Plant Science Bulletin archive

Issue: 2021-67-2Actions

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Cole Imperi explores the emerging  

field of thanabotany... p. 101

Wanda Lovan, BSA Director of 

Finance  & Administration,  

Retires...  Inside Back Cover

Kate Parsley on new ways to combat  

“plant awareness disparity”.....p. 94

Registration Now Open!

Meet the Newest Members of the BSA Board!

Vivian Negron-Ortiz

J. Chris Pires

Rachel Jabaily

Ioana Anghel

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                                                     Summer 2021 Volume 67 Number 2


Editorial Committee  

Volume 67

From the Editor

David Tank 


Department of Biological 


University of Idaho 

Moscow, ID 83844

James McDaniel 


Botany Department 

University of Wisconsin  


Madison, WI  53706

Seana K. Walsh 


National Tropical Botanical  


Kalāheo, HI 96741


Summer 2021 is upon us and many of us are 

still experiencing personal and professional 

difficulties due to the global pandemic. 

Operating conditions in many places in the 

United States are slowly returning to normal 

as vaccination rates have risen; however, there 

is still great uncertainty as U.S. vaccinations 

level off and Covid cases continue to 

fluctuate globally. The second virtual Botany 

conference will allow us to once again gather 

in this new environment, albeit not in person. 

In preparation for this meeting, we are excited 

to feature many of our annual award winners 

and introduce the new student representative 

to the Executive Board, Ioana Anghel. 

In this issue, we also present two articles that 

consider the connections of people to plants. 

In Dr. Kate Parsley’s article, she discusses 

new strategies for describing and combatting 

plant awareness disparity. I am particularly 

pleased to feature this article as it furthers the 

discussion on this issue that has been carried 

on in the pages of Plant Science Bulletin 

for several decades. Cole Imperi’s article 

introduces the concept of Thanabotany and 

the relationships people have with plants 

in situations involving death. Recognizing 

these types of relationships can only increase 

people’s awareness of the importance of 

plants in human culture and, hopefully, in 

the environment. I hope you find these article 

informative and inspiring. Sincerely,

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Meet the New BSA Board Members! ..................................................................................................................79

Botanical Society of America’s Award Winners (Part 1) .........................................................................80


Plant Awareness Disparity: Looking to the Past to Inform the Future .............................................94

Thanabotany: the Emerging Field Where Plants, People and Death Intersect .......................101

Poetry Corner ................................................................................................................................................................108


PlantingScience Has Large Session, Successful Student/Scientist  

Mentoring Conversations Despite Pandemic Disruptions ...................................................................112


Graduate School Advice .........................................................................................................................................116

Getting to Know your New Student Representative - Ioana Anghel .............................................120

MEMBERSHIP NEWS ...................................................................................................................................



In Memoriam - Walter Lewis (1930–2020) .................................................................................................124



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Meet the New BSA Board Members!

Vivian Negron-Ortiz


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), 

Florida Ecological Services Field Office

J. Chris Pires


University of Missouri - Columbia

Rachel Jabaily

Director-at-Large for Education  

Colorado College

Ioana Anghel

Student Representative

University of California, Los Angeles

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Dr. Xiang is well known globally for her 

diverse contributions to plant systematics and 

evolution. She is best known for her extensive 

work on Cornaceae, for which she is the world’s 

expert, as well as her numerous important 

contributions to our understanding of the well-

known Eastern Asia–Eastern North America 

floristic disjunction. Few groups of plants are 

now as well-studied as dogwoods, thanks to 

Jenny’s dedication. Her expertise is diverse 

and spans classical taxonomy, molecular 



Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America 

The Distinguished Fellow of the Botanical Society of America is the highest honor our Soci-

ety bestows. Each year, the award committee solicits nominations, evaluates candidates, and 

selects those to receive an award. Awardees are chosen based on their outstanding contribu-

tions to the mission of our scientific Society. The committee identifies recipients who have 

demonstrated excellence in basic research, education, public policy, or who have provided 

exceptional service to the professional botanical community, or who may have made contri-

butions to a combination of these categories.


North Carolina State University

systematics/phylogenetics, genomics, 

and developmental genetics. Much of 

her recent work focuses on population-level 

and phylogeographic problems. She has an 

extremely rich publication record and has 

also maintained continuous NSF support 

throughout her long career.

One of Dr. Xiang’s most important 

contributions has been fostering close 

interactions and research connectivity between 

botanists in China and the United States. Since 

2008, she and colleagues in China have taught 

the “East Asia–North America Field Botany 

and Ecology Course” at Zhejiang University 

and North Carolina State University, making 

a great impact on the training of Chinese 

and American students in this field. This has 

been a remarkable opportunity for students 

from both countries and has helped to foster 

new international research, as well as many 

friendships. These student exchanges have 

had significant impact on the number and 

quality of collaborations between U.S. and 

Chinese labs in the botanical sciences.

Jenny has been a life-long member of the 

Botanical Society of America. She is an 

outstanding mentor to students, post-docs, 

and young faculty, often bringing them along 

to annual scientific conferences including 

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Botany conferences. Her courses have 

inspired both plant biology majors and non-

majors to think more deeply about plant 

evolution and diversity. She is well respected 

and well loved by her mentees, whether they are 

from the United States or China or elsewhere 

in the world. In addition, Jenny has been an 

active reviewer for the American Journal of 

Botany, served on several BSA committees, is 

a frequent organizer of workshops, symposia, 

special journal issues, and more—all in service 

to her profession.

BSA Emerging Leader Award 

Donald R. Kaplan  

Memorial Lecture 

This award was created to promote research 

in plant comparative morphology, the Kaplan 

family has established an endowed fund, 

administered through the Botanical Society 

of America, to support the Ph.D. research of 

graduate students in this area.


Cornell University


University of Kansas

Dr. Atkinson is currently Assistant Professor in 

the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary 

Biology at the University of Kansas and 

curator of the paleobotany collection at the 

KU Biodiversity Institute. Brian completed 

his doctoral dissertation at Oregon State 

University in 2017, after earning among other 

awards, a NSF Doctoral Fellowship and the 

BSA Paleobotanical Section Isabel Cookson 

Award. Dr. Atkinson is one of the leading 

scientists of his generation in paleobotany 

and plant evolution. He is making impressive 

contributions  as  a  field-based  scientist  who 

combines morphological and molecular 

data, extant and extinct plants, as well as 

biological and geological data. In addition, 

Dr. Atkinson has become an accomplished 

teacher, inspiring mentor, and an exceptional 

role model.

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This award organized by the Environmental and Public Policy Committees of BSA and ASPT aims to 

support local efforts that contribute to shaping public policy on issues relevant to plant sciences.

Rocio Deanna, University of Colorado-Boulderfor the Proposal:  ARG Plant Women 


Karolina Heyduk, University of Hawaii, for the Proposal:  Hawaiian Culture and the 


Carolyn Mills, California Botanic Garden/Claremont Graduate Universityfor the Proposal 

 Promoting Indigenous Co-management of Federal Lands in the Nopah Range



Donald R. Kaplan was a leading researcher in the area of plant form, where he sought to  deduce fundamental 

principles from comparative developmental morphology. Through his own work and the work of the  many 

graduate students he mentored, he had a profound effect on the fields of plant development and  structure. 

Kaplan always encouraged his students to work independently, often on projects  unrelated to his own research. 

He believed that students should publish their work independently, and  rarely coauthored his students’ papers. 


To promote research in plant comparative morphology, the Kaplan family has established an endowed  fund, 

administered through the Botanical Society of America, to support the Ph.D. research of graduate students in this 

area. The annual award of up to $10,000 may be used to support equipment and supplies, travel for research and 

to attend meetings, and for summer support. This award was created to promote research in plant comparative 

morphology, the Kaplan family has established an endowed fund, administered through the Botanical Society of 

America, to support the Ph.D. research of graduate students in this area.

Erin Patterson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for the Proposal: The development and 

evolution of awns in the grass subfamily Pooideae

Honorable Mention: 

Jacob Suissa, Harvard University, for the Proposal: Bumps in the node: the effects of vascular 

architecture on hydraulic integration in fern rhizomes

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The BSA Graduate Student Research Awards support graduate student research and are made on the basis of research 

proposals and letters of recommendations. Withing the award group is the Karling Graduate Student Research Award. 

This award was instituted by the Society in 1997 with funds derived through a generous gift from the estate of the 

eminent mycologist, John Sidney Karling (1897-1994), and supports and promotes graduate student research in the 
botanical sciences. The 2021 award recipients are:



Isabela Lima Borges, Michigan State University, for the Proposal: The effects of plant inbreeding 

on the legume-rhizobia mutualism


Laymon Ball, Louisiana State University, for the Proposal: Mutualisms, mountains, and machine 

learning: Disentangling drivers of evolution in a florally diverse Neotropical plant clade, Hillieae 


Philip Bentz, University of Georgia, for the Proposal: Origins and evolution of genetic sex-

determination and sex chromosomes in the genus Asparagus

Haley Branch, University of British Columbia, for the Proposal: Remembering the hard times: 

how stress memory evolves in response to environmental pressure

Stephanie Calloway, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, for the Proposal: 

Saving a rare plant species from extinction on Anacapa Island

Anri Chomentowska, Yale University, for the Proposal: Investigating the evolution of syndromes: 

life history, mating system, and environmental niche of a desert-alpine lineage in the plant family 


Eva Colberg, University of Missouri - St. Louis, for the Proposal: The effects of prescribed fire on 

ant-mediated seed dispersal of Sanguinaria canadensis

Mari Cookson, Cal State Fullerton, for the Proposal: Investigating systematics and host-parasite 

coevolutionary dynamics in dwarf mistletoes (Arceuthobium spp.) using population genomics

Brandon Corder, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for the Proposal: Partial mycoheterotrophy 

in North American orchids: incorporating evolutionary ecological and molecular evolutionary 


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Sontosh Deb, University of Alabama, For the Proposal: Evolution of flooding tolerance in maize 


Caroline Dowling, University College Dublin, For the Proposal: The genetic architecture of 

flowering time in Cannabis sativa

Samar El-Abdallah, Humboldt State University, For the Proposal: Constructing whole plant 

concepts for two Early Devonian fossil plants in the assemblages of the Beartooth Butte Formation 


Paige Fabre, The Ohio State University, For the Proposal: Patterns of staminode evolution in 

Penstemon (Plantaginaceae)

Laura Fehling, Miami University, For the Proposal: Context-dependency of reward 

complementarity in a multispecies mutualism

Emma Frawley, Washington University in St. Louis, For the Proposal: Little barley: variation, 

domestication, and adaptation in a North American lost crop

Elsa Godtfredsen, Northwestern University, for the Proposal: Early snowmelt, changing 

phenology and increased drought exposure: consequences for plant survival and reproduction of 

four subalpine plant species

Nikolai Hay, Duke University, for the Proposal: Locating a “missing link” using microsatellite 

data from herbarium specimens

Zhe He, Harvard University, for the Proposal: Pit membranes and plant resistance to cavitation

Samuel Lockhart, Ohio University, for the Proposal: Population genetic structure and breeding 

system characterization of four mixed-breeding violets and one exclusively chasmogamous violet

Diana Macias, University of New Mexico, for the Proposal: Adaptability of piñon pine (Pinus 

edulis) populations to future hot droughts

Janet Mansaray, Louisiana State University, for the Proposal: Plants, ants, and curvy bills: the 

evolution of mutualisms in neotropical bellflowers

Skylar  McDaniel, Utah State University,for the Proposal: Floral microbiome assembly and 

function in the face of phenological change

Michael McKibben, University of Arizona, for the Proposal: The Contribution of paleopolyploidy 

to adaptation in diploid descendants

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Elise Miller, University of Minnesota Duluth, for the Proposal: How do sources, sinks, and 

physical constraints impact phloem hydraulic conductivity?

Carina Motta, Universidade Estadual Paulista – Rio Claro, for the Proposal: Contribution of a 

naturalized tropical tree to bird diet in secondary forest fragments

Taryn Mueller, University of Minnesota, for the Proposal: Ecological genetic drivers of foliar 

fungal endophyte community assembly in Clarkia xantiana

Olivia Murrell, Northwestern University, for the Proposal: Influence of metapopulation dynamics 

on genetic structure: Case study of the endangered and exceptional species Amorphophallus 


Deannah Neupert, Miami University, for the Proposal: The evolution and development of the 

aerial bulbil: a study of novelty in Mimulus

Megan Nibbelink, Humboldt State University, 

for the Proposal: Anatomically-preserved 

zosterophylls of the Battery Point Formation (Québec, Canada) and a new analysis of zosterophyll 


Kasey Pham, University of Florida, for the Proposal: What got swapped? Investigating the 

genomic consequences of hybridization in two species of Eucalyptus

Alyssa Phillips, UC Davis, for the Proposal: Origins of polyploidy and their impact on adaptation 

in Andropogon gerardi

Neill Prohaska, University of Arizona, for the Proposal: How does leaf microclimate affect 

population density and diversity of microbes living on leaves in tropical forest canopies?

Austin Rosen, Colorado State University, for the Proposal: Uncovering taxonomic boundaries 

in a group of seep-loving desert thistles (Asteraceae: Cirsium)

Malia Santos, University of Idaho, for the Proposal: Investigating species relationships and 

evolutionary patterns of defense strategies in Tricalysia (Rubiaceae)

Amber Stanley, University of Pittsburgh, for the Proposal: Have floral traits of Impatiens 

capensis responded to pollinator mismatches caused by climate change and urbanization? A 

retrospective study using herbarium specimens

Christina Steinecke, Queen’s University, for the Proposal: Investigating correlated evolution of 

sexual and asexual reproduction in Mimulus guttatus

Andrea Turcu, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, for the Proposal: The evolution of 

divergent mating systems across temporally and spatially heterogeneous environments

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Emma Vtipilthorpe, North Carolina State University, for the Proposal: Relationships between 

niche breadth and geographic range size in Liatris

Sophie Young, Lancaster University, for the Proposal: Phloem loading in the context of C4 

photosynthesis in tree-form Hawaiian Euphorbia

Joseph Zailaa, Yale University, for the Proposal: Investigating drought impacts on native-

California shrubland vegetation from cells to communities



The BSA Undergraduate Student Research Awards support undergraduate student research and are 

made on the basis of research proposals and letters of recommendation.
Anais Barnes, Bucknell University, for the Proposal: Assessing the geographic distribution and 

conservation status of Heuchera alba and Heuchera pubescens using field surveys, morphology and 

genomics methods
Jeffrey Heim, Bucknell University, for the Proposal: A population genomics approach to under-

standing the role of Indigenous foragers in the distribution and genetic diversity of an Australian wild 

bush tomato (Solanum diversiflorum)
Matthew Hilz, Saint Louis University, for the Proposal: Testing the effect of plant age on phenotypic 

traits in the field
Hsin Kuo, National Taiwan University, for the Proposal: Evolution of the AUXIN RESPONSE FAC-

TOR gene family in land plants
Claire Marino, Bucknell University, for the Proposal: Solanum sp. ‘Deaf Adder,’ a new bush tomato 

species from the Australian monsoon tropics
Theodore Matel, Cornell University, for the Proposal: Cunoniaceae fossil from the early Eocene 

(~58 m. y.) Laguna del Hunco, Huitrera Formation, Patagonia, Argentina
Ryan McGinnis, Drake University, for the Proposal: Battle of the sexes: Intra- and Interindividual 

floral variation in a native fruit tree, American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana, Ebenaceae)
Nola Rettenmaier, Cornell University, for the Proposal: Assessing NAM/CUC3 Expression in Costus 

Nicholas Rocha, Cornell University, for the Proposal: The role of pollinators in the phenotypic diver-

sity of Calochortus venustus
Aryaman Saksena, Cornell University, for the Proposal: Evolution of floral fusion in the banana 

Emily Smith, Drake University, for the Proposal: The function of staminodes in the reproductive suc-

cess and pollination ecology of American Persimmon, Diospyros virginiana (Ebenaceae)

Ethan Stolen, University of Florida, for the Proposal: The impact of genome doubling on gene ex-

pression noise in Arabidopsis thaliana

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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 Botanical Society of America.

Andrea Appleton, Georgia Southern University, Advisor: Dr. John Schenk

Olyvia Foster, University of Guelph, Advisor: Dr. Christina Caruso

Renée Geyer, Oberlin College, Advisor: Dr. Michael J. Moore

Jonathan Hayes, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Christopher T. Martine

Jeff Heim, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Christopher T. Martine

Emily Humphreys, Oberlin College, Advisor: Dr. Michael J. Moore

Kiana Lee, University of Guelph, Advisor: Dr. Christina Caruso

Michelle Liu, Oberlin College, Advisor: Dr. Michael J. Moore

Tallia Maglione, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Rachel Spicer

Jordan Manchego, University of Alabama-Huntsville, Advisor: Dr. Alex Harkess

Livia Martinez, Barnard College - Columbia University, Advisor: Dr. Hilary Callahan

Colleen Mills, Weber State University, Advisor: Dr. Sue Harley

Abigail Moore, Ohio University, Advisor: Dr. John Schenk

Claire Pellegrini, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Rachel Spicer

Eva Popp, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Advisor: Dr. Steven Handel

Riki Ross, University of Akron, Advisor: Dr. Randall Mitchell

Megan Soehnlen, Walsh University, Advisor: Dr. Jennifer Clevinger

Heather Wetreich, Bucknell University, Advisor: Dr. Christopher T. Martine

Shefka Williams, Connecticut College, Advisor: Dr. Rachel Spicer

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

plant scientists) program recognizes outstanding undergraduates from diverse backgrounds and pro-

vides travel grant.

