|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 269 June 2, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
While attending the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) meeting in early May 2001 at Osoyoos, British Columbia, I encountered a roadside population of Hard Grass (Sclerochloa dura (L.) Beauv.; Poaceae). Hard Grass has not been previously reported from British Columbia (Hubbard 1969, Taylor and MacBryde 1977, Scoggan 1978, Brandenburg et al. 1991, Douglas et al. 1994, Kartesz and Meacham 1999, G.W. Douglas pers. comm. 2001).
Hard Grass is a small, early flowering, annual, European grass of open disturbed areas such as roadsides, campgrounds, playgrounds, athletic fields, and fairgrounds. It is widespread but local in the United States (Brandenburg et al. 1991) and is apparently expanding its range in the U.S. midwest (A.W. Cusick pers. comm. 1999; R.K. Rabeler pers. comm. 2000). Elsewhere in Canada Sclerochloa dura is known only from two collections in southwestern Ontario (M.J. Oldham 19674 (DAO, MICH, NHIC [herbarium of the Natural Heritage Information Centre], TRT, WAT), 20 May 1997, Ridgetown Fairground, Kent County, 42 deg. 26' 50" N, 81 deg. 52' 40" W; M.J. Oldham & A.W. Cusick 19702 (DAO, MICH, TRTE), 22 May 1997, Brigden Fairground, Lambton County, 42 deg. 48' 20" N, 82 deg. 16' 50" W), although it has not been formally reported from the Ontario flora (Morton and Venn 1990, Newmaster et al. 1998).
In Osoyoos, British Columbia, Sclerochloa dura was found on a disturbed gravel roadside near the Best Western Motel, but was not seen elsewhere along roadsides or in other disturbed ground in or near Osoyoos. About 20 Sclerochloa plants were encountered on 2 May 2001, growing with Poa annua (Annual Bluegrass) and P. bulbosa (Bulbous Bluegrass). Voucher specimens were collected (M.J. Oldham 25260) and will be deposited at DAO, MICH, and UBC.
Sclerochloa dura is superficially similar to and often grows with Poa annua. Both species flower relatively early in the year and can be distinguished by their inflorescences, which in Sclerochloa are distinctly one-sided, quite unlike the more or less symmetric ones of P. annua. The branches of S. dura are ascending to prostrate, forming clumps to 12 cm wide. A technical description and illustrations can be found in Brandenburg et al. (1996).
Hard Grass will probably be found elsewhere in southern British Columbia in open, disturbed sites. It has been known from adjacent Washington state since at least 1932, although not from any counties bordering British Columbia (Brandenburg et al. 1996).
Acknowledgements: George Douglas provided confirmation that Hard Grass is new to British Columbia, and Allison Cusick and Richard Rabeler provided useful information and discussions on the species.
Michael J. Oldham, Natural Heritage Information Centre, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, P.O. Box 7000, 300 Water Street, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9J 8M5
Castilleja levisecta (Scrophulariaceae) may well be the easiest of all members of that genus to grow in a garden [see BEN # 156 and BEN # 158]. Plants that have been grown from seed can be quickly increased by use of cuttings.
Like many Castilleja, this species produces many shots near ground level starting in the fall. By late February these shoots are large enough to use as cuttings and generally the plant produces such a redundancy of these shoots that a few can be taken without harm to the plant.
Before collecting the cuttings, prepare the selected host plants by using a narrow trowel to dig holes close to the host roots and fill holes with sand. Work quickly after collecting the cuttings to avoid letting them wilt. Insert one or two in each sand-filled hole and water them in. Improvise a cloche with a small ventilation hole to prevent wilting and provide shade until the cuttings are rooted and growing. Water frequently during the first summer.
Eriophyllum lanatum is a good natural host. Symphoricarpos mollis is also a good host, though is not known to be a host in nature. Other hosts may also produce good results. A small shoot of Castilleja levisecta placed near the roots of a plant of Artemisia stelleriana (native to sand benches on the coast of northeast Asia) about March 1, 2000 had grown by May, 2001 into a very large plant with 32 large flowering branches. However, this may not be a good pairing as the Artemisia now looks very weak.
Isoetes minima was described from a single collection made by Wilhelm Suksdorf from Spangle near Spokane, WA, and until recently, the only authentic material of this taxon has been the type specimen. On the same collecting trip, Suksdorf collected copious material of Isoetes howellii that looked superficially the same as the type of I. minima. Based on this limited material, N.E. Pfeiffer reduced I. minima into a variety of I. howellii.
The Flora of North America followed Pfeiffer and redefined this variety to include any small plants of I. howellii with small megaspores. Several years ago, we found several populations of I. minima in Wenatchee Mountains, WA, and in 1996 this species was also found in south-central British Columbia. The species can be considered rare in British Columbia and Washington.
Isoetes minima differs from I. howellii by having small, spiny megaspores and by sporangia that completely lack velum. Megaspores of Isoetes howellii have low ridges and its sporangia have partial velum.
Ecologically, it occupies the most extreme, driest habitats among the western North American terrestrial Isoetes species. It grows in periodically wet depressions in Artemisia tridentata sagebrush with Camassia quamash, Allium douglasii, Hesperochiron pumilus, Lewisia pygmaea, and Floerkea proserpinacoides as accompanying species.
Representative specimens (deposited in V - Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, BC, Canada):
I am working on my MSc project (Taxonomy of the Peltigera section Polydactylon in the Azores) with Dr William Purvis at the Natural History Museum. For my molecular work I would greatly appreciate recent, air-dried collections of the following species:
Thanks very much for you help.
Anna Crewe c/o Dr. William Purvis
Department of Botany
The Natural History Museum
London SW7 5BD
This is the final, sixth volume that complete this monumental research. The project was sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society, the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh, and the Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust. It officially started in 1979 by the British botanists who had been on the Flora Europaea editorial team. The first volume appeared in 1984 and this last volume in 2000, only one year later than originally planned.
The sixth volume covers 38 families and over 190 genera of most sympetalous dicot families. It contains keys to the families, genera and species of the covered plants, their descriptions and information on their distribution and notes on their taxonomy and nomenclature. The illustrations are sparse (48 tables including 4 on general morphological terms), and when they are included, they illustrate details for identification of selected taxa (e.g., nutlets of Boraginaceae, leaves of Viburnum, etc.). The lack of illustrations is compensated by references to illustrations published elsewhere, and the reference to the illustration immediately follows the species name and synonymy. Pertinent taxonomical literature is cited for each family and genus.
The selection of species in floras such as this one is problematic since the book is shooting at a moving target. Numerous seed collectors beat the tradition by introducing new plants into cultivation, as well as seed exchanges between botanical gardens and among members of horticultural societies. But even with the chase for rarities, the basic assortment of houseplants or plants in gardens remains essentially the same. The selection of species in this book was based on "a compilation of all European nursery catalogues," The Plant Finder, The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening and many other basic references. The selection is quite broad. For example, 58 species of Penstemon (including the rare Columbia Gorge endemic Penstemon barretiae), 98 species of Salvia, 31 species of Veronica, are included in the account.
The price is quite high at US$175.00, but the work is an important reference to all interested in garden plants and plants in cultivation. Quite a few garden plants have become unwanted invasive species, and the Flora also serves as an essential reference to those who are interested in introductions and invasive plant species.
The earlier volumes are still available and are listed below. It is interesting to note that the British catalogue of the Cambridge University Press (http://www.cambridge.org/) offers the whole 6-volume set for a bargain price of GBP 500.00, whereas the US branch (http://www.cup.org/) does not mention this offer.
List of all six volumes of the European Garden Flora: