ISSN 1188-603X

No. 321 January 14, 2004 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

BOTANY BC - ATLIN, BC - JULY 5-7, 2004

From Del Meidinger []

Information on Botany BC, July 5-7, Atlin, is now posted at the following URL:


The Alaska Rare Plant Forum will hold its 2004 annual meeting April 8h and 9th in Fairbanks at the Bureau of Land Management, Northern District Office, 1150 University Avenue.

Anyone interested in rare plants of northern regions is invited to attend or to give a presentation.

The purpose of this notice is to alert you of the meeting, and to solicit speakers and agenda items. Agenda items could include the results of recent botanical work, descriptions of your field trips, proposals for upcoming field work and presentations describing your ongoing botanical work or research.

If you wish to give a presentation, please send your name, a brief description of your presentation and the presentation's approximate length. We will appreciate hearing about any topics that you would like to see added to the agenda. Please send this information to me at the address below.

An agenda will be sent out in late-March. Please contact me if you need any additional information, you wish to give a presentation, or if you have ideas for agenda items. Exciting botanical work is taking place in our part of the world, so we look forward to a particularly interesting meeting of the Alaska Rare Plant Forum.


From: Stephen Talbot []

Principal leader: Dr. W. B. Schofield Department of Botany University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C. Canada V6T1Z4

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U. S. Forest Service are Sponsoring a workshop, 20 - 22 May 2003 at SHELDON JACKSON COLLEGE in beautiful Sitka, Alaska.

Purpose of the Workshop: To gain familiarity with bryophyte genera in southeastern Alaska based on field and microscopic characters, with strong emphasis on habitats, morphological variation and the living plant. This workshop gives an entry into bryophyte taxonomy and provides the characters used to discriminate among bryophyte 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. Other useful items include good typewriter paper for preparing moss packets, a collecting bag, and a pocket knife, putty or paint scraper, or wood chisel. Students may bring a limited number of specimens that they have collected for determination.

Description: The workshop will be held at Sheldon Jackson College (with field trips in the local area) and be limited to 20 participants. Class times are from 9:00-12:00 and 1:00-5:00 pm. General questions concerning the workshop should be addressed to: Stephen Talbot, Div. of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1011 East Tudor Road, Anchorage, AK 99503; phone (907) 786-3381, e-mail .

Cost of the workshop is $200 and by check only. To register send your name, mailing and email address and a check not later than 5 April 2004 made payable to "Sheldon Jackson College" with "Moss Workshop" on the "Memo" line to: Attn: Lem Lambert, Sheldon Jackson College, 801 Lincoln St., Sitka, AK 99835, and notify Stephen Talbot by email that you are registering. Note: You cannot be enrolled until payment is received.

Questions regarding travel, lodging, and the Sitka area should be sent to: Mary Stensvold, U.S. Forest Service, Sitka; phone (907) 747-4210, e-mail . A general map of Sitka showing the location of Sheldon Jackson is at . Lodging is available at hotels or in dormitory-style housing on the Sheldon Jackson campus. Campus housing costs $35/night single occupancy or $40/night double occupancy. To make reservations call (907) 747-5252 before May 15, and mention the bryophyte workshop to get this special rate.

Information on the presenter: Dr. Wilf Schofield is an internationally known expert on the bryophytes of the Pacific Rim. He published over 100 papers, is co-author of 4 textbooks in plant structure and evolution. His textbook "Introduction to Bryology" (1985) is the standard. His new book "Hepatic Genera of Pacific North America" was 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 Sheldon Jackson College.


From: Richard J. Hebda []

For most of the rare plant species in British Columbia we will never know when they came and how they fared before reaching the status they have today. Such is not the case for Oregon white ash for despite Chris Brayshaw's (1996) musings on page 305 in Trees and Shrubs of British Columbia, the species has a long history in the Province.

