Species in the 

Southwestern Region of North America

Adam Ramsey, University of Memphis (Advisor: Jennifer Mandel), for the proposal: The effects 

of mitochondrial heteroplasmy on individual fitness in wild carrot

Jon  Richey,  University of California at Davis (Advisor: Isabel Montanez), for the 

proposal: Reconstructing paleo-plant physiology and vegetation-climate feedbacks of late paleozoic 

seasonally-dry tropical biomes

Rosa  Rodriguez-Pena,  Ohio State University (Advisor: Andrea D. Wolfe), for the 

proposal:  Investigating the agents driving diversification in Penstemon using high-throughput 

sequencing technology

Annika  Smith,  University of Florida (Advisor: Pamela S. Soltis), for the proposal:  Floral 

evolution & diversity in the nasturtiums (Tropaeolum)

Elizabeth  Stunz,  University of Texas at El Paso (Advisor: Michael L. Moody), for the 

proposal: Landscape genetics of Arctic dwarf birch (Betula nana) in the context of gene flow and 

climate change

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Katherine Wenzell, Northwestern University (Advisor: Jeremie Fant), for the proposal: Geographic 

variation in floral traits and pollinators in relation to population genetic structure of two Castilleja 

species (Orobanchaceae)

Colby Witherup, Northwestern University (Advisor: Norm Wickett), for the proposal: Investigating 

the evolutionary history of meiosis genes in genera with diploid and polyploid clades

Vernon I. Cheadle Student Travel Awards

(BSA in association with the Developmental and Structural Section)

This award was named in honor of the memory and work of Dr. Vernon I. Cheadle.

Farahnoz Khojayori, Virginia Commonwealth University (Advisor: Dr. Wenheng Zhang), for 

the Botany 2017 presentation: “CYC2-like genes elucidate floral symmetry evolution following a 

major biogeographic disjunction” Co-authors: Jingbo Zhang, Elena Kramer, Charles Davis, and 

Wenheng Zhang

Keir Wefferling, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Advisor: Dr. Sara Hoot), for the 

Botany 2017 presentation: “Disentangling the subalpine marshmarigold polyploid complex: 

Phylogeography of Caltha leptosepala s.l. (Ranunculaceae)” Co-author: Sara Hoot

The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards

The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and 

are made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation. The 2017 award 

recipients are:

Christopher Bidlack, Bucknell University (Advisor, Drs. Christopher T. Martine and 

Jason T. Cantley), for  Comparing salt tolerance in germination and adulthood between four 

Australian Solanum species

Michelle (Shelly) Gaynor, University of Central Florida (Advisor, Dr. Chase Mason with Drs. 

Linda Walters and Eric Hoffman), for Assessing genetic diversity within populations of smooth 

cordgrass to ensure effective restoration efforts

Jackie Ndem, Bucknell University (Advisor, Drs. Jessica E. Hall and Christopher T. Martine), 

for Molecular analysis of pollen grains from a morphologically androdioecious but functionally 

dioecious Solanum species

Kelly Pfeiler, Humboldt State University (Advisor, Dr. Alexandru M. Tomescu), for An early 

Cretaceous seed cone provides a window into the deep phylogeny of sequoioid Cupressaceae

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


The BSA Young Botanist Awards

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

the plant sciences and to encourage their participation in the BSA. The 2017 “Certificate of Special 

Achievement” award recipients are:

Ethan Baldwin, University of Florida (Advisors: Drs. Pamela and Douglas Soltis)

Dana Bergenfeld, Connecticut College (Advisor: Dr. Chad Jones)

Lana Bolin, University of Minnesota (Advisor: Dr. David A. Moeller)

Brandon Corder, University of Florida (Advisors: Drs. Pamela and Douglas Soltis)

Nic Diaz, Bucknell University (Advisors: Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Jason T. Cantley)

Paige Fabre, University of Washington (Advisor: Dr. Dick Olmstead)

Emma Frawley, Bucknell University (Advisors: Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Jason T. Cantley

Julian Ginori, University of Florida (Advisors: Drs. Pamela and Douglas Soltis)

Nicolas Glynos, Cornell University (Advisor: Dr. Karl Niklas)

Makenna Hill, Weber State University (Advisor: Dr. Sue Harley)

Lia Leibman, University of Virginia (Advisor: Dr. Laura Galloway)

Warner Lowry, James Madison University (Advisor: Dr. Conley K. McMullen)

Nathan Luftman, Bucknell University (Advisors: Drs. Christopher T. Martine and Jason T. Cantley)

Janet Mansaray, Howard University (Advisor: Dr. Janelle M. Burke)

Rebekah Mohn, Miami University (Advisor: Dr. Michael A. Vincent)

Cody Myers, University of Florida (Advisors: Dr. Pamela and Douglas Soltis)

Nicholas Shaw, Weber State University (Advisor: Dr. Heather Root)

Hannah Thomas, Pittsburgh State University (Advisor: Dr. Neil Snow)

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


The BSA PLANTS Grant Recipients

The PLANTS (Preparing Leaders and Nurturing Tomorrow’s Scientists: Increasing the diversity of 

plant scientists) program recognizes outstanding undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and 

provides travel grants and mentoring for these students.

Kefren Arjona, University of Florida (Advisor: Dr. Doug Soltis)

Laymon Ball, Long Beach State University (Advisor: Dr. Amanda Fisher)

Nana Britwum, Cornell University (Advisor: Dr. Rena Borkhataria)

Michelle Gray, University of Maryland College Park (Advisor: Dr. Maile Neele)

Monique Harvey, Howard University (Advisor: Dr. Janelle Burke)

Rebecca Hayes, University of Pittsburgh (Advisor: Dr. Tia-Lynn Ashman)

Lillian Hendrick, Central Michigan State University (Advisor: Dr. Anna Monfils)

Glen Morrison, California State Polytechnic University (Advisor: Dr. Amy Litt)

Jocelyn Navarro, Connecticut College (Advisor: Dr. Kristine Hardeman)

ShaunAnn Peters, Central Michigan State University (Advisor: Dr. Anna Monfils)

Kasey Pham, Michigan State University (Advisor: Dr. Alan Prather)

Melissa Vergara, University of California-Santa Cruz (Advisor: Dr. Kathleen Kay)

Sienna Wessel, Northern State University (Advisor: Dr. Jodie Ramsay)

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Ecology Section Student Presentation Awards

Matthew Haynsen, George Washington University (Advisor, Dr. Keith Crandall) for the 

Botany 2017 presentation: “Population Genetic Analysis of Invasive Kudzu (Pueraria montana 

var. lobata) throughout Asia and the United States” Co-authors: Mohammad Vatanparast, Liu 

Luxian, Fu Cheng-Xin, Keith A. Crandall and Ashley N. Egan

Sarah Augusta Maccracken, Smithsonian Institute National Museum of Natural History 

(Advisor, Dr. Conrad Labandeira) for the Botany 2017 presentation: “Insect Herbivory of the 

Kaiparowits Formation Flora, Late Cretacous (Campanian) of Utah” Co-authors: Ian M. Miller, 

Charles Mitter and Conrad C. Labandeira

Carlos J. Pasiche-Lisboa, University of Manitoba (Advisors, Drs. Michele D. Piercey-Normore 

and Rene Belland) for the Botany 2017 presentation: “Survival of fragments from three boreal 

mosses to extreme temperatures” Co-authors: Rene Belland and Michele D. Piercey-Normore

The BSA Developing Nations Travel Grants

Francisca Ely, Universidad de los Andes, Venezuela

Eliezer Cocoletzi Vásquez, Instituto de Ecologia, Mexico

Kamal Jit Singh, Panjab University, India

Julián Aguirre-Santoro, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Columbia

Victor Amoroso, Central Mindanao University, Philippines

Natalia Ivalu Cacho, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico

Emilio Estrada-Ruiz, Instituto Politecnico Nacional, Mexico

Caroline Umebese, University of Lagos, Nigeria

Malka Saba, University of Gujrat, Pakistan

Matias Köhler, Universidade Federal do Rio Grade do Sul, Brazil

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


The BSA Professional Member Travel Grants

Jeremy Coate, Reed College

Linda Hardison, Oregon State University

Nina Baghai-Riding, Delta State University

Robert Baker, University of Wyoming

Catherine Borer, Berry College

Juan Losada, Brown and Harvard Universities

Stanley Rice, Southeastern Oklahoma State University

Laura Lagomarsino, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Seana Walsh, National Tropical Botanical Garden

Stephanie Conway, University of Washington

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Three Sisters and Integrative  

Faculty Development

By Beronda L. Montgomery



Michigan State University, 

DOE—Plant Research Labo-

ratory, East Lansing, MI 


Lessons on building integrated academic 

careers in diverse settings emerge from a 

contemplative walk through a Three Sisters 

garden. The Three Sisters of corn, bean, 

and squash are central to traditional plant 

knowledge and American indigenous 

farming practices. These crops have been 

planted together because of the interactive 

relationships that occur and which support 

more robust growth than would be observed 

through planting each in monoculture. These 

sisters have interdependent relationships 

that are supported both by the order of their 

emergence, successful establishment, and 

distinct yet complementary roles. Here, I 

draw parallels between the Three Sisters of 

traditional plant cultivation and the three 

distinct domains of focus of academic careers: 

research, teaching, and service. Specifically, I 

draw on lessons from the Three Sisters, and 

related concepts of plant ecophysiology, to 

highlight strategic approaches for building 

integrated careers that are developed and 

sustained through early engagement of self-

reflection, mentoring, and active cultivation, 

as well as intentional engagement in a large 

community of support. The importance of the 

order of establishment of particular academic 

domains, productive cultivation practices to 

support integrated growth, and additional 

implications for supporting individuals in 

diverse communities are discussed in the 

context of specific academic environments in 

which they are being planted. The lessons that 

can be harvested from the Three Sisters garden 

regarding the building and cultivating of 

effective and productive integrated academic 

careers are plentiful, lasting, and potentially 

transformative for higher education 




Manuscript received 26 June 2016; revision 

accepted 6 April 2017.


 Corresponding e-mail:

doi: 10.3732/psb.1600004

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Key Words

academic career; career integration; faculty 

development; plant ecophysiology; research; 

service; teaching; traditional plant knowledge


ecent conversations have been sparked 

regarding bridging the gap between in-

digenous and scientific bases of knowledge 

(Kimmerer, 2015; Mistry and Berardi, 2016). 

In speaking of drawing on both scientific and 

indigenous knowledge, botanist Robin Wall 

Kimmerer (2015) speaks of learning how “to 

drink the nectar and gather pollen from both” 

scientific and indigenous “flowers” of knowl-

edge (p. 47). She argues that “it is this dance 

of cross-pollination that can produce a new 

species of knowledge, a new way of being in 

the world” (p. 47). I also see reflection on both 

scientific and indigenous knowledge bases as 

fertile motivation for the integration of knowl-

edge across distinct life and career domains to 

support the building of a personal approach to 

understanding and being in the world. In this 

context, we have much to learn from plants, 

organisms that by virtue of being sessile have 

developed exquisite abilities to sense what is 

going on around them and tune their growth 

and development to environmental cues to 

maximize productivity and survival. Plant 

geochemist and geobiologist Hope Jahren 

(2016) declared that “human civilization has 

reduced the plant…into three things: food, 

medicine, and wood” (p. 279). Plants have so 

much more to offer, if we are able to overcome 

the common ailment of “plant blindness,” i.e. 

humans’ failure to recognize, observe, and 

learn from the plants around us, and to see 

them and hear the lessons that they present. 

Herein, lessons from the Three Sisters preva-

lent in indigenous plant practices and ecolog-

ical knowledge are explored.

Common, commercial agricultural practices 

showcase vast fields of monocultured maize, 

soybeans, and other crops, starkly distinct 

from the diverse inter-planting of crops or 

polyculture—including the venerable Three 

Sisters cultivated by Native Americans and 

other broad ranges of crops planted by other 

indigenous peoples globally. Rather than 

question or challenge the source of the gift of 

the Three Sisters, or other traditional plant or 

ecological knowledge, I ask what questions 

can be drawn and what wisdom can be 

gained from this concept. The Three Sisters 

knowledge, which is based on the practice 

of co-planting corns, beans, and squash, is 

common to many American tribes (Chenault, 

2008; Kimmerer, 2015, pp. 128-140). The 

inter-planting of the species draws on the 

complementary strengths of the three crops. 

Corn provides vertical support for beans, 

which in turn provide accessible nitrogen to 

fertilize themselves and corn. Finally, low-to-

the-ground squash, which is also nourished 

by the beans’ supplied fertilizer, inhibits weed 

growth and maintains moisture of the soil 

for the other two partners. Plants growing in 

polyculture in a Three Sisters garden produce 

greater yield from their integrated growth than 

if each were grown in monoculture (Kimmerer, 

2015, p. 132). The Three Sisters story is equally 

applicable to discussions about reciprocal 

relationships, sacrifice, and communal values 

(Chenault, 2008), as it is to those about basic 

biological concepts of symbiosis, ecological 

niche partitioning, and cycling of nutrients 

(Kimmerer, 2002). Following is a discussion 

of the Three Sisters with specific application 

to integrated academic careers in diverse 

academic communities.

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Polyculture Vs. Monoculture 

and Productivity

The general phenomenon of improved 

productivity in ecosystems containing diverse 

plant species, which is characteristic of the 

Three Sisters, has been documented for many 

different plant types (Adetiloye, 2004; Li et 

al., 2007; Li et al., 2014; Wang et al., 2014). 

One potential mechanism underlying the 

observed improved productivity associated 

with inter-cropping is that individual plants 

or plant species mobilize resources, including 

nutrients that improve their growth and 

contribute interchangeably to the growth 

of other plants in the community through a 

process referred to as interspecific facilitation 

(Li et al., 2014). Thus, the distinct plants 

growing in polyculture reciprocally contribute 

growth-promoting, or protective, properties 

to each other. Indeed, as Kimmerer describes 

(2015), “lessons of reciprocity are written 

clearly in a Three Sisters garden” (p. 131). 

The nature of reciprocal existence of the 

three partners in the Three Sisters garden 

has direct implications for establishing 

interaction and enhancement of the domains 

of a faculty member’s career. Very frequently 

the domains of research, teaching, and 

service in which faculty members operate 

are viewed as competing interests (Whittaker 

and Montgomery, 2014). Given that the 

degree of competition for time and energy 

between these domains is largely driven by 

the rewards attributed to each by institutions 

in which practitioners work and are reviewed 

for success (O’Meara and Braskamp, 2005; 

O’Meara, 2005), involvement in one domain 

is frequently viewed as taking valuable time 

and energy away from the pursuit of the 

others and would leave the faculty member 

constantly juggling competing demands. 

Instead, integration across academic 

domains—a proxy for polyculture—can 

yield impactful outcomes. These outcomes 

can lead to specific approaches to promoting 

diverse and strategic pathways to success in 

academic environments, including integrated 

approaches to career development. 

The consideration of research, teaching, and 

service as different, yet all valuable, avenues 

through which one can accomplish individual 

purpose and vision leads to the potential to 

view these activities not as distractions one 

from the other, but as integrative scholarship. 

Teaching in this integrated context becomes 

not just the passing on of disciplinary 

knowledge from instructor to student, but 

an opportunity to encourage students to 

understand how the knowledge available is 

a component of their doing what they are 

“supposed” to be doing. Research in this 

integrative context represents an opportunity 

to understand the natural world and its order 

and how an individual realizes oneself and 

works most effectively in that context, in 

addition to or as a part of what is commonly 

described as “discovery and research.” Service 

in this integrative context may be viewed as 

“a way to bring…scholarship, leadership and 

advocacy together” (Dockry, 2015, p. 36), 

in ways that are synergistic and result in an 

outcome that is much greater than the sum 

total of its parts.

In reflecting back on the Three Sisters, “the 

beauty of the partnership is that each plant 

does what it does in order to increase its own 

growth. But as it happens, when the individuals 

flourish, so does the whole” (Kimmerer, 2015, 

p. 134). Ultimately, promoting an integrative 

approach to one’s academic career is the 

essence of the principles of a Three Sisters 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


ecosystem. That is, in well-thought out and 

well-executed integrated careers, the three 

sisters of an academic career share with the 

Three Sisters of traditional plant knowledge 

that “the gifts of each are more fully expressed 

when they are nurtured together than alone” 

(Kimmerer, 2015, p. 140).

Timing of Emergence and 

an Integrated Existence

The sequence of emergence and establishment 

of the Three Sisters is critical for maximizing 

the potential of their synergistic existence. 

Kimmerer (2015) describes that the “sequence 

of their germination, their birth order, is 

important to their relationship and to the 

success of the crop” (p. 130). Some additional 

plant studies also corroborate the Three 

Sisters lesson of the importance of timing of 

establishment of relationships on the ultimate 

productivity outcomes in polyculture crops 

(Adetiloye, 2004). Timing the planting of 

the Three Sisters such that corn emerges first 

and uses its property of being proficient at 

absorbing moisture available in the soil to 

promote its germination is critical. The corn 

seedling takes root, initiates development and 

expansion of leaves, and establishes robust 

photosynthesis that allows it to transition 

from depending on the resources gifted to it 

from its mother plant to producing its own 

food that supports it in growing tall. The next 

to emerge is the bean, which in the absence 

of a support system would grow along the 

soil and become susceptible to many stresses 

from living (biotic) and non-living (abiotic) 

factors. The “slow” sister is squash, which 

emerges last, and spreads its broad leaves 

close to the soil surface in open spaces in the 

canopy through which light penetrates and 

covers the established root systems of the first 

two sisters. This low-to-the-ground covering 

provided by squash prevents weeds from 

forming and protects the soil from drying out, 

and its prickly leaves can serve as a deterrent 

to herbivory (Kimmerer, 2015, p. 131). This 

importance of the timing of establishment is 

representative of “knowledge of relationship” 

(Kimmerer et al. 2015, p. 140) and has strong 

implications for the establishment of the 

three domains for an academic career. In this 

context, which of the three domains is the first 

sister is largely predicated on the context of the 

faculty member’s career, the faculty member’s 

self-defined and self-cultivated career goals, 

and the criteria by which the faculty member 

will be assessed for promotion and/or tenure. 

Faculty members generally allocate time 

and energy to the domains of their work 

in proportion to how these areas will be 

weighted for tenure and promotion (Ruscio, 

1987; Finnegan and Gamson, 1996; O’Meara 

and Braskamp, 2005; O’Meara, 2005; Toews 

and Yazedjian, 2007). 

Considered in the Three Sisters’ framework, 

establishment of one’s research is likely to be 

the first “sister” to emerge for faculty members 

in research institutions, whereas teaching 

and pedagogy may be the primary focus for 

those in teaching institutions. In each of these 

contexts, much like the corn in the Three Sisters 

garden, the first domain planted should be 

viewed as a foundation upon which to support 

the interdependent growth of another career 

domain. Having established a strong research 

foundation, research-intensive faculty may 

next seek to promote growth of teaching that 

is interdependent with and supported by their 

research interests. Such efforts may include 

scholarship-based approaches to teaching 

and learning or lab-based, inquiry-driven 

instruction related to their core research 

(Anderson et al., 2011; Whittaker and 

Montgomery, 2014). Alternatively, teaching-

intensive faculty may seek to use their 

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established lecture, or especially lab, courses 

to develop and integrate research questions. 

Finally, service and outreach may well be 

viewed as the “slow sister” for all faculty 

members. Having established the primary 

criteria by which most institutions will 

evaluate faculty success, faculty members can 

assess complementary service activities that 

may integrate with or elevate their teaching 

and research interests in ways that result in a 

partnership between career domains that like 

the corn, bean, and squash of a Three Sisters 

garden are “cooperating, not competing” 

(Kimmerer, 2015). Ultimately, the model of 

the Three Sisters provides a rich framework for 

inspiring integration across career domains.

Belowground Interactions 

and a Role for Shared  

Resources in Integrating 

Career Domains and  

Promoting External  


Plants operate in community in more ways 

than exemplified by a first encounter with the 

Three Sisters. Many visitors to a Three Sisters 

garden are likely to focus on the more readily 

observable aboveground interactions between 

the sisters, including the careful “placement of 

their leaves, carefully avoiding one another’s 

space” (Kimmerer, 2015, p. 132). Few are 

likely to fully see or recognize, or may indeed 

exclude, the role of support players in this 

ecosystem. Notably, the belowground parts 

of the plants are busily engaging in plentiful 

interactions with the soil and roots of other 

plants largely out of view of the human eye 

(Kimmerer, 2016). The roots of corn are rather 

shallow and thus occupy a different part of 

the soil than the deep taproots developed by 

beans. Squash positions its roots in places 

unoccupied by the roots of the two established 

sisters (Kimmerer, 2015, p. 133). In fact, when 

and where the stem of the squash encounters 

soil, it can initiate additional stem-derived 

roots known as adventitious roots (Kimmerer, 

2015, p. 133). Additionally, secondary roots, 

adventitious roots, and root hairs of each 

sister further distribute throughout available 

parts of the soil, which allows the plants 

to further search for resources or establish 

relationships with others. This underground 

cooperation extends beyond what is easily 

seen, but is as important to the cooperative 

relationships established between sisters as 

those readily observed above the surface. 

Plants in a Three Sisters garden, thus, have 

belowground interactions that demonstrate 

the reciprocity of the plants in co-cultivation 

as robustly as aboveground plant organs, again 

demonstrating that “all gifts are multiplied in 

relationship” (Kimmerer, 2015, p. 140).

Apart from interactions with the soil, the roots 

of plants establish symbiotic relationships 

with other organisms, including the bacteria 

required for some plants to fix nitrogen and 

with fungi to produce mycorrhizae that 

improve water uptake and nitrogen and 

phosphate acquisition. This latter association 

with fungi is apparently true of nearly all 

land plants (Smith and Read, 2008). These 

bacterial or fungal interactions with plants 

result in bilateral benefits to the two partners 

(Hartmann and Trumbore, 2016). Central to 

the Three Sisters paradigm are the symbiotic 

relationships that some roots have with 

bacteria; in fact, the second sister bean 

provides the nitrogen fertilizer based on its 

colonization by a specific nitrogen-fixing 

Rhizobium bacteria (Kimmerer, 2015, p. 133; 

Sprent, 2009; Yang et al., 2009). As a part of 

these symbiotic, belowground exchanges, 

plants share fixed carbon, an energy source, 

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with the bacteria or fungi in exchange for 

access to nutrients or improved water uptake. 

Although not a focus of the traditional 

Three Sisters metaphor, mycorrhizae (plant–

fungal associations) play critical roles in 

plants’ establishment and productivity in 

natural environments and in particular have 

critical roles in community building and 

communication, because a single fungus 

can connect multiple plants underground 

resulting in the building of connections and 

networks via plant roots. Thus, mycorrhizae 

not only acquire carbon from the plants they 

colonize, but also serve an important role in 

facilitating the sharing of carbon among the 

many plants with which they interconnect 

(Klein et al., 2016). This carbon sharing is 

facilitated by interactions between the obvious 

aboveground plant organs and the hidden-

from-view belowground parts of plants 

and results in the establishment of resource 

sharing networks between distinct plant parts 

and distinct individuals bound together in 

community. This resource sharing serves as a 

practical model for envisioning the importance 

of establishing an ecosystem of support and 

collegiality in academic environments that 

can run counter to predominant individual 

success models (Whittaker and Montgomery, 

2012; Montgomery et al., 2014). 

Indeed, these network relationships have broad 

implications for the building and sustaining 

of scientific or learning collaborations, both 

for the benefit of mentoring or research 

engagements and as a salient demonstration 

of the power of diverse communities. 

Although formal mentoring assignments 

may occur through academic programs, 

informal mentors or mentoring networks 

may serve a vital “belowground” role for 

supporting the establishment and growth of 

academics throughout a career (Montgomery, 

2017). The embedding of faculty members in 

symbiotic relationships and interconnected 

communities of support and reciprocal value 

provides ample opportunities for sustaining 

individual success and strengthening a larger 

productive community.

Early Engagement with  

Environment Impacts Future 


Seedlings are vastly impacted by environmental 

factors to which they are exposed early in 

their development (Poorter, 2007; Muscarella 

et al., 2013; Warpeha and Montgomery, 2016). 

Kimmerer (2015) notes this observance in 

the following way: “Trees are affected by 

their sapling days as much as people are by 

their childhoods” (p. 143). This recognized 

role of the impacts of environmental factors 

and engagements on organisms early in 

their development suggests a strong need for 

early interventions and timely engagement 

of mentoring during academic careers to 

promote the maximal benefits of integrated 

career planning. Furthermore, it is clear 

that the impact of early environmental 

exposures affects plants throughout their life 

cycles and has significant input into species 

persistence, species diversity, and community 

composition (Poorter, 2007; Muscarella et 

al., 2013). Thus, early interventions do not 

just impact individual career formation and 

success, but can impact long-term health 

and diversity of communities and contribute 

directly to the establishment and maintenance 

of communities of support over the long term 

as well. The latter has clear implications for 

inclusion goals and broad-based support of 

all individuals in diverse academic contexts. 

In this regard, the cross-species interactions 

that underlie the interdependent existence of 

the Three Sisters yield robust lessons about 

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the multiple benefits that can emerge from 

engaging and sustaining a diverse collection 

of individuals and diverse perspectives that 

can arise when supporting personalized, 

integrated career approaches. Such effective 

engagement is promoted by building cross-

cultural understanding or competence (Reich 

and Reich, 2006). Lessons in cross-cultural 

competence are deeply embedded in gardens 

of the Three Sisters and dependent upon “the 

capacity of others [biological organisms] as 

our teachers, as holders of knowledge, as 

guides” (Kimmerer, 2015, p. 58). If we are able 

to open our eyes to these lessons, “imagine the 

access we would have to different perspectives, 

the things we might see through other eyes, 

the wisdom that surrounds us” (Kimmerer, 

2015, p. 58).


Herein, I have reflected on lessons harvested 

for integrated academic careers in diverse 

environments from repeated visits to 

contemplate a Three Sisters garden and 

other bases of plant ecological knowledge. 

The lessons that I have described depend 

strongly on the recognition that significant 

and valuable input is inspired by traditional 

plant knowledge, which is the foundation of 

the Three Sisters. Receiving the gifts that are 

intended from the Three Sisters requires us 

to understand that “science asks us to learn 

about organisms. Traditional knowledge asks 

us to learn from them” (Kimmerer, 2016). 

The lessons that can be drawn from the 

Three Sisters are many, including those of 

productive growth in diverse environments 

supported by reciprocity, the beneficial 

impacts of readily observable and nonpublic 

interactions in community, and promotion of 

an ecosystem-based approach to supporting 

success. However, the greatest and most 

enduring lesson that may emerge is as follows: 

“The most important thing each of us can 

know is our unique gift and how to use it 

in the world. Individuality is cherished and 

nurtured, because in order for the whole to 

flourish, each us has to be strong in who we 

are and carry our gifts with conviction, so 

they can be shared with others” (Kimmerer, 

2015, p. 134). Drawing on the rich lessons 

that emerge from nature such as the Three 

Sisters garden provides a wealth of lasting 

gifts for building and sustaining integrated 

academic careers positioned to draw on the 

gifts of diverse individuals in a synergistic, 

and potentially transformative, means for 

sustaining all involved.


