BEN # 73

Adolf Ceska aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Thu Mar 31 16:40:24 EST 1994

BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             ISSN 1188-603X
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BBBBB    EEEEE    NN N N             BOTANICAL
BB   B   EE       NN  NN             ELECTRONIC
BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             NEWS

No. 73                               April 1, 1994

Address: aceska at            Victoria, B.C.
 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

From: "Gail M. Berg" <gberg at>

A  whitewater  rafting  company  was  taken  to court in Golden,
British Columbia. Gail Berg was  subpoenaed  to  appear  as  the
Crown's  main  witness  regarding  the  Columbia River Raft trip
organized for the 1993 BOTANY BC meeting. She was cross examined
by Crown counsel and the defendant, Brad McLaren  from  Wet  and
Wild  Adventures.  The  issue  was  whether  or not Wet and Wild
Adventures was permitted to  run  raft  tours  on  the  Columbia
river.  It  turns  out that the company only has permits for the
Kicking Horse and the Blaeberry rivers. Even though one  of  the
guides  on  the expedition was licensed for the Columbia, it was
considered invalid because all arrangements were made with  Brad
Mclaren  and  the  money was also paid to him. He was ordered to
pay the $150.00 fine  that  was  originally  assessed  in  June.
Apparently one of the companies that was not hired by Gail to do
the  trip became annoyed and made an anonymous phone call to the
CO officer in Golden to complain, which resulted  in  the  fine.
The  moral of the story is that if you are organizing tours that
involve transportation of some sort ensure that the operator has
the required  permits,  licences,  insurance,  etc.  to  operate
otherwise the organizing party (in this case BOTANY BC) would be
liable in a court case.

From: Flora of North America, Vol. 1, p. 124.

In  the review of North American vegetation, Michael Barbour and
Norman Christensen found the British Columbia vegetation far too
complex to include it in their review. They wrote:  "This  brief
summary  does  not  do justice to the complexities of vegetation
within British Columbia. A fine vegetation map, at  a  scale  of
1:2 million, identifies a dozen montane biogoeclimatic zones; we
have  mentioned  but a few (British Columbia Ministry of Forests

From: anon015b at (Name withheld by request)
      Newsgroups: bionet.mycology

State   of   Alaska   needs   a   mold   expert.   May   involve
Contact- J. Ron Sutcliffe , Assistant Attorney General

From: Times-Colonist, Victoria - March 22, 1994, p. B3

Marijuana  plantations  could  soon  be  legal  under a proposed
[Canadian] federal law. Growing hemp - also known as cannabis  -
would  be kosher for commercial purposes like the manufacture of
rope and paper. Licences would be issued to commercial  growers,
the federal Health Department said.

University  of  British  Columbia botanist Bruce Bohm said it is
quite easy to gauge THC ["the psychotropic ingredient that  gets
pot-smokers high"] levels in hemp. "The difference in concentra-
tion   between  the  fibre  plants  and  hemp  plants  is  quite
remarkable," he said.

Activists on Vancouver Island and elsewhere in the country  have
been  pushing  for permission to grow hemp as a commercial crop.
"Vancouver Island would be an ideal place for  it,"  Bruce  Bohm
told the reporters. Bohm said some of his colleagues have made a
sideline career of identifying pot plants in court for the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police.

New  Democrat  MP Nelson Riis said the party members have second
thoughts because of the potent strains of marijuana  now  avail-
able. More public education is needed about the bill or it might
be  interpreted as an open invitation to grow marijuana, he told
Ottawa reporters.

From: Bohumil Hrabal: "The Little Town Where Time Stood Still."

[A strange case of poisoning with edible mushrooms, after a long
conditioning to inedible and poisonous mushrooms, was  described
by  Bohumil  Hrabal from the Czech Republic. The fierce competi-
tion among mushroom pickers in Bohemian forests forced  Hrabal's
Dad  and  Uncle  Pepin  to  start  collecting  both inedible and
suspect fungi and toadstools.]

"Dad took with him a saucepan and a pat of  butter  and  he  and
Uncle  Pepin  began to practise some experimental mycology. This
way they always had fungi almost from the late spring up to  the
end  of  autumn.  They  started by picking grey tall amanita and
bunches of sulphur tuft, they kindled a fire, softened onion  in
butter,  and  added a pinch of common earthball and panther cap.
Dad handed the fried concoction of fungi to Uncle  Pepin  first,
waited  half  an  hour  ...  and  since Uncle wasn't hearing any
ringing sounds,  ...  Dad  ate  some  of  the  mixture  too  and
pronounced it quite excellent."

"Once however they stayed in the woods for whole five hours, Dad
had  added  a  bit more earthball or truffle, and their legs had
gone numb. Uncle Pepin rejoiced that he wouldn't  ever  have  to
walk  again,  but  a  couple of hour later Uncle Pepin was to be
disappointed. The strength returned to their limbs and they  got
to the station and returned safely home."

