ISSN 1188-603X

No. 254 August 13, 2000 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

BOTANY BC - 2000 AT BIG BAR RANCH, JULY 13-15, 2000

From: Chris Pielou []

This year's Botany BC was held July 13 - 15 at Big Bar Ranch in the Interior Grasslands between Clinton and the Fraser River. The setting was idyllic, the weather enjoyable, and we all had an instructive and carefree three days, with every organizational detail capably looked after by Katie Stewart and Elizabeth Easton. Three co-authors of the relevant "Book" (Parish, et al., 1996) were there to help, too: Ray Coup‚, Rosamund Pojar, and Anna Roberts.

Field trips went to several destinations, ranging from cool, subalpine grasslands just above the upper treeline (Calamagrostis purpurascens, Saxifraga bronchialis, ..) to semi-desert in the valley bottoms well below the lower treeline (Artemisia tridentata, Opuntia fragilis, ..). Within the forested zone, Pinus ponderosa was sometimes present, sometimes absent: we were at the northern limit of its range.

Hans Roemer took us to see a red-listed species - the grass blue grama, Bouteloua gracilis, which grows elsewhere in BC only in the extreme south-eastern corner of the province (Douglas et al. 1998).

A place where every one of us, I believe, spent a strenuous and satisfying day is the Churn Creek Protected Area (BC Parks). Ungulates graze in the area: cattle grazing is permitted and the site is also winter pasture for a herd 300-500 California bighorn sheep. With Ray Coup‚, who supplied an amazingly long checklist of the plants he has found growing there, we explored a magnificent expanse of grasslands right to the brink of a vertical cliff overlooking Churn Creek.

The ground surface between the well-spaced bunch grasses and other plants is, for the most part, protected from erosion and moisture loss by a well-developed cryptogamic crust, comprised of a mosaic of lichens (primarily crustose and squamulose species), mosses, liverworts, algae, and cyanobacteria (nitrogen fixers). Ray was careful to point out many of the species and identify them for us. The crust is crucial to the wellbeing of the whole grassland ecosystem, however, it is particularly sensitive to damage from the hooves of grazing animals. Cowpie lichen (Diploschistes muscorum) is one of the first to recolonize heavily grazed sites and when abundant can be used to indicate disturbances from the past.

After-dinner speakers added greatly to our enjoyment and to our knowledge of the region we were in. They were: Dave Eyer, on 'Geology and Ecosystems of the Marble Range'. (The range rises immediately east of Big Bar Ranch.) Jean Williams, on 'Ethnobotanical Use of the Local Flora'. Kimberlee Chambers, on 'Native Plants of South-Central BC: past uses and future potential'.

It's worth noting that, geologically speaking, our hikes were in the Cache Creek Terrane. This terrane was once part of the Pacific floor. According to current theory, it was the seafloor between neighbouring island arcs which, together, became attached to BC as a single unit, probably about 150 million years ago (Ludvigsen and Beard, 1994; Monger, 1996). So we were admiring terrestrial plants at a place where marine life once flourished, leaving an abundance of early Triassic fossils, up to 250 million years old. Especially numerous among the fossils are tiny conodonts, the "teeth" of small (2 or 3 cm) worm-like, marine "conodont animals" (Orchard, 1996).

That was Botany BC, 2000. Next year, 2001, Botany BC meets in Smithers. See you there! - Chris Pielou, Comox


Douglas, G., G. B. Straley, & D. V. Meidinger. 1998.
Rare Native Plants of British Columbia. (BC Environment, Victoria).
Ludvigsen, R. & G. Beard. 1994.
West Coast fossils : a guide to the ancient life of Vancouver Island. Whitecap Books, Vancouver.
Monger, J. W. H. 1996.
The Origin and Evolution of Canada's Western Mountains. Pp. 25-44 in Ludvigsen, R. [Ed.] 1996. Life in stone: a natural history of British Columbia's fossils. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, B.C.
Orchard, M. J. 1996.
The microscopic world of Conodonts. Pp. 78-92 in Ludvigsen, R. [Ed.] 1996. Life in stone: a natural history of British Columbia's fossils. University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver, B.C.
Parish, R., R. Coup‚ and D. Lloyd. [Eds.] 1996.
Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest. Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton.


