ISSN 1188-603X

No. 270 June 7, 2001 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Frank Lomer

[See BEN # 238, January 11, 2000 for Part 1]

During the last thirteen years, I have collected the following species in the Vancouver area. None are native in this area and although a few have persisted as single plants for many years, they have not spread from their original locations. The voucher specimens are deposited in the University of British Columbia herbarium (UBC).

Ambrosia trifida L. - ASTERACEAE

Loc.: Railroad switching yard east of North Rd., Coquitlam. Nov. 7, 1988; F. Lomer #88-201.

A tall annual (ragweed) from eastern North America notorious as a source of hay fever. It doesn't generally grow in B.C., but occasionally it will show up along railroad tracks or on soil dumps. Also collected in a Vancouver garden by Terry Taylor (T. Taylor #88-4) on Sep. 4, 1988 with a note, "introduced with wild bird seed from bird feeder."

Artemisia frigida Willd. - ASTERACEAE

Loc.: Lougheed Highway (Highway # 7) near Coleman Rd., Coquitlam. Not collected.

A common plant in and east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains throughout B.C. A single clump persisted for more than 10 years on a dry grassy embankment on the south side of Highway # 7. Occasionally it was mowed completely to the ground, but it always came back.

Aster - see Symphyotrichum - ASTERACEAE

Dr. John Semple kindly checked the identification of "Aster" specimens and send us the following comment:

"All of the species [of the specimens sent for identification] belong in the genus Symphyotrichum. DNA work shows clearly that Aster is a strictly Old World genus. All NA Astereae fall into a single group and the 'asters' are in about a dozen genera that are basal members of half a dozen distinct lines within the NA clade. Obviously North Americans are not going to like this, but it does mean that continued use of the genus name Aster for native NA species is unjustified ... unless inertia is an acceptable reason for not adopting the new classification!"

[BEN and inertia? - I moved all Frank Lomer's "Aster" in Symphyotrichum, like it or not. - AC]

Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. - POACEAE

Loc.: Railroad tracks running along Timberland Rd., south of Pattullo Bridge, Surrey. Oct. 12, 1990; F. Lomer # 90-183.

Stoloniferous perennial grass (Bermuda grass) now widespread throughout the world. Common in warm climates but rare in B.C. It seems it is one of a few weedy plants in B.C. which were more common in the past than they are today, e.g., Lolium temulentum, Euphorbia exigua, Oenothera perennis and Agrostemma githago. Seen at 2 sites, both non-flowering, though vigorous stolons were produced. Both did not survive due to disturbance. Fruiting plants were collected by J.R. Anderson from the outer wharf in Victoria in 1898 and by V.C. Brink at UBC campus in 1946.

Ericameria nauseosa (Pall. ex Pursh) Nesom & Baird var. speciosa (Nutt.) Nesom & Baird - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Chrysothamnus nauseosus (Pall.) Britt.

Loc.: Railroad track, Front St. near 6th St., New Westminster. Oct. 3, 1993; F. Lomer #93-297.

A common shrub (rabbit-brush) in dry areas east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains in southern B.C.. A single clump persisted for more than 10 years along the tracks next to the dockyards. It was an attractive thriving plant until a few years ago when trackside clearing and disturbance killed it.

Erigeron flagellaris A. Gray - ASTERACEAE

Loc.: Sand landfill west of Timberland Rd., Surrey. July 19,1994; F. Lomer #94-052.

A fleabane with long whip-like stolons, frequent in south-central B.C. around the Thompson-Fraser plateau. A single plant with many stolons grew on compacted sand dredgings from the Fraser river. Erigeron flagellaris was recently found on Texada Island (between Vancouver Island and the mainland by Harvey Janszen, coll. no. 2740). More than 1000 plants grew on an open rocky slope. It is not exactly weedy but can colonize dry open areas.

Lobelia kalmii L. - CAMPANULACEAE

Loc.: Sand landfill east of Timberland Rd., Surrey. July 19, 1994; F. Lomer #94-158.

Native in wet places east of the Coast-Cascade mountains in B.C. A single plant grew on moist sand dredgings with Scirpus, Juncus, Epilobium and Carex spp., most of which were also native east of the mountains.

Lupinus angustifolius L. - FABACEAE

Loc.: East edge of Burns Bog near railroad tracks and 72 Ave., Delta. Sept. 20,1975; F. Lomer #75-1.

