BEN # 167
aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Wed Jun 18 09:23:52 EST 1997
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No. 167 June 18, 1997
aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
Dr. W. DWIGHT BILLINGS (1910-1997)
William Dwight Billings died this past 4 January 1997 ending a
long and productive life. He is a person of particular sig-
nificance for those interested in arctic and alpine research as
he was a pioneer in North American plant physiological ecology,
and much of his research emphasized problems in alpine and
Caldwell, M.M. 1997. W. Dwight Billings 1910-1997 In Memoriam.
Arctic and Alpine Research 29: 253-254.
AS DIFFERENT AS APPLES AND PEARS
From: Rhoda Love <rglove at oregon.uoregon.edu> published in
Oregon Flora Newsletter, Volume 3, Number 2,
Corvallis, Oregon, 1997 page 9.
Working on the pome-fruited members of the Rose Family for the
Oregon Flora Checklist, I ran into a controversy which has
apparently been brewing (like apple cider?) since pre-Linnaean
times: namely, should apples and pears both be placed in the
pear genus, Pyrus?
My immediate task in this case, was to provide a name for the
wild crabapple of the Pacific Coast. This is our pretty little
dark-fruited tree which Peck (A Manual of the Higher Plants of
Oregon) called Pyrus diversifolia Bong., and Hitchcock (Vascular
Plants of the Pacific Northwest) called Pyrus fusca Raf.
Abrams (Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States) and Thomas J.
Rosatti (in Hickman, The Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of
California) both placed the crabapple in Malus, the apple genus,
calling the species Malus fusca. (Raf.) C. Schneider.
Pyrus L. was the genus name given to both apples and pears by
Linnaeus in Genera Plantarum, 1754; while Malus [Tourn.] Mill.
was the pre-Linnaean name used for the apple genus by Tournefort
and later adopted by Miller in the 8th edition of his immensely
influential Gardener's Dictionary in 1768.
Presumably Peck and Hitchcock, like Linnaeus, the great class-
ifier, felt that the similarities between apples and pears were
more important than the differences. There is no doubt that the
two groups are rather alike with their fleshy pomes and similar
On the other hand, I found that the great American botanist and
horticulturist, Liberty Hyde Bailey, although originally in the
single-genus camp (Manual of Cultivated Plants, 1924), broke
away and put apples in Malus and pears in Pyrus in the 1949
edition of this work.
In a charming article in Gentes Herbarum (1949 8:40), Bailey
lists six morphological features which he feels can be used to
distinguish apples from pears. Several of these are: apple
blossoms are mostly borne in umbels and pears in racemes; apple
fruits lack stone cells while pear fruits have them; apple buds
and young growth are tomentose while pear growth is mostly
glabrous. Another distinction noted in Bailey's Manual and also
in Flora Europaea (1968) is that Malus styles are usually con-
nate 1/3 to 2/3 their length while Pyrus styles are mostly free.
The modern tendency to separate apples and pears continues to
the present where recent papers by experts on the pome-fruited
rose family members (for example, Phipps, 1990, Canadian Journal
of Botany, 68:2209; and Dickson, 1991, Systematic Botany,
16:363) split the two groups into Malus and Pyrus. I have by no
means had the opportunity to study the world's many species of
apples and pears, and must rely on experts who have noted dif-
ferences that separate the two genera.
This has all been rather a long way to go about stating for OFN
readers that, for the Oregon Flora Checklist, I have been con-
vinced by Bailey, the editors of Flora Europaea, Phipps, Dick-
son, and Rosatti in the Jepson Manual, and have decided to call
our native Oregon crabapple Malus fusca .
TWO SPECIES OF DIMINUTIVE WATER-LILIES IN NORTH AMERICA
Wiersema, J.H. 1997. Nymphaea tetragona and Nymphaea leibergii
(Nymphaeaceae): two species of diminutive water-lilies in
North America. Brittonia 48(1996): 520-531.
Although all past floras of northern North America have recog-
nized only one species of diminutive water-lily, actually two
distinct species occur in the region. The circumboreal Nymphaea
tetragona Goergi ranges in North America from Alaska to
southeast corner of Manitoba. (There is one old collection from
NW Washington - Whatcom Co.: Pond nr. Ferndale, 7 July 1939,
Muenscher 10,166.) Nymphaea leibergii Morong is distributed from
eastern British Columbia across Canada to eastern Quebec. It
ranges just across the US border into Maine, Michigan, Min-
nesota, Montana, and Idaho.
