BEN # 73
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 cue.bc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
BOTANY BC IN COURT OVER THE WHITEWATER AFFAIR
From: "Gail M. Berg" <gberg at mfor01.for.gov.bc.ca>
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.
FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA - BRITISH COLUMBIA TOO HOT TO HANDLE
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
ALASKA LOOKS FOR A MOLD EXPERT
From: anon015b at nyx10.cs.du.edu (Name withheld by request)
State of Alaska needs a mold expert. May involve
Contact- J. Ron Sutcliffe , Assistant Attorney General
JSJRS1 at acad1.alaska.edu
VANCOUVER ISLAND WOULD BE AN IDEAL PLACE FOR IT
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
REPORT OF POISONING WITH CLASSIC EDIBLE WILD MUSHROOMS
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]
BIRTH CONTROL IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
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.
FOUR KILOGRAMS OF WASTED PAPER
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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