Annual blue-flowered lupine sometimes grown as a forage crop. It was growing in a cleared peaty area. Not seen since.

Mentzelia laevicaulis (Dougl.) T.&G. - LOASACEAE

Loc.: Sand landfill west of Timberland Rd., Surrey. August 12, 1991; F. Lomer #91-198.

A large-flowered biennial native east of the Coast-Cascade mountains in southern B.C. A single thriving plant was collected on a large sand pile. Another plant was found at the same site on September 9,1998, F. Lomer #98-364.

Mentzelia dispersa Wats. - LOASACEAE

Loc.: Railroad tracks on north side of Brunette river, west of North Rd., Burnaby. July 6,1991; F. Lomer #91-135.

A small-flowered annual native east of the Coast-Cascade mountains in southern B.C. Not normally a weedy species, five plants were found growing between the railroad tracks with common weeds. Not seen since.

Monolepis nuttalliana (Schultes) Greene - CHENOPODIACEAE

Loc.: New Westminster City Hall garden, 511 Royal Ave. June 24, 1994; F. Lomer # 94-079.

North American annual weed of disturbed places. A single plant grew in a cultivated rose bed. Apparently the only record for southwest B.C.

Nicotiana attenuata Torrey - SOLANACEAE

Loc.: Sand landfill west of Timberland Rd., about 1 km. south of Pattullo bridge, Surrey. July 19,1995; F. Lomer #95-039.

Nicotiana attenuata (coyote tobacco) is extremely rare in B.C. It had not been collected for more than 50 years until it was discovered northeast of Osoyoos Lake in 1991 (see BEN # 125). Previous collections were from Spence's Bridge on the Thompson river and Lytton at the junction of the Thompson and Fraser rivers. A single plant was collected on the graded top of a large sand landfill next to the Fraser river. It was thriving and produced numerous flowers and abundant seed. The chances of seed from the Lytton or Spence's Bridge area falling off the relatively few plants that possibly still grow in the area and making it somehow into the Fraser river and from there floating more than 250 km to end up in the sand and mud of the Fraser delta and from there to happen to be sucked up by dredging lines to be deposited in a suitable habitat within a few cm of the surface of a 5 m deep sand pile and then to be left undisturbed to germinate and not be trampled, graded, chewed by rabbits or crowded by weeds and then to be seen by someone who feels it is worth picking is as incredible as this sentence is long. It is however, in my opinion, the most plausible explanation. I expect to find it some day in the Lytton area.

Note: The Osoyoos population seems to have disappeared (at least for now). Sought but not seen in 1999. Nicotiana attenuata is sporadic from year to year by nature. Unfortunately a huge vineyard has been planted next to where the coyote tobacco once grew. Hundreds of acres of excellent desert-like sandy flats have been permanently destroyed.

Origanum heracleoticum L. - LAMIACEAE

Loc.: Railroad tracks under Pattullo Bridge, New Westminster. Oct. 7, 1996; F. Lomer #96-175.

European plant (oregano) native to SE Europe. Much like O. vulgare but with small whitish flowers more loosely arranged. A single clump grew next to the track rails where it persisted for a few years. Probably of garden origin. It is reputedly a superior tasting herb than the common oregano.

Salvia reflexa Hornem. - LAMIACEAE

Loc.: Edge of duck pond Jericho Park, Vancouver. Oct. 2, 1994; F. Lomer #94-237.

Annual herb, native to S. Central U.S. and Mexico. It occasionally shows up around duck ponds where it is introduced as an impurity in commercial wild bird seed. Also collected by G.B. Straley (#5856 ) on Sept. 10, 1989 at Lost Lagoon, Stanley Park, Vancouver, and on June 20, 1995 on a soil pile in Burnaby (F. Lomer #95-053).

Schoenocrambe linifolia (Nutt.) Greene - BRASSICACEAE

Loc.: Sand dredgings west of Timberland Rd., south of Pattullo Bridge, Surrey. June 22, 1998; F. Lomer #98-141.

Native short-lived yellow-flowered perennial from SC B.C. A single plant in dredged sand. The only record for SW B.C.

Silene conoidea L. - CARYOPHYLLACEAE

Loc.: Along railroad tracks, west of North Rd., Burnaby. May 30, 1990; F. Lomer #90-039.