Work in the author’s lab on plant responses 

to the environment and broadening 

participation in the sciences is supported by 

the National Science Foundation (grant no. 


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Plants don’t naturally have politically drawn 

boundaries, but the people who have managed 

and studied them for many generations do, 

and ethical progress is grappling with this. The 

stories of the voyages in the 1800s didn’t raise 

our hairs with tales of incomplete paperwork; 

their risks were more of the nature concerning 

whether the ship would make it over the high 

seas or whether the caravan would be raided 

as it climbed over the pass to transport time-

sensitive collections. Now sleepless nights of 

worry fixate on the bureaucratic webs woven 

by both home and host country. What if the 

plant inspector at the airport isn’t in a good 

mood? What if I forgot a signature? How long 

will my permit take? My international plant 

collections have included nearly as many 

days drinking tea with municipal officials and 

filing collection permits, transport permits, 

phytosanitary certificates, export permits, 

and letters of agreement as hiking mountains 

or interviewing farmers. And let’s just say it: 

paperwork sucks. Thinking of filing a form 

raises my blood pressure. God forbid you’re 

trying to work in Indonesia where your 

Tools for the International Botanist: 

Navigating the Nagoya Protocol

A 2016 Workshop Recap

chances of getting a research permit accepted 

are super slim, where I’ve heard stories about 

people having to wade through a flooded 

lobby to check on their permit status. 

I bet I know what you’re ready to point out 

about international botanical research today 

that’s a whole lot different from 100 years ago: 

it’s about collaborative relationships, right? 

Each written agreement between scholars or 

institutions across borders is an opportunity 

for intellectual exchange and cross-training. 

It’s a lot of time investment to set these up; 

sometimes you have to move at a pace that is 

much slower and cautious than you’re used to.  

You have to learn the hierarchical structure of 

other bureaucratic systems and institutions, 

and navigate within and between them. But 

contracts serve an important purpose: they 

set roles and expectations, and minimize the 

likeliness that someone won’t get an outcome 

they expect, such as co-authorship or a return 

of results to a community, which burns bridges 

and hurts future science. The Nagoya Protocol 

on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and 

Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their 


  (“Nagoya Protocol” from here) 

was formed by the Convention on Biological 

Diversity (CBD) in good faith that putting a 

system in place would foster better and fairer 

collaborative science, would remove the fear 

of unethical exploitation of collections and 

knowledge, or would provide long-term 

benefits to communities. 

By Rachel S. Meyer

Executive Director of the 

UC Conservation Genomics 

Consortium, Department of 

Ecology and Evolutionary 

Biology, University of Cali-

fornia, Los Angeles 

E-mail: rsmeyer@ucla.


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The problem is that the system in place is 

still nebulous and isn’t yet working well. 

But BSA members are proactive and attune, 

refusing to let older collections go unused or 

new collections and research slow because of 

the bureaucratic burden. I ran a Navigating 

the Nagoya Protocol workshop at BOTANY 

2016 in Savannah and saw many examples of 

the ways botanists are applying the Protocol. 

Here’s a summary of the workshop.

The CBD formed in 1993, and its central 

aim is not to protect people’s interest, but 

rather, to reduce the rate of biodiversity loss, 

which is currently estimated to be 1000 times 

the background rate. Sensitive biodiversity 

hotspots are concentrated in tropical and 

subtropical climates with many developing 

economies. Many have only emergent natural 

science research programs. Some may not 

reflect the same separation of government-

science and academic-science. Some deal 

with heavy ongoing threats of poaching and 

overexploitation, and display a full spectrum 

of capacities to manage their biodiversity 

(just see Brunei and its neighbors on Google 

Earth!). The CBD is attempting to influence 

how the international community engages 

with biodiversity and the people whose 

livelihoods and future depend on those 


The Nagoya Protocol has a mission to combat 

biopiracy by setting rules. But it affects us. 

So, we have to ask ourselves the existential 

questions of what is biopiracy on our planet 

and am I possibly a part of it? I had to think 

what my area of research would look like in 

20 years to begin to understand the many 

ways I could harm people. And that’s coming  

from a crop ethnobotanist, where drawing 

connections between publications and future 

food and medicine products is pretty easy. If 

you are in basic research, you are the seed corn

As facilitators, we must 

make sure there is legal 

certainty and clarity 

of the mission and 

scope of the research 

or collection. We must 

make sure to obtain prior 

informed consent and 

obtain an agreement on 

the terms.


of innovation. How could people be creative 

and try to use the discoveries you’ve made or 

the knowledge you’ve helped spread? How do 

we make sure the people who donated their 

time and help, and who’ve shared germplasm 

and information, benefit? 

The Nagoya Protocol entered into operation 

in October 2014. It requires not only that 

you obtain research permits, but also Access 

and Benefit Sharing (ABS) agreements. The 

provider should set the terms. As facilitators, 

we must make sure there is legal certainty 

and clarity of the mission and scope of the 

research or collection. We must make sure to 

obtain prior informed consent and obtain an 

agreement on the terms. Nations are tasked 

with issuing permits when these agreements 

have been made. Nations are also tasked with 

providing a system that encourages research 

that contributes to biodiversity conservation 

and sustainable use.

Most of us in the BSA work in the realm of 

terrestrial plants. In a way, we can consider 

ourselves lucky. If we try, we’re not likely to be 

the bad guys (can you tell I’m an optimist?). 

Imagine if you worked in oceans and had to 

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determine appropriate parties to benefit from 

your unrealized discoveries. Well, industry 

happens to be looking mostly to oceans for 

the next natural products and is increasingly 

using omics sequencing to catalyze discovery 

rates. Imagine you discover a cosmopolitan 

cone snail with venom that’s a great painkiller, 

or a cold-water fish with proteins that become 

excellent anti-freeze in ice cream. Who 

benefits? These are real challenges! Consider 

that 64% of oceans are owned by all (i.e., 

ungoverned). Patent data tell us that discovery 

and benefits mainly trace to 10 countries, 

none of which are in the biodiversity-rich 

tropics. The Nagoya Protocol is the first 

regulator of neutral water. At least 

as botanists 

and ethnobotanists, we’ve got some starting 

resources. For example, there are ethics 

manuals for conducting  and communicating 

ethnobotanical research.* Kew Gardens 

also shares their policy on access to genetic 

resources and benefit-sharing.

For botanists beginning international 

fieldwork, you need to demonstrate a 

commitment to adhering to the protocol before 

you start your fieldwork and implement a plan 

conforming to the standards at that location. 

Given that botanists have been obtaining 

permits and setting up collaborations for a 

while now, you are likely doing much of the 

needed work already. You mainly just need 

an ABS agreement and a material transfer 

agreement (MTA). Some countries may have 

resources available on what an ABS agreement 

would look like for your situation (e.g., Brazil). 

Others haven’t yet. So, in those cases, you 

and your collaborating party can be creative 

with the terms. For example, if you don’t 

know of any monetary benefit that will arise 

from the work, can you or your institution 

give something in return for the knowledge 

or germplasm? Would you share research 

results with them early, donate duplicate 

collections to create a school herbarium, or 

offer for scholars to visit your lab? It’s useful 

to think along the lines of building capacity, 

preserving traditional knowledge, and 

making educational resources that carry the 

biodiversity conservation mission.  

In 2015, I went to West Africa to do African 

rice (Oryza glaberrima) research with 

subsistence farmers. The U.S. still has not 

ratified the Nagoya Protocol, but the National 

Science Foundation, who supported my 

fieldwork through a grant supplement, had 

just enforced a rule that all NSF-supported 

researchers adhere, as if we were signatories, 

to the Nagoya Protocol and the International 

Treaty (which facilitates materials transfer for 

certain types of organisms and really deserves 

its own article).  I tried to set up versions of 

ABS agreements at institutional and individual 


•  I obtained Institutional Review Board 

approval for my project through my 


•  I identified collaborators abroad, shared my 

proposed plan and interview questions, and 

made modifications based on their input.

•  ABS agreement part 1:  I made for co-author-

ship for multiple scenarios of how the data 

would be published (because I didn’t know 

exactly how I would divide the data I hoped 

to obtain into manuscripts). 

•  I decided to avoid an MTA by leaving all 

germplasm collections with local institu-

tions, which also became resources for local 

graduate students to use for their studies. If 

I want these collections, I agreed to request 

them from that country’s CGIAR (Consul-

tative Group on International Agricultural 


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•  ABS agreement part 2:  I brought hard copies 

of an information form with project contact 

information into the field and had translators 

to orally communicate the information. I re-

corded oral consent prior to each interview. 

I also obtained prior informed consent from 

the local municipal leaders before interview-

ing civilians.

•  ABS agreement part 3:  I asked informants 

what they would want in return from me and 

my collaborators in the country. They asked 

for attention to their situation, asked me to 

help them find opportunities to get machin-

ery for their farms, and requested more col-

laboration between them and the national 

institution. They were able to directly discuss 

the latter with the national institution repre-

sentatives that accompanied me in the field. 

For the former, I avoided empty promises 

and was clear that I wasn’t connected to ag in-

vestors or able to fundraise for them, but that 

I would help raise public awareness through 

documentary and scientific publication of the 

interview details. Note: if you know of ways I 

can help donors provide farm equipment to 

West African subsistence farmers, I’m all ears!

In an idealized case, my collaborators are to 

work within the system in their respective 

countries to report to the Access and Benefit 

Sharing Clearing House (ABSCH). This 

ABSCH system has not been fully formed in 

many countries, and you can see the status of 

the projects deposited in the system at https:// This is the system that should 

facilitate the exchange of information and 

the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol 

for years to come. It lists the country’s ABS 

national focal point, the competent national 

authorities, policy measures, national 

databases, certificates of compliance, and 

checkpoints. Guidance documents to help 

the clearing house gain use will be released 

in 2020. In the meantime, there are some 

guides, most recently published an available 

through the clearing house is “Nagoya 

Protocol: Challenges Arising from a Complex, 

Ambiguous and Controversial Text,” available 

only in Spanish.‡

Competent national authorities should ideally 

help encourage grassroots collaborations 

by identifying appropriate collaborating 

sovereign states at various levels. In other 

words, each country could post a Nagoya Office 

Advisor who would help new researchers 

trying to set up ABS agreements. As this is 

no easy post, it’s no wonder that in the short 

time since the Nagoya Protocol launched, few 

countries have such a system. 

But there is useful fine print on the 


website that gives my collaborators 

substantial flexibility. “Finally, the article of 

the Protocol addressing the relationship with 

international agreements and instruments may 

also be of interest. It refers to the possibility 

for Parties to develop and implement other 

relevant international agreements, including 

other specialized access and benefit-sharing 

agreements, provided that they are supportive 

of and do not run counter to the objectives of 

the Convention and the Protocol. It also refers 

to the need to pay due regard to ongoing work 

under  relevant international organizations.” 

Don’t let regulatory 

ambiguity slow 

down your science. 

Strengthen international 

collaborations as best 

you can and be as 

transparent as possible 

about expectations.

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Basically, rmy collaborators can decide to 

manage this relationship, these agreements, 

the research products, the germplasm, 

through the system they prefer, so long as it 

is aligned with the objectives of the Nagoya 

Protocol. Of course, they must comply with 

the existing domestic legislation. As an 

international collaborator, you can protect 

yourself by making sure this custom structure 

is in writing and is signed by all parties.

During the BOTANY 2016 workshop, some 

great questions were raised about collections 

made prior to October 2014. Multiparty 

frameworks initiated before October 2014 

are honored. However, if there are collections 

with no framework in place, then curators 

have to take action. 

If rectifying relationships of acquired 

collections, you should reach out three times 

to create an agreement on the utilization of 

those collections. This might mean contacting 

a natural history museum in the country 

of origin of those collections, presenting 

the problem to a tribal elders council, 

or working with a partnering herbarium 

to put some access and use language in 

place. The international MTAs for research 

purposes have excellent language to start 

these frameworks. Again, it is important 

to envision the long-term, from both 

the curation perspective and innovation 

perspective. What regulations put added 

workload on curatorial staff? What access 

structure promotes the use of collections 

or information for the conservation of 

biodiversity and promotion of sustainable 

practices? What discoveries could arise from 

these resources? If it is currently unclear what 

the benefits should be, propose a mechanism 

for the sovereign state to define benefits when 

the time is right.

During the workshop, a diverse group 

of botanists created their own draft ABS 

agreements that helped us all get our minds 

thinking of the right starting points for 

our own situations. We wanted to create a 

template for the BSA as a whole, but I feel the 

scientific community is still reacting to the 

Protocol; while the concerns are emerging, 

it’s hard to generalize appropriate practice. 

As I understand it, in 2016, a first meeting of 

the Subsidiary Body on Implementation of 

the Convention on Biological Diversity was 

held to develop recommendations to help the 

scientific community navigate these terms. 

And several reports have been released that 

the Protocol may undergo revision. It looks 

like we have to wait until the November 2018 

COP13 meeting in Egypt for some version 

of Nagoya Protocol 2.0. In the meantime, 

recommendations from our workshop were 

to encourage people to brainstorm with each 

other and share their own ABS agreements, 

MTAs, and stories of how the process went 

for them. Don’t let regulatory ambiguity slow 

down your science. Strengthen international 

collaborations as best you can and be as 

transparent as possible about expectations. 

We hope there will be workshops that bring 

scientists together from botany, zoology, and 

other fields who are navigating through the 

Nagoya Protocol regulations. In the meantime, 

please connect with BSA’s Economic Botany 

section if you want help.






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By Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

BSA Science Education News and Notes is 

a quarterly update about the BSA’s educa-

tion efforts and the broader education scene. 

We invite you to submit news items or ideas 

for future features. Contact Catrina Adams, 

Education Director, at


participates in STEM for all 

Video Showcase

PlantingScience is one of more than 150 

projects participating in the 2017 STEM for all 

Video Showcase. This year’s theme is Research 

& Design for Impact. If you are curious to 

know more about PlantingScience and the 

Digging Deeper professional development 

program, please watch our 3-minute video 

at (The 

video recently won the “Facilitator Choice” 

award for the Showcase!)

Urgent need for  

PlantingScience mentors for 

Fall 2017 Session

I am extremely happy to report that 

PlantingScience is growing at an amazing rate. 

The Digging Deeper grant has helped us move 

to a new platform where we can accommodate 

more teachers and students than ever before. 

We are anticipating over 100 teachers will 

participate with their students this fall 

(September 18 – November 22), which is 

three times the number we have worked with 

this spring. This will mean that about 1000 

teams and 3000 students will be participating. 

This unprecedented growth means that for 

the first time in PlantingScience’s 12-year 

history, we are likely to be short of mentors! 

If each scientist mentor is willing to work 

with 2 teams, that means we’ll need over 500 

mentors, and so far we have just under 400 

mentors signed up—which means we are 

more than 100 mentors short! So please, if you 

have mentored before, we can use your help 

this fall. And please help us recruit colleagues 

who you think would make good mentors. If 

you have not mentored before, please sign up! 

Mentoring online is easy to do, and only takes 

about an hour a week while the teams are 

active. You can mentor from anywhere with 

an internet connection. Learn more about 

what mentoring with PlantingScience is all 

about and sign up at: https://plantingscience.



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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Science Education

PlantingScience Teachers 

Say Thanks!

“I want to send a huge thank you to all of 

you mentors…. It is amazing to me how 

much my students have learned throughout 

the process not just about seeds, but about 

being a researcher in general. I enjoy hearing 

them get excited when you comment or send 

them videos or research that you are doing 

in your careers…. I know they have enjoyed 

interacting with you all.” 

“The idea that a research scientist would take 

the time to communicate with them was the 

highlight for each and every student involved 

in this program.”

“They felt so special to be part of the 

experience. This was easily the most loved 

experience of the semester, even though this 

unit used to be the most dreaded part of the 


“My students blew me away with their 

presentations. I sat there totally amazed 

by their work. They loved the experience, 

learned a great deal, and are very grateful for 

the experiences. THANK YOU SO MUCH 

for allowing my students to be a part of this 


Upcoming Education  


Undergraduate Biology Education Research 

Gordon Research Conference, July 9-14 - 

Improving Diversity, Equity, and Learning 

in Biology Education 

This conference will be held at Stonehill 

College, Easton, MA. Applications must be 

submitted by June 11. Learn more at http://

Life Discovery Conference, October 19-21 – 

Data: Discover, Investigate, Inform

BSA co-sponsors the Life Discovery 

Conference, a stand-alone education 

conference for high school and undergraduate 

biology educators. This year the conference 

Team Bob Ross (

projects/carlsonteamc) proudly shares data 

and graphs with their mentor, Jordan Hay 


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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


will be held at the University of Oklahoma. A 

recent NSF award is providing limited travel 

grants for high school teachers and community 

college faculty to attend. We’re still accepting 

proposals for the Education Share Fair where 

you can share your in-progress teaching ideas 

and get feedback from your peers. This is a 

great conference for networking with others 

who have a passion for biology education. For 

more information visit


Don’t miss Botany 2017: 

Botanical Crossroads

Joining us in Fort Worth? Consider some 

of these education, outreach, and training 



• Planting Inquiry in Science Classrooms 

workshop (Sunday, 9 am-12 pm)

• AIBS Communicating Science to Deci-

sion-makers (Sunday, 9 am-12 pm)

• Tips for Success: Applying to Graduate School 

(Sunday, 1 pm-3 pm)

• Cutting the cord, a workshop for comput-

er-free presentation skills (Sunday, 3:15 pm-

5:15 pm)

Also, don’t miss the Teaching Section 

presentations and posters, and the 

PlantingScience reception. Check the website 

for schedule updates.

A Cartoon by 

Mavis Harris

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


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By Becky Povilus and James McDaniel 

BSA Student Representatives

The BOTANY conference is officially just a 

few weeks away! With 6 days of lectures, field 

trips, workshops, socials, and more… how 

can you get the most out of the conference? 

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some 

student-focused tips below.

Travel and Lodging

Travel Grants: Although it is too late to 

apply this year, you can take advantage of the 

many travel grants next year (keep these on 

your radar for spring 2018!). You can find 

them online at; a

the website, click on “Awards,” scroll down to 

“Travel Awards for Students,” and a list will 

pop up with links to each of the following:

•  PLANTS grants are funded by NSF and BSA 

to bring talented and diverse undergraduates 

to the conference.

Getting the Most Out of BOTANY 2017:  

A Guide for Students

•  Triarch Botanical Images Awards pro-

vide acknowledgement and travel support 

to BSA meetings for outstanding student 

work that captures botanical beauty. If you 

use images of plants in your research, sub-

mit your favorites to show them off!

•  Section Awards: There are many to choose 

from, so be sure to check with your sec-


•  Vernon I. Cheadle Awards are generally 

given to students who are presenting in a 

session sponsored by the Developmental 

and Structural Section.

2. Find a Roommate:  BSA usually obtains 

a special student rate for early registrants to 

the conference, so look out for this next year. 

If you’re looking for people to share costs 

with, take advantage of the 2017 BOTANY 

Housing Partner Finder: http://images. Besides saving 

you $$$, it can be a great way to connect 

with your peers as well as make new friends 

and contacts.

3. Volunteer at the Conference:


you know that you can earn your early 

registration fee back by volunteering your 

time at the conference? The conference 

couldn’t happen without the help of 

students who run the registration booth, help 

at ticketed events, and make sure that sessions 

run smoothly. For more information, be sure 

to check your e-mail in early June as well as the 

website (!

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


Events for Students

It’s easy to add events to your conference reg-

istration! Find a link to register for the confer-

ence at an

click “Modify Registration.” Some events are 

free, but all are reasonably priced.  


•  “Cutting the Cord: A Workshop for Com-

puter-Free Presentation Skills,

 led by your 

friendly neighborhood BSA student reps, and 

featuring tips from Melanie Link-Perez about 

how to give a good presentation, no matter 

what tools you have. You’ll have the opportu-

nity to craft and practice a mini chalk-talk of 

your own and get feedback! (Free)

•  “Tips for Success: Applying to Graduate 

School,” led by Anna Monfils and Ann 

Sakai, is a panel discussion designed to 

introduce undergraduate students to the 

specific requirements for applying to grad-

uate programs in plant biology. (Free)

•  “Faculty Life at an Undergraduate Insti-


:  Working at an undergrad-focused 

institution offers unique challenges and re-

wards, and may be the career option you’ve 

been looking for. Hear from a panel of current 

botany faculty as they address what it’s like to 

apply to and work at undergraduate-focused 

institutions. (Free)

Student Involvement in Botany Luncheon – 

A Focus on Careers in Botany
What can you do with a degree in botany? 

Come find out at the Student Luncheon! 

We’ll start off with a short talk by William 

(Ned) Friedman (a professor and director of 

the Arnold Arboretum), and then you’ll get a 

chance to chat to representatives from various 

career paths in a “speed-dating” format. And 

FYI, the representatives often have insider 

info on open positions for grad school or 

post-grad jobs. ($10 - includes a catered lunch)

Student Social and Networking Event

An annual favorite! This year we’ll be at the 

T&P Tavern in Fort Worth, a beautiful piece 

of the historic Texas & Pacific Railway Station. 

Come catch up with old friends and meet new 

ones while enjoying craft brews and snacks. 

($10 - includes a drink ticket)

Undergraduate Student Networking Event

A new event for this year! Held at the begin-

ning of the conference, this is a chance to meet 

fellow undergrads and make some contacts to 

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PSB 63 (1) 2017      

 Student Section


help you explore the rest of the conference. 

You’ll also get a chance to hear about different 

career paths! Pizza is included. (Free)

Poster Session: 

Whether you are presenting your own work or 

just there to see what other people are work-


ng on, this is a great time to talk science, learn 

about cutting-edge plant research, and meet 

people! Poster sessions will happen on June 

26. Be sure to check out a detailed schedule on 

the web at

engine/search/ or via the Botany Conference 

app, which will be available soon! (Free - no 

ticket required)

Field trips: 

Fort Worth has a rich history and unique local 

ecosystems, which you can explore first-hand 

with local experts! This year, ten different field 

trips are being offered; you can choose from 

tours of historic sites, winery and brewery 

tours, and hiking trails that showcase the flora 

and fauna. (Cost varies by field trip)

A special note about field trips for student 

members of the ASPT or BSA Systematics Sec-

tion: Did you know that ASPT and/or BSA 

Systematics Section members are eligible for 

field trip grants? Send John Schenk an e-mail 


) after you 

register for the field trip. Include your name, 

e-mail address, affiliation, mailing address, 

whether you are an ASPT or BSA Systematics 

Section member, and the field trip title. You 

could be reimbursed for up to $100!

For most ticketed events, it’s not too late 

to register! Tickets for these events are easy 

to add to your conference registration: Find 

the link to register for the conference at, and click 

“Modify Registration.” You can also register 

for events once you get to the conference, at 

the registration/welcome booth (but sooner is 

better, as events can fill up!).

The BOTANY Conference App

•  Schedule Planner:

 With so many events oc-

curring during the conference, planning each 

day can be a challenge! The online BOTANY 

Conference App gives you the freedom to 

browse talks and events as well as create your 

own easily accessible schedule to stay on track. 

You can download the App a




•  Share your BOTANY experience:


media allows you to share your experiences 

at the conference, and the number of tweets, 

posts, likes, and shares are growing every year. 

The social media aspect lets you share your 

photos and thoughts throughout the confer-

ence, and it can also be a way to share your 

work and increase your visibility. It’s a great 

way to see what is going on and keep tabs on 

all your conference buddies! Keep an eye on 

the hashtags to use this year, but be sure to use 

#BOTANY2017 in your posts! 

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Chrysler Herbarium  

Collections Manager 

Named Student Employee 

of the Year 

Megan King, Collections Manager in the 

Chrysler Herbarium at Rutgers, has been 

named the Rutgers Student Employee of the 

Year for all of New Jersey.

King was recognized at an April 13 awards 

ceremony as one of 15,000 student employees 

who work in more than 200 offices throughout 

the university’s locations in Camden, Newark 

and New Brunswick. 

In her nomination letter, Herbarium Director 

and BSA member Dr. Lena Struwe described 

Megan as “brave, courteous, and professional 

at all times,” and wrote that “her work ethic 

is impeccable and efficient. Megan leads 

the work in the Chrysler Herbarium with 

confidence, positive firmness, and by setting 

high, but fair expectations for her own work 

and the students she supervises. She has an 

engaging, enthusiastic way of working with 

the herbarium collections that is contagious 

to the students.” 

A Student Employee of the Year is recognized 

only once each year at Rutgers, and the winner 

at Rutgers then goes on to compete at the state 

level. This is what make Megan’s state-wide 

award so impressive.
-Text taken from








60 years ago: “Pines more than 4000 years old have been discovered growing at timberline in the White 

Mts. in eastern California by Edward Schulman and C. W. Ferguson, Jr. of the Univ. of Arizona’s Lab-

oratory of Tree-Ring Research. These pines exceed the age of the oldest known Sequoias of California 

by approximately 1000 years.” 


50 years ago: A committee has been established, with Dr. William L. Stern of the University of Mary-

land as chairman, to persuade the United States Post Office Department to issue a series of commemo-

rative stamps in recognition of the XI International Botanical Congress, which is scheduled to be held 

in Seattle, Washington, in August, 1969.

The present committee is proposing that the Post Office Department authorize one commemorative 

sheet of 50 stamps in vertical position, with a different design for each horizontal row; five stamp 

designs on the one sheet. This will permit the production of a stamp bearing a plant motif chosen as 

typical for each quadrant of the country, plus a fifth depicting the Seal of the Congress.  

- News and Notes PSB 13(3): 2.

(Editor’s note: Four commemorative 6c stamps celebrating the XI International Botanical Congress 

were produced in 1969.)

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Bring a New Experience 

to Undergraduate Research

Introducing the LI-6800 Portable Photosynthesis System

Ask about our LI-COR 
Environmental Education Fund (LEEF)

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Dipterocarp Biology, Evolution, and Conservation  ............................................................. 100

Plant Biodiversity: Monitoring, Assessment and Conservation. .................................... 101

Economic Botany

Cites and Timber – a guide to CITES-listed tree species. ........................................... 102

Cannabis: A Complete Guide .......................................................................................................... 104

Medicinal Orchids of Asia .................................................................................................................. 105

Timber Trees of Suriname ................................................................................................................ 107

Cultural Landscape Heritage in Sub-Saharan Africa ........................................................ 108

Technology and the Garden ............................................................................................................. 111

Food and the City ................................................................................................................................... 113


Plant Evolution: An Introduction to the History of Life ....................................................... 115


Ascomycota. Part 1/2, Syllabus of Plant Families .............................................................. 116



Dipterocarp Biology, 

Evolution, and Conser-


Jaboury Ghazoul


ISBN-13 978-0-19-963965-5

Hardcover, US$89.95; xv + 

307 pp. 

Oxford University Press, 


As a North American dendrologist, I have 

always regarded the dipterocarps, species 

of the Dipterocarpaceae, as exotic denizens 

of far-away tropical lands. These behemoth 

trees of the spectacular forests of Southeast 

Asia include Shorea, Dipterocarpus, and 

Dryobalanops that are frequently the dominant 

trees in Malesian forests.    
My work in Borneo takes me in to the 

spectacular dipterocarp forests of Brunei 

Darussalam and Malaysia. Visiting them is a 

worshipful experience enhanced by reading 

this book. It is a very helpful review of past 

work as well as current research and ecological 

theory written by a tropical forest ecologist 

with vast experience with these trees.
Starting the 11 chapters of the book, the 

introduction is a helpful overview for 

me, a neophyte with dipterocarp science. 