Anais Barnes, Bucknell University, Advisor: Chris Martine

Serena Blais, California State University, Sacramento, Advisor: Clayton Visger

Jonathan Carcache, Florida International University, Advisor: Daniela Hernandez

Josh Felton, Colorado College, Advisor: Rachel Jabaily

Aaliyah Holliday, Cornell University, Advisor: Chelsea D. Specht

Caitlyn Hughes, University of Georgia, Advisor: Jim Leebens-Mack

Emily Hughes, Rutgers University, Advisor: Suzanne Sukhdeo

Al Lichamer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Advisor: Ingrid Jordon-Thaden

Annie Nelson, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, Advisor: Katarzyna Glowacka

Matthew Norman, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Advisor: Lauren Eserman

Deirdre O’Malley, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Advisor: Shannon Straub

Ryan Schmidt, Rutgers University, Advisor: Lena Struwe

Madilyn Vetter, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Advisor: Nora Mitchel

Jayla Wade, Howard University, Advisor: Dr. Janelle Burke

Audrey Widmier, Mercer University, Advisor: Dr. John Stanga


Yetunde Bulu, Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Nigeria

Paula Burchardt, Londrina State University (UEL), Brazil

Laura Calvillo Canadell, Instituto de Biología, UNAM., Mexico

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Ítalo Coutinho, Universidade Federal do Ceará, Brazil

Kelsey Glennon, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Thliza Ijai Ayuba, Federal University, Gashua, Yobe State, Nigeria

Yesenia Madrigal, Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia

Oluwasanmi Odeyemi, Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Nigeria

Oluwatobi OSO, University of Ibadan, Nigeria

Vashist N. Pandey, DDU Gorakhpur University, Gorakhpur, India

Nantenaina Herizo Rakotomalala, Kew Madagascar Conservation Centre, Madagascar


Winners were selected by lottery

Diana Castillo Diaz

Paige Ellestad

Chuangwei Fang

Matias Köhler

Jessica LaBella

Francesco Martini



The following winners were selected from the Association of Southeastern Biologists meeting that took place at the end 

of March, 2021.

Southeastern Section Paper Presentation Award

Emily Oppmann, Middle Tennessee State University

Funmilola Mabel Ojo

Namrata Pradhan 

Laura Super

Yingtong Wu

Mei Yang

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Southeastern Section Poster Presentation Award

Regina Javier, Appalachian State University


Mimi Serrano,  San Francisco State University, Advisor:  Dr. Kevin Simonin, for the 

Presentation: Tracking Leaf Trait Differentiation of Newly Diverging Subspecies of Chenopodium 

oahuense on the Hawaiian Islands

Laura Super, University of British Columbia, Advisor: Dr. Robert Guy,  for the Presentation: The 

impact of simulated climate change and nitrogen deposition on conifer phytobiomes and associated 

vegetation Co-author: Dr. Robert Guy

Yingtong Wu,  University of Missouri - St. Louis, Advisor: Dr.  Robert E. Ricklefs, for the 

Presentation: What Limits Species Ranges? Investigating the Effects of Biotic and Abiotic Factors 

on Oaks (Quercus spp.) through Experiments and Field Survey Co-author: Dr. Robert E. Ricklefs



Ana Gabriela Martinez Becerril, National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM. Faculty 

of Higher Studies Zaragoza, Advisor: Alejandra Vasco, for the Proposal:  Disentangling the 

systematics of the Elaphoglossum petiolatum complex (Dryopteridaceae) Co-author: Alejandra Vasco

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Botany 2021 and Plant Biology 2021  

Present a Special Joint Symposium  

Wednesday July 21, 11:00 am (ET)

Symbiotic forms and the  

lichenized phenotype 


Klara Scharnagl 

University of California, Berkeley 

Heather Hallen-Adams 

University of Nebraska-Lincoln 

Mycological Society of America

Elizabeth Kellogg 

The Danforth Center 

Botanical Society of America

Gary Stacey 

University of Missouri 

American Society of 

Plant Biologists

Bacterial endosymbionts of  

Mucoromycota fungi;  

lessons from evolutionary,  

functional, and  

computational genomics  


Jessie Uehling 

Oregon State University

Perception of  


by the bioenergy crop 




Jean-Michel Ané  

University of Wisconsin 

Bidirectional communication 

along the  

microbiome-root-shoot axis.  


Corné Pieterse 

Utrecht University

A set of conserved receptors 

is essential for root system ar-

chitectural changes induced by 

arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi  


Uta Paszkowski 

Cambridge University

Organized by:

An Exploration of   

Inter-kingdom Interactions


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Many readers of the the Plant Science Bulletin 

are likely familiar with a problem that has 

plagued botanists and science educators for at 

least a century: most students are not interested 

in learning about plants. This simple fact has 

been written about extensively, both within 

this very publication and throughout the field 

of botany education research (e.g., Balas and 

Momsen, 2014; Hershey, 2002; Strgar, 2007; 

Wandersee, 1986; Wandersee et al., 2006; 

Wandersee and Schussler, 1999; Wandersee 

and Schussler, 2001). 

Plant Awareness Disparity: Looking 

to the Past to Inform the Future

By Kathryn M. Parsley 

Education Project  


Education Research and 

Outreach Laboratory 

Donald Danforth Plant 

Science Center 

What many people do not often recognize 

is that the history of this problem is more 

extensive than it seems on the surface. The 

original idea behind plant blindness first 

surfaced in the journal Science in 1919, when 

George Nichols discussed the teaching of 

botany and zoology in American universities 

and how the development of general biology 

courses would affect these topics. In the 

article, Nichols laments that these new general 

biology courses “are responsible for the 

popular delusion that biology is the study of 

animals: that the words biology and zoology 

are synonymous,” (Nichols, 1919). Before 

this phenomenon even had a name, plant 

blindness was recognized as a major problem 

for biology education.

Several years later, in 1994, the term 

“zoochauvinism” appeared on the scene. 

Zoochauvinism is known as a bias against 

plants in favor of animals, and while this 

term appeared first in the literature, it is now 

largely recognized as a consequence of plant 

blindness (Bozniak, 1994; Hershey, 1993; 

Wandersee and Schussler, 2001). Shortly 

after, the term “plant blindness” was coined 

by James Wandersee and Elisabeth Schussler 

(Wandersee and Schussler, 1999, 2001). 


Twitter and Instagram @KathrynMParsley 


Blog: https://plantawarenessdisparity.word-

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Plant blindness is defined as “the inability 

to see or notice the plants in one’s own 

environment—leading to: (a) the inability 

to recognize the importance of plants in 

the biosphere, and in human affairs; (b) 

the inability to appreciate the aesthetic and 

unique biological features of the life forms 

belonging to the Plant Kingdom; and (c) 

the misguided, anthropocentric ranking of 

plants as inferior to animals, leading to the 

erroneous conclusion that they are unworthy 

of human consideration,” (Wandersee and 

Schussler, 2001). This definition can be 

extrapolated into four components of plant 

blindness: attention, attitude, knowledge, and 

relative interest (Parsley, 2020). The attention 

component refers to the visual phenomenon of 

not noticing plants in an environment, which 

is supported by research in visual cognition 

(Balas and Momsen, 2014; Norretranders, 

1998; Parsley, 2020). The attitude component 

is denoted by a lack of positive affect toward 

plants and/or being apathetic toward them 

(Parsley, 2020; Parsley et al., in review). The 

knowledge component refers to the inability 

to recognize the importance of plants in 

the biosphere and human affairs (Parsley, 

2020; Uno, 2009; Wandersee and Schussler, 

2001). The relative interest component is 

characterized by a lack of interest in plants 

when compared to animals (Lindemann‐

Matthies, 2005; Parsley, 2020; Wandersee, 

1986; Wandersee and Schussler, 2001). 

These four components and the detailed 

definition of plant blindness indicate that 

this phenomenon goes much further than 

simply not noticing plants. These attentional 

deficits cascade into impacts on student 

attitude, interest, and knowledge, and each 

is an important component to student 

learning. This makes plant blindness a multi-

faceted, complex problem that has significant 

implications for biology and botany education. 

As such, what we call the phenomenon and 

the language we use to describe it matters. In 

the past few years, botanists and educators 

have spoken out about the problems with the 

term plant blindness and how it is inherently 

exclusive toward disabled scientists. For 

example, McDonough MacKenzie

 et al. (2019) 

posited that instead of focusing on “curing 

plant blindness,” we should instead seek to 

“grow plant love.” While the ideas behind the 

term are not in question (no one is proposing 

to change the definition cited above), the term 

itself has been identified as a potential barrier 

to diversity and inclusion within the plant 








Although the term plant blindness is unique 

in that it captures an incredibly complex 

phenomenon in a simple and easily digestible 

phrase, it is still highly problematic in other 

ways. The authors who developed this term 

used a disability metaphor, and while ableism 

was not the authors’ intention, disability 

metaphors are inherently ableist (McDonough 

MacKenzie et al., 2019; Sanders, 2019). 

Disability metaphors equate disabilities with 

negative or undesirable traits that require 

“fixing” (Schalk, 2013; Smith, 2015). As 

someone who is visually impaired and has 

learning disabilities, I must admit that I do find 

it problematic to equate blindness with not 

noticing plants in my environment. If we are to 

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promote a diverse and equitable environment 

in which everyone feels comfortable learning 

about plants, it is important that we choose 

language to reflect these goals. 

As such, I have proposed that we change 

the term plant blindness to a new one: plant 

awareness disparity (PAD) (Parsley, 2020). 

Plant awareness disparity is accurate, 

inclusive, and maintains the conceptual 

intentions behind the original term. PAD 

highlights the fact that the root of the problem 

with this phenomenon is a disparity in visual 

attention between plants and animals. The 

problem is not just that we do not see plants, 

it is that our visual systems have evolved to 

place plants in the background of our visual 

field in service of noticing animals (Parsley, 

2020). At the same time, it recognizes that this 

visual cognition reality creates the other three 

components of PAD. This attention disparity 

between plants and animals is responsible for 

the development of negative attitudes toward 

plants, a lack of interest in plants, and a lack 

of knowledge of why plants are important 

(Parsley, 2020). As such, PAD emphasizes 

the visual roots of the phenomenon while 

still encompassing the rest of the original 

definition of plant blindness. Because PAD is 

both more inclusive and continues to preserve 

the integrity of the definition behind plant 

blindness, I have begun using PAD to refer to 

this phenomenon instead of plant blindness. 

I encourage others to do the same for the 

reasons outlined above.



PAD is present at all levels of education and 

can even be transmitted from teachers to 

students. For example, Nyberg et al. (2019) 

noted that elementary school student teachers 

notice plants in environments where plants 

are in the foreground (such as botanical 

gardens), much more than in environments 

where animals are the focus (such as a science 

center). These findings regarding student 

teachers are significant, because if student 

teachers do not have experiences with plants 

in the foreground, their PAD levels may 

continue uninhibited until they begin teaching 

students. Once they do, these new teachers 

may favor animals in biology examples, 

leading to PAD in their students as well. There 

is even evidence that high school students do 

not perceive plants as being alive, partly due 

to plants’ lack of observable motion (Yorek et 

al., 2009). PAD does not automatically decline 

over time without an intentional intervention. 

Examples of intentional interventions include: 

educational curriculum, the introduction of a 

plant mentor (someone who mentors others 

and teaches them about the importance of 

plants), or the special interest and enthusiasm 

of a teacher.

PAD is even a problem within the very 

instructional tools that we use to teach 

biology. Schussler et al. (2010) discovered that 

even in two nationally syndicated textbook 

series in the United States, animals and 

plants are represented unequally. There were 

more than twice as many animal examples 

as plant examples in the textbooks. Even in 

highly regarded and frequently used general 

biology textbooks at the university level, this 

trend continues. Brownlee et al. (2021) noted 

a similar tendency for textbooks to represent 

animals in images more often than plants 

(and focus on animals in images containing 

both plants and animals). PAD is infused into 

instructional materials at all educational levels 

in the United States. As one might imagine, 

this has disastrous consequences for botanical 

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literacy and botany education. If students 

are not exposed to both plant and animal 

examples of biological concepts, they can 

come away with misconceptions such as that 

plants do not evolve.




Given how ubiquitous PAD is at all levels of 

education (particularly in the United States), 

many authors have explored strategies to 

reduce PAD in a multitude of contexts. 

Wandersee et al. (2006) probed community 

college students’ botanical sense of place to 

help them see and understand how plants are 

important to not only the students, but also 

humans in general. Frisch et al. (2010) used 

this approach to help educate science teachers 

about why teaching plants in elementary 

school is important as well. 

A proposed way to alleviate PAD in K-12 

students is through an outdoor education 

program, where students (ages 10 and 11) 

have hands-on opportunities to interact with 

the plants (Fančovičová and Prokop, 2011). 

Wyner and Doherty (2019) demonstrated 

that local street trees can be used to decrease 

urban middle school students’ levels of PAD, 

despite a lack of large outdoor spaces present 

in these urban environments. Patrick and 

Tunnicliffe (2011) demonstrated that children 

of the ages 4, 6, 8, and 10 are in touch with 

their environment to varying extents, and that 

children who have rich experiences outdoors 

tend to have more knowledge about both 

plants and animals. 

Outside of formal learning environments, 

Hoekstra (2000) noted that in order to help 

combat PAD, botanists should partner with the 

media and get better at presenting information 

in a relatable and entertaining way. Hershey 

(2002) had several ideas for combating PAD: 

a college course for preservice teachers, an 

online botanical glossary, a botanical seal of 

approval on biology textbooks from botanists, 

and even a bibliography of accurate botanical 

and biological teaching materials. Wandersee 

and Schussler (2001) noted that having a 

knowledgeable and friendly plant mentor has 

also been shown to result in lowered PAD 

in students. Having experiences with a plant 

mentor also results in increased attention to, 

interest in, and scientific understanding of 

plants at a later point in life for many people. 

Wandersee and Schussler took an activist 

approach in their 1999 paper, in which 

they announced that they were launching a 

campaign to “prevent plant blindness,” as it 

was then called, which was followed up with 

special posters to hang in classrooms and 

even a children’s book about a plant. To follow 

up with this idea, they even created an award 

called the Giverny Award for children’s books 

that accurately teach at least one scientific 

principle, and preference is given to books 

that teach about botany and plant biology.




In the Classroom

Parsley et al. (in review) note that when 

designing ways to reduce PAD in students, it 

is important to consider that simply teaching 

students may not be enough. We found 

that even after an active learning botanical 

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curriculum, only student attention and 

knowledge of plants improved significantly—

their attitudes and interest in plants did not 

(Parsley et al., in review). This is important 

because if we are to reduce PAD, we have to 

be sure to address the problem from a more 

holistic perspective. Botanists and instructors 

cannot rely on increased knowledge alone to 

change students’ minds about plants. 

Introductory biology textbooks need to 

improve their representation of plants in 

images at both the elementary and university 

levels (Schussler et al., 2010; Brownlee et al., 

2021). Instructors who are using textbooks 

with high levels of PAD should incorporate 

outside resources such as herbarium 

specimens, online repositories such as, and even botanical social 

media accounts to better represent plants in 

their classes (Brownlee et al., 2021). 

In Personal Experiences

Making plants personal seems to be a major 

strategy to help combat PAD. Krosnick et 

al. (2018) noted that personal experience 

growing plants and treating them as pets can 

also have an effect on PAD. When students get 

personally invested in these activities, it can 

help them develop those feelings of empathy 

that also develop when they have a plant 

mentor or have significant memories of being 

around plants in their childhood.

Notably, my research (both in exploring 

the literature and in conducting my own 

research studies) indicates that interpersonal 

relationships are an important part of reducing 

PAD. Often the relationship with a plant 

mentor, family member, or friend is what gets 

students interested in plants. It typically takes 

students being taught by another person how 

to empathize with plants, while this seems to 

happen automatically with animals. 

As instructors, botanists, and outreach 

activists, we can take on this role for our 

students. We can go the extra mile to 

demonstrate our enthusiasm for plants, and to 

encourage the same in our students. And, if 

we are ever going to be rid of PAD, we must do 

these things. To advance in the fight against 

PAD and botanical illiteracy, I am proposing a 

social media campaign specific to PAD.


On Twitter or Instagram, use #PADisBad 

to tell the world how you are fighting PAD 

with educational curricula, field trips, 

active learning activities, or even science 

communication methods. If you have funny 

memes related to PAD, ideas for interventions 

to reduce PAD, or if you just want to show 

others how PAD affects their lives, #PADisBad 

can help get the word out. The more people 

involved in this discussion, the more likely we 

are to make a difference in PAD and botanical 

literacy, not only for our students, but also for 

the public at large.


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Bozniak, E. C. 1994. Challenges facing plant biology 

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Brownlee, K., K. M. Parsley, and J. L. Sabel. 2021. An 

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Fančovičová,  J.,  and  P.  Prokop.  2011.  Plants  have  a 

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Frisch, J. K., M. M. Unwin, and G. W. Saunders. 2010. 

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Hershey, D. R. 2002. Plant blindness: “I have met the 

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Hoekstra, B. 2000. Plant blindness: The ultimate chal-

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Krosnick, S. E., J. C. Baker and K. R. Moore. 2018. 

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Lindemann-Matthies,  P.  2005.  ‘Loveable’  mammals 

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what urban middle school students notice about the 

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60 years ago

A condensation of papers given at the Teaching Section Symposium “The Botanical Garden as an 

Outdoor Teaching Laboratory” are published, including articles by Walter Hodge, William Campbell 

Steere, and William S. Stewart.   

