ISSN 1188-603X

No. 521 August 9, 2017 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6


From: Linda Jennings, Herbarium Manager, Assistant Curator Vascular Plants & Algae on July 25, 2017
For the Photo Plates see

This summer's BC wildfire season is likely to go on record as among the worst in recent history. We're hearing every day about the impacts to many interior communities, and this past week brought the impacts to the museum community as well.

Trevor Goward and Curtis Bjork, Co-Curators of the lichen collection at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum's Herbarium contacted the Director, Dr. Jeannette Whitton to ask for help in evacuating their collection, located near Clearwater, BC. Their community has been told to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice.

Trevor and Curtis maintain one of the largest and certainly most important personal lichen collections in North America at their Edgewood Herbarium, with over 20,000 specimens, including more than 100 species new to science. Trevor began this collection more than 40 years ago, and it has grown to the most comprehensive personal lichen collections in Canada.

They knew they needed to get the specimens out before the roads were closed, knowing their life's work could be lost. Plenty of ideas and offers came from concerned people offering their help. Our most gallant saviour UBC alumnus Derek Woods, a past collaborator of Trevor and Curtis, along with his friend Evan Morson-Glabik came to the rescue. Derek and Evan rented a U-haul in Vancouver, drove it to Upper Clearwater to pick up the specimens, and then turned around to deliver them to the Beaty Museum. With the specimens now safely away from the threat of fire, Trevor and Curtis can focus on protecting their house and property.

A team of volunteers met Derek at the museum to help unload the collection last Saturday. By Monday morning, the herbarium team - Olivia Lee, Erin Fenneman, Barbara Nato-Bradley and Linda Jennings - was in place to prepare the specimens for freezing, so that they can safely be worked on. Freezing is a chemical-free way of killing any unwanted pests that might be hiding among the specimens, and could damage these and other collections. The specimens were evacuated just in time - on Tuesday, as there was an evacuation order for parts of Clearwater.

We are glad to have been able to move quickly to protect this national treasure and are so thankful for all the help to get these collections here safely.

We are hoping for rain without lightning and no winds to come through BC to give all those who live and work in these regions a much needed break from this horrible disaster.

UPDATE by Linda Jenning: August 6th, 2017

The lichen collection has now been removed from our freezer, and distributed to offices and lab spaces within the Museum that were volunteered for interim storage, since the collection is too large to fit in any one room.

Since many people have asked what will happen to the collection next, we will make updates available on our Herbarium Instagram site that is open to the public, as the collection progresses forward. Our curators, Curtis and Trevor still need to stay in Clearwater to protect their home, as there is no relief of rain in sight. We will store the collection and wait for their curators to be out of harms way, so that they can come to the museum to properly work through the collection, to sort and organize the next stages of this precious collection.


From: Barbara Wilson, Carex Working Group, Corvallis, Oregon.

The Identification Key to the Grasses of Northern California and Northwestern Nevada (78 pages) is a tool for identifying all the grasses known to occur in that part of California from Lake and Placer counties north, and in Washoe and Humboldt counties, Nevada. This key provides a different approach than The Jepson Manual key and includes some rare weeds not covered in that standard reference.

Spiral bound, soft cover, and also available as a pdf. The first 66 pages include Identification. The rest are sections on grass morphology, some basic literature and the index to the species keys. It has the key to flowering grasses, the key to sterile grasses may come later. A useful feature for California people is that where there is a difference, scientific names from both The Jepson Manual and USDA Plants are listed. Common names are listed too. The key allows identification of all the grasses that I know or suspect occur in the wild in the area covered, including some less common introduced species that aren't in The Jepson Manual.

The key has been written by the Carex Working Group (CWG), known for their field and herbarium work on sedge and grass taxonomy and biogeography, and their many workshops to teach identification skills for these plant groups. CWG is also the author of The Field Guide to the Sedges of the Pacific Northwest.

For prices and ordering information go to


From: Bruce McCune (Originally posted on LICHENS-L)

I'm pleased to announce my new publication, Microlichens of the Pacific Northwest: Volumes 1 and 2. For information on purchasing, go to the publisher's website, (Note: it is not available through Amazon) Note that for overseas mailing you can save on shipping charges by pooling orders with others. Shipping is free within the U.S.