All ash species produce wind blown pollen and that pollen has a distinctive form such that it can be reliably distinguished. Being that there is only one ash species in our region, it should be possible to follow its history through the extraction and study of pollen from lake and wetland sediments. Up until recently fossil ash pollen had not been confirmed from B.C. sediments, largely because no one really looked for it and if it was detected it occurred as single grains. The occurrence of single pollen grains of a wind-pollinated species can be attributed to long-distance dispersal. In practice there is also a possibility of confusing ash pollen with that of a Rumex species, particularly if there are not enough pollen grains to view all the details clearly.

The situation changed with the study of the remarkable sediments from Saanich Inlet obtained by the Ocean Drilling Program vessel JOIDES Resolution. Many tens of metres of annually-layered mud were recovered in a couple of days of drilling off Brentwood Bay. Marlow Pellatt (now with Parks Canada), Rolf Mathewes (Simon Fraser University) and I extracted, identified and counted pollen and spores from more than 10,000 years of record to almost 1000 years of the present (Pellatt et al. 2001). The youngest sediments are so charged with Hydrogen Sulphide gas, that once raised from sea floor, they liquefied and shot out from pressure release holes punched into core tubing as if propelled from a geyser. Our analyses provided a single-year picture for every 25 th year of the 10,000 years.

As we identified and counted pollen grains, we realized that Fraxinus pollen occurred in sufficient abundance that we had to pay attention to it because its presence could no longer be discounted as the result of long distance transport from many hundreds of kilometres to the south, nor accidental contamination from the modern atmosphere.

The first ash pollen grains appear just after 9500 calendar years ago slightly earlier than oak pollen. Though not abundant, there is more ash than oak pollen for the next 1500 years, suggesting that Oregon white ash grew in the vicinity of the Inlet at this time. The abundance of oak increases markedly about 8200 years ago and oak become a major species on the landscape until about 6000 years ago. During this time ash seems to nearly disappear or occur so infrequently that it leaves no record.

With the decline of oak and increase in conifers, especially western redcedar, about 4000 years ago, ash pollen values rise. Ash pollen reaches is greatest abundance in the interval 4000-1200 years ago, when the sediment record ends, strongly suggesting that ash was a notable element of the vegetation of southern Vancouver Island at least to about the beginning of the last millennium. Preliminary studies of cores suggest that scattered trees may have occurred as far north as the Nanoose area too.

Thus the pollen record reveals that ash has been a native species for nine and half millennia, though it has never been abundant. The occurrence of a natural population near Port Alberni confirms that it can occur in non-urban situations. The plants of urban Victoria are likely descendants of natural, pre-colonial stands that dispersed into and survived in the urban environment. The plants at Government House may even be survivors of an original stand. The trees in James Bay, which prompted Chris Brayshaw to wonder about the native status of the species, may have arrived via American or returning Canadian tourists. But even these could be descendants of native stands.

Like our other rare native species, Oregon white ash deserves our attention and concern. And like many of those plant species at the northern limits of their range, it may be part of the flora that will benefit from the inexorable warming in climate of the near future.

Though we may speculate upon the origins of modern species' abundance and distribution, we cannot know how these may have come to be without evidence from the fossil record. Lucky for us Fraxinus latifolia provided us with one.


Pellatt, M.G., R.J. Hebda, & R.W. Mathewes. 2001.
High-resolution Holocene vegetation history and climate from Hole 1034B, ODP leg 169S, Saanich Inlet, Canada. Marine Geology 174: 211-226.


From: Frank A. Lang, Emeritus Professor of Biology, Southern Oregon University, Ashland, OR e-mail: []

On August 31, 2003, while attending a Forest Service-sponsored trip, to examine the proposed expansion of the Ski Ashland development, I discovered a whitebark pine tree with a single cone growing near the moraine at the bottom of the bowl on Mount Ashland in the eastern Siskiyous. The trip leaders Steve Johnson of the Forest Service and ski area manager Jeff Hanson, witnessed this event, and another participant confirmed my identification. Surrounding the tree are several small five-needled saplings that could be whitebark pine or the much more common western white pine. Two weeks later Jim Duncan and I found a second whitebark pine tree with cones near a large western white pine on the east edge of a man-made tree island on the west edge of upper Dream ski run near the entrance to Caliban.