--PSB 7(2): 4-6.


50 years ago

“Owing to increasing costs and decreasing revenues, Dr. Lawrence J. Crockett, Business Manager, 

American Journal of Botany, regrets to announce that the very liberal rule that everybody who pub-

lishes in the journal receives the first 100 reprints free must be changed. Beginning with the August 

issue, only those who are paying the voluntary page charge will get the reprints free.

"Hopefully, members of the Society will understand why this change is necessary. Our membership 

dues are very low in comparison to other similar scientific societies. It has been possible for a member 

who published two articles in one year to get back as much as S30.00 on his $10.00 membership fee. 

While finances were rosy, this could be tolerated. but with science and economics being what they are 

today, the Society can no longer grant this gift.”

--American Journal of Botany Reprint Policy. PSB 17(2): 18

40 years ago

“The rapid decrease in the natural vegetation of the world is of great concern to all botanists. The waste-

ful and flagrant violation of man's stewardship over forests, plains, marshes and estuaries has appalled 

generations of botanists, but the complexity of solutions to these problems (which necessarily includes 

political, legal and social components) has eluded us and has discouraged too many of us from actively 

working toward solutions.

"The International Union for Conservation of Nature and World Wildlife Natural Resources has pre-

pared a detailed strategy of global dimensions for the United Nations Environmental program. This 

strategy provides for active participation of botanists in the making of decisions regarding future use 

of plant and other resources. Thirty countries (including the United States) have already pledged their 

support to this proposal, as have also the international monetary organizations.”

--Salute to World Conservation Strategy.  PSB 27(3): 17-18. 

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Thanabotany: the Emerging Field 

Where Plants, People and  

Death Intersect

By Cole Imperi


Chaplain, Deathworker

Founder, School of 

American Thanatology

E-mail: cole@american-

Imagine this: it’s 2018 and an independent 

thanatologist from Cincinnati, Ohio embarks 

on a research fellowship exploring the 

intersection of plants, people, and death. 

What results is a new field of study called 

thanabotany. Three years later, this emerging 

field now has students and researchers from 

20 different countries around the world.

I am that independent thanatologist who made 

her way into the world of botany through 

that fellowship. If thanatology is a new word 

for you, you’re not alone. Put most simply, 

thanatology is the study of death and dying. 

The word thanatology was coined in 1905, yet, 

things have been dying long before 1905! Take 

this as proof of how death-avoidant humanity 

truly is. I am a dual-certified thanatologist 

and will be triple-certified later in 2021. I’m 

interested in changing the way we approach 

death and loss in my lifetime, and that’s my 

life’s mission. Thanabotany is a part of that. 

Thanabotany is the word I coined to describe 

this emerging field, and I’m excited to share 

with all of you what’s happened in the last 

three years. Hopefully, I’ll lure some of you 


While under a fellowship, funded by the 

Lloyd Library & Museum, I was shocked to 

discover that there weren’t really any texts 

solely dedicated to discussing how plants 

have been used for death, dying, grief, loss, 

and bereavement, despite the fact that every 

human being experiences death and loss. 

Every living thing dies, so how were there 

no books focused on this specific area? So 

many religions, cultures, and communities 

have plant-based rituals across time and into 

modern day that prescribe how specific plants 

are to be used before death, at death, and after 

death. How was there no guidebook?! How 

was there no central text?



Thanabotany is where ethnobotany—the study 

of the plant–person relationship—intersects 

with thanatology—the study of death and 

dying. In thanabotany, we want to understand 

how humans have used plants to deal with 

death, dying, grief, loss, and bereavement. 

From funerary rituals to body preservation 

to social behaviors, thanabotanical practices 

appear across different times, cultures, 

religions, and countries. 

Under my fellowship, it was a challenge to find 

information about these practices offered as a 

primary focus. I have a huge research database 

at this point, and all of the information about 

these practices have been pulled out of books 

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and texts piecemeal. I’d find a paragraph here, 

or maybe half a page on one death-related 

plant practice there. As my research deepened, 

I found much of the written information 

about plants and death buried under clouded 

or avoidant language. Instead of a text saying, 

“For grief, make a tea of violets,” it would 

substitute words like hysteria or lunacy in place 

of grief. How many of you, in the aftermath of 

a significant loss, have had the experience of 

feeling out of your mind or completely not in 

normal reality? That’s grief, not lunacy—and 

it’s normal. Truth be told, we still are lagging 

in our understanding and acceptance of grief 

in modern day, so it is no surprise that what 

humanity has recorded isn’t clear and direct 

about it. This has proven to be an exciting 

challenge for those of us in this emerging field 

attempting to save this recorded information. 

In thanabotany, we seek to understand 

not only what plants were used for death, 

dying, grief, loss, and bereavement, but also 

why,  how, and by who. We are interested in 

understanding how thanabotanical practices 

from the past are still alive today and how 

they can be restarted in a modern context. 


I now have students and researchers studying 

thanabotany with me from 20 countries, across 

10 time zones and spanning ages from 18 to 

83 years old. Our courses have lessons broken 

into videos, slide presentations, reading 

assignments, class discussions, live lectures, 

tests, and an active community, which allow for 

real-time communication and collaboration 

between students during and after courses. 

It’s all spread by word of mouth and via social 

media. Within 9 months of publishing a single 

podcast episode about thanabotany in 2019, 

it had been played in 42 countries more than 

1000 times. I’ve been invited to speak about 

thanabotany to a wide variety of audiences, 

from associations for funeral directors to 

universities to international organizations. 

The outside interest is real, and it has been a 

challenge to keep up with—but it shouldn’t 

have come as a surprise, since interest and 

experience with both plants and death spans 

cultures around the globe. 

In a recent issue of the Plant Science Bulletin 

(Vol. 66, No. 3), I learned that there has been a 

decrease in the number of botany departments 

in higher education across the United States. 

I’m happy to share that, a new independent 

botany department has emerged! Housed 

under the School of American Thanatology 

(which I founded in 2020), we are the only 

place offering programs in thanabotany 

today. Additionally, we now officially have 

an herbarium! The Margaret H. Fulford 

Herbarium at the University of Cincinnati 

is the home herbarium for the Thanabotany 

Department at the School of American 

Thanatology. They will house a thanabotanical 

collection comprised of specimens submitted 

by our students worldwide (Fig. 1). We want 

to capture modern-day thanabotanical plants, 

and details about their usage. The Margaret H. 

Fulford Herbarium is a dream herbarium for 

us. It houses 127,000 specimens of vascular 

plants, bryophytes, fungi, lichens and wood 

samples. The herbarium also houses the 

research of Margaret H. Fulford, a pioneering 

liverwort researcher, and the collection of E. 

Lucy Braun, a plant ecologist. For an emerging 

field, we are very proud of what has been 

accomplished in such a short time. 


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Figure 1. 

Specimen of Ocimum basilicum L. 

housed at the Margaret H. Fulford Herbarium 

at the University of Cincinnati; https://midwes-



H. Fulford Herbarium. 


Curtis Gates  2791904-10-00. Samoa, Upolu, 

Upolu, -13.924665 -171.739014.



How has this gone from an independent 

research fellowship to an emerging field with 

students and researchers from 20 countries 

in 3 years? I think there are a few important 


An Increased Interest  

in Plants

The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt fueled 

a lot of change. Many people have been forced 

into time at home they didn’t have before. 

This time has revealed to a lot of people what 

actually  makes them happy, how they really

want to live their lives, and what they truly 

care about. As a result, many Americans have 

discovered a newfound interest in plants. 

During the pandemic, houseplants became 

an accessible and necessary link between 

people and nature. Growers across the United 

States have reported a surge in sales through 

2020 and the need to eat into 2021’s plant 

stock sooner than anticipated (https://www.


One of the most common things self-reported 

by students on my intake survey is the number 

of houseplants currently in their homes, or 

how large their garden is. It’s not uncommon 

for me to have a student with 80+ houseplants 

at home.

Changing Views on  


In the United States, the way higher education 

is perceived and valued is changing, and 

I would argue—has changed. Many of my 

students come to the School of American 

Thanatology to learn about something they 

care about as directly as possible. In a way, 

there seems to be a prestige—I’m using 

actual verbiage from my students here—in 

studying with an independent institution like 

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mine. Students want to cut out the middle 

man, so to speak, and the middleman is the 

“institution.” They want the professor. They 

want the person. They don’t want the school.

When I started the school, my big concern 

was our lack of accreditation by a larger body. 

I didn’t know how I would make time to figure 

out which accreditations mattered, let alone 

finding the time or resources to devote to those 

lengthy processes. I came to find, however, 

my students don’t care about accreditation. 

They view it as a fee the school likely has to 

pay that inflates the cost of education, but as 

a professional in the field, I do still care about 

it. While leading a young institution, pursuing 

accreditation helps me express my care and 

value for our work. I value my peers, and I 

want my colleagues to trust my commitment. 

For those of you reading this with perhaps a 

niche knowledge in something plant related, 

let this be encouragement to you to try teaching 

what you want to teach independently and 

directly to the people who want to learn from 

you. People want to learn from people with 

passion, no matter their home. 



Last year was no joke, and 2021 certainly 

isn’t either. Between the political upheaval, 

social change, racial injustice, lockdowns and 

distancing, 2020 left people asking WHAT

What can I do, with what I have, where I am? 

How can I contribute? How can I have an 


Plants are humanity’s original best friends. 

There is an opportunity to take care of ourselves 

through the plant–person relationship and our 

communities through the plant–community 

connection. Many of my students want to 

learn how to be in a relationship with plants 

again, or maybe for the first time ever. 

Thanabotany focuses on not only historical 

research, but also what can be done now, where 

you already are. We need people recording 

their modern-day traditions and rituals with 

plants and death now. And we need to collect 

specimens alongside our written records. 

Thanabotany is a chance to honor, record, 

and preserve this relationship and take real, 

positive action. People can participate in the 

field from wherever they are in the world. 

They just need an internet connection. 



There are two answers here: people who want 

to study thanabotany and people who want to 

use it.

Based on surveys my students take when they 

enroll, my students come from a wide variety 

of professional backgrounds. The following 

is a selected list of job titles reported by my 


• Arborists

• Arboretum professionals

• Artists

• Attorneys

• Board-certified physicians

• Currently enrolled college students

• Educators (K-12 and college)

• Field botanists

• Funeral directors

• Genealogists

• Government workers

• Human resource professionals

• Insurance salespeople

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• Librarians

• Non-profit executives

• Parks and recreations staff

• Psychiatrists, psychotherapists, and coun-


• Registered nurses

• Retail managers

• Software company executives

• Veterinarians and veterinary staff

• Zoologists

Since 2019, I have kept a list of the inquiries 

that come into my website and comments I 

get after my talks from people who are seeking 

thanabotanical information. Here’s a selected 

list of groups/professions who have expressed 

a desire to have access to information from 

the field of thanabotany for use within their 

own contexts:  

• Arboreta

• Cannabis and CBD companies/products

• Cemeteries

• Chefs/cooks

• City planners

• Clergy

• Embalmers

• Florists

• Funeral directors

• Gardeners

• Genealogists

• Grievers

• Grocery stores

• Hospices

• Historians

• Horticultural therapists

• Indigenous leaders looking to reconnect 

their modern communities to their for-

gotten death practices

• Journalists

• Landscapers

• Nurseries

• Parks and recreation staff

• Sommeliers

• Teachers

• Writers

• Veterinarians

• Zoos




Louis Linnemann, President of Linnemann 

Family Funeral Homes and Cremation Center 

in Northern Kentucky said, “When Cole 

presented her talk about Thanabotany at the 

Annual Meeting of the Northern District of 

Funeral Directors and Embalmers, we knew 

immediately that the use of flowers and plants 

would have an application to funeral service.” 

One of their Funeral Directors, Bart Pindela, 

was able to immediately take what he learned 

about thanabotany at that talk and run with 

it. “Thanabotany can provide a meaningful 

and memorable connection for families to 

their deceased. Plants not only serve as an 

expression of sympathy but can be used as a 

catalyst for connecting families to the memory 

of their deceased,” said Pindela. “Through the 

recommendation of the local Thanatologist, 

Cole Imperi, I have used rosemary in place 

of filler greens in a casket spray. This was 

very appropriate because the deceased was 

a native of England, where rosemary has a 

symbolic and historical connection to funeral 

ritual and grief. A few of the rosemary plants 

were planted at the graveside and the rest 

were taken home by the family to be planted 

in their gardens. After the funeral services 

were over, a family member thanked me for 

recommending the use of rosemary. She said 

that rosemary, an herb she overlooked before, 

now holds a lasting connection to her mother. 

Her comment made me appreciate the 

potential of plants to serve families on their 

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path through grief. Plants used during funeral 

services are not just expressions of sympathy 

but can offer survivors a connection to their 

loved ones that continues past the day of the 

funeral service.”

This is, in my view, one of the best possible 

applications of thanabotany. It provides 

additional tools to those in professional roles 

(in this case, to funeral directors), and it helps 

people move through the grieving process 

and find meaning. Research consistently 

shows that when we can identify something 

with meaning—whether that’s a rosemary 

plant or something else—we are likely to live 

longer and be healthier. Thanabotany provides 

opportunities for plant professionals, as well 

as lay people, to find a meaningful role in the 





Did you know that many historic cemeteries 

have worked to become arboretums? 

Once they “fill up,” they have the time and 

resources available to put back into the 

landscape. Gertrude Lorenz—an Ecological 

Designer, Rewilding Specialist, Certified 

Permaculturalist and Board Member at 

Historic Linden Grove Cemetery & Arboretum 

in Covington, Kentucky—said, “There are 

infinite possibilities for Thanabotany at Linden 

Grove—from green burials and scattering 

gardens to traditional burials and existing 

grave sites. Each space is an opportunity for 

the use of plants to speak for and about our 

loved ones. In addition to the benefit to each 

family during the grieving process, it opens 

up the wider conversation in the community 

about how our natural world has a language 

of its own and how it is constantly speaking 

to us.  It provides a beautifully meaningful 

pathway into developing closer relationships 

with the individual plants around us which 

will ultimately move beyond the cemetery 

and flow out into our everyday lives. Nature 

is one of our core values  at Linden Grove 

and many of our current efforts are moving 

towards alignment with this value and so 

Thanabotany couldn‘t be more on point with 

the type of practices we need.  Ultimately, it 

creates a higher quality experience for our 

community and a more refined conversation 

around grieving and nature.  Thanabotany is 

a perfect fit for Linden Grove, but I think it 

would be for any cemetery.”

Linden Grove is currently in the process 

of installing a thanabotanical garden with 

specimens connected to the loss of children 

and healing from grief. This includes trees, 

shrubs, and flowers with recorded usage 

practices related to this specific type of loss 

and/or to remedies for grief recovery.



Academic and research applications of 

thanabotany can provide new ways of looking 

at an entire collection, or even a single 

specimen. Dr. Eric Tepe, Assistant Professor 

and Herbarium Curator at the University of 

Cincinnati’s Margaret H. Fulford Herbarium, 

pulled a magnificent specimen from their 

collection with a special note that would be of 

particular interest to a thanabotanist:

“The specimen of basil collected by C.G. 

Lloyd in Samoa is interesting for a number 

of reasons,” said Tepe. “First, it is native 

to Africa and Asia, so probably arrived 

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in Samoa relatively recently. Its culinary use is obvious, but the fact that it was adopted for 

more ritualistic purposes—"rubbing dead bodies”—in that short time is interesting. Lloyd 

collected ethnobotanical data for only a few of his Samoan collections, and the extra data that 

accompanies this specimen makes it especially valuable. According to Art Whistler’s Plants in 

Samoan Culture, coconut oil is used traditionally to absorb plant aromas, which is then used 

as a perfume, for massages, and ‘in the past, for embalming the dead.’ He doesn’t comment on 

when this practice was abandoned, but the Lloyd specimen could be on the tail end.”


In the last three years, the growth of thanabotany worldwide, without much effort on my part 

to market or advertise it, is what has shocked me the most. It doesn’t surprise me, however, 

that people are interested. Plants and death are universal experiences. Both are natural. I 

look forward to seeing where things are in another three years, and if you read this and find 

yourself interested in being a part of an emerging field, please reach out! You can find me at, and you can find the school at

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There are a few things that I particularly enjoy when being a teaching fellow for the class OEB 

52 - Biology of Plants at Harvard University: the process of how students gradually became 

very familiar with the concept of alternation of generations, the moments when they were 

surprised or impressed by random facts of plants, the times when they tell me how they started 

to pay more attention to plants around them—and my favorite is when their final creative arts 

projects were finally revealed. In this class, we require all students to complete a final creative 

project to illustrate the “rise of sporophyte,” and students have their full artistic freedom to 

create a project in any form and format. This is definitely the highlight of the class every year, 

and we were blown away by their creativity every single time. 

We got submissions in songwriting, song adaptations, interpretive dances, yoga lessons, 

drawings (watercolor, pencil, vector art, pixel art, sand art—just to name a few), clay art, stop 

motion videos, time-lapse videos, song playlists, children’s books, games (e.g., broad games, 

online video games), recipe books and menus, magazines, embroidery, puzzles, essays, poems, 

and more. A video trailer about the creative projects of the class was made in 2017 and can 

be found here:


This year, one of my students, Jude Okonkwo, composed a beautiful poem for his final project, 

and I was particularly touched by it. I encouraged him to publish it in the Plant Science Bulletin 

because I felt this poem can touch many botanists’ hearts and inspire more people to express 

the love and thoughts for botany with arts and literature. 