A pink-flowered annual weed with a sticky inflorescence, native to Europe. A single plant grew in ballast between the track rails. The only other collection from B.C. was 7 km south of Oliver in the Okanagan Valley where a few plants grew along a dirt road; F. Lomer #96-034.

Sporobolus cryptandrus (Torr.) Gray - POACEAE

Loc.: Dredged sand landfill prior to construction of Sky-Train at Scott Road Station, Surrey. Aug 28, 1988; F. Lomer #88-147.

Common native perennial grass in dry, often sandy places east of the coastal mountains. It will show up from time to time in sand dredgings. Also collected along Hwy 7 in Coquitlam where it arose from road sweepings; F. Lomer #93-314.

Sporobolus neglectus Nash - POACEAE

Loc.: CN railyards, north of 116 Ave., Surrey. Sept. 12, 1995; F. Lomer #95-190.

Weedy eastern North American annual grass. A few plants grew in a bare gravely area with other annual grasses: Sporobolus vaginiflorus, Panicum capillare, P. dichotomiflorum, Eragrostis multicaulis, and E. cilianensis. This is the first collection from British Columbia.

Symphyotrichum ciliatum (Ledebour) Nesom - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Aster brachyactis Blake

Loc.: Sand landfill west of Timberland Rd., south of Pattullo Bridge, Surrey. Aug. 14, 1993; F. Lomer #93-224.

Symphyotrichum ciliatum is an annual rayless "aster" native east of the Coast-Cascade Mountains. It is an interesting fact that seeds from plants typically found in the dry interior of B.C. get washed many 100's of km down the Thompson and Fraser rivers eventually to emerge and sprout up in sand dredgings that are used as "preload" in boggy ground before building can commence. A single plant was found once.

Symphyotrichum cordifolium (L.) Nesom - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Aster cordifolius L.

Loc.: CN railyards east of Main St., Vancouver. Oct. 12, 1993; F. Lomer #93-319.

An eastern North American species similar to the native Symphyotrichum ciliolatum. A single clump grew in an abandoned railcar loading dock in the vacant CN railyards next to the train station. It lasted a few seasons but eventually disappeared.

Symphyotrichum frondosum (Nutt.) Nesom - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Aster frondosus (Nutt.) T.& G.

Loc.: Sand landfill west of Timberland Rd., Surrey. Sept. 30, 1994; F. Lomer #94-228.

A native B.C. annual much like Symphyotrichum ciliatum, but with small white (drying pink) ray flowers and a generally spreading habit unlike the very upright habit of S. ciliatum. Symphyotrichum frondosum is of restricted distribution in B.C.; known only from the south Okanagan valley where it is rarely found along receding lakeshores (Skaha, Vaseaux and Osoyoos lakes). A small patch was found in Fraser river sand dredgings where it grew in compacted depressions that showed traces of salty deposits washed out from the surrounding sand (see "Aster frondosus" in BEN # 123). Symphyotrichum frondosum is not known from the Fraser-Thompson drainage, but this collection is a good indication that it probably grows there. (The Okanagan drains into the Columbia River).

Symphyotrichum lanceolatum (Willd.) Nesom subsp. hesperium (A. Gray) Nesom - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Aster hesperius A.Gray, A. lanceolatus Willd. ssp. hesperius (A.Gray) Semple & Chmielewski

Loc.: CN railyards, Port Mann, Surrey. July 13, 1991; F. Lomer #91-154.

A single small patch grew alongside the railroad access road at the edge of the grade beside a dry ditch. This is a wide ranging taxon in west - central North America that barely, if at all, crosses the Rocky mountains into B.C. in the Columbia valley. Earlier reports of this species in B.C. need confirmation. This collection may be the first for the province and it was clearly an introduction that did not persist due to road grading or herbicide spraying.

Symphyotrichum lateriflorum (L.) Loeve & Loeve - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Aster lateriflorus (L.) Britt.

Loc.: Railroad tracks alongside Ewen Ave., Queensborough, New Westminster. Sept. 7, 1990; F. Lomer #90-151.

Native to eastern North America and growing between the track rails. It was killed by herbicide spraying the next year. The only collection from B.C. and not seen since.

