BEN # 239

Adolf Ceska aceska at
Sat Jan 22 11:43:47 EST 2000

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No. 239                              January 22, 2000

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

WARREN "HERB" WAGNER (1920-2000)

From: W.R. Anderson & the ASPT web site:
   [Reprinted with permission.]

Warren H. Wagner, Jr. (known affectionately to all as Herb) died
on 8 January 2000; he was in his eightieth year. He was probably
the  best-known  botanist  ever  to  work  at  the University of

After Navy service in the Pacific during World  War  II,  Wagner
did his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, spent
one year at Harvard as an instructor, and came to the University
of  Michigan  as  Assistant  Professor  of  Botany  in 1951. His
primary  research  focus  was  the  systematics,  hybridization,
evolution,  and  evolutionary  history  of  ferns  and  fernlike
plants, but his interests went  far  beyond  ferns,  to  include
(among  many  other  things)  oaks and other difficult groups of
flowering plants, butterflies,  and  minerals.  His  energy  was
boundless and his enthusiasm famously contagious, which made him
one  of  the most successful teachers of both undergraduates and
graduate students in the University.

After retirement he continued to participate in the teaching  of
courses  in  plant  systematics  in  both  Biology  and  Natural
Resources; indeed,  he  taught  more  in  retirement  than  many
younger colleagues ever do. He chaired or co-chaired 45 doctoral
committees  and  served  as  a  member of over 240 graduate com-
mittee. He served a term as director of the  Matthaei  Botanical
Garden  from  1966  to  1971,  but  administration was never his
strong suit. He had more fun  stirring  things  up  and  getting
people  excited  than  smoothing  over  rough places and finding
consensus solutions to  little  problems  that  did  not  really
matter  in  the  "big  picture,"  which  was one of his favorite

In the 1950s and 60s, working in collaboration  with  his  wife,
Dr. Florence S. Wagner, he published a series of elegant studies
showing  that ferns hybridize freely and that hybridization is a
major source of new species in plants. That idea is  now  widely
accepted, but 45 years ago it contradicted a dogma that had been
imported into botany uncritically from zoology, and the Wagners'
beautifully  documented  research  helped botanists realize that
the constraints of plants' habits and habitats and  reproductive
styles  made  a  different species concept appropriate for them.
Wagner's attempts to infer the ancestors of  the  Hawaiian  fern
genus  Diellia,  and  his  desire to teach undergraduates how to
think about evolutionary history, led him to propose a method of
deducing phylogeny that  was  radical  at  the  time,  and  with
characteristic  missionary  zeal  he went around the country and
the world exhorting botanists  to  abandon  their  traditionally
sloppy  approach  to  the inference of phylogeny and start using
methods that are explicit and testable.

Wagner's success and influence were widely recognized during his
life. His many honors included election to the National  Academy
of  Sciences  in  1985  and the Asa Gray Award from the American
Society of Plant Taxonomists in 1990. He served as president  of
seven  professional  societies,  including  the ASPT (1966), the
Botanical Society of America, the American Fern Society, and the
International Association of  Pteridologists.  He  was  in  wide
demand  as  a  speaker  to  groups of professional botanists and
amateurs, and after the talk he was likely  to  sit  down  at  a
piano and entertain the astonished guests with lively honky-tonk
playing.  He  is  survived by his wife, Florence, their children
Margaret and Warren, both  of  Ann  Arbor,  and  two  grandsons.
Condolences  may  be sent to: Dr. Florence Wagner, 2111 Melrose,
Ann Arbor, MI 48104.

IRVING W. KNOBLOCH (1907-1999)

Michigan State University pteridologist Irving W.  Knobloch  (or
"Knobby",  as he was affectionately known) died 27 December 1999
at the age of 92. Born in Buffalo,  New  York,  Knobloch  earned
bachelor's  and master's degrees at what is now SUNY at Buffalo.
In the 1930s, he was a naturalist and cultural foreman with  the
Civilian Conservation Corps for projects in New York's Allegheny
Sate  Park. In 1937 he went to a rugged part of Mexico to manage
a copper mine. He became known for identifying  new  plants  and
animals  in  that region. Knobloch went on in 1940 to Iowa State
University where he received a  doctorate  in  botany  in  1942.
Joining  MSU  in  1945,  Knobloch  taught biological science and
natural science, then botany and plant pathology. In 1960 he was
president of the university's chapter of the  American  Associa-
tion  of University Professors. After retiring from MSU 25 years
ago, Knobloch was a university and community volunteer.