Enjoy!  --Min Ya, Harvard University

Poetry Corner

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Part 2:  

Like a sailor who sees in the boundless ocean image 

a home 

and the weary sojourner  

who digs through the desert sands for water I have 

sought the shimmers of love’s delightful mirage 

Do u grasp too at stones  

in hopes of finding a drop of human feeling in this 

cold world 

Have we not seen what men can do? 

how a boy can lie against pavement for nineteen hours  

and be left unattended 

I often wonder how people mill about knowing that at 

any hour their souls can be seized from them 

that the oxygen that courses through their blood will 


leaving behind a temple of tissues, scars and bones 

And just like that! 

(What is that evolution that pushes this haunting from us?)  

But here we are! 

(Where in my bones is this escape from fear?) 
But I have known the aroma of love just as well

that which dwells like an oracle in the depths of the living

like a shivering fern who hides her child in a 

vegetable womb

her lifeblood food for her offspring to eat

like the moss that shrinks the body in a flush of humility

nearing the molecule water that will carry on his 

fertile seed

and isn’t that all I desire

that in ages after my body has folded back into soil

that another will arise to roam with a speck  

of my heart

that another will love with a hint of my soul

Part 1:  

when your bare feet taps against the clovers in the 

pavement cracks doesn’t it tear you from the webs of 

photography and the allure of lights and guide you to a 

more primal home 

in the city, do you ever press beyond the concrete 

dominion and gaze again at the phantoms of great oak 

and bristling vine that once defined our heaven 

what does it mean for man to yearn for what cannot 

be seen what does it mean for woman to seek what 

cannot be understood 

I knew a man who sailed a boat to the center 

of the Caspian and threw himself into the sea 

he said there was pleasure to be found in abandon-

ment in the roar of the water flush against the ears and 

the burn of salt scraping up against the skin 

was this his atonement for the way we live 

a way out of the urges that bind and prod us to build 

larger gadgets, larger toys, larger lives as a means of 


a botanist taught me that men aren’t the only ones that 

seek escape from the body that  

sporophytes too push against the structure that God gave 

pushing against the body wall, hoarding sunlight and 


growing further and faster in order to shed parts of 

themselves into the wind with hopes of finding refuge 

somewhere beyond 

In Lasting  

By Jude T. Okonkwo 

Project Goal: In nature, there is a selective pressure for sporophytes to grow larger in order to 

disperse spores by air and a selective pressure for gametophytes to grow smaller to take advantage 

of films of water for sperm dispersal. Additionally, heterospory and endospory are traits that 

evolved to allow sporophytes to become the dominant generation and these traits have evolved 

many times independently. My hope is to explore the question of “lasting” through poetry and 

incorporate these physical realities into that poetic endeavor. 

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By Dr. Catrina Adams,  

Education Director

Dr. Jodi Creasap Gee, 

Education Technology  


PlantingScience Has Large Session,  

Successful Student/Scientist  

Mentoring Conversations Despite 

Pandemic Disruptions

Despite facing disruptions and a dynamic 

range of teaching situations, from fully in-

person learning to hybrid, to fully remote 

learning, we had a larger-than-usual spring 

PlantingScience session. Nearly 1000 students 

from 26 classrooms participated this fall, 

working closely with scientist mentors and 

our Master Plant Science Team liaisons. 

Some student teams worked remotely from 

each other, and commented to their scientists 

about challenges and lessons learned when 

collaborating remotely. “Next time we could 

try to check comments and responses of our 

group members more often. Most of us used 

centimeters, but one or two group members 

used inch[e]s.”

Throughout the session, students and scientists 

shared a general feeling of optimism and 

“light at the end of the tunnel” regarding the 

COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, and there 

was a lot of appreciation for the motivation 

boost of interacting with scientist mentors 

virtually, as well as the opportunity to do 

science projects again for those participating 


Explore the PlantingScience Star Project 

Gallery at

psprojects/starprojectgallery to see examples 

of the work of PlantingScience student teams 

this spring and the conversations they had 

with their scientist mentors over the course of 

their project.

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“Being part of the Master Plant Science Team 

was a great entry point for me to start mentoring 

an age group I don’t normally interact with. 

Their curiosity and engagement with their 

experiments was fantastic to see, and it was also 

a good chance for me to practice communicating 

my research in a broadly accessible way.”– Greta 

Rockstad, PlantingScience Liaison

Are You Ready to Be  

More Than a  

PlantingScience Mentor?

Graduate students and post-doctoral 

researchers: does mentoring with 

PlantingScience sound exciting to you? Do 

you have good communication skills already 

and some experience with or a strong interest 

in helping secondary students and teachers?  

If so, consider serving as a teacher/scientist 

liaison as part of our Master Plant Science 

Team. We provide training in what it takes to 

excel as an online mentor and reveal behind-

the-scenes aspects of how the program works. 

First, you’ll get to mentor several teams to 

learn the ropes and practice mentoring with 

diverse groups of students. 

Then you are paired with one of our 

participating teachers to help the teacher 

get the most from the program, make sure 

the teacher’s mentors get the classroom and 

scheduling context they need to be good 

mentors, and help to keep the student/

scientist conversations going strong. It is an 

excellent opportunity to see how a variety of 

mentoring styles play out with students and 

a powerful way develop your own mentoring 

and communication style. Liaisons make the 

program possible! 

In exchange for your extra help, we sponsor 

your BSA membership for the year and provide 

a 50% discount off of meeting registration. 

Learn more and apply by August 16, 2021 at



To Be Held In-Person at  

Estes Park, CO,  

Sept. 30–Oct. 2, 2021

The 7th Life Discovery – Doing Science 

Conference ( will be held in 

person in September, and we are still accepting 

Education Share Fair Roundtables. Check the 

website for details on the COVID-19 policy 

for the conference. 

This stand-alone education conference—co-

sponsored by the Botanical Society of America 

along with the Ecological Society of America 

and the Society for the Study of Evolution—

is for high-school teachers, informal science 

educators, program coordinators and 

directors, lecturers, and faculty who teach 

organismal or environmental biology. 




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This year’s theme is “Pushing Past Barriers: 

Ecological Science for All.” Taking advantage 

of the YMCA of the Rockies location, the 

conference will offer three pre-conference 

field trip options, including a hands-on 

workshop (EREN-NEON Flexible Learning 

Projects – Building skills in field ecology 

and data science) and two trips (National 

Ecological Observatory Network’s (NEON) 

Rocky Mountain National Park terrestrial 

field site and the Boulder Apple Tree Project 

–  Exploring techniques and practices 

of community-engaged undergraduate 


The Life Discovery Conference is a great place 

to meet other educators. The discussion-heavy 

conference format, high ratio of presenters to 

attendees, and small (~100) size allows for 

great networking and deep conversations 

about the best ways forward in organismal 

biology science education. It draws a diverse 

group of educators, which adds to the richness 

of discussion by bridging perspectives across 

the worlds of university, high school, and 

informal education. We hope you can join us!

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Looking forward to seeing 

many of you  

at these conference  


Tuesday June 15

1:00 PM EDT: Pre-conference workshop: 


Ace it! Practice, Get Feedback, Give a Better 


(This session was recorded and will be 

available on the conference platform for 

registered attendees.)

Sunday, July 18

1:00 PM EDT: Workshop: Challenges 

and successes of research at primarily 

undergraduate institutions: Jumpstarting 

your 2021-2022 research program

1:00 PM EDT: Workshop: Tips for Success: 

Applying to Graduate School

3:00 PM EDT: Primarily Undergraduate 

Institution Section Business Meeting

Monday, July 19

12:00 PM EDT: Careers in Botany Luncheon

3:00 PM EDT: Plenary Address: From Seeds 

of Change to a Harvest of Discovery, Beronda 


4:00 PM EDT: SciComm Celebration Day 


6:00 PM EDT: Student Social and Networking 


Tuesday, July 20

12:30 PM EDT: Contributed Paper Session 

Education and Outreach I: Botany for 

Diverse Audiences and Under-Resourced 


3:00 PM EDT: Belonging in Botany Special 

Lecture: Perspectives on DEI, David Asai

4:00 PM EDT: Belonging in Botany Discussion

5:00 PM EDT: Education and Outreach Poster 


Wednesday, July 21

10:00 AM EDT: Contributed Paper Session 

Education and Outreach II: Engagement, 

Communication, and Teaching Tools

12:00 PM EDT: BSA Teaching Section 

Business Meeting

1:00 PM EDT: Contributed Paper Session 

Education and Outreach III: Teaching Tools, 

Laboratories and Research Experiences


Consider attending some of the many education, outreach, and training opportunities:

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By Shelly Gaynor and Imeña Valdes 

BSA Student Representatives

Graduate School Advice

Since the summer is a time of transition and many of you may be starting graduate programs 

soon, we decided to collect some general advice on succeeding in graduate school. Often 

graduate school–related advice focuses on how to get into programs, rather than how to succeed 

in them. Here we focus on how to flourish in graduate school. The advice shared below, by BSA 

members (in quotes), focuses on balance, support systems, planning ahead, and taking care of 





            PLANNING AHEAD


Graduate school can often feel like a never-

ending marathon. It’s important to learn how 

to set boundaries, find work–life balance, 

and recharge. This may look different for 

everyone: some people may work great 

during typical work hours, while others may 

work great from noon to 1 a.m. Find what 

works for you!

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(Summerville et al., 2021). It is also important 

to learn when to say “yes”—specifically, what 

drives you and what you enjoy. Graduate school 

is a great time to explore and define your interests. 


Reach out to find supportive friends and be nice!

Dr. Karolina Heyduk  

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Get a squad of peers, people who you 

feel comfortable with and enjoy spending 

time with. It'll be so important to have 

that support system through grad school, 

and helps you reframe the grad school 

dynamic into mutual support, rather than 



“(1) Invest in relationships with people, 

in and out of your program. Have a 

support network that you can be honest 

and vulnerable with. (2) Corollary: don't 

**** where you eat. You may be entering 

lifelong professional relationships with 

your colleagues. Try not to be out of 

control or mean or toxic around them. 

Exercise judgment about how open you 

are and with whom. Treat the people 

around you well. Everyone is smart, so 

distinguish yourself by being kind.”



• Join clubs, sports teams, or other organi-

zations in your new city to meet people 

outside of your program. 

Dr. Chris Martine


Bucknell University 

“Treat it like a job. Come in every day and 

work your hours like it’s a real job. You will 

be more efficient and more productive ... 

and you will also be able to set boundaries 

on your time that will allow for the sort 

of work–life balance that promotes good 

mental health. If you don’t develop that 

habit in grad school, there’s a decent 

chance you might never do so.”


Dr. Karolina Heyduk  

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

“Make time for you. Hobbies, family, 

friends. It's so easy to get wrapped up into 

the "I have to work all the time!" aesthetic 

of academia, but no good will come of 

that. Prioritize things that make you 

happy (hopefully your research is one of 

those things!).”


“Figure out what is most essential to 

recharge your batteries—sleep, exercise, a 

special hobby—and protect it fiercely. Set 

boundaries, because grad school does not 

respect your time.”

Prioritize your tasks and break them down 

into smaller, more achievable goals (Lewis Jr. 

et al., 2019). Check out the Summer 2020 PSB 

issue for time management strategies. 

Learn how to say “no”! This is a really 

important skill to gain during graduate school. 

It is recommended to think carefully before 

saying “yes” by consulting mentors or peers 

and weighing your current commitments 

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• Check if your university has a BSA student 

chapter; if not, think about starting one!

• Join the BSA Slack and interact with BSA 

members on Twitter! 

• Attend the Botany Student Socials!


Dr. Karolina Heyduk  

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

“Start thinking about the future (and your 

next career step) earlier than you think 

you should. That final defense will come 

fast, and it's good to be prepared.”


“Two things I have learned are important, 

(1) have a 5-year and 10-year plan. 

These can change and be flexible, but 

planning for the future and thinking 

about it often is a helpful tool when 

choosing what project/side projects 

will help you accomplish those goals.  

(2) Learn to market yourself and your 

research. It takes practice and skill to talk 

to journalists in helpful ways that enable 

them to share your research.”



• Attend the Careers in Botany Luncheon 

at annual Botany meetings.

• Check the BSA Virtual Networking 

Board for different opportunities. 

• Check out the Spring 2021 PSB issue for 

internship and job-related resources. 



COVID-19 has worsened the mental health 

crisis that already existed in academia. It is 

important to understand your limitations 

and take breaks when necessary. Seeking help 

from a professional or online resources can 

provide support during your time in graduate 

school (find a list of resources in the Fall 2020 



“Posturing behavior is common and 

it’s easy to feel like an imposter in this 

environment. Understanding this 

might’ve helped me feel ‘sufficient’ during 

grad school.”

Being open to being wrong and not taking 

criticism personally will help you succeed in 

an academic environment (Cummingham 

et al., 2021). In academia, you are always 

learning; the more you know, the more you 

feel like you know nothing. Receiving a 

document back covered in corrections may 

sting a little at first, but your advisor and 

other mentors are there to help you grow 

and provide new insights through those 

corrections. Take everything in stride and 

learn from your mistakes.


Cummingham, W. A., J. J. Van Bavel, N. A. 

Lewis, and J. Gruber. 2021. Science relies on 

constructive criticism. Here’s how to keep it 

useful and respectful. Letters to Young Sci-

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entists. doi:10.1126/science.caredit.abi6902.
Lewis Jr., N.A., L. H. Sommerville, J. J. Van Bavel, J. Gruber, and W. A. Cunningham. 2019. 

Step back to move forward: Setting new priorities in the new year. Letters to Young Scientists. 

doi: 10.1126/science.caredit.aaw5301.
Sommerville, L. H., J. J. Van Bavel, N. A.  Lewis, J. Gruber, and W. A. Cunningham. 2021. 

Learn when—and how—to say no in your professional life. Letters to Young Scientists. 




As we continue in our careers, we hope to see the academic culture shift to be healthier and 

more inclusive. Below are a few papers we think you should read if you hope to lead. We hope 

to continue to recommend “Papers to Read for Future Leaders” to BSA Student members; if you 

have papers you would like us to include, please share it with us via this Google form: https://

• Cooper, K. M., A. J. J. Auerbach, J. D. Bader, A. S. Beadles-Bohling, J. A. Brasshears, E. 

Cline, S. L. Eddy, et al. 2020. Fourteen recommendations to create a more inclusive en-

vironment for LGBTQ+ individuals in academic biology. CBE - Life Science Education 

19:es6: 1-18. 

• Chaudhury, A., and S. Colla. 2021. Next steps on dismantling discrimination: Lessons 

from ecology and conservation science. Conservation Letters 14: e12774.

• Claire Demery, A. J., and M. A. Pipkin. 2021. Safe fieldwork strategies for at-risk individu-

als, their supervisors and institutions. Nature Ecology & Evolution 5: 5-9.

• Nocco, M. A., B. M. McGill, C. M. MacKenzie, R. K. Tonietto, J. Dudney, M. C. Bletz, T. 

Young, and S. E. Kuebbing. 2021. Mentorship, equity, and research productivity: lessons 

from a pandemic. Biological Conservation 255: 108966.

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PSB 67(2) 2021






University of California,  

Los Angeles

When did you join BSA and what motivated 

you to do so? Will you encourage other 

students to become members and participate 

in the Society as well?

I joined BSA as a first-year graduate student 

in 2018 when my advisor, Dr. Felipe Zapata, 

sponsored my membership. I was excited to 

join to get to know a broader community 

of botanists outside of my home and local 

institutions. I am looking forward to learning 

what motivates students to join a Society, 

and to encourage students to be active in 

the Society by reflecting their motivations 

through BSA activities and programming. 

What motivated you to run for the position 

of Student Representative to the Board of 

Directors, and what do you plan to do as the 

student representative of BSA?

I was so impressed by the student reps I met 

at the Botany Conference in 2019. Minya 

and Chelsea Pretz were an inspiration—they 

helped students feel connected by being 

present and checking in. They created a sense 

of community and made me feel included and 

welcome. The student-centered events they 

planned and managed were intentional and 

meaningful, like the Student Luncheon where 

professionals shared how they leveraged their 

botany education into successful careers. I 

wanted to help continue these traditions, as 

well as try to enhance student participation 

through additional activities and projects. 

As the BSA student representative, I would 

love to develop a program to help students 

find potential collaborators through activities 

that encourage open idea generation and low-

stakes discussions. This would look like a space, 

either virtual or at the Botany Conference, 

where students can openly discuss ideas 

and interests and find other people who are 

excited about similar topics. Formalizing such 

a space would hopefully energize and motivate 

students to become involved with other BSA 

initiatives and connect with both plants and 

plant people. I believe students thrive when 

they trust that their short experience is still 

valued and nurtured by the other members 

of the community. To support this, I would 

like to formalize a way for students to connect 

with other botanists with common interests 

and with people who can expand their sense 

of possibility in botany. 

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PSB 67(2) 2021


What have you gained from being a student member of BSA, and why would you encourage 

other students to become members and participate in the Society?

Finding mentors and friends working with plants is so important in encouraging early botanists 

to identify their interests and strengths. BSA is an organization that helps me foster my interests 

through creating a sense of community and helping connect members with opportunities to 

develop their skills, network, and sense of possibility for their work.

What’s your research about, and how did you discover your research interest?

I study the evolution of species in Linanthus, a group of diverse annual ephemeral plants with a 

center of diversity in the Southern California. I am reconstructing the phylogeny of the group, 

including both genomic and morphological data, and looking at the role of floral scent in 

differentiating co-occurring species in sympatry. I think annual desert plants are a fascinating 

and underappreciated group of organisms, and I am hoping that my research can help reveal a little 

more of their magic. 