Symphyotrichum novae-angliae (L.) Nesom - ASTERACEAE Syn.: Aster novae-angliae L.

Loc.: CN railyards, north of Industrial Ave., Vancouver. Oct. 24, 1993; F. Lomer #93-326.

An attractive plant with a glandular inflorescence native to eastern North America. Cultivated forms are sometimes grown in gardens, but this plant probably arose from material originating from ballast from railcars. A garden form with "double" ray flowers was collected Sep. 24, 1994 beside a dirt boat launching track in Ladner in the Fraser delta where it grew at the edge of a marsh; F. Lomer #94-214. It probably originated from garden dumpings.


Clapham, A.R., T.G. Tutin & D.M. Moore. 1989.
Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

Douglas, G.W. 1995.
The Sunflower family (ASTERACEAE) of British Columbia. Vol 2. Royal B.C. Museum, Victoria, B.C.

Douglas, G.W., G.B. Straley, D. Meidinger and J. Pojar. 1998-2000.
Illustrated Flora of British Columbia. Volumes 1-5. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Victoria, B.C.

Gleason, H.A. & A. Cronquist. 1963.
Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. D. Van Nostrand Co., New York, N.Y.

Hitchcock, C.L. & A. Cronquist. 1974.
Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle, Washington.

Tutin, T.G., V.H. Heywood, N.A. Burges, D.M. Moore. D.H. Valentine, S.M. Walters, & D.A. Webb (eds.). 1964-1980.
Flora Europaea. Volumes 1-5. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.


Ireland, R.R. 2001.
Buckiella, a new genus in the Hypnaceae (Musci). Novon 11: 55-62.

"Abstract. A new genus, Buckiella, is segregated from Plagiothecium. The type species, Buckiella undulata (Hedwig) Ireland, known [as Plagiothecium undulatum (Hedwig) Schimper] from western North America, Europe, China, and New Guinea, has plants with strongly undulate leaves, short, inconspicuous triangular leaf decurrencies, minute, granular, cuticular papilae covering the leaf cells, and wrinkled capsules. A second species, B. draytonii (Sullivant) Ireland, endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, with undulate, nondecurrent leaves, cuticular papillae on the leaf cells, and wrinkled capsules is also included in the genus." This new genus is named in honour of William R. Buck, New York Botanical Garden.


From: Dr. Doug Evans []

I was interested to read your review of this book. I suspect that a British, & particularly a Scottish, botanist would have written a different review. All the points about feuding botanists are quite valid but in this case there is more.

I was first aware of the story when I visited the herbarium at the RBG Edinburgh to look at Carex microglochin as part of a final year project towards my BSc in 1981 or 82. This plant is only known (within the UK) from a small area near Ben Lawers, on very calcareous schists at 800 m or above. But in the herbarium was a sheet which was definitely C. microglochin labelled 'Isle of Harris'. Nowhere on Harris is there suitable habitat for this arctic-alpine species. When I mentioned this find to several older Scottish botanists I was told the story related by Sabbagh in his book. The specimen had been collected by Heslop Harrison's brother in law. The story was well known but had never been put into print until recently.


From: Dr. M. Joe Harvey, 5061 Sooke Road, Victoria, B.C. Canada V9B 5B4
  1. I was fascinated by the subject matter since I was a student at what was then called King's College, Newcastle on Tyne and then nearby Durham City, 1954-1961. By the fact that I was in the respective departments of Botany I knew practically every person mentioned in the book - at least the northern ones. My tutor at Newcastle was 'Wooly' Clark.

  2. The Subplot (or is it the plot). The book's central theme, I was surprised to see, is the British class war. In this it seems a throwback to an outdated period of snobbery that the Beveridge Commission attempted to address at the end of WW2. The book is full of 'U' and 'non-U' references that codify this snobbery. The terms U and non-U stand for Upper class and Non-Upper Class. I forget who invented the terms but I suspect it was Nancy Mitford. [See a note below. - AC]

    As an example of a Non-U term I lost count how many times J.W. Heslop-Harrison was referred to as "the son of an iron worker". The significance of this curious and apparently irrelevant repetition, would be lost on anyone not brought up in the atmosphere of the British class system that was pervasive in the middle of the twentieth century. The whole social structure was (and still is) based on ancestry, accent and attending certain U schools and universities. The aristocracy belong to this group and the governing class is almost exclusively drawn from it.