"And  one day they [found a red patch] and filled a basket piled
high with beautiful orange birch boletuses. And so  it  happened
that same evening, when Mum for the first time in ages cooked up
those  classic edible mushrooms, all three of them were horribly
sick and Uncle Pepin had fainting fits and diarrhea, and then he
got a dreadful thirst and vomited again, and this  was  followed
by a dull headache, cramps in the calves and intermittent double
vision  as  well  as continuous ringing sounds in the ears. When
they took them all off to hospital, the consultant  said  they'd
all  been  poisoned  by  edible  fungi, the last person that had
happened to was Professor Smotlach [sic !] himself, found  in  a
deep coma after partaking of edible mushrooms."

[Czech  Professor  Smotlacha  was  known  for his bold edibility
experiments. After he promoted Amanita pantherina as  an  excel-
lent  edible  mushroom, Czechoslovakia became a country with the
highest incidents of deadly mushroom poisonings, leaving  Canada
in  the  second  place.  After  the (otherwise natural) death of
Professor Smotlacha, his wife confessed to her  colleagues  that
she  always  threw away those really poisonous mushrooms, before
she cooked her husband's experimental meals. - AC]

From: Archaeology, March/April 1994

Three specialists on contraception and abortion  issues  in  the
Ancient  and  Medieval World described plants used as contracep-
tives in Ancient Greece and in the Middle Ages. The main  atten-
tion  is  paid to the so-called "Cyrenaic juice." This juice was
derived from the now extinct silphium and it was used by the Old
Greeks and Romans to prevent unwanted conception.

Silphium belonged to the genus  Ferula  [Uphof's  Dictionary  of
Economical  Plants  lists  Ferula narthex Boiss. as "Silphium of
the Ancients"]. The plant grew in a band about  125  miles  long
and  35 miles wide on the North African dry mountainsides facing
the Mediterranean Sea. By the first century A.D., it was  scarce
from  overharvesting  and  by  the  third or fourth century A.D.
silphium was extinct.

The article gives  a  picture  of  "a  sixth-fifth-century  B.C.
Cyrenian coin with an image of the silphium plant." It is inter-
esting  to  note that the more conservative "British Museum Book
of Flowers" shows a very similar coin from Selenius, Sicily, and
identifies the plant as celery.


Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A  synonymized  checklist  of  the  vascular
flora  of  the  United  States,  Canada  and Greenland. - Second
edition. Volume I: Checklist, 622 p.; Volume II: Thesaurus,  816
p.  -  Timber  Press,  Portland,  Oregon.  IBSN 0-88192-204-8 (2
volumes, hard cover). Price: US$ 149.95.

We all have been waiting for the second edition of the  "Kartesz
& Kartesz," the reference one had to have on hand almost all the
time.  For  the  last  few  years  the Timber Press has kept an-
nouncing the second edition and  numerous  nomenclatural  papers
published  by  Kartesz  et al. in Phytologia and elsewhere indi-
cated that the work on the book was still in progress.

The book was finally published in February 1994, in two  massive
volumes.  The  first  volume  contains the checklist and its ar-
rangement is similar to the first edition: it  contains  an  al-
phabetical listings of species and infraspecific taxa (and their
respective  synonyms)  within  genera  and  families. The second
volume lists all the names alphabetically and  for  synonyms  it
gives   their   accepted  valid  names.  If  you  look  for  the
authorities of the names (and this  is  what  we  used  the  old
"Kartesz  &  Kartesz" for), the second volume is enough and your
searches can be accomplished much faster than when you used  the
first  edition.  You need, however, the first volume, because it
gives you the overview of the generic and  species  concept  ac-
cepted by the author, but there is no doubt that the second (and
unfortunately  also  heavier)  volume  will be subject to faster

The book is type set using a nice  distinct  and  very  readable
font.  It  is a reference you will love to have and when you get
it, you will soon forget that you paid a small fortune  for  it.
My  feeling is, however, that this is the last book of this kind
to be published in this old fashioned way, and it is an  epitaph
to  the  traditional  "hard  copy"  publishing. With our not too
stable nomenclature the only way you can update your copy is  to
pencil  the changes in it. The introduction of the book promises
yet another edition which  would  include  basionyms  and  basic
bibliographic citations for each name. I cannot imagine that the
next edition will be published in the same way.

This  book  just  cries  for electronic publishing! The original
data file is stored at the sophisticated data base system in the
Biota of North American Program office, and I  have  to  wonder,
why  the author did not go directly to the CD-ROM publishing. It
would have been cheaper, faster and more  flexible.  What  about
putting it on a gopher?

Meanwhile,  you can, have to and should (if you have any doubts)
order the book from the publisher, Timber Press  Ltd.,  9999  SW
Wilshire, Portland, OR 97225, U.S.A., phone 800-327-5680 or 503-
292-0745 (from OR an outside US).


Since  All  Fools'  Day  falls  on Good Friday this year, we are
releasing the April 1st issue on March 31.

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