Description and Identity, the second chapter, 

was especially enlightening.  I did not know, 

for example, that the Dipterocarpaceae extend 

beyond Southeast Asia into the Seychelles, 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Book Reviews

Madagascar, Indian sub-continent, Africa, 

and into the Guyana Highlands of South 

America where only two species occur.  I 

found Ghazoul’s overview of systematics very 

helpful; it includes black-and-white images of 

many of the important structures, as well as 

comparative tables of sub-family classification.  

This is followed by a chapter on communities 

of dipterocarps throughout their range. I 

would have put the evolution part of Chapter 

4 with the systematics material because it 

includes the affiliations of the family among 

the Malvid clades.  Chapter 4 also includes 

Reproduction, including the mysterious 

phenology of mast years, pollination, diaspore, 

and seed predation, is presented in Chapter 5, 

with physiology of light, water relations, and 

nutrients in the following three chapters.  The 

critical need for conservation is emphasized by 

consideration of population and disturbance 

dynamics in Chapter 9, laying the foundation 

for the final chapter that treats restoration 

and rehabilitation. (The penultimate chapter 

covers community ecology.) Alas, as noted, 

much more research and public awareness 

are needed for maintenance and restoration 

of these threatened forests.   The last chapter 

includes human uses, both for wood and for 

such products as oleoresins, camphor, and 

Dipterocarp Biology is an excellent 

introduction to this fascinating family of trees 

and a helpful review of research.  Well written 

and well edited, this book should be on the 

shelf of anyone working in a region with 

dipterocarp forests.  In addition, Ghazoul’s 

volume will be an indispensable reference for 

ecology and forestry students. 
–Lytton John Musselman, Department of 

Biological Sciences, Old Dominion University, 

Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0266.

Plant Biodiversity: 

Monitoring, Assessment 

and Conservation

Abid A. Ansari, Sarvajeet S. 

Fill, Zahid Khorshid and M. 

Naeem, eds. 


ISBN-13 978-1-780-64694-7 

Hardcover US$225.00. 614 + 

xiv pp.

CABI, Wallingford, UK.   

A volume with this promising title evokes 

expectations of very basic methodological 

and synthetic treatments of plant biodiversity. 

Unfortunately, the content does not fulfill such 

expectations. This is probably thematically the 

most heterogeneous volume ever reviewed 

for the Plant Science Bulletin. In fact, the only 

unifying topic for this volume is its dealing 

with plants. 

Seventy-six authors, mostly from India, 

contributed to this volume. Titles of all 30 

chapters can be found on http://www.cabi.


The length of individual chapters differs 

substantially (from 7 to 60 pages). 

“Monitoring” is in the subtitle of this volume; 

however, only two chapters deal explicitly 

with this topic and only one includes actual 

data (in fact, a quite impressive 2241 data 

points on total phosphorus concentrations 

and phytoplankton diversity for over 30 years 

in Neusiedler See, Austria). Surprisingly, 

many basic references to monitoring and 

assessment of plant biodiversity (e.g., Condit, 

1998; Stohlgren, 2007; Chirici et al., 2011; 

Magurran & McGill, 2011) are not mentioned.

The second word in the subtitle is “assessment”. 

Yes, in a broad sense, all chapters would fall 

under this title. Finally, one can argue that 

many chapters are somewhat related to the 

third word, “conservation.” Nine chapters are 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Book Reviews


dedicated to case studies from India and five 

chapters to studies from Bangladesh, Portugal, 

and Turkey. Sixteen chapters deal with more 

or less general topics (e.g., Maintenance of 

Plant Species Diversity in Forest Ecosystems, 

Biogenic Synthesis of Nanoparticles, 

Plant Diversity Repertoire of Bioactive 

Triterpenoids, Roles of Secondary Metabolites 

in Protection and Distribution of Terrestrial 

Plants under Climatic Stress, Aquatic Plant 

Biodiversity, Diversity of Plant Parasitic 

Nematodes in Pulses, DNA Barcoding, 

Interspecific Chemical Differentiation within 

the Genus Astragalus, Invasive Alien Weedy 

Species). The professional level of individual 

contributions would have to be evaluated by 

many specialists. Usefulness of this volume is 

questionable. Considering its price, I would 

recommend it only to major libraries.
–Marcel Rejmánek, Department of Evolution 

and Ecology, University of California, Davis, 

CA 95616


Chirici, G., S. Winter, and R. E. McRoberts. 2011. 

National Forest Inventories: Contributions to 

Forest Biodiversity Assessments. Springer.

Condit, R. 1998. Tropical  Forest  Census  Plots


Magurran, A. E. and B. J. McGill, eds. 2011. Bio-

logical Diversity: Frontiers in Measurement and 

Assessment. Oxford University Press.   

Stohlgren, T.J., 2007. Measuring Plant Diversity: 

Lessons from the Field. Oxford University Press.   

Cites and Timber: A 

Guide to CITES-Listed 

Tree Species 

Madeleine Groves and Cath-

erine Rutherford


ISBN-13 978-1-84246-592-9

Paperback, US$68.00/UKP 

39.00; PDF free of charge. 

Kew Publishing, Royal Botan-

ic Gardens Kew UK.

The Convention on International Trade in 

Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna 

(CITES) is a useful although limited aid in the 

conservation of nature. However, for many 

botanists interested in CITES-listed plant 

families such as Orchidaceae or Cactaceae, 

the Convention can be a nightmare because 

obtaining permits for cross-border movement 

of research material—alive or dead—is riddled 

with pitfalls and the CITES has turned many 

serious naturalists into petty criminals while 

trying to bypass its regulations.  For CITES-

listed timber species, this problem is only 

a minor one because most of the relatively 

few CITES-protected species are already well 

represented in institutional wood collections 

(xylaria) for international research. 
This handsomely produced guide introduces 

the reader to the complex world of trade 

regulations for CITES-listed timbers, and 

to concisely introduce the commercially 

more import species individually. The 

introductory chapters on regulating the trade 

and understanding the various categories of 

CITES-listing are very useful, but make for hard 

reading, because of the somewhat legalistic 

jargon used. The species pages are according 

to a standard format giving information 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Book Reviews

on species distribution, major uses, trade, 

plantations, current trade suspensions, EU 

Decisions, Scientific and Common names, 

assorted details on the CITES listing, product 

pictures and tariff codes.  In all, 26 species 

pages are given—sometimes covering more 

than one species or even genera (e.g., Aquilaria 

and  Gyrinops)—both producing Agarwood, 

and multiple species of, for example, Cedrela 

(Spanish cedars), Dalbergia  (Rosewoods), 

Diospyros (Ebony) and Taxus (Yew). Following 

the species pages there are brief chapters 

on identification (correctly emphasizing 

anatomical and chemical, including DNA, 

methods), on timber measurement, on CITES 

and EU documentation, including standard 

forms, and on Key Resources (directing the 

readers to informative websites rather than to 

comprehensive papers in scientific journals).
From several species pages, it becomes 

apparent how difficult it is and will remain 

to implement the CITES regulations. Take 

the Rosewoods, of which only Dalbergia 

nigra (Rio Palisander) is in appendix I, but its 

timber is easily confused with other Dalbergia 

species that are less strongly protected or 

totally unprotected by the Convention 

(Gasson, 2011). Microscopically many of 

these species are look-alikes, and old and 

dried heartwood hardly yields any DNA for 

diagnostic purposes. Mass spectrometry, 

unavailable to most customs labs, may be 

the only means to separate the illegal from 

the legal rosewoods—but then only in terms 

of probability and not as hard evidence to 

stand up in a court of law. The CITES listing 

of  Dalbergia and Diospyros species from 

Madagascar only opens the door to illegal 

trade, because geographical provenancing 

with stable isotopes, although promising, is 

far from certain enough to convict fraudulent 

traders who give false provenances on their 

export documentation.    

Although informative, especially concerning 

the uses and trade in the CITES-listed species, 

I find this guide somewhat disappointing. This 

is because the trees and timbers are not really 

characterized, and the legal trade jargon makes 

for difficult reading. The authors have used 

the copy-paste option too often when leaving 

extensive text blocks on free trade in seeds, 

seedlings, etc., with extensive reference to 

Cactaceae and Orchidaceae, which one is not 

likely to find associated with logs in a timber 

container. I was surprised that in this Kew 

Publication, the classical papers by Kew wood 

anatomist Peter Gasson on the identification 

of CITES-timbers are left unmentioned in the 

Key-resources—as well as the InsideWood 

web database, which has detailed anatomical 

information on all CITES-listed timbers, and 

allows researchers to tell them apart from the 

thousands of non-CITES-listed woody plants.


Gasson, P. 2011. How precise can wood identifi-

cation be? Wood anatomy’s role in support of the 

legal timber trade, especially CITES.  IAWA Jour-

nal 32: 137-154.

Gasson, P., P. Baas, and E. A. Wheeler. 2011. Wood 

anatomy of CITES-listed tree species. IAWA Jour-

nal 32: 155-198.

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Book Reviews

Cannabis: A Complete 


Ernest Small

2016. ISBN-13 978-1-

498-76163-5; ISBN-10: 


Hardcover $101.96, 597 pp.

CRC Press

In the United States and elsewhere, there have 

been dramatic shifts in the public perception 

of marijuana and its uses that have resulted in 

legalization as well as other changes of the law.  

This book is an amazing and vast compendium 

of knowledge about Cannabis sativa, the plant 

that is the source of marijuana.  The fact that 

this work has a single author, Ernest Small, is 

even more impressive.
Dr. Small is an expert on hemp and marijuana 

and has worked on this research for decades. 

He serves as the Principal Research Scientist 

at the Research Branch of Agriculture and 

Agri-Food Canada.  His credibility is evident 

by his 40 research papers and two previous 

books on cannabis.  He has received numerous 

awards for his research and for his work on 

the marijuana plant.
The book starts with a taxonomic and 

anatomical description of Cannabis sativa.  

The second chapter is on the early history of 

this plant in our civilization, and the third 

chapter is on the ecology of wild cannabis. 

Other early chapters are on all aspects of the 

botany and physiology of cannabis, including 

sexual reproduction, photoperiodism, 

anatomy, and classification.
The many economic uses of Cannabis sativa 

including as fibers and oils are considered. 

Another interesting chapter focuses on 

cannabis chemistry and cannabinoids.  The 

non-medical use of marijuana is covered in 

an extensive chapter and includes a discussion 

of psychological effects and health risks of 

various marijuana strains.
The author spends several chapters on 

medical marijuana and covers many topics, 

including the history, the highlights of the 

controversies, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, 

the principal psychoactive constituent) doses, 

the production of medical marijuana, and 

the commercial aspects involving the plant.  

Each chapter in the book ends with a section 

titled “Curiosities of science, technology, 

and human behavior.”  As an example of the 

type of information, this section points out 

that both George Washington and Thomas 

Jefferson encouraged the growing of hemp, 

but they both lost money on the crop. Another 

fascinating tidbit is that hemp garments 

were worn by wealthy Japanese more than a 

thousand years ago.
The book is scholarly in the sense that a 

thorough analysis of the literature with 

about 1700 citations is provided.  The text 

is complemented by the use of 280 color 

illustrations that are very informative and 

make for a beautiful book.  As mentioned, I 

am impressed that a single author can pull 

together all of this information.
By the end of the book, the author carefully 

considers the conflicting claims between both 

the medicinal value and the toxicological 

vices of the marijuana plant. This book has the 

potential to be used as a supplemental text in 

a number of plant biology courses, including 

ethnobotany, and it is accessible to graduate 

students as well as to undergraduates.  In 

my opinion, it also can be appealing both to 

botanists and to non-specialist audiences 

given the current high level of interest in 

medicinal uses of Cannabis sativa.

–John Z. Kiss, Department of Biology, Univer-

sity of North Carolina—Greensboro, Greens-

boro, NC, USA;

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Book Reviews

Medicinal Orchids of 


Eng Soon Teoh

2016. ISBN-13 978-3-319-

24272-9; (eBook), DOI 


Hardcover $249.00, eBook 

$189.00, i-x + 752 pp.

Springer International Pub-

lishing, Switzerland. 

Orchids have been and still are being used 

for herbal medicines all over the world (for 

a review, see Lawler, 1984). Some species 

are collected to near extinction for use by 

herbalists. More recently, good peer-reviewed 

papers (mostly from China) are being 

published on the medical effects of orchids 

and their chemical constituents. These papers 

show that some of the herbal uses seem to have 

a solid pharmacological basis. Publications 

on scientific nomenclature and common 

names of the orchids, the species being used, 

geographical distribution of the taxa, locations 

of use, general ethnobotany, parts of the 

plants that are employed in herbal medicines, 

modes of preparation, phytochemistry, 

pharmacology, current scientific findings, and 

other information are in several languages 

and widely scattered in the literature. 
Reviews and synthesis of what is known do not 

exist because work in the area is carried out 

by specialists in different disciplines (general 

botany, herbal medicine, phytochemistry, 

ethnobotany, pharmacology, plant physiology, 

modern medicine, conservation, plant 

taxonomy, horticulture, and phytogeography). 