As far as I can determine, these are the first documented discoveries of whitebark pine on Mount Ashland (which is 7523 feet in elevation) or in the eastern Siskiyous. Like Mount Ashland's Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir, the whitebark pine may offer evidence of a colder climate in the past. This tiny population is at risk from white pine blister rust and disturbance from a proposed ski area expansion. The Rogue River National Forest and Mount Ashland Association are aware of these whitebark pine trees. Hopefully they will make every effort to avoid damaging them. Possibly other observers have seen whitebark pines on this mountain or other nearby peaks and photographed or collected specimens, but failed to report the find. I would appreciate learning about any documented reports. [The author address is 535 Taylor Street, Ashland, OR 97520; phone (541) 482-5235; or]

Reprinted by permission and modified from Nutcracker Notes, Issue 5, Fall/Winter 2003, Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation. p. 11.


From: Lionel Chute []

As an enthusiastic reader of both BEN, PEN and ZEN, I wanted to share something brief with you regarding slugs here in New Hampshire Around 1984, staff and volunteers of the New England Wildflower Society noticed that slugs were significantly damaging an important New Hampshire population of the Federally-threatened orchid, the small whorled pogonia Isotria medeoloides (Pursh) Raf. They collected a specimen of the slug and sent it to the Smithsonian to identify, who in turn passed it on to a slug specialist located somewhere in the southwest (Arizona? New Mexico?). This person keyed out the slug (apparently through microscopic analysis of the slug's teeth!) as the introduced Dusky Arion, Arion subfuscus (Draparnaud, a species reputed to show strong colonisation capacities and be a major pest in US agriculture. Since this identification, slug damage to the small whorled pogonia population in New Hampshire has continued annually, reducing the number of plants as well as the number of stems bearing seed capsules. It is not currently known if Dusky Arion has any particular affinity for small whorled pogonia, nor to what extent Dusky Arion may be contributing to the ongoing decline of known small whorled pogonia populations throughout its natural range.


From: David Russell [], originally posted in Research in Quaternary Science []

Friends and colleagues: In 1971, a Seattle television station carried two programs about wet-site excavations at the Ozette Site, which has been called the "Pompeii of the Northwest." We are proud to bring you the first of these programs as People of the Whale, Part 1, the latest video offering on our public education website, The Archaeology Channel (

Located on the outer coastline of Washington's Olympic Penninsula, the Ozette Site yielded the perfectly preserved remains of a pre-contact Makah village beneath a series of mudslides. This made-for-TV program depicts archaeological fieldwork at Ozette in 1970, the first of 12 seasons of work that recovered 55,000 artifacts now displayed at the Makah Cultural and Research Center in Neah Bay, Washington. The archival footage in this film is destined to be a key resource for those studying and teaching the history of North American archaeology.

This and other programs are available on TAC for your use and enjoyment. If you feel that this project is a worthy endeavor, please participate in our Membership ( and Underwriting ( programs. Only with your help can we continue and enhance this nonprofit public-education and visitor-supported service. We also welcome new content partners as we reach out to the world community.


I have been running the so-called Botany Nights for the Victoria Natural History Society, and one of the most successful Botany Night was Robert Forsyth's workshop on identification of slugs! I hope that you will appreciate his key to slugs the same way the Botany Night's participants appreciated his workshop. Birth control of deer may be a solution of managing deer populations in urban areas, chrysomelid beetles are used to control purple loosestrife in North America, and a book announcement on West Coast mammals wraps up this issue of ZEN, excuse me, BEN, quite well. Nevertheless, I promise that the next issue of BEN will be BEN again.

All the best in the year 2004!

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