ISSN 1188-603X

No. 427 July 7, 2010 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


August 20-22, 2010 Vancouver Island, British Columbia

The first Wilf Schofield Bryoforay will be held August 20-22, 2010, on Vancouver Island, BC. It will be based out of Mt. Washington Alpine Resort, near Courtenay, on the doorstep of beautiful Strathcona Provincial Park. During the foray we will visit a wide variety of ecosystems including subalpine wetlands and forests, old growth western hemlock forest, and Garry oak-arbutus communities. As part of the foray we will be collecting baseline inventory data for BC Parks; collecting in Parks will be limited to voucher specimens.

Anyone interested in bryophytes--from professional to beginner--is welcome to attend. We hope some lichenologists will attend too! Student-grade dissecting and compound microscopes will be available for keying in the evenings, and we will also have a good selection of books.

For further information and to register, please visit our website:


From: Nick Page

Botanists from throughout BC spent an enlightening three days in Tofino as part of the 26th annual BOTANY BC, held May 27-30, 2010. About 65 people enjoyed the botanical treasures of the peatlands, old forests, sand dunes, and rocky shorelines of the Tofino area, and renewed the social connections that make the botanical community a community. The event was held at the Clayoquot Field Station, which is also home to the Clayoquot Botanical Garden.

About six field trips were held over two days. The beginning of Day 1 focused on the rich and fascinating ethnobotanical traditions of Tla-o-qui-aht. Gisele Martin introduced us to traditional plant use, including the selection and testing of western red-cedar trees for bark and canoe building, games using sword fern fronds to improve one's ability to hold one's breath, and the use of Equisetum for hair growth. Most of the group then walked to the Schooner Cove dunes, which have several unique features. First, they are a microcosm of vegetation succession in west coast dune systems with a well defined Sitka spruce fringe forest along the foredune, open dunes dominated by seashore bluegrass (Poa macrantha), and Arctostaphylos mat along the forest edge.

The foredune is thickly vegetated with European beachgrass (Ammophila arenaria) which has likely accelerated succession by reducing sand movement into the dune. Some botanical highlights of the site include unique bryophyte hummockssurrounding very old silver burweed (Ambrosia chamissonis) plants, and populations of dune-obligates including black knotweed (Polygonum paronychia), beach morning glory (Convolvulus soldanella), American glehnia (Glehnia littoralis), and yellow sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia).

We then visited a poor-fen (bog) near the Tofino golf course that was one of Jim Pojar's doctoral study sites, led by Jim Pojar (peatland ecology), Barb Beasley (amphibians) and Karen Golinski (Sphagnum). The peatland developed above impermeable soil layers and is partially forested with western red-cedar (Thuja plicata) and shorepine (Pinus contorta var. contorta). Sphagnum hummocks alternate with copses of trees and depressions with sedges and rushes. Noteworthy species included three-leaf goldthread (Coptis trifolia) and western bog-laurel (Kalmia microphylla subsp. occidentalis) in flower.

Evening presentations were held at the Clayoquot Field Station. Adrian Dorst started the conference with a stunning presentation of his photographs of Clayoquot Sound. Jen Pukonen (Raincoast Education Society) presented her work on the root gardens of the Nu-chah-nuulth, which combined site assessment, historical ethnobotany, and community-based education about ethnobotany. Springbank clover (Trifolium wormskioldii), coast silverweed (Potentilla anserina subsp. pacifica), and northern rice-root (Fritillaria camschatcensis) were important sources of carbohydrates and were cultivated in maritime meadows throughout Clayoquot Sound.

Oluna and Adolf Ceska also presented the results of fungi diversity surveys of Clayoquot Sound (1997-2001 - see C. Roberts et al. 2004. Can. J. Bot. 82: 1518-1538) and Oluna's more recent work at Observatory Hill in Victoria. Both surveys revealed strikingly diverse fungal communities (551 taxa over 5 years in Clayoquot Sound and more than 900 taxa of macrofungi at Observatory

Hill, since the late November 2004). It is noteworthy that even after these Very thorough surveys, the rate of new species being discovered at the sites shows no sign of levelling off.

