|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 253 July 20, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
Imagine having the benefit of virtually 70 years of field experience upon which to draw for evaluating the ins and outs of particular plants and their relationships in the wild. That's what Clarence Frankton ("Clarrie" to his many friends and associates) of Ottawa, Ontario could do, recalling back to his student days about 1930 when conducting forage and weed studies in the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Clarrie was blessed with almost total recall of his innumerable botanical observations and adventures. Not one to dwell in the past, however, right up until a few weeks before his death, Clarrie was using such information as background with which to better appreciate new sites and illuminate previously unexplored botanical corners.
Following graduation (Ph.D., 1940, McGill) and a short stint with the Quebec Department of Agriculture, Clarrie moved to Ottawa where he headed the Canadian Weed Survey and conducted taxonomic research at Agriculture Canada's Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa. Perhaps best known for his authorship of the popular and frequently reprinted "Weeds of Canada", Clarrie conducted a wide variety of research into various economic weed questions, working with the likes of Herb Groh, John Bassett, Jim Calder and Bernard Boivin in a career spanning 1946 through 1970. In conducting his work he developed a huge and loyal network of contacts and correspondents including agricultural representatives, taxonomists and weed specialists throughout Canada and beyond. He was particularly interested in groups such as thistles - especially Cirsium and Carduus - as well as the genus Atriplex and other 'economic' genera such as Rumex and Polygonum.
In recognition of his scientific contributions he received the George Lawson Medal (lifetime achievement award) of the Canadian Botanical Association in 1973 and was made an Honorary Member of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club 1980. Not to belittle his important scientific contribution, however, Clarrie's greatest contribution may have been his ability to inspire others. One hears such tribute of academics now and again but their profession, after all, is at least in part designed to enlighten aspiring students. Clarrie did so by his sheer joy for learning and discovery, his clear, precise analysis of botanical data, and his infectious, almost child-like fascination with the workings of the natural world. One couldn't help but be captivated. Many Canadian botanists, including this writer and such taxonomic luminaries as crucifer authority Gerry Mulligan, are quick to credit Clarrie Frankton as an inspirational force in their careers. The designation of the taxa Atriplex franktonii, Polygonum franktonii and Cirsium undulatum var. franktonis reflect such expressions of appreciation and respect by various researchers.
Clarrie liked to joke that he'd gotten full value from retirement, by 1995 having being retired longer than he had been employed ! Such jesting aside, he maintained a regular research and herbarium work program long after retirement. More than that, with the important participation of Enid (Patterson), his field-mate and wife of over 50 years, he honed his already considerable skills to a new level, becoming the premier field botanist of eastern Ontario - western Quebec. He was still healthy, sharp as a tack and astonishingly active in his 94th year, still contributing to the long list of new species (dozens) he'd discovered in this region. Importantly too, his careful, detailed inventory work has proven to be the critical factor in a number of successful major conservation efforts in and around the National Capital Region.
Canadian field botany has lost a major positive force, one who contributed substantially in his own right and who continues to contribute through the many others he inspired. It seems particularly appropriate, therefore, that Enid and daughter Gwen would suggest that those offering charitable donations in his memory should make it a living tribute through a financial contribution to the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
Daniel F. Brunton, Ottawa, Ontario [ email@example.com ]
For Dr. Clarence Frankton's partial bibliography see http://www.cciw.ca/eman-temp/scientists/botanists/FranktonC.html
"Lewisia rediviva attracted more interest than any other plant brought back by the Lewis and Clark expedition [1804-06, discussed in the following review by Larry Dorr] for its dried specimen's sideshow ability to return to life" (p. 110). Captain Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) found the plant on 1 July 1806 in Montana at "Traveller's Rest" at or near the junction of Bitterroot River and Lolo Creek, although in August 1805 he had eaten its dried roots left by some Indians. His culinary verdict: "bitter and naucious to the pallatte, although the natives eat them heartily" (p. 13). This widely occurring species subsequently received considerable attention because of its beauty, bizarreness, and food and horticultural potential. In his Flora Americae septentrionalis (1814; see also the following review) Frederick T. Pursh (1774-1820) described Lewisia (Portulacaceae) in honor of Meriwether Lewis, with L. rediviva ("bitterroot" or "bitter root") the first species reported to science.
Davidson's superb, multifaceted book on Lewisia is a perfect blend: a history, an ecological account, a taxonomic monograph, and a gardening manual. He treats 2 subgenera, 5 sections, and 19 species in a system modified from that of Brian Mathew in his more technical work, The genus Lewisia (1989, Ibid., ISBN 0-88192-158-0, HB, $29.95; see Taxon 39: 480), which accepts 2 subgenera, 7 sections, and 19 species. Both authors treat many hybrids, all but two artificial. Davidson lavishly illustrates his work with 13 B&W drawings and 20 color plates by Michael Moshier, a color plate reproducing Walter Hood Fitch's artwork of L. rediviva from Curtis's botanical magazine (1863), a color frontispiece depicting Lewis, 68 spectacular color photos by various persons, 4 B&W maps, and an endpaper reproducing an 1814 "map of Lewis and Clark's track, across the western portion of North America from the Mississippi to the Pacific Ocean." Many of Davidson's observations derive from firsthand collecting experience. The 19-page chapter on ecology is excellent. Numerous stunning scenic habitat pictures accompany the descriptions. Davidson also provides some "nontechnical keys" (i.e., lengthy, not strictly dichotomous) to the sections and to section Cotyledon.
I have only two quibbles: The bibliography omits Moulton's series (see the following review) on the Lewis and Clark expedition. The contents page might have listed the 19 species, especially since the book arranges these taxonomically within sections instead of alphabetically.
