|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 277 November 29, firstname.lastname@example.org||Victoria, B.C.|
False-brome, Brachypodium sylvaticum (Huds.) Beauv. is an invasive grass species with a high potential for rapid expansion in the Pacific Northwest. The earliest record (OSC) of the species in North America is a 1939 collection from near Eugene in Lane County, Oregon. By 1966, the species grew in at least two large colonies in the Corvallis-Albany area of Benton County, Oregon, where it was apparently thoroughly naturalized (Chambers 1966, Madrono 18: 250-251).
This exotic perennial is native to Europe, Asia and North Africa, but is invading habitats in western Oregon, and possibly elsewhere in our region, at an alarming rate. It is capable of completely dominating understory and open habitats to the exclusion of most other native species; its palatability to wildlife is very low. It appears to inhibit tree seedling establishment and may displace endangered species, such as Kincaid's lupine (Lupinus sulphureus subsp. kincaidii [C.P. Smith] L. Phillips), host plant for the endangered Fender's blue butterfly (Icaricia icariodes fenderi [Lycaenidae]).
Brachypodium sylvaticum has an exceptionally broad ecological amplitude, occupying forest floor and open environments at a variety of aspects and elevations. Populations are known from riparian forests as well as upland hardwood and conifer forests under closed canopy. Vigorous populations also occupy forest edges and upland prairies in full sun. When invading an area, it may first disperse along roadsides, then move out into undisturbed areas or clearcuts. Currently, it is officially known only from Oregon, where it occupies habitat in and around the Willamette Valley and as far south as Josephine County (a few miles from the California border). The species seems likely to spread rapidly to California, Washington, and British Columbia. There are already unconfirmed reports from Colorado and Utah.
Botanists in the Pacific Northwest should be on the lookout for this invasive plant and be warned of its aggressive potential. It is described in Hitchcock and Cronquist's Flora of the Pacific Northwest on page 623. Some of its distinguishing features are its broad (4-10 mm) lax leaves, pubescence on at least the lower part of the culms and leaf margins, and a long-lasting bright green color (i.e., it is still quite green right now in November). It differs from native perennial Bromus species in having sheaths open to the base and spikelets subsessile or short-pedicellate. In contrast, our perennial bromes have sheaths closed >1/4 of their length and their spikelets are generally strongly pedicellate.
In the Willamette Valley, the species may occur with native perennial grasses such as Bromus vulgaris (Hook.) Shear, Festuca subulata Trin., and Melica subulata (Griseb.) Scrib.in forest understories, and Elymus glaucus Buckl., Bromus carinatus Hook. & Arn., Danthonia californica Boland., and Festuca californica Vasey in open areas such as upland prairies and along forest edges. Brachypodium sylvaticum does not appear to be rhizomatous, but forms large clumps that tend to coalesce, and it reproduces rapidly from seed.
We (myself and Greg Fitzpatrick of The Nature Conservancy) are currently developing proposals to conduct research on this plant to identify its current North American distribution, describe its seed dynamics and mechanisms of dispersal, and develop effective control methods (as well as other topics). We would be grateful for your feed-back on the following questions.
I have compiled a bibliography of Brachypodium research. If you would like a copy by e-mail, please let me know (and please recommend additional citations).
This is a magnificent book, bringing to life more than 800 species of North American lichens, with notes on another 700 species. The dust jackets tells us that the book contains 939 colour photographs. "Superb" is how it describes them, and it is indeed difficult to find a better descriptor. The quality of photographs is truly astonishing and, with the exception of a few species printed too red, we were unable to find a single picture that fell below the high standard set by the remaining 938. The book includes several full-page photographs that are really breathtaking.
Lichens of North America is divided into two parts. Part 1 consists of 14 introductory chapters covering about 100 pages and providing concise, but comprehensive overviews if lichen biology, structure, uses, and ecology. Part 2 is dedicated to taxonomy. Spanning about 650 pages, it contains keys, genus descriptions, and, within the genus accounts, detailed species descriptions that include notes on ecology, distribution, and points of distinction with similar species. Especially welcome is the inclusion of 769 distribution maps -- all original with this book. Readers accustomed to the phylogenetic emphasis of most vascular plant guides may be somewhat frustrated by the alphabetical arrangement adopted here (in which, for example, Omphalina follows Ochrolechia); but this is simply an artifact of the as-yet-unsettled state of lichen phylogenetics.
The index is a pivotal part of the book, essential for helping the reader navigate its 795 pages. Readers who miss author citations in the species accounts will also find them here. Synonyms are reduced to the minimum, but all the names mentioned in Hale's 1979 popular key How to identify lichens are cross-referenced.
BEN readers may remember the rocky hurdles this book faced in its early stages. Sadly, Lichens of North America also suffered the loss of one of its authors, Sylvia Sharnoff, who died just as the manuscript was going to print. This book is a great monument to her love and work. Yale University Press did an excellent job of bringing it to publication. The book was printed in Italy and every aspect of it is masterful, be it the scientific work, the photography, or the layout and production. This project was supported by numerous benefactors and as a result the price of the book has been kept remarkably low.