[This note was originally posted on the ASPT web site; posted on
BEN with permission.]

From: Katie Stewart <camassia at>

Botany BC 2000 planning is well underway. It will be  held  from
July  13-15, at Reynolds Ranch (owned by The Land Conservancy of
British Columbia), on the west side of the Fraser River near Big
Bar Ferry. Accommodation and meals will be provided by  Big  Bar
Guest  Ranch,  which  is an approximate half hour drive from the
ferry. Approx. 40 reservations have already been made  for  most
of  the  camping  spots, 3 tepees and 4 cabins; there is still a
tepee left for 3-4 people, one cabin space for  a  woman  and  a
number of twin-bed and queen size bedrooms available.

Please check with the ranch at 250-459-2333 regarding accommoda-
tion  or  email  info at  PRIOR to contacting Katie
Stewart  at  250-386-4792  or   email:   camassia at   to
register.  Early  registration and deposits are required because
we are staying at the guest ranch at their peak season.

Check the guest ranch web site: !


Lieth, H., J. Berlekamp, S. Fuest, & S. Riediger. 1999.  Climate
   Diagram  World  Atlas.  Backhuys Publishers B.V., Leiden, The
   Netherlands. ISBN 90-5782-031-5 [CD-ROM] Price: US$64.50

   Available from:
   Backhuys Publishers B.V.,
   PO Box 321,
   2300 AH Leiden,
   The Netherlands
   E-mail: backhuys at

Climate diagrams are brief summaries of climatic  variables  and
their  seasonal  variation.  They  were originally developed for
vegetation studies by Walter  &  Lieth,  but  they  have  proven
useful  for  a  wide  range of sciences, horticulture, teaching,
etc. In biological and geological sciences climate diagrams have
been used to show the relationship between soils, vegetation and
climate. In agriculture, horticulture, and forestry, they can be
used to indicate the range for certain crops, trees,  weeds,  or
cultivated plants.

In  the  climate  diagrams  the monthly average temperatures are
plotted together with the total  monthly  precipitation  in  the
scale where 10 deg. C of average temperature correspond to 20 mm
of  total  precipitation.  The area where the precipitation line
dips below the temperature line indicates dry season;  the  area
where  the  precipitation  line  is  above  the temperature line
indicates moist season. The diagrams also  show  frost  periods.
Since  all  the  diagrams  are  plotted in the same scale, it is
possible to compare moisture, temperature and other  environmen-
tal conditions in widely separated parts of the world.

For more information and a demo version, visit the following web

[When  you order the Climate Diagram Atlas, please, mention that
you read about it on BEN. Thanks! - AC]

Brother Alfred Brousseau F.S.C.

This  CD  contains  the  total  Brousseau  collection  of 11,300
wildflowers, 900  mushrooms,  500  tree,  and  300  High  Sierra
scenery  pictures.  This CD was made using HTML so can be viewed
by any web browser such as Netscape or Internet Explorer.

In the Home Page you will find buttons to go to the various sets
of pictures. e.g. the first set is that of Native Wildflowers of
California by Latin name. Below this appears the alphabet,  each
letter  of  which  acts  as a button for the flowers whose latin
name begins with that letter. Click on one of these and up  will
come  the  list  of flowers belonging to that group. Each flower
name acts as a button to the  pictures  of  that  flower.  After
viewing these, you can return to the list by the use of BACK.

Copies  of  this  can be obtained from Brother Eric Vogel, Saint
Mary's College, Moraga, CA, 94575.  Since  this  is  a  not-for-
profit  project,  a  donation of $20.00 is requested to help pay
the expenses of this project. Make any check out to  The  Brous-
seau  Project.  For  further  information,  Brother  Eric can be
contacted at the e-mail address of: evogel at

P.S. More information about these pictures and about the  Brous-
seau project can be found at: 

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