Day 2 focused on two areas at Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Carl Sieber led a foray along the backshore to the dunes about 1 km north. The Wickaninnish Dunes are the largest active dune system on Vancouver Island. Carl discussed the impacts to dune dynamics from European beachgrass along the Pacific Coast, and showed a recent Parks Canada project to restore sand movement from the beach to the dune. BOTANY BC participants pulled recolonizing beachgrass in the restored area to assist with the project. One highlight was to see Canada's largest population of silky beach pea (Lathyrus littoralis) in full bloom at the Wickanninish Dunes. This rare species in currently under assessment by COSEWIC and will be likely designated as an endangered species in Canada in the next few years.

Most of the group then headed south with Josie Osborne to pass through the old village site south of the Wickaninnish Centre and onto the rocky headlands beyond. These are interesting environments where plants are exposed to saltspray from winter storms and droughts during the late summer. Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana) and thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus) form a dense shrub thicket community on "haystack" rock islands where organic matter has accumulated. Oregon figwort (Scrophularia oregana), Mexican hedge nettle (Stachys mexicana), and giant vetch (Vicia gigantean) were intermixed on the site we visited; cow-parsnip (Heracleum maximum) and sea-watch (Angelica lucida) are often present as well.

BOTANY BC was, as always, coordinated and administered by Elizabeth Easton. She is amazing! Others who contributed to the organization or provided on-the-ground assistance included Andy MacKinnon (unfortunately sick with pneumonia), Gisele Martin (a charming guide and a wealth of local ethnoecological knowledge), Terry McIntosh (great hair and a new girlfriend too!), Jim Pojar (dreamily re-counting the halcyon days of his Ph.D. thesis in the peatlands near the airport), Karen Golinski (everything you wanted to know about Sphagnum but were afraid to ask), Barb Beasely (who knew newts were so clever?), Carl Sieber (who got everyone but Adolf and Oluna pulling Ammophila - SEE THE NOTE BELOW), and Josie Osborne (obviously an accomplished cat-herder from way back). Thanks also to Josie, George Patterson, and the staff of the Clayoquot Field Station for their excellent food, great facilities, and hospitality.

The BC botanical community showed their spirit at a special silent auction in support of Patrick Williston and Paula Bartemucci, whose young daughter, Wren, is undergoing treatment for cancer at Children's Hospital in Vancouver. A wide variety of wonderful items were donated including books, plants, wine, photographs, gardening tools, a butterfly net, several lovely hand-made craft items, and a course in forest ecology. We would especially like to thank our very generous local sponsors Jamie's Whaling Station for donating a whale-watching trip for two, Ocean Outfitters for also donating a whale-watching trip for two, and Breaker's Fresh Food Cafe, for donating a gift certificate. The auction was coordinated by Karen Golinski and Elizabeth Easton. For those who missed out and would like to make a donation, please contact Karen ( or Elizabeth (

BOTANY BC 2011 will be held in the Tatlayoko area of the western Chilcotins (accessible from the Bella Coola road) in early July. You'll hear more next spring, so make sure Elizabeth Easton has your email.


From: University of Georgia, Athens, GA - News Release June 14, 2010 Note: A photo of Nicholls is available at

Athens, Ga. - William "Wilf" Nicholls has been named director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia effective Sept. 15. He serves as director of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden in St. John's, Canada.

Prior to his role with the MUN Botanical Garden, Nicholls served as a research scientist at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden. During his career, he has published numerous articles in both the scientific and popular press. He has secured more than $2 million in major grants, partnerships and gifts in support of the MUN Botanical Garden and his research endeavours.