Is there anything we don't like about Lichens of North America? Well, yes. At 3.9 kg (8.6 pounds), it's simply too heavy! Pity the poor reader who, specimen in one hand, hand lens and spot test reagents in the other, will be required to flip back and forth between the keys and the species accounts, in some cases separated by a hundred pages. We regret that Dr. Brodo and Yale University Press hadn't duplicated the identification keys (plus the glossary and species index), and issued them as a separate soft-cover supplement. Come to think of it, there may still be time. Please, listen to us: collect the keys and publish them again separately. Don't be afraid that this would undercut sales. On the contrary, it would make an already esteemed book even more cherished by those who use it.
MatchMaker is an elegant computer program for interactive identification of gilled mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest (BC, WA, OR, and ID), combined with full descriptions and a large database of mushroom photographs. Its authors, Ian Gibson and his son Eli Gibson started to work on the MatchMaker in 1996 and their recent 2001 CD-ROM "beta" version contains descriptions of 2087 species. In this CD-ROM version, there are 1444 illustrations of 714 gilled mushroom taxa and 447 non-gilled taxa. 65 photographers have contributed to this non-profit project with their photographs. The Pacific Northwest Key Council supported the project with a small grant (mainly to buy blank compact disks) and tested interim versions.
Wendy Alexander, Tony Trofymow and Alan Thomson (at Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre in Victoria, B.C., Canada) converted the CD-ROM version into a web page program that can be accessed at
The web version (based on an earlier release on MatchMaker) does not have illustrations of non-gilled mushrooms, and has fewer photographs. The plan for the web version (which is based on the 2000 CD version) is to update the information to the current CD version, and increase the number of illustrations of gilled mushrooms. This should be completed over the next six months.
CD-ROM version of MatchMaker is available from Ian Gibson for a nominal fee to cover materials and postage, at email@example.com
Costumers in Great Britain can buy it from:
c/o Summerfield books
Main St. Brough
Cumbria CA 17 4AX
faxnumber: +44-(0)17683 41687
Flora Nordica is a research project at the Bergius Foundation. The aim is to produce a scientifically based flora of vascular plants in Norden, i.e. Denmark (incl. the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway (incl. Svalbard) and Sweden. The flora should be a synthesis of previous research and will indicate problems which should be considered in future research. The flora will treat all wild-growing vascular plants in Norden (native as well as alien); it will comprise about ten volumes and is written in English.
The second volume contains 18 families that are represented by 510 species belonging to 14 genera. The book is loaded with information. For each taxon the information on the type is given, followed with vernacular names in each Nordic language. The description, information distribution, habitat, biology, variation, hybridization and similar species follow. The authors skipped some paragraphs if they were not applicable and expanded or added other ones. The reader won't succumb to the dread of formulaic writing and since floras should be read, a seldom seen red ribbon for marking pages is sewn into the spine of the book.
The area of Flora Nordica is divided into about a hundred provinces and maps of distribution are given for each species indicating not only occurrence, but also abundance of the species in each province. Flora Nordica has 154 figures, mostly line drawings of important diagnostic characters, sometimes with SEM photographs.
Many taxa of the book are circumpolar or have vicariants in other parts of the circumpolar region. The treatment of families such as Ranunculaceae, Papaveraceae, or Caryophyllaceae is pertinent to much wider areas than the Nordic area and should be consulted by North America readers.
The book is a real typographical delight.
This CD-ROM contains digital images of 63 specimens connected with Linnaeus that are preserved in the Herbarium of Moscow State University (MW). For each specimen the display screen is divided into three sectors:
Specimens can be examined one at the time, or two or three specimens can be displayed simultaneously, if you want to compare them.
Additional image files for each specimen show, when applicable, watermarks, notes on the back of the sheet or on the cover, etc.
I was quite enticed by this piece of clever software and the general layout of the information. The textual part gives about all the important information that is known about each specimen, and the 2-times magnification is in most cases sufficient to view the major details of the specimens. For even closer look, the CD-ROM contains high resolution JPEG files that can be viewed with ordinary viewers.
It would be nice to have similar layouts available for other herbaria, but I can imagine that to produce similar CD-ROMs for larger collections would be almost impossible. For many older collections, we still will have to rely on microfiche sets produced by the IDC A.G. company more than thirty years ago.
The CD-ROM also includes an overview of botany in Moscow and Russia between 1706 and 1843 in the context of the MW Linnaean collection, a history of the Herbarium of the Moscow University, its scientific profile and structure of its collections, general information on the main herbaria in the world that contain Linnaean specimens, relevant references, etc. The disk is illustrated by portraits of many botanists.
The catalogue of type specimens in MW is available at: http://www.florin.ru/florin/db/mwtypes.htm