A practicing physician, a medical researcher, 

and a student of orchids who is familiar with 

(but does not endorse) their herbal uses and 

who has traveled extensively in pursuit of 

information, Dr. Teoh has the knowledge 

and information to synthesize the available 

information and did it in his book.  As an 

Asian by birth (in what is now Malaysia) and 

domicile (Singapore), Dr. Teoh chose to write 

only about Asian medicinal orchids. Even 

with this “limitation,” the book is a massive 

752 pages of text.
This book (which reflects Dr. Teoh’s broad 

expertise in orchids and medicine, both 

modern and herbal) is intended for several 

audiences: orchid scientists and growers (who 

are usually interested in everything about 

orchids), physicians and medical researchers 

(both may not be very familiar with orchids), 

herbalists (at least those who may want to 

know something about the chemistry of their 

potions), ethnobotanists (whose expertise 

in plants, medicine, and herbal preparation 

may vary), and plant scientists (a group with 

various areas of expertise).  This is reflected in 

the content of the book and the organization 

of sections, which deal with specific plants. 

It also reflects Dr. Teoh’s broad expertise in 

orchids and medicine (both modern and herbal).
Part I of the book provides general information. 

Chapter 1 deals with the use of orchids in 

medicine, food, talismans, and aphrodisiacs, 

and their chemical constituent. For those 

who know orchids, this chapter is a refresher. 

Those who are not familiar with orchids 

will learn much from it. Chapters 2-4 deal 

with traditional herbal medicines in China, 

Korea, Japan, and India and the processing of 

medicinal herbs. Much can be learned from 

these chapters, especially since they probe well 

into what to many are mysteries bordering 

on magic. Chapter 5 discusses the chemical 

constituents of plants and places the subject in 

the context of orchids. The chemicals are well 

known, but the fact that orchids produce a 

great variety of interesting compounds will be 

news to some. Chapter 6 covers the discovery, 

testing, and improvement of the production 

of new herbs and new drugs.  I learned much 

from it. So will others.

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Book Reviews

The second part of the book (pp. 85-688) 

covers the medicinal orchids in Asia by 

genus and species from Acampe to Zeuxine

Information provided for each species includes 

scientific name, local names, distribution, and 

herbal use and preparations. Most species 

are illustrated by photographs (many by Dr. 

Teoh), paintings, or line drawings. When 

available, information is provided about 

the phytochemistry of orchids including 

chemical formulae and structures. The herbal 

uses, chemical constituents, pharmacology, 

and medicinal effects and potential of some 

orchids have been and are now studied in 

great detail (mostly in China). An example 

is Gastrodia elata, a mycotrophic orchid that 

lacks chlorophyll, for which Dr. Teoh presents 

an extensive and illuminating review (pp. 

Part III consists of two chapters. Chapter 23 

elaborates on sources of medicinal orchids and 

their conservation and discusses propagation 

and cultivation.  The last chapter points to 

the need and methods of clinical studies of 

medicinal orchids. The book concludes with a 

glossary and an index.
I find this to be an amazing, very informative 

and excellent book that should be of interest 

to a wide and varied audience. My hope is that 

it will generate interest in what orchids have 

to offer to modern medicine. I was impressed 

by the manuscript while going over it with Dr. 

Teoh in Singapore and am awed by the finished 

product. The book is one I enthusiastically 

recommend to physicians, botanists, 

researchers in pharmaceutical companies, 

and those in search of new medicines that can 

cure many ailments.  It is a book that should 

be read, studied, and enjoyed.
Do I have complaints? Yes, two. One is that 

every chapter and some sections have their 

own list of references. This makes it difficult 

to find a specific reference. I would have 

preferred a complete list of references at 

the end of the book, but this is a matter of 

preference and convenience and does not 

detract from the excellence of the book. My 

second complaint is more serious. The index 

lists only plant names. There is no general and 

detailed index that lists preparations, ailments 

that are treated with orchid herbal medicines, 

and/or chemicals that are derived from the 

Orchidaceae. Thus, researchers who would 

like to search for a particular ailment treated 

by orchids or specific chemicals produced 

by them must search through the entire text. 

Indexes that do not present sufficient detail 

bedevil some of my own recent books and 

some others because indexes are now prepared 

by publishers who do not want to bear the 

cost (probably substantial) of a good detailed 

index. For this book I suggest the preparation 

of a detailed index, which should be posted as 

a PDF document in the publisher’s website. A 

note announcing the existence of this should 

be included in advertisements. The second 

edition (and I hope that there will be one) 

must include a detailed general index. If it 

will allow searches, the e-book may offer a 

solution to this problem. I have not seen it. 

Inadequate index or not, this is still a very 

informative, intriguing, and unique book that 

deserves attention and inclusion in university 

and private libraries. I treasure mine. 
Full disclosure: Dr. Teoh and I have been 

good friends since 1974 and spent much time 

together during my frequent visits to Singapore. 

I saw, read, and commented on parts of the 

manuscript in his home before it was submitted 

for publication but did not see the final version.
–Joseph Arditti, Professor Emeritus, University 

of California, Irvine. 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Timber Trees of Suri-

name: An Identification 


Chequita R. Bhikhi, Paul J.M. 

Maas, Jifke Loek-Noorman, 

and Tide R. van Andel

2016. ISBN-13 978-9-460-


Paperback, US$39.50. 287 pp.

LM Publishers, Volendam, the 


There are over 5100 vascular plant species 

and over 600 tree species in Suriname. 

Forests still cover about 90% of the land area 

of this country. In Suriname, forest area per 

capita is the second highest in the world 

(after French Guiana): 33 ha/capita (Werger, 

2011). As in any other country with tropical 

forests, tree identification guides are highly 

desirable. The book under review includes 

100 commercially important trees native to 

Surinam. They represent 71 genera and 25 

families. Morphological and wood anatomy 

descriptions of all 100 species are detailed 

and extensive. Also, each species is illustrated 

by line drawings of twigs, leaves, flowers, 

fruits, and, in many cases, trunk bases. Color 

photographs of flowers and fruits are provided 

for many species. Color slash photographs are 

presented for 53 species. Photographs of wood 

samples are provided for all 100 species. Each 

wood image is reproduced from a 35-mm 

slide that was taken at 5x magnification. All 

photographs are of high quality. Ecology and 

distribution of each species are specified in a 

few sentences. Vernacular names are provided 

for all species. An extensive list of over 200 

relevant references concludes this publication.
On the back cover, the book is characterized 

as a “second edition” of Bomenboek voor 

Suriname by Lindeman and Meunega (1963). 

This is somewhat inaccurate. Bomenboek 

included 375 species from 186 genera 

of trees. Line drawing illustrations were 

provided for 123 species, and photographs of 

wood cross-sections of 96 species were also 

presented. Moreover, vegetative keys leading 

to at least one species in each of 186 genera 

were included. Vegetative keys are extremely 

helpful for identification of woody species 

in tropical forests (Rejmánek & Brewer, 

2001). It is possible to argue that with only 

100 extensively described and illustrated tree 

species, a key may be not necessary. That may 

be true, but even for 83 major timber trees of 

Guyana or 151 timber tree species of Jamaica, 

such keys are available (Polak, 1992; Parker, 

2003). Several important families included in 

Bomenboek (e.g., Euphorbiaceae, Rosaceae, 

Rubiaceae, Rutaceae, Sapindaceae) are not 

represented in this new book. Apparently, 

there are no commercial species in these 

families in Suriname. For identification of 

trees not included in Timber Trees of Suriname

one should try a multi-access electronic key 

for the identification of 389 forest tree genera 

occurring in French Guiana forests (Engel et 

al., 2016). In spite of mentioned shortcomings, 

Timber Trees of Suriname will be very useful 

for foresters and, as a first introduction to the 

rich tree flora of Suriname, for all botanists, 

ecologists, and amateurs interested in flora of 

the Guiana Shield.
–Marcel Rejmánek, Department of Evolution 

and Ecology, University of California, Davis, 

CA 95616.


Lawler, L. J. 1984. Ethnobotany of the Orchidace-

ae. In J. Arditti (ed). Orchid Biology Review and 

Perspectives, vol. 3. Cornell University Press, 

Ithaca, New York., pp. 27-149.

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        



Engel, J., Brousseau, L. & C. Baraloto, 2016. Gui-

aTreeKey, a multi-access electronic key to identi-

fy tree genera in French Guiana. PhytoKeys 68: 


Lindeman, J. C. & A. M. W. Meunega, 1963. 

Bomenboek voor Suriname. Herkenning van 

Surrinaamse houtsoorten aan hout en vegetatieve 

kenmerken. Dienst’s Lands Bosbeheer Suriname, 

Paramaribo, Suriname.

Parker, T., 2003. Manual of Dendrology: Jamai-

ca. Forestry Department, Ministry of Agriculture, 

Kingston, Jamaica.

Polak, A.M., 1992. Major Timber Trees of Guy-

ana: A Field Guide. Tropenbos Series 2. The 

Tropenbos Foundation, Wageningen, the Nether-


Rejmánek, M. & S.W. Brever, 2001. Vegetative 

identification  of  tropical  woody  plants:  state  of 

the art and annotated bibliography. Biotropica 33: 


Werger, M.J.A., ed., 2011. Sustainable Manage-

ment  of  Tropical  Rainforests. Tropenbos Series 

25. Paramaribo, Suriname.

Cultural Landscape 

Heritage in Sub-Saharan 


John Beardsley

, Ed. 



ISBN-13 978-0-884-


Hardcover $60.00, £47.95, 

€54.00. 486 pp. 

Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium 

on the History of Landscape Architecture 37. 

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collec-

tion, Trustees for Harvard University, Washing-

ton, DC.

Sub-Saharan Africa is the longest occupied 

landscape on earth. Previous scholarship 

has focused primarily on representations of 

natural history by early explorers and settlers 

and to colonial era scenery, but insufficient 

investigation into areas created by and for 

Africans themselves. Essays presented at the 

symposium “Cultural Landscape Heritage in 

Sub-Saharan Africa,” held at the Dumbarton 

Oaks Research Library and Collection in May 

2013, contribute pioneering, interdisciplinary 

work that can appeal to African and 

architectural historians, anthropologists, 

artists, and botanists with broad interests. 

Extracts to interest the latter audience are the 

focus of this review.
The Introduction and Grey Gundaker’s 

ethnographic assessment, “Design on the 

world: blackness and the exclusion of Sub-

Saharan Africa from the ‘global’ history 

of garden and landscape design,” establish 

historical groundwork. Opening with an 

African proverb, “A forest with one kind of 

tree is but an orchard,” Gundaker suggests 

that the diversity of the forest outweighs 

that of the controlled orchard in a dynamic 

balance. Gundaker submits that in practice, 

the European and American love affair 

with an ideal Garden helped shape deeply 

exclusionary accounts of civilization and 

culture. Colonial enterprise commonly 

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Book Reviews

described African landscapes as unplanned, 

disorderly, dirty, and disease-ridden. Another 

barrier to appreciating African landscapes 

was modernization of these same landscapes, 

whereby sacred and ordinary trees were 

cut down, roads straightened out old paths, 

rectangular shapes replaced meandering ones, 

and whole “tribes” were created out of loosely 

affiliated groups. Gundaker proposes three 

reasons why Africa has been excluded from 

strict definitions about landscapes: lack of 

flower gardens, absence of perspectival views, 

and defiance of definitions expressed within 

European languages.
The grouping “Monument and Environment” 

contains “Cultural landscapes in Mali: 

historical antecedents and future trajectories,” 

by Charlotte Joy, featuring the masons of 

Djenné’s monumental citadel and urban 

landscape. Before colonial times, the masons 

made hand-molded bricks from a mixture 

of mud, rice husks, a powder made from the 

Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa C.F. Gaertn.), 

and a powder made from baobab (Adansonia 

digitata L.) fruit. The mixture was mashed 

with animal urine and dung until it was fit to 

be molded, then baked in the sun; old masons 

remember these bricks to be sturdier than 

contemporary bricks. Changes in agricultural 

practice—mechanical rice dehuskers—

reduced the binding power of rice husks. 

Decreased fish stocks, leading to fewer fish 

bones in the mud, also contributed to weaker 

“Great Zimbabwe as power-scape: how the 

past locates itself in contemporary Southern 

Africa,” by Innocent Pikirayi, focuses on 

the Zimbabwe Plateau, a highland region 

dominated by plains, rolling hills, and 

mountainous terrain carved by the Zambezi, 

Limpopo, Shashi, and Sabi Rivers. It is a 

savanna biome, primarily miombo woodland, 

with Julbernardia Pellegr. and Brachystegia 

Benth., occupying moist higher altitudes, and 

Colophospermum mopane (J. Kirk ex Benth.) 

J. Léonard, characterizing the lower, drier 

basins. The monumental Great Zimbabwe 

edifice was appropriated by Europeans in the 

late 19th to early 20th centuries; they shifted 

an African cultural and political landscape 

into a European tourist destination, largely 

free of indigenous people. Their activities 

(uncontrolled excavations, etc.) are responsible 

for significant conservation problems today.
“Landscape and architecture in the central 

highlands of Madagascar,” by Randall 

Bird, introduces the relationship between 

ancestors, tombs, and land. Rituals involving 

water are prominent in their significant living 

landscape, the ultimate source of belonging, 

as people connect to one another by engaging 

with their ancestors. 
“Stories of stone: the transformation and 

reinvention of Swahili coast pillar tombs,” by 

Sandy Prita Meier, highlights the relationship 

between funerary architecture and religious 

practice on the Swahili coast. Architects 

used the coral bedrock and soft coral of 

underwater reefs to build cities of stone. 

