BEN # 271

Adolf Ceska aceska at victoria.tc.ca
Fri Jul 27 00:52:52 EST 2001


BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             ISSN 1188-603X
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BBBBB    EEEEE    NN N N             BOTANICAL
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BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             NEWS

No. 271                              July 26, 2001

aceska at victoria.tc.ca                Victoria, B.C.
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 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
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LINCOLN CONSTANCE (1909-2001)
From: Brent Mishler [bmishler at socrates.berkeley.edu]

It  is my sad duty to report that after a battle with pneumonia,
one of my Integrative  Biology  colleagues,  Professor  Emeritus
Lincoln  Constance,  passed  away on June 11, 2001 at the age of
92.

Lincoln was the patriarch of Botany  at  Berkeley  and  foremost
expert  on  Umbelliferae/Apiaceae  systematics. He was immensely
influential in shaping the modern history of the University  and
of  systematic  botany  on a worldwide level. Lincoln's long and
distinguished career began as a  graduate  student  with  Willis
Linn  Jepson  in  the 30's. He was Curator of Seed Plants in the
University Herbarium beginning in the 40's, Chair of the Depart-
ment of Botany in the early 50's, Dean of the College of Letters
and Science from the mid-50's to early 60's, Vice-Chancellor  of
Academic  Affairs  from  the  early to mid 60's, Director of the
University Herbarium from the early 60's to mid 70's and Trustee
of the Jepson Herbarium from 1960 until his death.  In  addition
to his numerous professional accomplishments, Lincoln was a true
gentleman  and  an  exceptionally generous colleague, mentor and
friend. We will truly miss him.

A memorial service will be held in September. We will send  more
information when it becomes available.

A larger obituary was written by Bob Sanders. It is at:
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2001/06/15_lcons.html


GONDWANAN TREE DISCOVERED IN THE AUSTRALIAN NIGHTCAP RANGE
From: Dianne Brown [dianne.brown at npws.nsw.gov.au]

In the far north-east of New South Wales, the discovery of a new
member  of  the Proteaceae family has created much excitement in
the  botanical  world  and  beyond.  Dubbed  the  Nightcap  Oak,
_Eidothea  hardeniana_  is  a tall tree that occurs in the rain-
forest of the Nightcap Range.

The discovery of the Nightcap Oak was a slow process,  beginning
in  1875  in  Victoria. A fossil of a closely related tree found
near Ballarat was first described by  botanist  Baron  Ferdinand
von  Mueller  as  _Xylocaryon  lockii_. Then, nearly one hundred
years later in the 1960's, renowned botanist Bernie Hyland found
similar fruits on the rainforest floor on  the  flank  of  Mount
Bartle  Frere  in  far north Queensland. It took him 20 years to
finally locate the trees that produced the fruit to allow  final
identification,  which  were  formally  described in 1995. These
trees  were  placed  in  the  Proteaceae  family  in  the  genus
_Eidothea_  (it  is  very  closely related to the Nightcap Oak).
This North Queensland species has been named _Zoexylocarya_, due
to many similarities with the fossil plant found in Victoria.

Then in the late 1980's, botanist Rob Kooyman found leaves  from
a  young plant in the Nightcap Range that he could not identify.
Specimens returned from the herbarium placed the  leaves  tenta-
tively in the genus _Corynocarpus_, however, without any further
material  such  as  flowers or fruits, it was impossible to more
accurately describe the species. The mystery  remained  unsolved
until  late  in  2000  when  Rob  was  once again working in the
Nightcap Ranges in  northern  New  South  Wales  with  colleague
Andrew Benwell, when more individuals were found, including some
that  were  large rainforest canopy trees. When Rob took a small
sample of wood from one of the trees, it showed the familiar oak
flecking which  is  characteristic  of  the  family  Proteaceae.
Further  searching  located nuts from the trees, which displayed
remarkable similarities with the fossil nut from  Victoria,  and
the  nuts  from  the Mt Bartle Frere trees. By now, Rob was con-
vinced that he was looking at a new  member  of  the  Proteaceae
family.   The  Nightcap  Oak  has  been  formally  described  by
Proteaceae specialist Peter Weston  at  the  NSW  National  Her-
barium, assisted by Rob Kooyman. Fortuitously, some of the trees
flowered  shortly  after  discovery,  which will assist with the
formal description of the taxon.

Description, habitat and population

The Nightcap Oak grows in simple  notophyll  vine  forest  (warm
temperate  rainforest) on rhyolite (an acid volcanic rock) geol-
ogy. The Nightcap Range  is  renowned  for  its  World  Heritage
rainforests,  high  biodiversity, and particularly for its large
number of rare, threatened and significant plants  and  animals.
The largest  Nightcap  Oak  measures  40 m  in height, and has a
diameter at breast height of 75 cm.  The  juvenile  leaves  have
persistent  spiny  teeth,  while  the  adult  leaves have entire
margins. The fruits are woody with ribs intruding into the seed,
similar to a walnut. The flowers  are  a  creamy  white  with  a
mildly  aniseed  scent.  The  tree  often has a suckering growth
habit, similar to many rainforest trees that grow in  the  area.
The  trees  are  only known to occur within one catchment of the
Nightcap Range, and are scattered across  a  few  hectares.  The
only  other  member of the  _Eidothea_ genus occurs in far north
Queensland and has a restricted  distribution.  After  extensive
searching  for  further populations, the current population size
is approximately 56 mature trees, 107  stems  and  48  seedlings
have been recorded.

