|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. CCXLVII April 1, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
[March 2000 explanatory note by Rudi Schmid: This article originally appeared in German in April 1985 as:
Because hardly anyone nowadays bothers with scientific German, the article has not received the attention it deserves. An English translation is offered to remedy that. The article is timeless and thus needs no updating other than for the added email addresses, because email did not exist in 1985 for the simple reason that Al Gore had not yet invented the Internet.]
Morphologists and anatomists have long been interested in the tropics, for instance, Gottlieb Haberlandt (1854-1945) in his underappreciated Eine botanische Tropenreise ("A botanical tropical trip"), which ran through three editions, 1893, 1910, and 1926 (1). Tropical areas have yielded most of the models of shoot architecture that have recently been presented (2-8). It is thus with considerable excitement that we report here a new model of shoot architecture based on temperate plants.
The earliest record we have of this model is in the 1901 work of J. Klinge on the "Honigbšume" ("honey tree") of the East Baltic (9). In addition, the linguist Georg F. von Ostermann unwittingly and without comment illustrated the model in the 1936 and 1952 editions of his language manual (10). Schmid (11) in a recent review of this work characterized von Ostermann's "suggested linguistic tree" as "Haeckelian ... with a truncated and overtopped Borgninian shoot apex" (quotations from, respectively, references 10 and 11). Elaboration is, of course, necessary, but a photograph (Fig. 1) should suffice as one is said to be worth at least a thousand words.
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|Fig. 1. Borgnino's model of shoot architecture, represented by a tree of Pinus radiata with a truncated and overtopped shoot apex (arrow). Location of tree: 16 Edwin Dr., Kensington (near Berkeley), California. [March 2000 note by Rudi Schmid: The original 1985 photo showing the Borgninian effect is irreproducible, so use your imagination. - BEN editorial note: If you use a Microsoft software to print this BEN, you won't get what you see. In order to minimize the effect of the proportional spacing I filled blanks with a dot. The full display of Bill Gate's modification of Borgnian effect can be seen at the right diagram. - AC]|
It seems worth noting, however, that the Borgninian effect is well known to plant physiologists, for example, Salisbury & Ross (12), as a phenomenon of apical dominance or, rather, lack thereof. The Borgninian effect is also concomitantly well known to gardeners and horticulturalists, for instance, Kaufman et al. (13) as pruning to produce bushiness or to stimulate branching. These areas, however, have been concerned mainly with herbs or shrubs. The significance of the present report is that it indelibly documents Borgnino's model for trees. This model ranks in importance with the botanically sensational documentation of the "Quaderbaum" ("quadrangular tree") of Selhus (14, 15) and the "Quaderbambus" ("quadrangular bamboo") of Liese (16).
Finally, with regard to eponymy, it is "Borgnino's model" and not the less euphonious "von Ostermann's model" or "Klinge's model." The model is dedicated to the vision of our neighbors, the Borgninos, who have desired a clear view of San Francisco Bay, and who have tried to achieve this effect by having their gardeners vigorously affect the Borgninian effect on most downhill trees affecting the Borgninian vision. Furthermore, it is our belief that new models, new taxa, and the like are best named in commemoration of the living, rather than of the dead who can not appreciate them.
Sir Joseph Banks was one of the most significant figures in botany and science of the British Empire in the second half of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth century. When he was 33 years old he was elected president of the Royal Society and he remained in this position for 41 years. Through his personal connections he helped to integrate science into the politics of the expanding British Empire (cf. Gascoigne, 1998).
Banks' botanical career started (and possibly also culminated) when he took part in the first Capt. James Cook's voyage (1768-1771). Banks persuaded the Admiralty that he should accompany Cook at his own expense. Banks was accompanied by Swedish botanist Daniel Carl Solander, a pupil of Linnaeus and by a great botanical illustrator Sydney Parkinson and several servants. Banks' discoveries of the flora (and partly also fauna) of the "Southern Seas" (Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia) were so significant that in England Cook's first voyage was often called "Banks' voyage."
Planning for Cook's second voyage started only about three months after Banks and Cook had returned from their first voyage. There was no doubt that Sir Joseph Banks would again take part in this expedition. On this trip Banks had proposed to take a team of no less than 16 - naturalists, artists, servants, and even two hornplayers (Rice, 2000). He also claimed that there was not enough space for him and his entourage and on his demand the Admiralty Board ordered building of another deck on the ship Resolution that was acquired for this voyage (together with another ship Adventure). After those major structural changes, Resolution was tested and found unsafe and unseaworthy. The additions were ordered to be removed. Banks cancelled his participation in Cook's second voyage, and German botanist Johann Reinhold Forster and his son Georg substituted for him and his troupe. Cook's ships "Resolution" and "Adventure" departed from Plymouth on July 13, 1772, three months later than planned, and without Banks.