What sorts of hobbies do you have? 

I love anything outdoors, cultural or crafty. I’m Romanian and I enjoy learning traditional skills, 

like painting eggs in the batik style for Easter or sewing and embroidering traditional clothing. 

I also have many indoor plants and love to spend long periods of time watering them and 

observing changes, and I answer questions about plant care from my friends.

Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections

Join our global community dedicated to the preservation, conservation

and management of natural history collections

SPNHC 2022: hosted by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and National Museums Scotland, UK 

SPNHC 2023: hosted by California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, USA, May 28-June 2, 2023

“It’s pronounced “SPINACH!”






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Do you know a Professional in the plant 

sciences that would benefit from being in 

the BSA community? Our summer “Refer a 

Professional” member program introduces 

professional plant scientists to the benefits 

of BSA and offers them a one-time discount 

of 20% off an annual membership. To refer a 

professional, email me at 

with their information and I will send them 

the information. Referrals must come from 

current BSA members, and the professionals 

must be new to BSA. 



Amelia Neely

BSA Membership & 




E-mail: ANeely@</a>


The intent of the  Botanical Society of 

America’s Legacy Society  is to ensure a 

vibrant BSA for tomorrow’s botanists and 

to assist all members in providing wisely 

planned giving options. All that is asked is 

that you remember the Botanical Society of 

America as a component in your legacy gifts. 

It’s that simple—no minimum amount, just 

a simple promise to remember the Society. 

We hope this allows all BSA members to play 

a meaningful part in the Society’s future. To 

learn more about the BSA Legacy Society and 

how to join, please visit:



Jared Meeks was one of two original BSA 

Student Social Media Liaisons, and has been 

working with us since October 2019. His two-

year term will be up this September and we 

are thankful for the lasting impact that he has 

had on BSA and our social media presence. 

Jared was in charge of the BSA Twitter 

account, and created interesting content 

such as Morphology Monday. He also helped 

to create the BSA Liaison Handbook that 

houses important information for future BSA 

liaisons. In his role, Jared worked with BSA 

staff, student representatives, and the Early 

Career Advisory Board (ECAB) to coordinate 

daily posts, Twitter Takeovers, and the 

popular SciComm Celebration at the Botany 


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PSB 67(2) 2021


When he started, Jared was a Master’s 

student studying the Pedicularis genus in 

the mountains of southwest China. While 

working for BSA, he received his Master’s 

degree, had a daughter, and started his PhD 

program at Columbia University, where 

he has expanded his research to compare 

processes of flowering plant speciation in 

multiple temperate mountain systems across 

Asia and North America. He plans to continue 

teaching, researching angiosperm evolution, 

and fostering greater care and concern for 

mountain biodiversity throughout his life.


The  BSA Spotlight Series, created and run 

by the BSA Student Social Media Liaisons, 

highlights early career scientists in the BSA 

community. Scientists’ profiles are shared 

on all BSA social media platforms, the BSA 

eNewsletter, and housed on the BSA website. 

The Spotlight Series shares both scientific 

goals and achievements, as well as personal 

interests of the scientists, so you can get to 

know your BSA community better.

Are you an early career scientist, or do you 

know an early career scientist that we should 

highlight in our Spotlight Series? Fill out the 

simple form at This 

opportunity is open to current early career 

BSA members.


BSA currently has 23 active Student Chapters! 

Student Chapters are a great way for students 

to network with their peers at their institution 

of learning through engaging activities as well 

as to take advantage of special BSA discounts, 

including a $10 Student Membership and 

greatly discounted registration to Botany 

Conferences  each year. To learn more out 

current student chapters, or how to start your 

own student chapter, visit:


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In Memoriam 

With the passing of Dr. Walter H. Lewis 

on 17 November 2020, the world has lost 

a great biologist, and each of us who knew 

and treasured him has lost a dear friend and 

valued colleague. Walter Hepworth Lewis was 

born in Carleton Place, Ontario, Canada on 

26 June 1930, and grew up in Victoria, British 

Columbia. He showed an early interest in plants 

and the natural world. He told his father that 

he wanted a greenhouse for his 12th birthday, 

and his father gave him one. His uncle taught 

him how to grow roses from cuttings, and that 

was the beginning of a lifelong fascination 

with and dedication to the genus Rosa

Over his lifetime he amassed a huge living 

collection of wild rose species, mostly from 

North America, which he maintained partly 




at his home and partly in various scientific 

and horticultural institutions, including the 

Missouri Botanical Garden. His decades-long 

taxonomic and cytological study of North 

American  Rosa culminated in the treatment 

of Rosa in the Flora of North America (Lewis 

et al., 2015), co-authored with Barbara Ertter 

and Anne Bruneau, with the entire volume 

dedicated to him. Subsequent publications 

dealt with natural North American rose 

hybrids and described the new species Rosa 

memoryae in honor of his wife and lifelong 

research partner Dr. Memory P. Elvin-Lewis 

(Lewis, 2016), and detailed chromosome 

variation within the worldwide Rosa acicularis 

complex (Lewis and Elvin-Lewis, 2017). His 

contribution to the scientific understanding 

of wild roses cannot be overestimated, yet it is 

only one aspect of his exceptionally long and 

productive career.

Walter completed his PhD in Biology at 

the University of Virginia in 1957 under 

the guidance of Walter S. Flory, Jr., with a 

monograph of Rosa in North America east of 

the Rocky Mountains. He then taught biology 

for four years at Stephen F. Austin State 

College (now University) in Nacogdoches, 

Texas. He took a leave of absence after being 

awarded a grant from the National Science 

Foundation for study in Europe and Africa, 

and then a Guggenheim Fellowship to study 

palynology. For two years he worked in the 

Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Gardens, 

Kew, at the University of Leeds, and at the 

Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm 

with Professor Gunnar Erdtman. During 

this time, he also made a six-month field 

expedition by Land Rover in Africa to collect 

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PSB 67(2) 2021


cytological materials for studies of Rubiaceae, 

traveling through Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, 

and South Africa under difficult logistical 

conditions and in unstable political times. This 

work focused on Rubiaceae, and he remained 

a leading specialist in the family throughout 

his career. Returning to North America, he 

accepted a joint position with the Missouri 

Botanical Garden and Washington University 

in St. Louis. He was Curator and Director of 

the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium 

(MO) from 1964 to 1972.

Walter arrived at the Garden during a period 

of transition following the death in 1963 of 

Robert Woodson, the previous Herbarium 

Director. The following year Dr. David M. 

Gates arrived as the Garden’s new Director. 

Walter immediately began to institute changes 

that revitalized the Garden’s programs and set 

them on new courses that continue until this 

day. He revitalized publication of the Annals 

of the Missouri Botanical Garden in 1964. He 

restarted and invigorated the Flora of Panama 

project, which had lapsed with Woodson’s 

death, instituted a permanent field station 

in Panama, and founded the herbarium at 

the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute 

(SCZ) in Balboa, Panama. He obtained funds 

from the Smithsonian Tropical Research 

Institute and Washington University to 

create a new position to write the Flora of 

Barro Colorado Island, and in 1967 hired 

Thomas B. Croat, still on the Garden’s staff, 

to do the job. He reached an agreement with 

other major herbaria in North America and 

Europe that the Missouri Botanical Garden 

would act as the primary North American 

repository for African plant collections 

(Lewis, 1970), which quickly led to a large 

inflow of African specimens that provided 

the groundwork for the Garden’s present-

day Africa and Madagascar Department and 

related programs. 

At Walter’s initiative, the Garden established 

a consortium with Washington University, 

Saint Louis University, the University of 

Missouri at St.  Louis, and Southern Illinois 

University at Edwardsville to identify core 

areas of specialization of each institution and 

allocate them so that students could obtain 

the best possible botanical education, with the 

Garden as the focal institution. One feature 

of that training was the initiation of a weekly 

plant taxonomy seminar for staff and students, 

which continues today—more than 50 years 

later!—as the Floristic Taxonomy Seminar on 

Fridays. Based on an October 1990 celebratory 

event at the Garden occasioned by Walter’s 

60th birthday, D’Arcy et al. (1992) published a 

detailed and moving tribute to him. 

Walter’s career in the Department of Biology 

at Washington University began in 1964 at 

the same time as his work at the Missouri 

Botanical Garden, and never really ended 

during his lifetime; on a website dated 14 May 

2020, his status is still listed as “semi-retired”. 

He was a gifted and very popular teacher of 

undergraduate students, with his Medical 

Plants course having the highest enrollment 

of all the upper-level undergraduate courses 

offered by the University. His extremely 

effective lectures about the ethnobotany of the 

Achuar Jívaro people of Amazonian Ecuador 

and Peru drew upon his collaborative work 

with Memory Elvin-Lewis, which generated 

massive plant collections and ethnomedical 

data from areas with little or no previous 

botanical exploration. Their rigorously 

scientific book Medical BotanyPlants Affecting 

Man’s Health (Lewis and Elvin-Lewis, 1977, 

2003) is still a definitive work on traditional 

pharmacopeias and their relevance to modern 

life. They developed a set of practices for 

ethical use of traditional knowledge as part of 

their field work, which became the standard 

for other projects and an element of today’s 

intellectual property bioethics.  

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PSB 67(2) 2021


Walter’s accomplishments and contributions 

are far too many to detail exhaustively here. 

His outstanding work in cytology and its 

relevance to plant function is well exemplified 

in the pioneering congress on polyploidy 

held in 1979 at Washington University. This 

brought together systematic and agricultural 

scientists for the first time, and resulted in a 

book summarizing the results of the congress 

(Lewis, 1980), as well as an ongoing series of 

international conferences on this area. His 

expertise in palynology led him to research 

and publication on aeroallergens (e.g., Lewis 

et al., 1983). Walter also found time to work 

with the taxonomy of wild ginseng (Panax 

quinquefolius) and design of a conservation 

program for it in Missouri (e.g., Wilson and 

Lewis, 1980). His many graduate students 

include outstanding leaders in botany and 

various related fields, and he has an impressive 

set of career awards and honorary degrees. 

Walter contributed much to science, and also 

to humanity. Above all, we remember Walter 

as a kind and thoughtful friend and colleague 

who always thought of others’ needs in the 

midst of his own dynamic and brilliant life. 

Sally Bommarito, a plant mounter at the 

Missouri Botanical Garden, remembers one 

Valentine’s Day when he brought the Garden’s 

plant mounters chocolate truffles and folders 

of rose specimens (of course they were roses!) 

to mount. He will not be forgotten by those 

who knew him, and his legacy of scientific 

contributions will continue to influence and 

inform us.


D’Arcy, W. G., J. W. Nowicke, and K. R. Rob-

ertson. 1992. Introduction, A tribute to Wal-

ter H.  Lewis. Annals of the Missouri Botanical 

Garden 79: 1-7.
Lewis, W. H. 1970. Missouri Botanical Gar-

den as repository of African material in North 

America. Taxon 19: 345-346. 
Lewis, W. H. 1980. Polyploidy: Biological Rel-

evance. Plenum Press, New York.
Lewis, W. H. 2016. Nomenclatural novelties in 

Rosa (Rosaceae) subgenus Rosa recognized in 

North America. Novon 25: 22-46.








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Lewis, W. H. & M. P. F. Elvin-Lewis. 1977. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man’s Health. John 

Wiley & Sons, New York.
Lewis, W. H., P. Vinay, and V. E. Zenger. 1983. Airborne and Allergenic Pollen of North America

Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD.
Lewis, W. H. and M. P. F. Elvin-Lewis. 2003. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man’s Health, ed 

2. John Wiley & Sons, New York.
Lewis, W. H., B. Ertter and A. Bruneau. 2015. Rosa. In: Flora of North America Editorial Com-

mittee (editors), Flora of North America North of Mexico 9: 75-119. New York and Oxford.
Lewis, W. H. and M. Elvin-Lewis. 2017. The worldwide significance of karyotypic variation in  

Rosa acicularisJournal of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas 11: 433-454.
Wilson, J. H., and W.H. Lewis. 1980. The Missouri ginseng conservation program. In: Proceed-

ings of the First International Ginseng Congress, pp. 35-42. Lexington, KY.

-Roy E. Gereau, Charlotte M. Taylor, Thomas B. Croat, Peter C. Hoch & James S. Miller 

Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Blvd., Saint Louis, Missouri 63110

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Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Vegetables

Evolutionary Dynamics of Plant-Pathogen Interactions

Foraging for Survival. Edible Wild Plants of North America. 

A History of Orchids in South America: Volume I – Colonial Times from Discovery  

        to Independence. 

Lessons from Plants 

Orchid Species from Himalaya and South East Asia Vol. 1 (A-E)

Plant Genetic Resources: A Review of Current Research and Future Needs

The Pomegranate: Botany, Production and Uses

Wild Orchids of the Southwestern United States. A Field and Study Guide.


Achieving Sustainable 

Cultivation of  


George Hochmuth (ed.)

2019. ISBN: 9781786762368

£180 (hard cover); 644 pp.

Burleigh Dodds Science  


“Sustainability involves meeting current needs 

without compromising the ability to meet 

future requirements” (Hochmuth, p. xviii). 

This opening remark of the Introduction to 

Achieving Sustainable Cultivation of Vegetables 

edited by Professor George Hochmuth, 

University of Florida, USA, is not a flippant 

observation as Hochmuth asserts that proper 

(and successful) sustainable agricultural 

practices make all the difference between 

substantial crop yield versus utter loss in 

impacting the environment, marketing, and/

or food justice in a locale.  As a reviewer of 

Hochmuth’s compilation, with consideration 

of the time, effort, and work that went into his 

book, I must caution the reader that I will not 

do adequate justice to the research and insight 

contained in this admirable book. I summarily 

dissected the four main parts of the book to 

provide an overview for each chapter.  

The three chapters of Part 1: Physiology 

and Breeding are divided to discuss root 

physiology, abiotic stressors, and breeding 

quality of plants. For Chapter 1: Advances 

in Understanding Vegetable Physiology, is 

a discussion of complex root frameworks 

reaching for the water sources carrying 

needed nutrients, the importance of xylem 

vessel diameter, and the hydraulics for 

transport of said water and nutrients.  Chapter 

2: Abiotic Stressor Influences includes any 

external condition inflicted on the plant 

through the air, soil, or water. These external 

influences may dominate, alter, or destroy 

functional cellular properties of a plant. 

Thoroughly discussed in this chapter are 

environmental conditions which hold sway 

over successful plant metabolism affecting 

crop production, economic fundamentals, 

and foodstuff essentials.  The 3rd chapter, 

Developments in Breeding Vegetables, 

reminds the reader (and researcher) that the 

vegetable products from the veg fields of our 

forefathers, with dimples and blemishes from 

insect and pathogen damage, are considered 

substandard by today’s consumers. There are 

sections denoted to phenotype and genotype 

strategies of genetic mapping, marker-assisted 

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PSB 67(2) 2021


and genome- selection/editing/engineering. 

A case study focus with tomatoes, and another 

with Brassica oleracea vegetables, continues 

the comprehensive and erudite discussion of 

Cultivation  is represented in Chapters 4 

through 8 of Part 2 of this academic tome 

and discusses the mediums for plant growth 

including health and irrigation of soil, 

greenhouse and hydroponic techniques, and 

concludes with a chapter on advancements 

in organic cultivation. Chapter 4: Advances 

in Irrigation Techniques in Vegetable 

Cultivation, discusses varied irrigation 

systems such as sprinkler, drip, surface flood/

furrow,  and subirrigation The mathematics 

for determining soil moisture capacity are 

explained in the latter half of this chapter.  

Chapter 5: Advances in Understanding Soil 

Health for Vegetable Cultivation, lends to 

scientific discussions of soil quality, soil 

properties, soil-borne diseases, and the 

essential life-giving nature of what is soil, and 

not dirt. Hochmuth echoes Aldo Leopold’s 

extracted sentiment from A Sand County 

Almanac (1949) that soil health is the land’s 

capacity for self-renewal. It is the swapping of 

an academic cap for one of philosophy that I 

most admired in this fifth chapter. 
The 6th chapter, Advances in Greenhouses 

and Other Protected Structures Used for 

Cultivation of Vegetables, begins with a 

historical introduction of the origins of 

sheltered gardens. The research presented 

in Chapter 6 includes a comprehensive table 

of the worldwide distribution of principle 

production countries in greenhouse 

cultivation. Hochmuth subsets include 

detailed bio-management stratagems 

including (in part) types of structures, location 

considerations, climate management, soil and 

soilless growing systems. The chapter is a topic 

unto itself and is the longest in Hochmuth’s 

Hydroponic systems are expounded upon in 

the 7th chapter, Developments in Soilless/

Hydroponic Cultivation of Vegetables. 

Defined by the editor as “...any method of 

growing plants without the use of soil as a 

rooting medium, which involves supply of 

all inorganic nutrients exclusively via the 

irrigation water,” (Hochmuth, p. 211) this 

chapter nicely supplements the previous 

with greater detail into the developments, 

advantages and disadvantages of hydroponic 

gardening. Chapter 8, Advances in Organic 

Cultivation of Vegetables, rounds off this 

second section, Cultivation, of Hochmuth’s 

volume.  Use of manure and compost, 

cover crop, and biostimulant substances are 

part of this section on integrated nutrient 

management.  To his credit, Hochmuth 

provides references and websites, even for the 

omission discussions, to provide the reader-

researcher a complete intellection of progress 

with organic cultivation of vegetables.
Part 3: Pests and Pathogens, include Chapters 

9 to 12, as related to vegetable produce 

and production, pathogen identification 

technology, integrated pest management 

(IPM) techniques, and finally with 

microbiological sources including safety 

and impact. Before the discussions of 

pathogenicity in the serial chapters of the 

third section, the apportionment that is 

chapter 9,  Understanding and Monitoring 

diseases of Vegetables, is a quick-read 

for those familiar with microscopic and 

submicroscopic testing processes, and a quick-

reference for those who are not. One may get 

a rudimentary understanding of what exactly 

constitutes polymerase chain reaction (PCR), 

microarray, DNA sequencing, enzyme-linked 

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PSB 67(2) 2021


immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and others.  