Meier explores the least understood form of 

coral stone architecture, remarkable pillars, 

some reaching over 9 m in height, featuring 

luminous white facades produced by burning 

coral rock and shells, to create a milky lime 

“Gardener kings: the formality of politics 

and palace forests among the Gbe kingdoms 

of West Africa,” by Neil Norman, reveals 

Gbe palace gardens at the interface of 

connoisseurship, cosmopolitanism, religion, 

and political action. Modern visitors 

encounter assemblages of kapok [Ceiba 

pentandra (L.) Gaertn.], baobab, and iroko 

(Chlorophora regia A. Chev.) trees that are 150 

to 300 years old. Ritual specialists maintain 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


sacrificial altars in front of specific trees that 

acquire a patina of sacrificial blood and palm 

The second grouping, “Pathway and Grove,” 

includes “Places and paths of memory: 

archaeologies of East African pastoralist 

landscapes,” by Paul Lane, describing 

settlements as “portable landscapes” used 

by nomadic peoples; ethnobotanical details 

include mobile huts constructed from a series 

of curved branches and stems lashed together 

with string made from wild agave and dyed 

red with an extract from Acacia  bark, then 

covered by a sequence of overlapping mats, or 

branches and palm leaves.
“Cultural capital and structural power in 

African landscapes: the social dynamics of 

sacred groves,” by Michael Sheridan, is a 

comparative review of the African sacred groves 

literature. “By viewing sacred groves as sites of 

capital exchange and power transformation, 

the dynamics among these sites’ ecological, 

sociopolitical and symbolic aspects” (p. 239) 

are understood. Anthropogenic or managed 

forests are consecrated to ritual purposes of 

various kinds. These landscape features are 

most closely associated with Africa’s mixed-

forest areas and its forest-savanna transition 

zone. Scholarship shows two clusters, in 

the West African forest belt and in the Rift 

Valley region. Socially significant trees tend 

to be culture-specific symbols that feature in 

particular ritual contexts such as Xhosa use 

of wild olive tree in ancestral sacrifices, and 

use of hollowed-out baobabs as tombs for the 

griot bards significant in Senegalese society.
“Good bush, bad bush: representing our natures 

in historical southern Nigerian landscapes,” by 

Ikem Stanley Okoye, illustrates the capacity of 

forests, once seen as ominous places because 

of the sheer difficulty of traversing them, to 

be designated as “dangerous,” in contrast to 

sacred spaces. At the edge of a community, 

they became dumps for real and symbolic 

unpleasantness. Farming was absolutely 

prohibited within their boundary, although 

such “fearsome forests” did occasionally 

serve as places to grow rare herbs and roots, 

or to preserve them for use in extraordinary 

medical-spiritual situations.
“A multiplex landscape: explorations of place 

and practice in Osun Grove, Nigeria,” by 

Akinwumi Ogundiran, explains various uses of 

sacred groves. They serve as abodes for spirits, 

deities, and ancestors; they are royal burial 

places and are critical for political community 

identities; and they were destroyed following 

modernization projects. Four-hundred fifty 

plant species belonging to 63 families were 

documented.  Dracaena fragrans (L.) Ker 

Gawl., is a sacred plant with powerful magical 

and healing properties that is very tolerant of 

neglect and frequently found at sacred sites 

such as temples and shrines.
“Rain, power, sovereignty, and the materiality 

of signs in southern Zimbabwe,” by Joost 

Fontein, opens the section, “Rethinking 

Landscape,” tackling the politics of rain-

making. “‘Nature’s regions’: the mobilization 

of cultural landscapes for conservation,” by 

Maano Ramutsindela, probes a critical debate: 

Whose culture defines the landscape to be 

“From Table Mountain to Hoerikwaggo: re-

imagining Africa’s ‘first landscape’,” by Jeremy 

Foster, considers South Africa’s unique Cape 

flora: its endemism, diversity and antiquity, 

investigating how these landscapes were 

understood in the colonial era, against how 

they are being recuperated today for nation 

building, identity formation, and cultural 

As with other books in this scholarly series, 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Book Reviews

the volume uncovers significant historical 

figures: maps and singular color illustrations; 

each article is well-referenced, with ample 

footnotes and extensive bibliographies; and 

the book closes with a 16-page index and each 

contributor’s biography. 
–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 


Technology and the 


Michael G. Lee, Kenneth I. 

Helphand, Eds. 

2014. ISBN-13 978-0-88402-


Paperback $50.00, £39.95, 

€45.00; 304 pp. 

Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium 

on the History of Landscape 

Architecture 35. Harvard 

University Press, Cambridge, MA

Offering essays presented at the colloquium 

“Technology and the Garden” held at the 

Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and 

Collection, May 2011, this tome is innovative, 

since it’s the first instance to explicitly answer 

the question: What is technology in the 

garden? The Editors’ Introduction and many 

essays herein mention Leo Marx’s innovative 

The Machine in the Garden (1964). 
The essays are arranged in four groupings, on 

various topics representing multiple points of 

view and disciplines. “Visualizing and shaping 

the landscape” contains two essays. The first, 

“The engineer-poet and his garden-poem: 

Ronsard’s Bocages,” by Tom Conley, explores 

the role of engineering and knowledge of 

the practical arts, underscoring the ways 

in which homeowner and gardener qualify 

as engineers. Ronsard’s poetic imagination 

constructs a garden through the interweaving 

of words and images; the handyman’s poetry 

“speaks” through objects. 
“Optical instrumenta[liza]tion and modernity 

at Versailles: from measuring the earth to 

leveling in French seventeenth-century 

gardens,” by Georges Farhat, invokes science 

and technology as converging factors in the 

formation of the early modern landscape at 

Versailles. Historians regarded the processes 

of excavating, terracing, and grading those 

large-scale gardens as benefiting from the 

same technology as did astronomy and 

“Horticultural technologies” includes two 

contributions. “Greenhouse technologies and 

horticulture: the 1st Duchess of Beaufort’s 

Badminton florilegium (1703-5) and J.J. 

Dillenius’s  Hortus elthamensis (1732),” by 

Mark Laird, describes a particular episode 

in the history of greenhouses in the early 



-century English garden, to underscore 

complexities within technological advances 

in greenhouse construction. The construction 

style of “stoves” is of critical importance, for 

tender  Aloe,  Cereus,  Euphorbium and other 

succulent plants. The lesson that “plants of 

different geographies and climates are put 

into separate cultural units” (p. 59) reveals 

appreciation of adaptations: cacti and 

pineapple should be grown in separate houses.
“‘Much better contrived and built then [sic] any 

other in England’: stoves and other structures 

for the cultivation of exotic plants at Hampton 

Court Palace, 1689-1702,” by Jan Woudstra, 

extends attention to tropical exotics and the 

indispensable greenhouse stove. Early Dutch 

exploration and collections of tropical plants, 

including nutmeg, black pepper, white pepper, 

pepper betle, cubeba pepper, and mangoes 

advanced Dutch greenhouse technology.
“Landscape construction: hydraulics, labor, 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


and infrastructure” contains two related 

essays: “Garden hydraulics in pre-Sistine 

Rome: theory and practice,” by Katherine 

Rinne, and “‘L’anima del giardino’: water, 

gardens, and hydraulics in sixteenth-century 

Florence and Naples,” by Anatole Tchikine, 

featuring legendary fountains animated to 

flow from elaborate underground water-

lifting devices.
Alison Hardie’s “The practical side of paradise: 

garden-making in Ming Dynasty China,” and 

“Infrastructure as landscape embellishment: 

Peter Joseph Lenné in Potsdam and Berlin,” 

by Michael G. Lee, are studies of specific early 

technologies, instruments, and materials 

involved in those gardens’ creation.
“Emerging technologies and landscape 

experience” introduces “Gardens of the 

moon: the modern cine-nocturne,” by 

Scott M. MacDonald, and “Mesocosm 

(Northumberland, UK) and heraldic crests 

for invasive species (photo essay),” by Marina 

Zurkow, visual presentations to immerse 

audiences in a cinematic experience involving 

framing, lighting, pacing, sequence, and 

“Green-roofs and the idea of the wild thing: 

the economics of manipulating nature,” by 

Claudia Dias and Ross von Burg, features 

an opportunity in contemporary landscape 

design at the vanguard of active research and 

innovation, with new techniques and materials. 

Current green-roof technology provides 

immediate benefits: lowering temperatures 

within cities, providing insulation, reducing 

runoff, and filtering the water outflow. Active 

modular phytoremediation is a building 

skin that scrubs the urban atmosphere of 

pollutants and particulate matter. Authors 

urge green-roofs to be an integral part of 

urban landscape and architectural design, 

and encourage implementation of long-term 

scientific monitoring to measure the air- and 

water-related benefits generated by parks such 

as the High Line, a unique aboveground park 

built on a formerly abandoned elevated rail 

line on the west side of Manhattan, in New 

York City.
“The robot in the garden,” by Nikolaus 

Correll, argues that advances in robotics can 

decrease the detrimental effects of farming by 

precise administration of water and nutrients 

along with intercropping, while also bringing 

agriculture closer to consumers. One thing not 

mentioned in this essay, but directly relevant 

to robots in garden maintenance, that this 

writer advocates is widespread use of robots 

in lawn care to reduce the carbon footprint 

of lawn mowers. Much of this country’s air 

pollution comes from harmful un-combusted 

hydrocarbons emitted into the atmosphere by 

inefficient lawn mower internal-combustion 

engines found in gasoline-powered small 

engines. Nowadays, most summers, residents 

in urban centers as well as in small villages 

are warned against mowing during “smog 

alert days,” evidence that gas lawn mowers are 

partially responsible and should be replaced.
As with other books in this scholarly series, 

the volume presents meaningful illustrations: 

historical architectural drawings and 

exceptional color graphics; each article is 

well-referenced, with ample footnotes and 

extensive bibliographies; and the book closes 

with a 16-page index and each contributor’s 

–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Missou-

ri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


Food and the City: His-

tories of Culture and 


Dorothée Imbert, Ed. 

2015. ISBN-13 978-0-884-


Hardcover $55.00, £43.95, 

€49.50. 388 pp. 

Dumbarton Oaks Colloquium 

on the History of Landscape 

Architecture 36. Harvard 

University Press, Cambridge, MA

Food studies and urban agriculture are 

increasingly popular subjects among students 

and the citizenry, as food security and farming 

infrastructure are scrutinized. A “Food and the 

City” symposium held at Dumbarton Oaks in 

May 2012 “sought to historically contextualize 

the current discourse on urban agriculture…

It identifies multiple themes and ideologies of 

productive landscapes in the physical, political 

and poetic relations between food production 

and urban living. Contributors examined the 

garden, market, city, and beyond through the 

lenses of modernism, technology, scale, social 

justice, and fashion” (Imbert, p. 1). 

Editor Doroth


Imbert is the head of 

landscape architecture programs at Ohio State 

University. Following her architecture and 

landscape architecture degrees from Paris and 

Berkeley, she taught at Harvard University, 

then founded the landscape architecture 

program at Washington University in St. 

Louis. Imbert’s design and research interests 

include urban interventions and productive 

landscapes; she has carried out extensive 

research on landscape modernism with 

an emphasis on Europe and California. 

Her books include  Between Garden and 

City:  Jean  Canneel-Claes  and  Landscape 

Modernism  (2009);  Garrett Eckbo: Modern 

Landscapes  for  Living  (2005); and  The 

Modernist Garden in France  (1993). She 

opens new avenues for understanding the 

relationship of modernism to gardens, nature, 

and the city.
Thirteen essays are organized into sections, 

adhering to sessions of the symposium. 
Import-Export explores the transfer of ideas 

and ideology.

 David Haney’s “‘Three acres 

and a cow’: Small-scale agriculture as solution 

to urban impoverishment in Britain and 

Germany, 1880-1933,” provides case studies 

within mainstream and alternative cultural 

contexts. Botanists can appreciate Peter 

Kropotkin’s 1910 illustration (p. 23) of a rye 

plant, with more than 100 stems emerging 

from a single seed, an example of results 

possible with intensive horticulture. Tal Alon-

Mozes’ “Food for the body and the soul: 

Hebrew-Israeli urban foodscapes,” features


urban farms in Israel, a short-term solution 

to problems of food shortages that eventually 


David Rifkind’s “Consuming 

empire: Colonial agriculture under Italian 

fascism,” identifies 

new settlements in 

Ethiopia, where grain cultivation played an 

ideologically symbolic role.

Rural Urbanism and Urban Agriculture 

covers agriculture and modern transport.  

Mary McLeod’s “‘The country is the other 

city of tomorrow’: Le Corbusier’s  Ferme 

Radieuse and Village Radieux,” reveals Le 

Corbusier’s plan for the Radiant City (1930), 

that originated as a response to the Green City 

competition earlier that year for a workers’ 

‘leisure city’ northeast of Moscow. Time 

allowed Le Corbusier’s views to ripen, finally 

acknowledging the necessity of small family 

farms.  Zef Hemel’s “Landscape of Dutch 

IJsselmeer Polders: Amsterdam and its food 

supply system, 1930-69,” explores greenbelts 

in the polders as Dutch engineer Van Eesteren, 

having  been  influenced  by  studies  in  the 

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American Midwest (Oklahoma) and Soviet 

Union (Ukraine) recommended



Laura Lawson and Luke Drake’s “From Beets 

in the Bronx to Chard in Chicago: discourse 

and practice of growing food in the American 

city,” may resonate most directly with US 

readers; notable, a photograph of an urban 

farm in Newark NJ with plants raised in 

grow pots due to soil contamination; Victory 

Garden campaigns. Luc Mougeot recognizes 

food insecurity zones from Accra to Addis 

Ababa, in “Urban agriculture in cities of the 

global South: four logics of integration.”  
P r od u c t i o n  R i gh t s  addresses land tenure and 

land rights, codified socially, geographically 

and ethnically. 

Donna Graves’ “Transforming 

a hostile environment: Japanese immigrant 

farmers in metropolitan California,” transmits 

a treasure trove of seldom-seen archival 

photographs of successful Japanese farm 

and greenhouse workers, tragically disrupted 

by World War II “federal policies shaped by 

racism and war hysteria” (p. 217). 