From: Rudi Schmid []

Stewart, Heather & Hebda, Richard J. Grasses of the Columbia Basin of British Columbia. 2000. Ministry of Forests Research Program, Royal British Columbia Museum, Natural History Section, British Columbia, [Victoria] [series: Working paper (British Columbia, Ministry of Forests, Research Branch), 45]. vi, 228 pp., ill. (some col.), 281x217 mm, ISBN 0-7726-4147-1 (PB), price unknown (from Crown Publications, 521 Fort St., Victoria V8W 1E7, Canada;

Contents: abstr.; regional intro; methods; morph.; grasses, sedges, vs. rushes; pic key to major groups; tax. pt.; appendices (grasses by BEC zone; list common names; aid to ID); glossary; biblio.; no index. On 152 spp. in se. Brit. Columbia, ca. 67% of spp. in prov.; w/ maps and figs. of morph. for all taxa.

[This publication is also available as an electronic file at: ]


From: Rudi Schmid []

Archibald, J. H. (Harry); Klappstein, G. D. (Grant David) & Corns, I. G. W. (Ian George William). Field guide to ecosites of southwestern Alberta. 1996. Canadian Forest Service, Northwest Region, Northern Forestry Centre, [Edmonton] (series: Special report, Northern Forestry Centre, Canada, 8). ISBN 0- 660-16439-6. Beckingham, John D. (David) & Archibald, J. H. Field guide to ecosites of northern Alberta. 1996. Ibid. (series: Idem, 5). ISBN 0-660-16369-1. Beckingham, J. D.; Nielsen, D. G. & Futoransky, V. A. Field guide to ecosites of the mid-boreal ecoregions of Saskatchewan. 1996. Ibid. (series: Idem, 6). ISBN 0-660-16387-X. Beckingham, J. D.; Corns, I. G. W. & Archibald, J. H. Field guide to ecosites of west-central Alberta. 1996. Ibid. (series: Idem, 9). ISBN 0-660-16441-8. Each: various pagings (e.g, no. 9 644 pp. total), ill. (some col.), col. map in pocket (exc. no. 6). Zoladeski, C. (Christopher) A.; Wickware, G. M.; Delorme, R. J.; Sims, R. A. & Corns, I. G. W. Forest ecosystem classification for Manitoba: Field guide. 1995. Ibid. (series: Idem, 2). x, 205 pp., ill., ISBN 0-660-15944-9. All: ISSN 1188-7419 (PB), price unknown (from UBC Press, 6344 Memorial Rd., Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada;

Contents items 1, 2, 4: Eng., Fr. abstrs.;* intro;* descr. area;* approach to class.;* system overview;* application class. sys.;* use of fact sheets (FSs);* FSs for various regions; soil-type class.; interpretations; descrs. taxa; biblio.; glossary; appendices (incl. biblio.); index. Contents item 3: sect. as previous *-marked; key to ecosites, etc.; FSs for ecosites, etc.; soil-type class.; soil-type photos; descrs. taxa; management interpretations; mensuration, forest inventory; biblio.; glossary; appendices (incl. biblio.); index. Contents item 5: Eng., Fr. abstrs.; use guide; orientation; veg. types; soil types; term.; applications; soil descr.; descrs. taxa; sci. vs. common names; biblio.; no index. Pl. recognition sect. of items 1-4 w/, resp., 112, 87, 103, 106 spp., each w/ col. photo, B&W diagram, graph nutrient-moisture regimes. Multifarious guides jam-packed w/ info. Other nos. in series: 1, 3 on forest insects, diseases; 4 on aspen decay, stain; 7, 11 on forest-fire behavior (10 not seen).

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