    The contrasting Non-U is referred to using certain coded words such as 'Northern', Northern accent', 'Redbrick university', 'Workers', 'Industry'. Apparently J.W. Heslop-Harrison's sin was to be a self-made upstart of no breeding, from the North, who presumed to do work which was the assumed bailiwick of others from the south who were better equipped by a long tradition of botany.

  3. Asperger's Syndrome
    J.W. Heslop-Harrison was an example of Asperger's Syndrome. This is a fairly common brain-wiring syndrome where objects become of intense interest while people are accorded little recognition. Albert Einstein and Bill Gates are the commonly cited examples. Such people are frequently attracted to science and mathematics but not, say, law or politics.

    I went on rambles with the Northumberland and Durham Natural History Society led by J.W. several times and his ability to find and name plants, insects and birds was phenomenal. I was particularly left gasping by his facility with the forms of the Rosa canina-villosa complex which were such a conspicuous part of the Durham hedgerows. He was a polymath.

    The other side of the Asperger personality is the contrasting inability to remember the names of people by looking past or through them. This leads to shyness, withdrawal and the feeling on the part of observers that such people are 'cold' or even unfriendly. This seems to be behind many of the observations noted in the book.

  4. As for the 'facts' which are so missing from the book I can add little. Yes, I read the paper in Nature when I was a student. As a group we thought it amusing but by then he had retired from King's College. His colleague Katie Blackburn gave her last lecture to my class of students while suffering from Parkinson's Syndrome. She had worked with J.W. on the reproductive cytology of Rosa canina and investigated pollen remains on the peat of the Trapa natans fruit which he found floating in a bog pool in the Hebrides.

  5. All I can say in summary is that his ability to observe and find obscure things was quite amazing. This is typical of Asperger subjects who are frequently misanthropes and, in this case, got enormous enjoyment ranging long distances across remote hillsides looking for obscure plants and insects. His powers of observation were probably greater than the vast majority of naturalists of the time. Knowing him - no that is the wrong expression - observing him as I did over a number of years, my personal bets would be on him finding the disputed plants where he said he did.


From: Prof. Geoffrey Sampson [] -- originally posted at; posted here with Prof. Sampson's kind permission

The terms originated in exchanges between the novelist Nancy Mitford (Love in a Cold Climate, etc.) and the linguist Alan Ross -- I am not sure which of the two actually invented them. They were intended in a fairly lighthearted way to pick out vocabulary which differentiated people at different points on the English class ladder at the time (the 1950s, I think). Then, more than now, there were words whose use stamped the speaker as lower-middle-class or below, as opposed to the words which someone from the upper-middle-class or above would use for the same things -- for instance, I think "serviette" (a word I haven't heard for a long time) was non-U, v. "[table] napkin" as the corresponding U term. Nancy M and Alan R produced long lists of these pairs.

Subsequently, the picture has been overlaid by the greatly increased influence of American English on British English; the words that are usual in the USA sometimes happen to coincide with the term that was U in England, and sometimes with the term that was non-U, in a random pattern I imagine, but the power of America "lifts" the status of its words in England even if they were previously non-U.

I get into mild trouble at home on this, because I lived in the USA for several years in my twenties and sometimes use terms which are deprecated by other members of the family, for instance I am chided for talking of the "living room" rather than the "sitting room" -- this may be because of my non-U upbringing, but I think in fact in this case it is because Americans call it "living room" and after a while in the USA I got confused about what to call it, and I suspect that this particular pair of terms is no longer any sort of social marker in England since others see American films, etc.


From: Adolf Ceska []
Bartholomew, James. 1996.
Yew & non-Yew: Gardening for horticultural climbers. Century Books Ltd., London. 159 p. ISBN 0-07-1267705-4 [hard cover] GBP 9.99 - Available from: Century Books, Ltd., 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA

Now I finally understand the pun. If you are interested in gardening, this is the "authoritative guide to the great social division in British gardening."

"James Bartolomew treats garden snobbery with robust good humour in this witty, funnily illustrated book. With vital information on a host of subjects including the top ten Yew and NON-YEW gardens in Britain, a questionnaire to to determine just how Yew is your garden, a calendar for garden snobs," etc., etc. [From the book's dust jacket, or should I say, a wrapper? - AC]

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