BEN # 167

Adolf Ceska aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Wed Jun 18 09:23:52 EST 1997

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No. 167                              June 18, 1997

aceska at        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
arctic environments.

Caldwell, M.M. 1997. W. Dwight Billings 1910-1997  In  Memoriam.
   Arctic and Alpine Research 29: 253-254.

From: Rhoda Love <rglove at> 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
spring blossoms.

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 .


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.

From: Scott Sundberg <sundbers at> 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.


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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