Evolutionary history

Proteaceae  is an ancient Gondwanan plant family. Members of the
Proteaceae family are among  the  first  flowering  plants  that
appear  in  the  Australian  fossil record during the Cretaceous
period, over 60 million years ago. The flowers of  the  Nightcap
Oak  have  characteristics  far  more  primitive than many other
members of the family, indicating that it  has  an  evolutionary
history  stretching  far  into  the  past. Along with the fossil
relative found in Victoria  and  the  _Eidothea_  in  far  north
Queensland,  the  discovery  of  the Nightcap Oak provides addi-
tional evidence that southeast Australia  was  once  covered  in
rainforest. The Nightcap Oak represents one of the families from
which  much  of the modern, dry-adapted Australian flora such as
the genera _Banksia_ and _Grevillea_, evolved and  as  such  may
provide  important information to assist with the reconstruction
of the evolution of Australia's flora.

Media interest

Naturally, comparisons were made early on in  the  discovery  to
the   finding   of   the   Wollemi   Pine  (_Wollemia  nobilis_,
Araucariaceae) in Wollemi National Park  north-west  of  Sydney.
This subsequently attracted considerable media attention includ-
ing national and international radio, newspapers and television.

Although it is important to publicise a new and exciting botani-
cal  discovery,  it  is  essential  that this attention does not
expose the Nightcap Oak to any potential threats. Now  that  the
media  interest  has  died  down,  the  NSW  National  Parks and
Wildlife Service is concerned to keep the location of the plants
confidential to prevent any  trampling,  illegal  collection  or
vandalism, or the accidental introduction of pests and disease.

Conservation planning

One  of  the  most important actions now to protect the Nightcap
Oak is to keep  the  location  of  the  trees  confidential  for
reasons  mentioned  above. A site visitation protocol similar to
that developed for the Wollemi Pine will need to  be  developed.
This  will aim to control access to authorised personnel such as
researchers and land managers. Management will also be  required
to  ensure  that the trees are protected from a natural disaster
such as fire. The species will also need to  be  protected  from
any  direct or indirect impacts of logging such as sedimentation
or exposure. In recognition of the significance of the  Nightcap
Oak,  the  NSW  Scientific Committee has proceeded with an emer-
gency listing  of  the  species  as  Endangered  under  the  NSW
Threatened  Species  Conservation Act, 1995. If the Nightcap Oak
is listed the National Parks and Wildlife Service  will  be  re-
quired  to develop a Recovery Plan for the species. The Recovery
Plan will aim to ensure that the Nightcap Oak and its habitat is
protected from threatening processes by  outlining  the  actions
needed to ensure its long term survival in the wild.

Ex  situ  conservation of the species will also be investigated,
including the collecting of seeds and cuttings for growing in  a
botanic garden. This will ensure that, if any catastrophic event
kills  the  trees  growing  in the wild, the species will not be
lost forever and may be reintroduced to the site.

A Recovery Plan will also outline the development of a  research
plan.  The  research  plan will investigate the species' ecology
such  as  its  habitat,  life  cycle,   pollinators,   dispersal
mechanisms  and genetics. Initially, the NPWS has provided addi-
tional funds to survey potential habitat for the species.

For further information  on  the  Nightcap  Oak  please  contact
Dianne Brown at the Threatened Species Unit, NPW.

   Dianne Brown
   Threatened Species Officer
   National Parks and Wildlife Service
   PO Box 914
   Coffs Harbour  2450
   Australia
   Tel: 02 6659 8273
   Fax: 02 6651 6187
   email: dianne.brown at npws.nsw.gov.au


UNIVERSITY  OF BRITISH COLUMBIA HERBARIUM - SEARCHABLE ONLINE
From: Dave Carmean [carmean at sfu.ca]

The University  of  British  Columbia  Herbarium  is  the  third
largest  in  Canada  and worldwide in scope. Complete label data
(mostly unedited) from about  65%  of  our  560,000  accessioned
specimens is now accessible at http://herbarium.botany.ubc.ca

   Vascular Plant Database (>120,000 records online)
   Bryophyte Database (>130,000 records online, 20% entered)
   Fungal Database (>13,000 records)
   Lichen Database (>35,000 records)

We believe this is one of the larger and most complete herbarium
data sets available online.

The UBC Herbarium is part of the Department of Botany
http://www.botany.ubc.ca/ and the Director is Dr. Fred Ganders.

The  vascular  plant  collection contains over 217,000 specimens
(Curator, Dr. Helen Kennedy). Due primarily to  the  collections
of  Dr.  W. B. Schofield, the bryophyte collection is one of the
largest in North America, with about 227,000 specimens (Curator,
Dr. Wilf  Schofield).  The  algae  collection,  of  over  67,000
specimens,  includes  the world's largest collections of Alaskan
and British Columbian seaweeds, largely due to  the  efforts  of
Dr.  R. F. Scagel and his many students and colleagues (Curator,
Dr. Michael Hawkes). The lichen collection  includes  more  than
36,000  specimens  (Curator,  Mr.  Trevor  Goward) and the fungi
collection  more  than  14,000  specimens  (Curator,  Dr.   Mary
Berbee).

The  databases  are  served  by Filemaker Pro using an iMac com-
puter.

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