ISSN 1188-603X

No. 264 February 12, 2001 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


Information on Botany BC, the program and the registration form have been posted at - go to Announcements.


From: Stephen Talbot []

Purpose: To gain familiarity with genera of mosses in the Anchorage area based on field and microscopic characters, with strong emphasis on habitats, variability and the living plant. This workshop gives an entry into moss taxonomy and provides the characters used to discriminate among moss genera, and to an extent, to the species. It will include an introduction to the literature, information on collecting, storing and annotating collected material for reference, field experience with collecting, laboratory experience with microscopic examination and use of the literature, and use of artificial keys to aid in identification.

Requirements: Participants should have a hand lens 15 or 20X. A blank pad of good typewriter paper would be valuable to prepare moss packets, a collecting bag for the field would be extremely helpful, a pocket knife, putty or paint scraper, or wood chisel can be useful in collecting. Students may bring a limited number of specimens that they have collected for determination.

Description: The workshop will be held at Alaska Pacific University (with field trips in the local area) and be limited to 20 participants. Cost of the workshop is US$150. Checks or purchase orders should be made payable to "Alaska Pacific University" and sent to: Attn: Jen Rochelle, Department of Environmental Science, Alaska Pacific University, 4101 University Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508; phone (907) 564-8207. Classes from 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 pm. Questions concerning the workshop should be addressed to: Stephen Talbot, Division of Refuges, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503; phone (907) 786-3381, fax (907) 786-3976, e-mail:

Information on the presenter: Dr. Wilf Schofield was born in Nova Scotia. He received a B.A. from Acadia University (1950), M.A. Stanford University (l956), Ph.D. Duke University (1960), D.Sc (Hon.) Acadia University (l990). Wilf was a public school teacher in Nova Scotia for 5 years, Professor at the University of British Columbia Botany Department 1960-1993 until retirement, emeritus since. He published over 100 papers, co-author of 4 textbooks in plant structure and evolution; authored "Some Common Mosses of British Columbia" (1969) which was revised and expanded (1992), wrote the textbook "Introduction to Bryology" (1985) and the most recent edition of Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "Bryophytes." His new book "Hepatic Genera of Pacific North America" is in press and will be published in 2001. Wilf's field experience in mosses goes from 1947 to present, seven summer periods in Alaska, two in Arctic and subarctic Canada. also periods in Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, Europe, conterminous USA. He is a contributor to bryophyte flora of North America and of Australia.

College Credit: 1 semester credit is available from Alaska Pacific University; contact Roman Dial, Department Chair at for information.


From: Bryce Kendrick []

Members of the genus Sporobolomyces, a genus of basidiomycetous yeasts, form an invisible population on the surface of leaves. They do no harm to the leaves. In fact, sitting on the outside of the leaf cuticle, they are dependent on tiny amounts of leaf-exudates, plus anything that comes to them through the air or in the rain.

If there are any pollutants in the air, and most specifically, sulphur dioxide, this will affect Sporobolomyces very quickly. Since their cells divide fairly often, this suggests that they could perhaps be used to monitor short-term changes in air quality.

How can we test air quality with leaf yeasts? One simple technique takes advantage of the fact that Sporobolomyces shoots basidiospores. The procedure may be simply outlined as follows (Dowding & Richardson, 1990):

  1. Prepare some petri plates with sterile malt extract agar (2% malt agar made from gooey malt from a health food store seems to work best).
  2. Cut leaf discs (5 mm in diameter) from tree leaves (ash was used in European experiments, but any deciduous tree may work, and Arbutus should be tried in the Pacific Northwest).
  3. Attach seven discs by their upper surfaces to the lid of each petri dish with vaseline petroleum jelly.
  4. Incubate the dishes for 24 hours at room temperature with the leaf discs uppermost: this ensures that, when the basidiospores are shot, they will land on the surface of the sterile medium.
  5. Invert the dishes and incubate them at room temperature for three days. At this point you should find groups of pink yeast colonies at the places where the spores landed on the medium.

The correspondence of these groups with the locations of the leaf discs explains why we call Sporobolomyces a 'mirror yeast.' The number of colonies will reflect the health of the yeast, and so, indirectly, the quality of the air. Large scale comparative studies have been done by school children in several European countries, and have established that the lowest numbers of leaf yeast colonies (usually plotted as the square roots of the median counts), correlate well with higher levels of sulphur dioxide pollution.

I am indebted to Dr. David Richardson of St. Mary's University, Halifax, for information on leaf yeasts. (Note that lichens, which also get most of their nutrients from air or rain, also reflect air quality, but because they are long-lived organisms, they integrate the effects of pollutants over much longer periods.)


Dowding, P. & D.H.S. Richardson. 1990.
Leaf yeasts as indicators of air quality in Europe. Environmental Pollution 66: 223-235.
Richardson, D.H.S., P. Dowding & E. Ni Lamhna. 1985.
Monitoring air quality with leaf yeasts. Journal of Biological Education 19: 299-303.


From: Adolf Ceska []

Porcupine sedge was described by German botanists in 1805 and 1806 based on a specimen collected by Muehlenberg in "Pensylvania." The species was described by Willdenow (1805) with a reference to Schkuhr's illustration (Tab. Fff, Fig. 127). The identical description was published again by Schkuhr (1806) that appeared several months after Willdenow's book was published. In their publications, both Schkuhr and Willdenow called this sedge "Stachelschweinartige Segge - Carex hystericina." "Carex hystericina" was also the original Schkuhr's annotation of Muehlenberg's specimen (Dr. Uwe Braun, pers. comm.).