The two volumes comprising Microlichens of the Pacific Northwest provide, for the first time in one place, comprehensive illustrated keys to the genera (Volume 1) and species (Volume 2) of microlichens from the Pacific Northwest of North America. Microlichens are crustose lichens that encompass a vast range of forms and contribute greatly to the biodiversity of the region and the world; their species richness is, however, often unrecognized. These volumes will greatly enhance knowledge and appreciation of these fascinating organisms, as they provide a synthesis of what is currently known about their biodiversity, distribution, and abundance in the Pacific Northwest.

Volume 1, Key to the Genera (215 pages), provides a general introduction to microlichens, generously illustrated keys to the genera, a glossary, and an index. It includes 623 illustrations (mostly color photographs and a few black-and-white line drawings) and encompasses 253 genera. Volume 2, Key to the Species (755 pages), provides keys to 1424 species from the Pacific Northwest region that have main entries and 297 additional species with secondary treatments that have been reported from neighboring regions with possible occurrences in the Pacific Northwest, for a total of 1721 species. Brief descriptions of each species are embedded in the keys.

Volume 2 includes 479 illustrations (line drawings and b/w photos). While the geographic area covered by the books is the watershed-based boundary of the Pacific Northwestern United States (south of the US-Canadian border, inland to western Montana and northwestern Wyoming, and dipping into northwestern California), the treatments will also be useful in a much broader area of the western U.S. and Canada, as well as the rest of the Northern Hemisphere.

The books are intended largely for use by serious amateurs or professional lichenologists. A compound microscope will be necessary to identify many of the species, although some genera - and even species - can be identified without using a compound microscope. I invite you to "dig in" - advance your appreciation of microlichen diversity. Enjoy!


From: Adolf Ceska For the Photo Plate see

In the spring of 1991, British Columbia provincial government introduced an email system to their employees. One of my colleague botanist seized this opportunity and established a dream interpretation service, where the participants were sending their dreams and received semi-professional dream interpretations in return. I saw his action as a misuse of the then starting internet lists and used my friend's mailing list for sending around short notices that would interest my follow botanists, mainly those working in the British Columbia provincial government. Mind you, it was after the owner of the dream interpretation circle gave me two successive interpretations of my dreams that were silly and totally unprofessional!

I do not remember the first note I sent to this "dream interpretation circle", the second one was about the discovery of sex in the bryophyte Takakia. For the third note I already introduced the name BEN (Botanical Electronic News) and a few issues later I received an ISSN number for it, in order to make it official. For the first twelve issues I still used, with permission, the BC government email system.

At the same time, my friend and internet visionary, the late Gary Shearman, offered me to host BEN on the Victoria Freenet Association system (VIFA). That organization was just in its embryonic state when this switch of the provider happened. The first BEN issue on VIFA (with its No. 13) was a real disaster, since this particular posting created an e-mail storm and everybody got that issue around 70-times before I managed to stop it. Surprisingly many BEN subscribers remained faithful to BEN and stayed on the mailing list.

Few years later, in 1995, Scott Russell offered me to archive BEN on the Oklahoma University web site and brought BEN to a higher, more professional level. The web site Scott Russell established for the web archive ( contains all the BEN issues since 1995 (BEN issues prior to 1995 are archived at

I first met Scott Russell at the BOTANY 2000 meeting in Portland and our first BEN editorial meeting took place in the Italian Bastas Restaurant. See: ( with photos posted here: . The second BEN editorial meeting took place a month ago, on July 11, at the Fireside Grill on the outskirts of Victoria ( ). Scott's friend Pat Mash, my wife Oluna and our friend Thor Henrich joined us, Scott and Adolf, for that really warm meeting. (For some unknown reason we got a table closest to the real mocked gas fireplace that was on when we came, in a hot summer evening.)

All of us, participants, with the exception of Scott, were some time of our lives associated with the University of Victoria (UVIC) and the selection of the meeting site was also symbolic. The building, where the Fireside Grills operates, once belonged to the University of Victoria (from 1964 through 1977). Originally it was donated to the University of Victoria by Katherine Maltwood together with their Maltwoods' rich art collection. In 1997 Katherine Matwood's collection was moved to the UVIC campus and the building has switched hands of several Victoria restaurant businesses since then.

After a short business meeting, (if it runs well, don't tinker with it), Scott was exposed to the UVIC stories from the time of the declining flower children age of our UVIC years.

The meeting was rather clandestine and we remembered and thanked all the BEN associates who are helping us with running this venture. We also thanked all our BEN authors and BEN readers. I also thank to my friends who are checking and correcting my English ("Czechlish", according to Paul Feldman) and make BEN easier to read.

Submissions to the next BEN issue (# 522) should be emailed to me ( ) by Thursday, August 17.

Send submissions to

BEN is archived at