This is an exceptional and beautifully executed and presented work. I hope that it wins some awards. -- Rudolf Schmid, UC
[A tidbit on the Lewis & Clark Expedition: On 26 January 2000 the United States Mint issued the long awaited gold-colored dollar coin with Sacajawea (or "Sacagawea," and her papoose), the young Shoshone guide of the expedition. In late May the first "mule error" in the Mint's history was discovered, a hybrid quarter-dollar coin with the obverse (head of George Washington) of a quarter and the reverse (tail) of the dollar (see http://www.coinworld.com). - RS ]
The route Lewis and Clark took from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and back in 1804-06 is well known, and their expedition has assumed near mythical proportions in the American psyche. In the popular imagination, it was a key event in satisfying our Manifest Destiny. The fact that the expedition was also government-sponsored science may not sit so well with politicians today, but it is an excellent example of how the federal government has contributed to our knowledge of the topography and natural history of our own country (and later others). As if to emphasize this point, Moulton frames his monumental 12-volume edition of the journals of Lewis and Clark with volumes devoted to two of the important scientific contributions of the expedition: Captain William Clark's (1770-1838) topography, volume 1, Atlas of the Lewis & Clark Expedition (Ibid., 1983, 23 p., [] p. pls., folio, ISBN 0-8032-2861-9 [hard cover], US$200.00), and Captain Meriwether Lewis's (1774-1809) botany, the present volume. Volumes 2-11 in the series are the actual journals of the expedition. An index to vols. 1-12 will complete the series.
While plants and vegetation are described throughout the journals, the Corps of Discovery did not have the resources (or inclination) to collect specimens of all of the species they encountered. They vouchered only those they thought to be of utilitarian or horticultural value (Lewis collected all but one of the expedition's extant herbarium specimens). Nearly 200 years later many of their specimens still exist. Volume 12 pertains chiefly to the post-expedition fate of these plant specimens, which had their own amazing journeys. During the expedition, some natural history materials were sent from Fort Manden to President Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), who had sponsored the expedition, and who received them in August 1805. In November Jefferson conveyed these specimens, including about 60 of plants, to the American Philosophical Society, and they were then consigned to Benjamin Smith Barton (1766-1815) for study (earlier Barton had given Lewis a "crash course" in botany). After the expedition, with additional materials available, Lewis solicited Barton's botanical help, which was not forthcoming. In 1807, Lewis turned to Frederick Pursh (1774-1820) to prepare drawings of his plants and to assist him in arranging the collection. When Lewis left Philadelphia for Washington and later St. Louis, he entrusted the collection to Pursh. When Pursh subsequently quit Philadelphia, he gave the collection to the Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon (ca. 1775-1816). After Lewis's death in 1809, Clark reacquired the specimens from McMahon and sent them to Barton. Shortly thereafter Pursh went to London, where he worked for Aylmer Bourke Lambert (1761-1842) and where he published his Flora Americae septentrionalis (dated 1814, though published in December 1813). The publication of the Flora revealed that Pursh had carried a significant portion of the Lewis and Clark herbarium with him to London; 130 of the plants and 13 of the plates in the Flora can be associated with the expedition. The plants Pursh took to London eventually were left with Lambert, whose estate was auctioned in 1842. Of the two lots containing expedition materials, one was purchased by Edward Tuckerman (1817-86), who returned it to the United States and eventually left it to the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.
Moulton presents a detailed analysis of the 239 Lewis and Clark specimens that survived these peregrinations. The specimens are now to be found at the Academy of Natural Sciences (227, including 179 American Philosophical Society specimens on permanent loan), the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (11 ex Lambert?), and the Charleston Museum, Charleston, South Carolina (1). Moulton arranges his "Calendar of Botanical Specimens" alphabetically by the currently accepted Latin name for a specimen, provides details concerning the repository of a sheet, gives a reference to Pursh's Flora, if applicable, and, finally, notes the place and date of collection. He also transcribes all of the annotations on a sheet. Following the calendar are B&W photos of each of the extant Lewis and Clark herbarium specimens.
In an appendix on additional nomenclature, Moulton hints at one of the shortcomings of this volume. The appendix provides synonymies for many of the names Moulton used and an oblique reference to an article he coauthored (Reveal, J. L., G. E. Moulton & A. E. Schuyler, "The Lewis and Clark collections of vascular plants: Names, types, and comments." Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci. Philadelphia 149: 1-64, 1999). The article provides (a) full bibliographical citations for the Latin names associated with the specimens, (b) information on the typification of plant names based on Lewis and Clark specimens, and (c) a discussion of previous efforts to catalog the Lewis and Clark herbarium. In addition, Reveal et al. question whether or not six of the sheets treated by Moulton were in fact collected by Lewis and Clark (four of them appear to have been collected by Thomas Nuttall, 1786-1859, and two are thought to be of garden origin). Fortunately, all of the Reveal et al. entries are cross-referenced with Moulton's numbering scheme.
While there is no doubt that Moulton's volume is an essential reference for herbaria with North American collections, it is surprising that it was published in the form that it was. The B&W images of the Lewis and Clark specimens pale in comparison to the color images of type specimens that are now being posted on the Internet. When the Lewis and Clark specimens are digitized, as I am sure they will be, it will be most useful if the entire collection is digitized and if the scholarship of Moulton is combined with that of Reveal et al. The epic voyage of Lewis and Clark deserves to be told again and again, and each time I hope that listeners will hear that very important piece about how the expedition's science was funded. -- Laurence J. Dorr [ firstname.lastname@example.org ], US