Among Nicholls' many and varied experiences are the breeding and release to the public of the Mandarin honeysuckle and the Starbright mock orange shrub; service as the principal investigator of the Plant Atlantic program for ornamental plant research and development; work at two university botanical gardens; management of the commercialization of plants and maintenance of a royalty stream to the MUN Botanical Garden; and doubling of the MUN Botanical Garden's budget through research funding and greater revenue generation, including a 60 percent increase in visitor numbers.

In addition to his service as director of the MUN Botanical Garden, Nicholls is jointly appointed to the MUN department of biology where he teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses.

"The Botanical Garden is one of the university's greatest treasures. We believe that we have attracted a director who can take an already wonderful facility to the next level," said UGA President Michael F. Adams of Nicholls' credentials and appointment as director of the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.

Nicholls also has private sector business experience, having owned and operated Backyard Veggies, a specialty gardening and consulting company. Nicholls earned his Ph.D. in botany from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. He earned his bachelor of science degree in botany from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, specializing in ecology, taxonomy and soil science.

Nicholls says his interest in joining the University of Georgia as director of the Botanical Garden stems from a number of factors, especially from the garden's emphasis on plant conservation and education. He believes the State Botanical Garden of Georgia offers a unique opportunity for him to foster education about plants while promoting conservation and the disciplines of taxonomy and identification.

"In a world where biodiversity is declining at an alarming rate ... a knowledge gap is growing, and this represents a huge opportunity and responsibility for botanical gardens to engage current and future students in learning the importance of plants, their habitats, and their interactions. It is a challenge that I relish and one that will be an important aspect of everything that we do in education, display and research at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia," Nicholls said.

Steve Wrigley, interim vice president for public service and outreach, whose office oversees operations of the garden, believes Nicholls is the right individual at the right time to lead the garden. "We are pleased to attract someone of the stature and experience of Dr. Nicholls. I believe he will build on the strong foundation at the Botanical Garden and will establish new directions in the garden's service mission, as well as enhance its ties to the university's academic departments and to communities across Georgia," Wrigley said.

"I am delighted that Dr. Nicholls will enhance programming at the garden for the university's students, faculty, and staff, while at the same time expanding outreach and engagement endeavors with our local community as well as around the state," said Jere Morehead, UGA senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. "His teaching, research and entrepreneurial experience will provide significant opportunities to strengthen the interconnectedness of UGA's teaching, research and outreach mission related to plant and environmental conservation."

Nicholls will fill the position formerly held by Jeff Lewis, who served as director from 1989-2009. Shirley Berry currently serves as interim director.

For more information on the garden, see


From: Adolf & Oluna Ceska

We have been visiting Long Beach since we came to Victoria in the fall of 1969, but we have not seen any changes to the beach ecology as drastic as the one we saw on our recent BOTANY BC trip. Big-head sedge (Carex macrocephala) is dying off. Stands of kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) are also dying down.

When we came to Victoria back from BOTANY BC, we contacted the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve twice and asked them if they had noticed and if they had studied that decline. We have not heard from their staff, with the exception of the receptionist who answered the phone. Perhaps they were so busy in their futile effort to remove Ammophila from the Park that they did not have time to respond to our query.

Do you believe that the removal of Ammophila from Long Beach is a realistic goal? If yes, you have not read Rejmánek, M. & M. J. Pitcairn. 2002. "When is eradication of exotic pest plants a realistic goal?" pp. 94-98 in C. R. Veitch & M. N. Clout (eds.), Turning the Tide: The Eradication of Invasive Species. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

In our opinion, any effort to remove Ammophila arenaria and Ammophila breviligulata from the Long Beach area is bound to fail. Moreover, the removal attempts may cause some irreversible damage to the Park, and in the end, if you are lucky, you will end up with about the same amount of Ammophila as before you started.

Has anybody looked at the cause of Carex macrocephala and Arctostaphyllos uva-ursi drastic decline? Is there any connection between these declines and the Ammophila removal?

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