Sand’s exquisitely illustrated “How Tokyo 

invented sushi,” shows that

 the distribution of 

fish in Imperial Edo was an essential factor in 

shaping both city and surroundings. 


Crawford’s illustrated exposé, “Urban 

agriculture in the Pearl River Delta,” bears 

witness to the changing, chaotic landscape 

in China, characterized by high population 

densities, rapid growth of nonagricultural 

activities,  extreme  fluidity  and  mobility  of 

populations and intense heterogeneous land 

uses surrounding large cities (


in which urban and agricultural land use 

and settlement coexist and are intensively 

intermingled, mixing agriculture with cottage 

industries, industrial estates, suburban 

development and commercial activities

. These 

gardens for food security proceed unplanned, 

in an ad hoc fashion, demonstrating a variety 

of agricultural practices in fragmented 

fields resulting from 


land seizures by 

corporations for factories. Co-existing with 

industry, air, water and soil pollution have 

risen to alarming levels.

P ar i s  e t  E n vi r on s  

stresses the essential 

relation between urbanism and food 

production, both in gardens and agriculture 

during colonial expansion and modernist 


 Florent Quellier reveals innovations 

(e.g., espaliered trees along rubble and plaster 

walls; heated greenhouses) to 

establish self-

sufficiency of fruit and vegetable production 

for kitchen gardens of urban consumers 

in pre-revolutionary, 16th-century Paris. 

Susan Taylor-Leduc details a symbiotic 

relationship between market gardeners and 

the city in “Market gardens in Paris…ca 

1790-1900,” wherein sellers recover piles of 

refuse that under their care, become fertilizer, 

unifying sustenance with decay. Meredith 

TenHoor’s “Markets and the food landscape 

in France, 1940-72,” describes the means 

by which the National Wholesale Market 

network transformed how food was sold and 

distributed in France, although its true target 

was Paris, specifically its overcrowded central 

wholesale food markets at Les Halles.
F ood

 an d  t h e  C i t y  

represents a unique 

collaboration of social scientists around the 

theme of food, underscoring the symbiotic 

connection between productive landscapes 

and urban form across time and geographies. 

Each stand-alone chapter in this well-bound 

tome concludes with academic reference 

notes; it contains 69 color photographs, 

16 color illustrations, 85 halftones, 6 line 

illustrations, and a 16-page index. The 


is commendable, bringing 

diverse fields 

together that otherwise live separate lives in 

specialty journals, because there is rarely an 

outlet in the primary literature that would 

consider such a project. The disciplinary focus 

of journals in fact discourages badly needed 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


collaborations across disciplines. It will 

appeal to those concerned with agricultural 

history, architectural and landscape history, 

geography, urban planning, 

policy, and 


–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 


Plant Evolution: An Intro-

duction to the History of 


Karl J. Niklas

2016. ISBN-13 



Paperback, US$45.00, 560 


University of Chicago Press, 

Chicago, IL

Although it appears to be a large book at 560 

pages, Plant Evolution: An Introduction to the 

History of Life is, in fact, not much larger than 

my Kindle, at 6 x 9 inches. It is still a hefty 

book, though, but it is certainly smaller than 

other textbooks on evolution, so it is quite 

portable. The “Preface” states that the book 

is intended to serve as a text for an upper-

level undergraduate or graduate course, and 

I believe it would serve that purpose quite 

well. There are e-book, cloth, and paperback 

versions, each for a surprisingly low price 

through the website of the University of 

Chicago Press (and less still from several other 

online retailers), which is a bonus for many 

students. The book begins with the origin of 

life and ends with the emergent properties of 

evolution and ecology, but it presents these 

topics in an easy-to-read, jargon-light style.
From the early experiments of Urey and Miller 

to the heritability of ecologically important 


traits, this book has a wide range of topics in 

which to delve. Niklas states his intention is 

to steer students towards studying plants, and 

I believe teaching evolutionary concepts from 

a plant-based approach is an excellent way 

to do so, as it serves the dual role of teaching 

students about evolution and about plants—

he clearly does so here. Certainly, there is not 

a strict need for students to have a botany 

background, since the book offers a ground-

up take on plants through their evolution. 

However, a laboratory component to a course 

using this book might be recommended 

to give students hands-on familiarity with 

the diversity of plant morphology. There 

are only 9 chapters, although they average 

56 pages. I think this makes it an easy book 

for students to read and professors to teach 

over a standard semester. Each chapter has 

an introductory section that states what will 

be covered in the chapter, and topics include 

the origins of life, colonizing the land and air, 

population genetics, development, speciation, 

macroevolution, multicellularity, and ecology. 

This is an impressive list for a single author, 

although Niklas is an accomplished author 

because he has published several other books 

through the University of Chicago Press.
I suspect that many students who would use 

this textbook have probably been introduced 

to evolution before—likely from an animal-

centric point of view. The plant-centric view 

presented here would open the eyes of many 

of these students. For instance, in “Speciation 

and Microevolution,” it is stated that between 

a quarter to a half of all plant species evolved 

from allopolyploidy, many of which are 

economically important crops (p. 289). This 

is in stark contrast to animal evolution, of 

course. That might lead a curious student 

to further investigate allopolyploidy, which, 

incidentally, is the first entry in the glossary 

(p. 537) and is nicely illustrated in Figure 5.8 

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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


(p. 291). Said student may then go on to read 

about plant genetics, which, when including 

the mitochondria and chloroplasts, often 

exhibit so-called “exceptions” to the rules of 

evolution taught in other evolution courses.
The figures and tables within the book are just 

as variously diverse as the topics. There are 144 

color plates, 16 halftones, 24 line drawings, 

and 20 tables that add to the text and help 

illustrate various phenomena or geologic 

timescales. They are placed appropriately 

and are generally basic in their design with 

sometimes lengthy captions to help explain 

them. There are also boxes within the chapters, 

such as “Box 9.1. The Poisson Distribution,” 

which elaborate on extra information or 

give more information on specific examples. 

Unfortunately, there is no index or listing of 

the figures, tables, or boxes, so one must come 

across them as one reads. 
I find very little to criticize within this book. 

Niklas is surely up-to-date on the literature, 

even though the topics are very diverse. From 

my own knowledge and research, I found no 

glaring inconsistencies or errors. It is common 

for multiple competing hypotheses to exist, 

especially concerning events that occurred 

millions or billions of years ago or of the age 

of certain taxa, and the book does its job of 

highlighting a fair number of them when 

doing so adds to the dialogue, such as the 

endosymbiotic and autogenous hypotheses 

of the origin of organelles (Chapter 1; Figure 

1.13). Although the glossary and index are 

generous, there is a lack of references, yet each 

chapter does have a “Suggested Readings” 

section. For example, Chapter 4, “Development 

and Evolution”, has only 9 suggested readings 

for its 64 pages. There are a few minor typos 

that could easily be overlooked, and they’re 

few and far between. Who hasn’t added a 

“d” to the word “an” before, through a typing 


Overall, this is an excellent book. The easy-to-

read style of the book makes for a comfortable 

read-through of the chapters, and the tables 

and figures quickly emphasize key concepts. It 

will stay on my bookcase for quick references, 

but I would also be happy to teach from this 

book one day and will keep it in mind when 

I begin to develop my own courses in a few 

–Adam J. Ramsey, Department of Biological 

Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, 



Ascomycota.  Part 

1/2, Syllabus of Plant 

Families (Adolf Engler’s 

Syllabus der Pflanzen-

familien), ed 13

Walter Jaklitsch, Hans-Otto 

Baral, Robert Lücking, and H. 

Thorsten Lumbsch (Wolf-

gang Frey, series editor)  

2016. ISBN-13 978-3-443-


€119.00. 322 pp.  

Borntraeger Science Publishers, Stuttgart, Germany

The ascomycota comprise the numerically 

most important phylum of the fungal 

kingdom.  They constitute well over 60% of 

the nearly 100,000 species of fungi known, and 

likely represent an even greater proportion of 

the estimated million(s) yet to be described.  

They are saprotrophs, parasites, lichen-

formers, mycorrhizal symbionts, endophytes, 

and predators of invertebrates.  A few are 

human pathogens, whereas others are sources 

of antibiotics used in combatting human 

pathogens.  The ascomycota also include the 

fungus of greatest cultural and economic 

impact on humankind, the bread and beverage 

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yeast  Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  The present 

volume offers an updated systematic scheme 

for this phylum extending below the level of 

order, with detailed descriptions of families 

and lists of included genera for each.  With 

the infusion of molecular sequence data over 

the last couple of decades, the classification of 

fungi has undergone major rearrangements.  

That process is certainly not finished, but the 

broad scheme of higher taxa in ascomycota has 

reached sufficient stability to make a detailed 

treatment of this kind timely and useful.  The 

authors of this volume are major figures in 

the phylogenetic and systematic study of the 

organisms in question and have collaborated 

with a great many mycologists worldwide.  

They are therefore well positioned to provide 

a consensus snapshot of the current state of 

the science.
The authors recognize 18 classes of 

ascomycota, subdivided into about a hundred 

orders containing a total of 406 families, within 

which about 4000 genera are listed. Somewhat 

surprisingly, there is no cladogram or similar 

diagram to summarize the systematic 

framework employed. Nor is there a unified 

reference list.  Instead, a separate bibliography 

follows each of the 18 fungal classes treated, 

a format that can make the search for a 

particular reference somewhat frustrating. 

Since the book consists mainly of descriptions 

of families and orders, it will serve the user 

primarily as a reference tool. No glossary is 

included, so a reader not well versed in the 

terminology will need to refer to the Dictionary 

of Fungi or a mycology textbook. Seventeen 

color plates with numerous photographs, 

mostly of fruiting bodies and lichen thalli, 

provide valuable illustrations of representative 

taxa, while also off-setting the inevitable 

dryness of the character descriptions. The 

images are all of superb quality and contribute 

substantially to the book’s overall appeal. 

Future editions might usefully expand on this 

feature, particularly by including more images 

of the microscopic characters that figure 

so prominently in the family descriptions. 

Following the format of many classic works 

in the German scientific textbook tradition, 

digressive text is set off as short paragraphs in 

smaller type. Here, however, these paragraphs 

provide the real commentary amidst the lists 

of characters, and so might preferably be 

highlighted rather than relegated to a format 

of lesser prominence. 
This volume forms part of a series with a 

long and venerable history in botanical 

science reaching back to the 19th century, 

revived recently in a new edition brought out 

by Gebrüder Borntraeger, an equally long-

standing institution in German scientific 

publishing.  The series was initiated by the 

botanist Adolf Engler, whose Syllabus der 

Pflanzenfamilien encompassed all groups 

of organisms considered plants at that time, 

including the fungi, cyanobacteria, algae, 

and myxogastria. Nowadays, of course, the 

bacteria are classified in a separate prokaryotic 

domain, while among the eukaryotes, the 

plantae, fungi, myxogastria, euglenoid algae, 

chlorarachniophyte algae, alveolate algae 

and stramenopiles are all placed in different 

supergroups (with a broad relationship 

among the latter three lately recognized). 

Obviously, Engler’s original concept of “plant” 

cannot be sustained in any conceivable 

sense, and especially not in a work dealing 

with biosystematics grounded firmly in 

contemporary phylogenetic principles.  Well 

aware of this, the publisher and authors 

repeatedly acknowledge that fungi are clearly 

not plants under present concepts. But they 

do not say explicitly why they have chosen 

to retain the original series title in unaltered 

form. A less problematic option would have 

been to recast the new edition as simply 

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Engler’s Syllabus, or Syllabus of Biodiversity, 

or even Engler’s Syllabus of Plants, Eukaryotic 

Algae, Cyanobacteria, Fungi, and Slime Molds 

That issue aside, the decision to place the 

current series within the great tradition of its 

predecessors is commendable. Too often, the 

rapid pace of scientific advance tends to make 

us insecure and overanxious to prove our 

modernity by ignoring or rejecting the past. 

Yet we cannot fully appreciate the significance 

of concepts in their present incarnation 

without considering their historical context, 

in the same way that we would not attempt 

to understand a structure or a taxon without 

considering its trajectory through time. 


The last edition (12th) of Engler’s Syllabus 

was published in the 1950s, not only well 

before the advent of molecular sequence 

data, but also before phylogenetic principles 

were consistently and rigorously applied 

to classification.  The systematic scheme 

presented in this edition will therefore likely 

differ more profoundly from its immediate 

predecessor in the series than did any other 

Syllabus of Plant Families: Ascomycota is 

a significant reference work that research 

libraries and herbaria will wish to acquire, as 

will many mycologists and plant pathologists 

who study these organisms in a biosystematic 

–William B. Sanders, Florida Gulf Coast 


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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


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PSB 63 (3) 2017        


How mobile is your 


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Plant Science Bulletin 

Featured Image

The Botanical Society of 

America is a membership soci-

ety whose mission  is to: pro-

mote botany, the field of basic 

science dealing with the study 

& inquiry into the form, func-

tion, development, diversity, 

reproduction, evolution, & uses 

of plants & their interactions 

within the biosphere.

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 & additional  

mailing offices.  


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  

A d d r e s s  E d i t o r i a l  M a t t e r s  (o n l y ) t o :  

Mackenzie Taylor, Editor 

Department of Biology  

Creighton University 

2500 California Plaza 

Omaha, NE 68178 

Phone 402-280-2157

Plant Science Bulletin

                                                                                     Summer 2017 Volume 63 Number 2

This image, by Ya Min (Harvard University), won first place in 

this year's TRIARCH "Botanical Images" student travel award 


This award, established by Dr. Paul Conant and supported 

by TRIARCH, Inc., provides acknowledgement and travel 

support to BSA meetings for outstanding student work in the 

area of creating botanical digital images.

For more information, or to find out how to submit your own 

image for 2018, go to


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