Chapter 10: Advances in Understanding 

Insect Pests of Vegetables: a Case-study of 

the Sweetpotato Weevil is a unique chapter 

in which Hochmuth, “...focusses on one 

pest of one vegetable that advances greater 

understanding of the sweetpotato and 

[sweetpotato weevil] SPW…” which also has 

parallel applications to other pests and their 

veg of choice (Hochmuth, p. 293).  The crops’ 

importance, and the SPW’s significance, are 

detailed separately as the sweetpotato has far-

reaching roots around the world, particularly 

in 3rd-World countries, with over forty 

species of insect pests worldwide noshing 

and destroying the plants from top to root. 

Chapter 11: Integrated Pest Management 

(IPM) in Vegetables: Examples of Successful 

Deployment, and Chapter 12: Microbiological 

Safety of Vegetable Produce: the Impact 

of Pre- and Post-Harvest Practices, are 

interesting precursors to the forthcoming Part 

4: Case Studies.  Both chapters are paired here 

as they both shed light on the significance of 

using multiple gardening strategies whether 

the invader be macro- or microscopic. In the 

aforementioned chapter, an IPM approach is 

discussed through two case studies, selective 

and individualized to the farm field, to 

stave off pests.  In the latter chapter, various 

production methods and amendments, which 

may be modes of deployment for curbing 

microbial pathogens, are discussed. Organic 

composts, irrigation water management, seed 

contamination, cover crops, mulches, and 

more are all conveyed with corresponding 

references to current research and literature. 
Part 4: Case Studies is a large section with a 

representative crop for each chapter. The final 

eight chapters (13 through 20) present an 

inclusive discussion of breeding, production 

practices, nutrient management, or pathogens 

as warranted by the presented research. 

Trends, challenges, conservation and nutrition 

control are all included for improving said 

breeding quality and production of each case 

study chapter. The crops selected, in chapter 

order, are carrot cultivars, lettuce varieties, 

cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and watermelon 

(Citrullus lanatus), and pea breeding (dry/field 

pea, vegetable/green pea, and silage/grazing 

pea). There are approximately 200 pages 

of research information, article references, 

and resources compiled here in Part 4 which 

support the research and discussions of Parts 1, 

2, and 3. 
From the beginning of his book to its end, 

it has been Hochmuth’s intent to address 

and educate with a comprehensive synopsis 

of what he calls “...the wealth of research 

addressing these challenges...” (Hochmuth, 

p. xviii) in sustainable growth of vegetables 

with crop protection and cultivation, and 

minimal destructive impactions from various 

determinants. I believe he has succeeded. 
-Karen Penders St. Clair, Ph. D.

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PSB 67(2) 2021


Evolutionary Dynamics of 

Plant-Pathogen Interac-


Jeremy J. Burdon and 

Anna-Liisa Laine


ISBN13: 978-1-108-62551-7 

Paperback, US$49.99;  

392 pp.

Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 

United Kingdom 
Plant pathogens are ubiquitous and vastly 

diverse. All parts of plants are vulnerable to 

pathogens that may directly affect the vigor, 

fecundity, and mortality of the host plant. 

In  Evolutionary Dynamics of Plant-Pathogen 

Interactions, Dr. Jeremy Burdon and Dr. Anna-

Liisa Laine take readers through the history 

and science surrounding plant-pathogen 

interactions in hopes of enhancing interest in 

and highlighting the importance of space and 

time on the complex development and ever 

evolving dynamics of pathogen relationships 

with their host plants. The book is organized 

into nine chapters, including an introductory 

chapter, seven core chapters, and final chapter 

with tips for future research. 
In the first chapter, Burdon and Laine ease 

the reader into the book with an introduction 

on the basics of plant pathology. They take 

the time to highlight some of the cases that 

stimulated interest in the role of pathogens 

as driving forces in evolution (e.g., role 

of barberry eradication in controlling 

wheat stem rust), and the importance of 

invasive pathogen impacts on naïve hosts 

(e.g., destruction of American chestnut by 

Cryphonectria parasitica) to provide some 

context on why plant pathogens are important. 

Chapter Two discusses how the environment 

determines pathogen incidence, abundance, 

and evolution. For example, the chapter 

addresses how temperature and precipitation 

influence the abundance and incidence of 

plant pathogens. The authors use variations of 

the disease triangle to explain how seasonality 

and other factors (e.g., microbiome) interact 

with the plant genotype, pathogen genotype, 

and environment to drive or limit disease 

signs and symptoms.  
The third chapter addresses the genetics 

of pathogenicity and host plant resistance. 

There are many means by which plants can 

resist, escape/avoid, tolerate, or reduce the 

aggressiveness of pathogens. The chapter 

discusses the importance of the gene-for-gene 

hypothesis and provides a very helpful table 

with wild plant-pathogen associations that 

involve putative gene-for-gene systems. Major 

resistance genes, multiple minor resistance 

genes, and adult plant resistance are also 

discussed in depth with lots of information and 

figures derived from peer-reviewed literature. 

Chapter Four focuses on sources of variation 

in plant pathogens, especially as it pertains 

to aggressiveness and infectivity. The authors 

aptly quote E.C. Stakman in saying that “plant 

diseases are shifty enemies” before detailing 

how different forms of recombination (e.g., 

sexual, asexual, intraspecific, interspecific, 

viral), mutation, genetic drift, and gene 

flow contribute to pathogen variation in 

aggressiveness. Speciation is also addressed in 

an interesting and thoughtful discussion on 

cryptic species complexes.
The fifth chapter discusses the demographic 

and genetic processes in pathogen and plant 

host populations. Much of the book highlights 

the extreme complexities surrounding plant-

pathogen complexes. However, this chapter 

along with the sixth and seventh chapters 

(which focus on the co-evolutionary dynamics 

from the context of metapopulations and 

plant-pathogen life histories, respectively) 

really demonstrate the diversity of responses 

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possible with plants and their associated 

pathogens. Specifically, Chapter Six 

provides three examples of plant-pathogen 

metapopulation studies—meadowsweet 

(Filipendula ulmaria)-Triphragmium ulmariae 

rust interactions in the Skeppsvik archipelago, 

narrowleaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata)-

powdery mildew (Podosphaera plantaginis

interactions in southwestern Finland, 

and Australian flax (Linum marginale)-

Melampsora lini rust interactions in New South 

Wales, Australia—that demonstrate the spatial 

and temporal unpredictability of interactions. 

The complexities of host and pathogen 

life history traits (e.g., dispersal, infection, 

lifestyle, mating system) are discussed in the 

context of modeling in Chapter Seven.  
The eighth chapter focuses on the effect of 

pathogens on plant community dynamics, 

and contains tables and a lot of fascinating 

discussion around the effects of non-native, 

invasive, and native plant diseases. Some 

readers might find the section on the future 

impact of diseases considering anthropogenic 

change to be rather bleak, but thought 

provoking at the same time. The final chapter 

of the book focuses on knowledge gaps and 

suggests ideas for future study, including 

studies on the evolutionary dynamics of plant 

resistance genes, impact of climate change 

on epidemiological patterns, and effects of 

invasive pathogens on plant community 

structure. Burdon and Laine also provide a 

few pages of glossary to help define some of 

the scientific terms that are used throughout 

the book. At the end, the extensive knowledge 

summarized in the book is documented in a 

70+-page reference list for those wanting to 

learn more about the research contained in 

each chapter.
There were only a few shortcomings of the 

book. Of these, some were partially remedied 

by other parts of the book. For example, 

several chapters have grayscale images and 

figures to illustrate some of the pathogen signs 

and symptoms on plant hosts. Many of the 

grayscale images do not have enough contrast 

to see differences, but, fortunately, the pictures 

are reproduced on color plates as an insert 

in the center of the book. Additionally, the 

content within the book can get quite dense, 

understandably due to the extensive scientific 

jargon associated with the overall topic. 

This is partially remedied by the glossary at 

the end, but not enough to make this book 

suitable for a more general audience without 

prior knowledge about plant pathology and 

genetics. A final limitation of this book is that, 

although the authors indicate that they address 

“plant-pathogen interactions,” they base most 

of their discussion around fungal pathogens 

and oomycetes, not bacteria, viruses, and 

nematodes. This limitation certainly does not 

diminish the quality of the book; it just makes 

the title seem somewhat misleading.  
Overall, there are many positive things to say 

about this book. In the back cover description, 

Burdon and Laine express that a key goal 

was to unite different disciplines that “have 

largely kept themselves separate,” including 

agriculture and forestry, conservation 

biology, and genomics. They have certainly 

accomplished this and, in the process, provided 

a timely synthesis for any person that regularly 

works with plant pathogens (in agricultural 

or natural settings) and wants to learn more 

about the ecological and evolutionary aspects 

of plant-pathogen (fungi) interactions.
--A.N. Schulz, Department of Agricultural 

Biology, Colorado State University, Ft. Col-

lins, Colorado, USA 

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Foraging for Survival:  

Edible Wild Plants of  

North America

Mykel Hawke and Douglas 


2020. ISBN: 978-1-5107-3833-1

Paperback. $17.00; 195 + VII pp.

Skyhorse Publishing. New York, 

New York 

The title of this important contribution to 

foraging wild edible plants is both accurate 

and misleading—accurate because it provides 

detailed information on survival plants; on 

the other hand, misleading because the region 

covered is not North America (despite the 

statement that plants included occur “all over 

the United States”.)  Rather, the coverage is of 

the Southeastern United States with a definite 

subtropical and tropical Florida bias. The 

book is apparently largely co-authored but 

with some chapters under the name of either 

Hawke or Boudreau.
Like the title, the arrangement of topics is 

confusing. For example, Chapter One (“Special 

Rules”) is a discussion of how to learn the 

plants. There is a warning about poisonous 

plants, a rational treatment of herbal remedies, 

universal edibility testing, mushrooms, 

seasonal considerations (something that 

most guides do not include), and other good 

information. Inexplicably, the final entry in 

this chapter is a “tip from your uncle Myke” 

describing the use of bleach for “poison 

sumac” that inflicted him in California. To 

my knowledge, poison sumac (Toxicodendron 

vernix) does not occur in California although 

T. diversilobum is common there and can 

be a large shrub. (Despite the experience of 

Uncle Myke, I would not recommend bleach 

to clear up urticaria from any species of 

Chapter Three is an excursus by Boudreau on 

the warnings in Chapter One. It is wordy but 

contains information any forager should know. 

Accuracy of determination and warnings of 

toxic plants continues the cautionary theme 

based on the author’s personal experience. 

Another example of the book’s quirky nature is 

Chapter Five, which promotes entomophagy! 
The bulk of the book is a treatment of more 

than 200 plants, each with images of varying 

quality and therefore limited utility. Harvesting 

and preparing food from these plants is given 

in detail. Reading these accounts, one feels 

the authenticity of the information despite the 

quirkiness.  Most of the entries would be in any 

treatment of edible plants of the Southeastern 

United States though, as noted, many species 

are not found outside Florida. Examples 

include Coccinia grandisChrysobalamus [sic] 

icacoPaederia foetida, and Eugenia axillaris. 

There are more. Oddly, there is an entry for 

American cancer root (Conopholis americana

but nothing about its use or why it is included.
The final chapters deal with poisonous plants, 

medicinal plants, and “nibbles.”
Who should buy the book? It is a must for 

survivalists, and anyone interested in foraging 

in Florida. The attention to detail for species 

common in the eastern United States gives 

the work currency beyond the borders of the 

Sunshine State. I regret I did not have this 

volume before completing the manuscript of 

our book on edible wild plants (Musselman 

and Schafran, in press). Foraging for Survival 

is a good deal at less than $20.
This is a book for serious foragers. It includes 

warnings about poisoning, foraging ethics, 

nutrition, methods of preparation, and 

much more. Despite apparently limited 

editing, inadequate images for many entries, 

unnecessary repetition, botanical lassitude, 

and digressions, I recommend this work as a 

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source for foragers and echo what is said in 

the foreword: “Consider this book a resource 

of good country knowledge. Learn, study, 

build on and pass on this knowledge, as it is 

sure to be useful.”


Musselman, L. J. and P. W. Schafran. Edible 

Wild Plants of the Carolinas. A Forager’s Com-

panion. A Southern Gateways Guide. Chapel 

Hill: University of North Carolina Press.  In 

--Lytton John Musselman, Blackwater Ecologic 

Preserve, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, 

VA 23529-0266

A History of Orchids in 

South America: Volume I 

Colonial Times from  

Discovery to  


Carlos Offenbach 

2020.  ISBN: 9783946583240

£195.00 (hardcover); 626 pp.

Oberreifenberg (Germany);  

Koeltz Botanical Books

This magnificently illustrated volume presents 

a history of European botanical exploration 

and collection that contributed to the 

discovery of South American orchid species 

from the 17th to early 19th centuries. It does 

not consider orchid phylogeny or the history 

of our understanding of their classification 

or biology. The book consists of mini-

biographies of nearly 100 personages, each 

typically followed by a list of orchid species 

described from their collections and/or 

named in their honor. Any orchid collections 

they made outside South America, or any 

plants other than orchids they collected on the 

continent, are outside the scope of the book, 

as the author repeatedly reminds us. Several 

introductory pages on the colonial history 

of the continent provide a backdrop for the 

biographical sketches. It is interesting to note 

how many of these early botanical explorers 

were physicians by training, or ordained 

priests, or men of title and leisure. And how 

often their lifetime efforts ended in disastrous 

loss of their collections, penury in old age, 

death by tropical disease, or failure to ever 

publish results! Nearly all the biographical 

subjects are Europeans, and the perspective 

throughout is understandably Eurocentric. 

The reader feels the awe and excitement of 

their encounters with unfamiliar landscapes 

and biodiversity, and when the narrator tells 

us who was “first” to navigate the full length 

of a principal river, climb an Andean peak, or 

resolve the question of whether the Orinoco 

and Rio Negro tributaries interconnect, we 

easily forget that such things were almost 

certainly done and known previously by 

indigenous Americans, who, of course, had 

inhabited the continent for many thousands 

of years prior to these recorded events. 

Indeed, one cannot help wondering just how 

much the native South Americans themselves 

understood about their local biodiversity. 

Did they recognize orchids—or epiphytes—

as a group, and to what extent did they have 

names for different orchids? What might 

they have known about orchid flowering and 

interactions with insects and animals of the 

community? Did anyone bother to ask them?
The biographies are treated in roughly 

chronological order, but as lifetimes overlap, 

the narrative skips back and forth in time, 

leaving the attentive reader with chronological 

whiplash. While there are many little details 

that make a lasting impression, it is difficult to 

keep track of the large number of individuals 

covered in so many separate portraits, which 

frequently share similarities. At times, the 

reader gets the impression that individually 

written biographies were assembled into 

the present order without a reworking or 

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Regardless of any shortcomings, many 

readers will be persuaded to acquire this 

book if they are given the opportunity to leaf 

through it. Nearly every page has excellent 

quality color figures that include period 

portraits of the collectors, explorers, and 

relevant historical figures; contemporaneous 

maps; landscapes painted by the European 

artists documenting the New World; and, of 

course, a considerable number of the original 

botanical illustrations that accompanied the 

orchid species discovered. This visual treasure 

is highly effective in pulling the reader into 

another time and place and makes a lasting 

--William B. Sanders, Florida Gulf Coast 


rereading of the narrative as a whole; some 

details are repeated in a way that suggests 

the narrator has forgotten what was said 

previously, while elsewhere, persons who will 

be portrayed only later on are referred to as 

though the reader were already familiar with 

them. One may regret the absence of a unified 

narrative that might integrate the stories of 

the more significant protagonists involved 

and give a more critical perspective on the 

events in which they participated. 
Errors of typography and spelling are 

unfortunately numerous. Most could have 

been caught with conventional word-

processing software. Even a few orchid 

terms are affected (sic: gymnostemium, 

Bolbophyllum), and the continent’s largest 

city, São Paulo, is everywhere misspelled, as 

is another Brazilian toponym, Santa Catarina. 

“Swainson” is alternatively spelled “Swanson” 

so many times that one begins to wonder 

if in fact they are two different people. A 

number of dates are obviously erroneous: 

Juan Pizarro founds the city of Lima in 1535 

but also that of San Miguel de Piura in 1832, 

and meets his death at the hands of Almagro’s 

son in 1841; the period covered in the present 

book is given in the first paragraph of the 

introduction as 1848–1823, that of the 17th-

century Dutch colonization of Brazil as 1830–

1854, and a Franz Post landscape painting of 

that period is dated 1838. Nor is it believable 

that Jorge Juan’s measurement of the distance 

corresponding to one degree of longitude 

along the equator produced a figure of around 

112,000,000 meters; this is three orders of 

magnitude too large, and obviously many 

times the circumference of the earth. It’s a 

pity to see editing and proofreading neglected 

when the author has done such prodigious 

historical research, and the publisher has 

assembled the work with otherwise superb 

production standards.  