Within North America both species appear to be rare over most of
their ranges except in Alaska, where N. tetragona is common and
northern Ontario where N. leibergii is known from numerous
The main distinguishing characters are carpellary appendages on
a stigmatic disk. These are long (3 mm or more), flaccid and
purplish in N. tetragona, and short (less than 1.5 mm), stiff
and greenish in N. leibergii.
THE OREGON PLANT ATLAS PROJECT
From: Scott Sundberg <sundbers at ava.BCC.ORST.edu> abbrev. from
Oregon, with its incredible diversity of habitats, is blessed
with an enormous variety of plants. Over 4,400 species, sub-
species and varieties of native and naturalized plants grow in
Oregon from the mild climate of the southern Oregon coast to
arctic conditions at mountaintops. The goal of the Oregon Atlas
Project is to produce distribution maps of Oregon vascular
plants in conjunction with a new Flora of Oregon. The atlas will
include dot maps for each species, a series of map overlays
(e.g., ecoregions, actual vegetation, potential vegetation,
climate zones), and an introductory chapter on factors that
influence plant distributions. The Atlas will be available in
both printed and computerized forms.
Sources of records include herbarium specimen label data, the
Oregon Natural Heritage Program database of rare plant records,
and various checklists. We estimate that approximately 167,000
records are available from herbarium specimens housed at Oregon
State University (OSC, ORE, WILLU) and another 30,000 are in 28
smaller herbaria scattered throughout Oregon. Species lists from
a wide variety of sources will provide hundreds of thousands of
additional records. In the database and maps generated from it,
vouchered and unvouchered records will be clearly distinguished.
In order to collect additional plant locality information from
throughout Oregon, project leaders have divided the state into
174 "blocks" of 12-20 townships. Most blocks are squares 24
miles on a side containing approximately 576 square miles, but
they vary in size, especially along the state's borders. The
initial goal will be to secure a list that includes one specific
locality for each plant species, subspecies, and variety in each
block. A Handbook for Field Participants in the Oregon Plant
Atlas Project outlines general procedures for conducting field
The computerized version of the Atlas will be accessible over
the Internet. It will function as a database, allowing users to
perform queries in a wide variety of ways. Information for the
Atlas is entered into a Paradox 5.0 relational database. The
database will later be transferred to a SUN workstation using
UNIX software to allow access through the Internet. Users will
have the option of viewing locality maps or tabulated informa-
tion from the database. For example, maps could be generated
showing the distribution of one or a group of species,
localities where a particular person collected plants, or
localities of a plant during a designated time period. The user
will be able to move a cursor to a dot on the map and call up
the information associated with that location. A variety of base
maps will be available, allowing analysis of correlations be-
tween broad-scale components of the environment and plant dis-
tributions. Users will be the map makers-- maps will be dynami-
cally constructed to user specifications. Data will be peri-
odically updated and maps will reflect the latest information.
The Atlas project is led by a diverse group, including profes-
sional systematic botanists and lay botanists, a cartographer
and Geographical Information System specialist, a database
specialist, and two ecologists. It is coordinated by Scott
Sundberg. The project is a partnership between the Oregon Flora
Project and the Native Plant Society of Oregon (NPSO). The NPSO
has appointed Bruce Newhouse of Eugene as the NPSO Statewide
Atlas Field Coordinator.
SUBFOSSIL BEETLES AND THE EVOLUTION OF MIMA MOUNDS
Nelson, R.E. 1997. Implications of subfossil Coleoptera for the
evolution of Mima Mounds of southwestern Puget Lowland,
Washington. Quaternary Research 47: 356-358.
Large, enigmatic earth mounds are distributed over surface of
Mima Prairie in west-central Washington, about 2 km WSW of
Littlerock in southwestern Thurston County. Individual mounds
are typically 2.5-12 m in diameter and 0.3 - 2 m high. They
consist of organic-rich gravelly sandy loam overlying thick
outwash sand and gravel. Various authors have attributed the
origin of the Mima Mounds to periglacial processes, differential
erosional processes, seismic shaking, and earthmoving activities
of pocket gophers (Thomomys mazama).
Subfossil beetle remains recovered from the base of a mound at
Mima Prairie consist of species that would be expected in rodent
burrows and nests; all but one species are obligate burrow
inhabitants. These results suggest the past presence of burrow-
ing rodents (probably pocket gophers) in the mounds, although
none live there at present. Whether or not the gophers created
the mounds, they may well have been instrumental in maintaining
mound geometry until very recently.
[For more on Mima Mounds see pp. 290-304 in Kruckeberg, A.R.
1991. The natural history of Puget Sound country. University of
Washington Press, Seattle.]
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