Bailey (1886) was the first who noticed that Schkuhr and Willdenow made a mistake in the spelling of the species name. A species name derived from the Latin name of porcupine - Hystrix - should have been Carex hystricina and not C. hystericina:

"The name was originally written hystericina, a name of no application. That the author meant to refer to the comose or hystricinous character of the spikes is evident from Willdenow's German name of the plant, no doubt suggested by Muehlenberg, "Stachelschweinartige Segge," porcupine-like sedge." (Bailey 1886: 70)

Bailey corrected the spelling from Carex hystericina to Carex hystricina and this correction was accepted by most Carex monographers: Kuekenthal, Mackenzie, Fernald, Boivin, Cronquist, Hermann, Egorova. Only recently, Kartesz (1994 and 1999) reintroduced the original spelling "C. hystericina."

Boivin (1979: 98) agreed with Bailey and suggested that the original spelling "hystericina" could mean "hysterical." It looks like derived from the Greek "hysterikos" and may have an obscure connotation to "hysteria," although "hysterikos" or "hystera" (Lat.) also means womb. (The word "hysteria" is derived from Greek "hysterikos" or Latin "hystera" - womb; "from the Greek notion that hysteria was peculiar to women and caused by disturbances of uterus" - Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.)

When Bailey made his correction, there were no rules that would allow or ban such a correction. The modern versions of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature allow the correction of "typographical or orthographical errors" (Art. 60.1), but the application of this article might be questionable even if the name would be published today. Bailey's corrected form (C. hystricina), on the other hand, has become a well established custom that was and should be followed (ICBN - Preamble 10) and in my opinion, it would be a mistake to revert to the original spelling now.

Bailey made a mistake when he attributed the authorship of the name "Stachelschweinartige Segge" to Muehlenberg. Muehlenberg originally named this species "Carex erinacea" referring not to a porcupine, but to the hedgehog. Muehlenberg did not realize that this name had been already used about 6 years earlier for another species by Cavanilles: Carex erinacea Cav. = Uncinia erinacea (Cav.) Pers. and hence could not be used for this species. From the annotation of the type specimen is obvious that the name was first suggested by Schkuhr (who also listed C. erinacea Muehlenb. as a synonym of the Porcupine Sedge) and this species should be cited as Carex hystricina Schkuhr ex Willd. Those who would not accept Bailey's correction can call this sedge C. hystericina Schkuhr ex Willd., but I don't see any reason why the Porcupine Sedge should become Hysterical.

Acknowledgements. I would like to thank to all who helped me with literature search, examination of the type specimen, and valuable discussions: Uwe Braun, Jacques Cayouette, Jan Kirkby, John McNeill, Dan Nicolson, John Pinn, Anton Reznicek, and Alan Yen. I take all the responsibility for any errors or flaws in my conclusion.


Bailey, L.H. 1886.
A preliminary synopsis of North American Carices. Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts Sci. 22("1887"): 59-157.
Boivin, B. 1979.
Flora of the Prairie Provinces. Part IV. Monopsida. 43: 1-106.
Kartesz, J.T. 1994.
A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada and Greenland. - Second edition. Volume I: Checklist, 622 p.; Volume II: Thesaurus, 816 p. - Timber Press, Portland, Oregon.
Kartesz, J.T. 1999.
A Synonymized Checklist and Atlas with Biological Attributes for the Vascular Flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. First Edition. In: Kartesz, J.T., and C.A. Meacham. Synthesis of the North American Flora, Version 1.0. North Carolina Botanical Garden, Chapel Hill, NC. [CD-ROM]
Schkuhr, C. 1806.
Nachtrag oder die zweyte Haelfte der Riedgraeser. Wittenberg. 94 p.
Willdenow, K.L. 1805.
Species plantarum. T. 4, Pars 1. 629 p.


From: Tobby Spribille []
Nebel, M. & Philippi, G.(eds.) 2000.
Die Moose Baden-Wuerttembergs. Band 1. Verlag Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart. 512 p., 153 colour photos. ISBN 3-8001-3527-2. Price: 98.00 DM

Ordering information:
Verlag Eugen Ulmer,
Postfach 700561,
70574 Stuttgart,
Wollgrasweg 41,
For e-mail try:

This book is the long-awaited bryological counterpart to the fantastic monographic treatments of lichens, fungi, vascular plants, birds, bees and butterflies of the southwestern German Bundesland of Baden-Wuerttemberg. About the same size as the other volumes in this series, a hefty 512 pages in hardback, this first of three volumes covers in considerable depth the bryoflora from Andreaeopsida throught the primitive mosses up to the Splachnaceae (Sphagnopsida are interestingly not included, but are promised in a forthcoming volume). Each group is handled by a specialist in that area. An excellent detailed diagnosis accompanies each species, as well as a discussion of morphological variability, ecology, total distribution, a raster map showing the species' distribution by map quadrat in Baden-Wuerttemberg, and the conservation status of each species. Detailed keys are provided with each family and genus. A very attractive part of this book is its beautiful, lucid, high-resolution detailed colour photos, over 150 of them, showing mosses and moss characteristics as if viewed through a fine hand lens. Colour photos are provided for many species, but unfortunately not for all. The book is sturdily and attractively bound in hardback and for 98.- DM - about US$45.00 - it is economically priced. This book will be useful far beyond its stated borders and is sure to become a standard reference in bryology, particularily in central Europe, but also in other temperate regions.

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