Lessons from Plants  

Beronda L. Montgomery 

2021. ISBN-10: 0674241282; 

ISBN-13: 978-0674241282

$22.95 (hardcover); 240 pages 

Harvard University Press

The first thing that strikes 

you is the beautiful cover of 

the book and the overall attractive presentation 

produced by Harvard University Press. Once 

you start reading, you will find some wisdom 

and life lessons for humans based on the study 

of plant biology, physiology, and ecology.
As someone who studies plant tropisms, I 

frequently start seminars with the comment 

that plants cannot run away from adverse 

conditions, but they can adjust to their 

environment. So, we have the directed growth 

in response to gravity (gravitropism) and light 

(phototropism). Plants also can change their 

physiology or morphology to deal with the 

environment. The author uses broad themes in 

plant physiology and biochemistry to provide 

lessons for human behavior with a little bit of 

anthropomorphism thrown in.

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Dr. Beronda Montgomery is a Professor in the 

Departments of Biochemistry & Molecular 

Biology and in Microbiology & Molecular 

Genetics at Michigan State University. Full 

disclosure: I know her since we both share a 

common interest in the role of phytochromes 

in plant development (Hopkins and Kiss, 

2012; Oh and Montgomery, 2017).
This short, easy-to-read book has six chapters 

and a very extensive notes/bibliographic 

section.  The second chapter (“Friend or Foe”) 

considers topics such as the effects of light 

quality/quantity on plant development and the 

important topic of mycorrhizal relationships 

in plants. She calls these fungi “friendly” 

microorganisms and, indeed, 90% of vascular 

plant species have mycorrhizal associations 

(Moora, 2014). The human lesson here is that 

it is important for us to form wide-ranging 

collaborative networks to be successful in life.
The chapter titled “Transformation” considers 

ecological succession after a natural disaster.  

Montgomery uses the recovery of the 

landscape after the volcanic eruption at Mount 

St. Helens as an example. Human leaders are 

like pioneering plant species—they can help 

forge new directions and innovations. Just 

like in plant ecology, the transformational 

pioneers may require a period of disruption 

to make their mark.
In “Plan for Success”, the author shows how 

plants care for themselves and engage with 

other plants by budgeting energy and altering 

their life cycle to meet the present conditions. 

She asks if house plants do not thrive, do 

humans consider it the fault of the plant? 

The answer is no and that we will try to alter 

the conditions for the plants so that they do 

well. However, why do we place the blame on 

a student if they are not doing well? Perhaps 

we should consider that the support provided 

does not meet the needs of the individual we 

are trying to support. An interesting thought!
In some ways this book is in the genre of 

books that provide insights into plant biology 

to a broader audience. Two books that come 

to mind are “What a Plant Knows” by Daniel 

Chamovitz (2012) and “Plantwatching: 

How Plants Remember, Tell Time, Form 

Partnerships and More” by Malcolm Wilkins 

(1998). Chamovitz gives insights into 

major themes in plant sensory physiology 

in a very accessible way, yet he provides 

abundant scientific citations. Wilkins, who 

has written specialist books, uses spectacular 

photography to make important points about 

plant physiology and development.

“Lessons from Plants” tries to take some of 

these same themes and apply them more 

broadly as models for human behavior. Dr. 

Montgomery clearly provides insights into 

her love of plants and is a very enthusiastic 

author. The book, which is for both botanists 

and a general audience, makes for a great gift, 

and I noticed that many lab directors bought 

these for their students this past year.


Chamovitz, D. 2012. What a Plant Knows: A 

Field Guide to the Senses. Scientific American/

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York.
Hopkins, J. A., and J. Z. Kiss. 2012. Phototro-

pism and gravitropism in transgenic lines of 

Arabidopsis altered in the phytochrome path-

way. Physiologia Plantarum 145: 461–473.
Moora, M. 2014. Mycorrhizal traits and plant 

communities: perspectives for integration. 

Journal of Vegetation Science 25: 1126-1132.
Oh, S., and B. L. Montgomery. 2017. Phyto-

chromes: Where to start? Cell 171: 1254-1256.

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Wilkins, M. 1988. Plantwatching: How Plants 

Remember, Tell Time, Form Partnerships and 

More. Facts on File Publications, New York.
--John Z. Kiss, PhD, University of North  

Carolina Greensboro, Greensboro, NC 

Orchid Species from Hima-

laya and South East Asia 

Vol. 1 (A-E)

Eng Soon Teoh 

2021. ISBN: 978-3-030-58871-7 

(hardcover); ISBN: 978-3-030-

58872-4 (ebook)

$219.99 (hardcover); 504 pp.

Springer Nature Switzerland  

AG, Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 

Cham, Switzerland

A staggeringly large number of species are 

native to the area covered by the first volume 

(of three) of this work. If the numbers found in 

every country or geographic area were added, 

the total may well be in the many thousands. 

In reality this is not the case, because many 

species are widespread and can be found in 

more than one country and/or area. Numbers 

are changing constantly as new species are 

discovered and/or as taxonomists split and/

or lump taxa. Regardless, the task Dr. Teoh 

(a Singapore gynecologist by profession, an 

accomplished orchid grower and scholar by 

avocation, a talented photographer, a prolific 

author of books about orchids in his spare 

time, and a friend of nearly 50 years, who 

provided me with a copy of the book) has 

assigned to himself is brobdingnagian, even 

if one considers only library searches and 

writing the text. But this is not all Dr. Teoh 

has done. An excellent photographer, he 

photographed the orchids, which are described 

in the book, in private collections, commercial 

establishments, botanical gardens, and native 

habitats. Living in Singapore, as he does, helps 

because orchids abound there, but he also 

traveled extensively.
Photographs are from one to several per 

page. They vary in size from full (p. 76) 

to quarter page (p. 453), or less (p. 259) 

with many gradations (p. 403) in between. 

The photographs display the orchids from 

different perspectives, which present them 

at their best. Included are images of plant 

rows in a commercial orchid farm (e.g., 

Aranda Mak Chin On in Maryland Orchids 

Company, Singapore, where I visited often 

and resided for a while; p. 65), plants in full 

bloom with many flowers or inflorescences 

(Bulbophyllum lepidum on p. 129), entire 

racemes (Bulbophyllum coniferum, p. 132), 

individual flowers (Aranda hookeriana, p. 

56), close-ups (Bulbophyllum grandiflorum 

on p. 138 and Eulophia nuda on p. 489), and 

plants in their natural habitats (a Vietnamese 

Acriopsis on p. 16 and Dendrobium signatum 

on p. 354). For orchids that have beautiful 

leaves, the photographs show both foliage and 

flowers (Anoectochilus brevilabris, p. 45).  Also 

included are drawings and paintings from rare 

old books (Calanthe Dominyi, p. 172). To put 

it simply, the book is profusely, beautifully, 

and instructively illustrated. Only one 

photograph does not meet the high standards 

of the others. It is of Anthogonium gracile on p. 

48. Most of it is black background, and details 

of the orchid are lacking—and the hand that 

holds the plant should have been removed. It 

would have been easy to do with Photoshop. 
A total of 491 species plus 13 botanical 

varieties and 3 natural hybrids in 51 genera 

are described in the book. The approach is 

encyclopedic. Arrangement is alphabetical by 

genus and within genera. Every genus has its 

own numbered chapter and list of references. 

Chapter lengths vary depending on the size 

of each genus. For example, Calostylis and 

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Cephalanthera occupy two pages each (pp. 

183-184 and pp. 185-186, respectively), 

whereas  Dendrobium is spread over 154 

pages (pp. 293-447). Descriptions are short, 

to the point, easy to read, clear, informative, 

and never unnecessarily verbose. They 

include information regarding geographical 

distribution of a species, habitat, growth 

habit, stems, leaves, inflorescences, and 

flowers. Dimensions and size are included.  

Herbal medicine uses, flowering seasons, life 

span of flowers, and cultivation methods are 

described for some species. 
Every genus (i.e., chapter) has its own list of 

references. Generally, I believe that books 

should have a single Literature Cited or 

References section for all chapters. This saves 

space and avoids repetitions. In this case 

separate references are necessary because 

volumes will be published separately with 

varying intervals between them.
The book also mentions and/or describes 

61 cultivated hybrids. Some are old and well 

known, such as Arachnis Maggie Oei (Arachnis 

hookeriana × Arachnis flos-aeris), produced in 

1950 by (Christopher) John Laycock (1887, 

UK; 1960, Singapore)—a lawyer, an early 

orchid grower in Singapore, and one of the 

founders of the Malayan Orchid Society in 

1928. He named the hybrid for his friend and 

companion, Maggie Oei (when the hybrid 

that bears her name became famous, an 

unsuccessful effort was made to locate her). It 

received consideration when a national flower 

was being selected for Singapore, but Vanda 

Miss Joaquim, which also has an interesting 

history (Hew et al., 2002; Arditti and Hew, 

2007) was chosen. Hybrids I never heard of 

until now, and that have less exotic histories, 

like  Cymbidium Peter Pan (p. 283), are also 

described or mentioned. 

Another hybrid mentioned in the book 

is  Calanthe dominyi (originally  Calanthe 

dominii), the very first horticultural orchid 

hybrid. Its history dates back to 1852 when a 

gregarious surgeon, who tended to civic affairs 

(he was elected as sheriff), and both humans 

and circus animals, John Harris (1782-1855,

harris-17821855-surgeon-95524), suggested 

to John Dominy (1826–1891, https://, orchid 

grower for the famous Veitch nursery, that 

orchids can be cross-pollinated. Dominy made 

a cross (Calanthe masuca × Calanthe triplicata

and sowed the seeds “. . . on blocks of wood, 

pieces of tree-fern stems, strips of cork [and] 

upon . . . moss . . .” (horticultural orchid seed 

germination was just being developed then). 

At least some of the seeds germinated and a 

number of seedlings grew to maturity. The 

hybrid flowered in 1856. John Lindley (1799-

1865), the so-called “Father of Orchidology,” 

named it for Dominy “. . . in order to put upon 

permanent record the name of the first man 

who succeeded in this operation . . . .” Lindley 

also published a colored plate (number 5042) 

in the Botanical Magazine, vol. 84, 1858 (there 

is more to this story; for details see Arditti, 

Paper quality is important for a book like this 

one because text and illustrations must not 

“bleed” from one side of the page to the other. 

Fortunately, the publisher did decide to use 

good glossy paper, which, even if not thick 

and heavy, prevents “bleeding.” The book is 

still heavy. 
There are two indexes in the book, one for 

species and a second for hybrids. This is well 

and good, but such a monumental work also 

requires a detailed general index (what if 

someone wants to search for white flowered 

species, orchids that flower in May, or taxa 

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PSB 67(2) 2021


found only in Papua New Guinea?). My hope 

is that there will be a general index for all three 

volumes when the last volume is published. 

I also hope that page and chapter numbers 

will be sequential (i.e., the first chapter in 

volumes two will be numbered 53 and text 

page numbers will start with 505). And, I 

would like to see a colored, well-annotated 

map of the world with the relevant areas and 

countries outlined.
When completed, this will not be a mere 

three-volume book about orchids. It will be an 

excellent three-volume excellently illustrated 

and very informative encyclopedia for an 

orchid-rich part of the world. It should prove 

to be very useful for, and of interest to, orchid 

growers (amateur and commercial), botanists 

in general, and individuals who simply enjoy 

good photography of beautiful and interesting 

flowers. The only real problem is the usual 

Springer Verlag overpricing. 


Arditti, J. 1984. An history of orchid hybrid-

ization, seed germination and tissue culture.  

Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society of 

London 89: 359-381.
Arditti, J., and C. S. Hew. 2007. The origin of 

Vanda Miss Joaquim. In: K. M. Cameron, T. 

Kull and J. Arditti (ed.). Orchid biology, re-

views and perspectives IX, pp. 261-309. The 

New York Botanical Garden Press.
Hew, C. S., T. W. Yam, and J. Arditti. 2002. 

Vanda Miss  Joaquim.  National  University  of            

Singapore Press, Singapore.
--Joseph Arditti, Professor of Biology Emeritus, 

Department of Developmental and Cell Biol-

ogy, University of California, Irvine, CA.

Plant Genetic Resources: 

A Review of Current Re-

search and Future Needs

M. Ehsan Dulloo, Ed. 

2021; ISBN-13: 9781786764515

£160.00, €190.00, $210.00 

(hardcover) ebook 178924076X; 

352 pp. 

Burleigh Dodds Science Publish-

ing, Cambridge, UK

A revolution in the planning, design, 

financing, and delivery infrastructure for 

plant germplasm is urgently needed to meet 

the acute needs of our warming world. As 

we grapple with the challenge of sustainably 

feeding an increasing population in the face of 

harsh and unpredictable growing conditions, 

the newly released book: Plant Genetic 

Resources, presents results of a major global 

assessment to prepare agricultural crops for 

climate change.
Editor M. Ehsan Dulloo is eminently qualified, 

having published widely on biodiversity and the 

conservation of genetic resources, as Principal 

Scientist at Biodiversity International and 

CIAT, and co-Leader of the Genetic Diversity 

Cluster in the CGIAR research program on 

Roots, Tubers and Bananas. He previously 

served as Senior Policy Officer, Plant Genetic 

Resources, FAO. The authors of each chapter 

are notable within the constellation of plant 

germplasm conservation. One can find an 

imprint of the pioneering role of Jack R. 

Harlan within many chapters.
Organized into three sections—importance 

and value of conservation and use of plant 

genetic diversity, protecting plant genetic 

diversity: in-situ and on-farm strategies, and 

enhancing conservation and use of plant 

genetic diversity—together the chapters 

articulate the value and challenge of saving 

seeds of crops and their wild relatives, since 

the aim of gene banks is primarily to secure 

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germplasm for crop improvement, particularly 

critical now, confronted with global heating.
The FAO established a Commission in 1983, 

emphasizing the interdependence of nations 

in both the responsibility of safeguarding 

plant genetic resources (PGR) and the mutual 

benefits of using them. Their objective was “to 

ensure that PGR of economic and/or social 

interest, particularly for agriculture, will be 

explored, preserved, evaluated and made 

available for plant breeding and scientific 

purposes” (p. 7).
Admittedly, protection efforts are often shaped 

by politics as well as science. Regulations and 

practices that govern exchange of germplasm 

to address broader global challenges such as 

advancement of science and innovation are 

not as successful as they could be, because 

they fail to integrate the complexity of the 

exchange environment. It is important to go 

beyond a legalistic approach to exchange, to 

look at the broader social context. Addressing 

the “hot potato issue” of Access and Benefit 

Sharing: “the more the development of 

internationally agreed enabling environment 

lags behind the pace of technological and 

scientific advancements, the more polarizing 

arguments fester, contrasting viewpoints 

calcify, and the dimmer hopes grow for 

leveraging these tools to attain sustainable 

food systems” (p. 25). 
This reader views the chapter titled “Improving 

the global exchange of germplasm for crop 

breeding,” by Selim Louafi (UMR AGAP Institut, 

CIRAD, University of Montpellier, INRAE, 

Institut Agro, Montpellier) and Eric Welch 

(Arizona State University), as foundational. 

International and national rules, regulations 

and laws have established increasing levels 

of control over access, exchange, and use 

of PGR, but the proliferation of procedures 

and obligations for monitoring transfers to 

third parties with memoranda of agreement, 

prior informed consent and material transfer 

agreements have added complexities to the 

exchange process with the consequence that 

breeders and researchers can no longer act 

according to their own set of preferred rules 

and norms; these have increased transaction 

costs (p. 84). There is a concise assessment of 

the complexities of collaborations involving 

PGR (pp. 87-92), including definitions 

(e.g., “sustained relationship,” which would 

be valuable required reading for anyone 

preparing to conduct international fieldwork). 

Having arrived at a destination, one may 

encounter efforts to “add additional terms” 

or conditions to collect or use germplasm in 

an opportunistic environment. The chapter 

offers “a renewed perspective on the issue of 

germplasm exchange, describing the reasons 

why facilitation of exchange cannot be 

confined to a simple set of legal access rules” 

by recognizing that difficulties arise from the 

reconciliation of various institutional logics 

(p. 96).
Another example of this sourcebook’s 

usefulness is “Key steps in conservation and 

use of PGR” by Nigel Maxted and Joana Brehm 

(University of Birmingham), which reviews 

the multitude of techniques for collation and 

analysis of ecogeographic data, which can 

be handy in preparation for fieldwork and 

subsequent data analysis.
Printed in the United States on sturdy paper 

stock, the hardcover copy will withstand long-

term handling well. There are a few minor 

grammatical issues: spelling, agreement of 

noun and verb tenses, to be more useful; the 

book needs a more complete index. The key 

phrase “Nagoya Protocols” is listed only once, 

but in the chapters, it appears at least five 


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PSB 67 (2) 2021



It is likely that Plant Genetic Resources will 

become the essential methods manual to 

facilitate their international exchange and 

local dissemination, with its commendable 

component of advocacy. It may well become 

the standard reference for researchers 

at universities, institutes, government 

departments, and plant nursery facilities 

for many years. It provides an indispensable 

contribution as a handbook for plant 

collectors, with proposals about conservation 

and use, from data management to strategies.
Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 


The Pomegranate: Botany, 

Production and Uses

Ali Sarkhosh, Alimohammad M. 

Yavari, Zabihollah Zamani, Eds. 

2020. ISBN: 9781789240764

Hardcover, £160.00, €185.00, 

$215.00; ebook 178924076X. 

584 pp. 