The first stop for Cook's ships was port Funchal on the Spanish island of Madeira. The ships spent a few days in the port and replenished their supplies. When going around Funchal town, the sailors heard about a mysterious "Mr." Burnett. They learned that three months earlier a 'gentleman' of the name of Burnett had arrived at the island. 'Mr.' Burnett claimed that 'he' was waiting to join Banks' party as a botanist, but had been unable to board the ship in England. Burnett, it seems, spent much of 'his' stay botanising in order to support his claim. Shortly before the Resolution arrived at Madeira, Mr. Burnett learned of Banks' failure to sail and he left immediately on the first ship sailing back to England (Hough, 1994). Everyone who met Mr. Burnett was convinced that Mr. Burnett was in fact a woman. In his letter - probably addressed to the Secretary of the Admiralty - Capt. Cook wrote: "Every part of Mr. Burnett's behaviour and every action tended to prove that he was a Woman. I have not met with a person that entertains a doubt of a contrary nature ..." (O'Brian, 1987, p. 163). Cook wondered that Banks had thought that he could have deceived him into carrying his mistress round the world. Banks' attempt to change Resolution into a cruise ship failed. This incident can also be recognized as the botanist's final act of maritime buffoonery (Hough, 1994).
In 1991 the British Columbia government introduced electronic mail to all its employees. This resulted in a major disruption of the normal mental peristaltic, and the employees had to adjust quickly to the e-mail infestation. We all had to learn proper nethiquete, how to flame (or better not too flame), how to answer e-mail messages and how to ignore them, how to keep them and how to delete them.
At this phase, one of my friends - a good botanist and plant ecologist - created an e-mail list that offered free dream interpretations to all people on the list. I came to the conclusion that this mailing list was a gross misuse of e-mail, but that happened only after two or three of my dreams had been misinterpreted in a very wrong way. I became convinced that e-mail should have been used for something more useful, and I started to send around botanical tidbits. After the first two messages I started to call my mailings BEN (Botanical Electronic News), and BEN was born. The original charter subscribers to BEN were almost all those people who were on the dream interpretation network.
The roots of BEN go far back to my high school days when our teacher asked us to write a short note (on an A6 - 4x6 index card) about anything which we had read in a literary magazine or a cultural action we had attended or seen. This was a weekly assignment. At the beginning we wrote what we thought would please our teacher, but after a while we ignored him and wrote more for ourselves than for him. He did not mark our notes, just made a few occasional comments on the events mentioned in them. Once in a while we included a movie or event that was not at par with our educational goals, and we watched our teacher's reaction.
Back to BEN. The important inspirations for BEN were: 1) CAROLINA a weekly newsletter that was and still is produced by the Charles University students in Prague; 2) BIOLINK that used to be a monthly publication sent to people on CONSLINK list; and 3) FLORA ONLINE started and edited by Richard Zander. Dr. Zander, if I am not mistaken, was also at the foundation of TAXACOM, one of the best taxonomical discussion lists on the internet. Last, but not least, I like the CBS TV Sunday Magazine, where I can find one or two interesting items every or almost every week.
I also needed a filing system of botanical information for the facts that were not related to my projects, information that I could not file any other way than in one single electronic pile. I simply started to use BEN for those references that I did not want to lose or forget. I assumed that other botanists and people might have had the same interests as I do and that they also could find this electronic pile useful.
Shortly after I started to send BEN around, I learned an interesting lesson. When I sent a BEN issue that was too long, or when I sent BEN too often, I got many requests from people who wanted to unsubscribe. On the other hand, when I did not send BEN for a longer time, I got many requests from people who wanted to subscribe. My conclusion from this observation has been that BEN IS FAR MORE SUCCESSFUL WHEN IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAN WHEN IT DOES.
As with our teacher, I have almost forgotten that BEN readers do exist. I don't hear from you too often, but yes, I think that you are there. Once I included (by mistake, of course) a note from our secretary where she mentioned that she was getting married, and she was getting e-mail congratulations from all over the world. She was quite upset, especially because some people concluded that she was getting married to me. Once I published a silly "review" of a non-botanical book and the author was sending me e-mail messages with copies to his lawyer. I am not superstitious, but BEN # 13 followed the example of Apollo 13 in being a total disaster. It created a mail storm and every subscriber got at least 70 copies before I managed to stop it. But since then ... let's keep our fingers crossed.
I have to thank the Victoria Freenet Association for housing BEN and for providing me with a painless and flawless operation. I also thank Dr. Scott Russell who is putting BEN on the Oklahoma University web page. He is doing a great job in giving BEN a more professional look than I can do in my plain e-mail system. I am grateful to a row of my friends and colleagues on whom I depend with language editing and sometimes ghostwriting of my parts. My thanks go to all of you who have contributed to BEN with your 4x6 index cards. I do need your contributions, please, if you see something interesting or if you have read some interesting botanical stories, please, send them to me. Don't hate me for trying to get your 4x6 cards from you, after a while we were all grateful to our teacher for having us write them. Last, but not least, I have to thank all of you who read and use BEN.
Post script to the April 1st issue:
Some time ago, the British weekly magazine New Scientist used to publish a special April 1st issue that was called "Old Scientist." Unfortunately, New Scientist dropped this special issue and I have missed it ever since. I have been trying to follow the ancient tradition to be foolish, especially on April 1st. Some BEN readers asked me to produce more than one April 1st issue a year. I cannot meet this request for the following two reasons: 1) April 1st happens only once a year and it would be foolish to demand to have more privileges for us than the other groups have (e.g. women, students, volunteers, fathers & mothers, etc). 2) The April 1st issue of BEN is the only BEN issue with a specific, firm deadline, and nobody hates deadlines as much as I do. So until the next year, let's stay united! Happy April 1st Day!