Commonwealth Agriculture 

Bureau International Books, 


Pomegranate is an outstanding encyclopedic 

handbook, the first comprehensive monograph 

offering perspectives on issues related to its 

botany, production, processing, health, and 

industrial use. Its 100 contributors represent 

12 countries: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, 

Egypt, France, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, 

Spain, Turkey, and the United States.
Included is information about cultivation and 

how to increase yields and profits; practices to 

mitigate pests, diseases, abiotic stresses; plant 

nutrition management; approaches addressing 

earliness, yield, improved taste, soft seeds, 

disease resistance, splitting and sunscald 

rates; taxonomy and physiology; increasing 

genetic diversity to improve crop security; and 

nutritional composition and medicinal uses. 

Punica granatum L. is among the earliest known 

edible fruits. Appealing most to this reader’s 

ethnobotanical interests is “Archaeology, 

History and Symbolism”, including a photo 

montage combining a Persepolis wall relief 

showing a hand holding a pomegranate 

flower, with a true-to-life example. To 

these they could add the photograph of an 

unearthed pomegranate flower from the 

excavations of fortress Karmir-Blur (VII 

BC) near Yerevan, Armenia (Stepanyan, 

2007). Striking photographs of magnificent 

gold charms show impeccably rendered 

pomegranates festooning gold necklaces and 

earrings, from excavations in Iran. To the 

authors’ derivations of the linguistic origins 

of the term pomegranate from Sumerian nu-

urma and Akkadian nurmu to Persian nar

one could include Armenian 



Reading “Production and Growing Regions”, it 

was surprising that the authors cited outdated 

production data (Holland et al., 2009), until 

discovering that FAOSTAT offers no coverage 

about pomegranate production!
Broadening “Biodiversity, Germplasm 

Resources and Breeding Methods”, Baer’s 

(2007) letter to The New Yorker, in connection 

with seeds and crops lost during Afghanistan’s 

wars, offers another connection between 

Afghanistan’s lost heritage and the importance 

of gene bank seed repositories. Beginning 

in the 1930s, Harold Olmo, a California 

horticulturalist / plant explorer, traveled to 

Afghanistan to collect regional cultivars for a 

station at Davis, CA. His seeds and cuttings 

were saved, propagated, and bred into varieties 

of fruits and nuts consumed today. In 2003, a 

delegation of Afghan horticulturalists arrived 

at the USDA/ARS facility on the UC Davis 

campus, where they rediscovered fruit- and 

nut-bearing trees that have since been lost 

in their country. Horticulturalists are now 

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PSB 67 (2) 2021


attempting to replant the denuded hillsides of 

Afghanistan with offspring bred from crops 

Olmo saved 70 years ago.
Although “World Pomegranate Cultivars” 

omits Armenia, Chandra et al. (2010) indicate 

that it was grown in 7 districts besides the Ararat 

plain, in 52 of its 60 regions. Hovhannissyan 

et al. (2014) refer to the Armenian cultivar 

Gyulosha, and F.M. Harutyunyan, Head 

Winemaker, Maran Winery (pers. comm. 

via S. Tashjian, March 1, 2021) names strictly 

Armenian cultivars, Gyulosha, Gyulosha pink 

and Shahnar / Meghri golden. 
“Pomegranate Bioactive Compounds and 

Health” examines constituents effective 

in fighting disease and slowing aging. 

Pomegranates may help combat cancer 

and hardening of the arteries. Antioxidant 

flavonoids with beneficial effects are found at 

high concentrations in pomegranate peel.
This subject appeals for several reasons: 

its delicious and nutritious fruit; and how 

pomegranate awakens memories, appearing in 

art, folklore, and cuisine throughout historic 

Armenia. Consequently, pomegranate was 

adopted as a national emblem often used at 

Armenian celebrations.
Unfortunately, the fruit with which Armenians 

identify so strongly is conspicuously absent 

from these pages. Within Armenian culture, 

the pomegranate has long represented 

fertility, abundance, and good fortune; 

paintings and ceramic, metal, wood, and 

textile pomegranates are ever-present. 

At weddings in Western Armenia, it was 

customary for a bride to throw a pomegranate 

against a wall, to shatter it; its scattered seeds 

ensured the bride future children. In Van, 

Armenian women wishing to bear a son, 

ate bread baked with pomegranate seeds. At 

the culmination of weddings in Yerevan, a 

small, dried pomegranate called taratosik

is given by the bride to unmarried guests 

as a blessing (Petrosian and Underwood, 

2006). Pomegranate is viewed as an amulet, 

protecting people from the evil eye (Petrosian 

and Underwood 2006) against bad spirits or 

ill intentions. 
Pomegranate has been used as an archetypal 

ornament found on numerous historical 

Armenian manuscripts; in religious art, 

pomegranate appears on sculptured relief 

friezes adorning the Cathedral of the Holy 

Cross, Aghtamar Island in Lake Van, Western 

Armenia, erected 915-921 AD. A film about 

poet, musician, and bard Sayat Nova, born 

Harutyun Sayatyan (1712-1795), repeats 

those images on a coat worn by the actor 

representing the father of the bride.
Among the most iconic Armenian art 

films  is  Sergei  Paradjanov’s  “The  Color 

of Pomegranates”, a biography of Sayat-

Nova (King of Song) that attempts to reveal 

the poet›s life metaphorically. A symbolic 

scene shows a red pomegranate on a table, 

its skin wrinkled, standing out against fresh 

pulp, as an embodiment of the strength of the 

Armenian spirit, its invincible soul. After the 

horrific Armenian Genocide, many Armenian 

artists have used pomegranates in their lyrics 

and poems to describe a range of emotions, 

from suffering to hope, rebirth and national 

survival. The search term pomegranate in 

ProQuest® Newspapers found an article in 

the  New  York  Times titled “Pomegranate as 

Fruit of a Vintner’s Labor” about pomegranate 

wine from Armenia, linked to numerous news 

articles  about  the  Ottoman-era  Armenian 

Genocide, beginning in 1894.
Colleague S. Martiros (pers. comm., May 25, 

2021) describes a celebration that he heard 

about from director, screenwriter, writer, and 

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PSB 67 (2) 2021


friend of Parajanov, Rustam Ibragimbekov, 

during Parajanov’s 60th birthday at his 

birthplace, Tbilisi. The courtyard was covered 

with planks on which guests stepped as they 

entered. Under the boards were pomegranate 

fruits. As the guests stepped on the boards, 

the fruits’ juice was expressed; that liquid was 

collected in a vat through special grooves. 

Later, guests were treated to this juice. 

Subsequently, Ibragimbekov was subjected to 

persecution in Azerbaijan and was expelled by 

deputies when they discovered his bond with 

In William Saroyan’s short story “The 

Pomegranate  Trees”  (1937),  the  narrator’s 

Armenian uncle bought large tracts of infertile 

land in central California hoping to plant an 

orchard of pomegranate trees. Unfortunately, 

he could not sell the few fruits produced on 

that desert soil; the buyer in Chicago did not 

even know what  pomegranates  were, but 

these cherished fruits, deeply entrenched in 

memory, served as a transitional bridge for 

the immigrant.
Pomegranate is so inextricably woven with 

Armenia that a children’s book, “Hagop and 

the Hairy Giant” (White, 2011), the Armenian 

version of Jack and the Beanstalk, is set in 

Masis, Armenia, where the hero Hagop scales 

a magic pomegranate tree to rescue the lovely 

Maryam, a prisoner of Medz Mazod, the 

hairy giant. Hagop goes head-to-head with 

Medz Mazod, battling him with a kebab shish, 

leading to other adventures with the giant’s 

magic oud and golden hen.
The importance of pomegranate is also found 

in a traditional ending for Armenian fairy tales 

(Petrosian and Underwood, 2006): “Three 

pomegranates fell down from heaven: One for 

the storyteller, one for the listener, and one for 

the whole world”.

Particularly in this age of climate change, 

pomegranate  is  a  drought-resistant,  salinity-

tolerant pivotal fruit that deserves more 

scholarly attention, especially for regions 

where agriculture is threatened by those 

factors.  Pomegranate should be the 

standard textbook for horticultural research 

institutes, libraries, government agriculture 

departments, and plant nurseries. It provides a 

dense consolidation of relevant topics that can 

provide the field with valuable guidance as a 

manual for growers, displacing a previously 

reviewed attempt (Seeram et al., 2006). It is 

well-illustrated,  showing  stages  of  flower 

and fruit development, plant habit, various 

approaches to pruning. The bibliographies 

are substantial; the editors did their subject 

justice. Ignoring occasional typographical 

errors, and duplicate citations inserted out of 

order (pp. 501-503), the well-bound volume 

should enjoy long use as a reference work.


Baer, B. L. 2007. Seed Savers. The Mail, The New 

Yorker Sept 7, 2007, p. 42.
Chandra, R., K. D. Babu, V. T. Jadhav, and J. A. Teix-

eira da Silva. 2010. Origin, history and domestication 

of pomegranate. Fruit, Vegetable and Cereal Science 

and Biotechnology. Global Science Books.
Holland, D., K. Hatib, and I. Bar-Ya’akov. 2009. Pome-

granate: botany, horticulture, breeding. In: J. Janick, 

Ed. Horticultural Reviews 35: 127-191.
Hovhannissyan, H., S. Lertwatanakiat, and P. Sripinta. 

2014. Study of the adaptability and growth of Arme-

nian fruit tree cultivars in Thailand. Acta Horticulturae

1059: 67-70.
Petrosian, I., and D. Underwood. 2006. Armenian 

Food:  Fact,  Fiction  &  Folklore. Yerkir Publishing, 

Bloomington, IN (pp. 238-239).
Saroyan W. 1937. The Pomegranate Trees. In: My 

Name is Aram, pp. 33-55. Harcourt, Brace & World, 

Inc., NY.

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PSB 67 (2) 2021


Seeram, N. P., R. N. Schulman, and D. Heber (Eds). 

2006. Pomegranates, Ancient Roots to Modern Medi-

cine. CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, 

Stepanyan N. 2007. Armenian wild pomegranate: A 

rare and relic fruit. Bioversity Newsletter for Europe 

34: 34.
White, T. D. 2011. Hagop and the Hairy Giant. TDW 


–Dorothea Bedigian, Research Associate, Mis-

souri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, 


Wild Orchids of the 

Southwestern United 

States: a Field and Study 


P. M. Brown, with original art-

work by S. Folsom

2019. ISBN 978-3-946583-21-9

$70.00 (hard cover); 312 pp.

Koeltz Botanical Books, 

Heftricher Str. 1, 61479 


Approximately 250 orchid species are native 

to the United States (9,834,185 km


), and 

about half of them are in Florida (168 km



This book covers species found in Arizona (29 

species and varieties in 293 km


), California 

(39; 423,963 km


), Colorado (30; 269 km



Nevada (16; 285 km


), New Mexico (32; 313 



), and Utah (25; 220 km


). Of these, 6 

species occur in all of these states and 29 are 

found in one state only. 
The number of species per area in the United 

States is remarkably small when compared to 

Colombia (4270 species in 1,141,748 km


) or 

Malaysia (4000 species in 329,613 km


), for 

example. Colombia with an area 8.6 times 

smaller than the United States has 17 times 

as many orchid species. For Malaysia these 

numbers are 30 and 16, respectively. Many 

of the orchids in Colombia and Malaysia are 

spectacular, whereas only very few American 

species attract attention by others than those 

interested in orchids.
This paucity of native species and the small 

proportion of those bearing attractive flowers 

are two reasons for the relatively small number 

of books on American native orchids. Other 

reasons are difficulties in (1) germinating their 

seeds (we tried in my laboratories years ago 

with limited success; recent efforts have been 

more successful), and (2) cultivating many 

of them despite a few successes. The authors 

of this book and a few others (referenced in 

this book) are among the small number of 

botanists and growers who have paid and/or 

are paying attention to at least some North 

American orchid species (not referenced in 

this book; for one list of horticultural sources 

for some species please see http://botanyboy.


online-north-american-sources/, although a 

Google search should find more).
Despite its modest subtitle and relatively 

few pages, this book is much more than just 

a guide. It is more of a tightly and carefully 

written and well-organized, concise, reference 

In Part One, two introductory sections set the 

tone of the book: one is about orchids in the 

southwest and the second deals with orchids 

in general. They are useful, but I think that 

their order should have been reversed; first 

introduce orchids, and then discuss them 

geographically. What seems to be a workable 

and useful key (I did not try to use it) to 

genera (keys to species are included in the 

descriptions of genera) follows. The key is 

followed by discussion of plant names. This 

discussion should have preceded the key, but 

this comment, like my previous remark about 

the order of sections is a matter of opinion. 

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PSB 67 (2) 2021


The illustrations in the book are its major 

problem. Some of the line drawings, color 

photographs, and paintings are somewhat 

useful, maybe passable, and perhaps even 

good.  Many convey only a general impression 

at best. A few are confusing and of not much 

use. At least one line drawing (p. 6), one 

painting (p. 70), and one photograph (upper 

left on p. 81) are not useful at all. I mention 

one bad example for every type of illustration 

in the book, but there are more. Good digital 

cameras, excellent macro lenses, and very 

good illuminators for close-ups (flash or LED) 

are inexpensive and easy to use even under 

field conditions. Programs like Photoshop 

make possible production of good, attractive, 

and instructive illustrations and layouts. 

Photographic tools such as these leave no 

excuse for what is presented as illustrations in 

this book.
This book is valuable not only because books 

on native American orchids are not common, 

but also due to its excellent content. This is 

exactly the kind of guide needed by those who 

want to see and/or photograph southwestern 

U.S. native orchids in their natural habitats. If 

not as a guide for orchid hunting, this book 

is an excellent source of valuable information 

for botanists in general and those interested in 

orchids in particular, and it will make readers 

realize that there are many interesting, even 

if not always gorgeous, orchids in the United 

-Joseph Arditti, Professor of Biology Emeritus, 

Department of Developmental and Cell Biol-

ogy, University of California, Irvine.

The second part (pp. 17-196) consists 

of descriptions of all native orchids (in 

alphabetical order) in the southwest. The 

first genus in the descriptions section is 

the circumpolar Calypso, which is found 

in America, Europe; and Asia; despite its 

small flowers (2-4 cm) it is “one of the most 

sought-after and most delightful of all 

native orchids . . .” True, and a good start! 

Descriptions are detailed and include clear 

narrative, dimensions and line drawings, 

color photographs and sometimes paintings, 

distribution maps, and flowering period. All 

descriptions follow the same format, are well 

written, easy to read, and very informative. 

They are a good example of what such 

descriptions should be.
Part Three is what makes this book a good 

and concise reference work rather than only 

a guide. It contains checklists of orchids 

for the southwestern United States and the 

six states in it; regional statistics; a list of 

rare, threatened, and endangered species; 

recent literature references; synonyms and 

misapplied names; and much additional and 

very useful information.
The fourth part is all about orchid hunting. 

It tells readers when, where, and how to find 

orchids in the southwest. The information 

in this part should make it easy to find and 

enjoy native orchid in the southwestern 

United States. Those who will hunt orchids 

should do it with their eyes and cameras only. 

Native orchids must not be touched and never 

Several appendices are included in the 

fifth part: distribution of species in the six 

southwestern states, a table of flowering times, 

an extensive bibliography, a list of new hybrids 

and nomenclatural combinations, photo 

credits, and a good, detailed index.

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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 3 times a year 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  

Address Editorial Matters (only) to: 

Mackenzie Taylor, Editor 

Department of Biology  

Creighton University 

2500 California Plaza 

Omaha, NE 68178 

Phone 402-280-2157

Plant Science Bulletin

                                                                                   Summer 2021 Volume 67 Number 2


Wanda Lovan


is Retiring:  



of her 18 Years 

with the BSA

It is with heartfelt gratitude that we acknowledge the contribution of 

Wanda Lovan to the BSA on the occasion of her retirement on July 16, 

2021. Wanda began as an Administrative Coordinator at the BSA in 

2003, when the BSA’s first Executive Director, Bill Dahl, established the 

headquarters of the BSA at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. 

(This was at the invitation of then-Garden President, and former BSA 

President, Peter Raven.)

Wanda came to the BSA after a 12-year stint with the Missouri Field 

Office of The Nature Conservancy, where she went from part-time 

secretary to Director of Operations. At the BSA, Wanda initially 

managed membership and subscription services for the BSA and the 

American Journal of Botany. Over the years, her responsibilities grew, 

and the Society members and staff have grown and thrived under her 

care and attention. She kept the 3000-plus members happy and the 

books in order—and ultimately coordinated 10 staff members in 4 

different locations, from California to New York. 

Wanda's current title is Director of Finance & Administration. She has 

expertly handled accounting responsibilities for grant funding from 

NSF and management services provided to the Society for Economic 

Botany, the Society for the Study of Evolution, and the American Fern 


In addition to her many achievements for the Society, Wanda is an 

enthusiastic supporter of the Missouri Botanical Garden and an avid 

gardener in her own right. She is known for her unique way with 

words (in poetry and conversation!), her enjoyment of being active, 

her pleasure in wine tasting, and her overall positive outlook. We wish 

her all the best in her retirement! 

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PSB 67 (2) 2021


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Over 1100 Scientific Presentations! 

Nine Special Lectures by  

Prominent Scientists

Six full days of  Workshops, Symposia and 

Colloquia and Special Events

Botanical Drawing Lessions,  

CV Reviews. Networking Receptions,  

Botany Trivia

Special Joint Event with  

Botany 2021 - Virtual! &  

ASPB’s PB21  Plant Biology Worldwide Summit

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Author Chats

Get ready for Botany 2022  Join the virtual race 

around Anchorage!  See the sights - Details Soon!

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