ISSN 1188-603X

No. 129 March 11, 1996 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


Friday March 15, 1996 9:30 - 4:30
Abbotsford Agriculture Centre
1767 Angus Campbell Road
Abbotsford, B.C.

The formation of this group is perceived to be developmental and consensus driven, thus there is a reluctance to outline a structured agenda. ... Please come with an open mind and a plenitude of ideas and commitment. ...

Phone to Diane Gertzen (604-930-3309, fax 604-775-1288) for more information [or registration?].

DAVID LYALL (1817-1895)

From: Dr. W.A. Weber (

I don't know whether you know more about Lyall than this, but I had a request from a lady in Evergreen who has a friend by the name of Lyall, and wonders whether David Lyall was an ancestor. I was able to dig up this wonderful obituary by Hooker and wonder whether you would like to send it out in the newsletter. In the American books on our botanical history he is simply not mentioned except in the introduction to Piper's Flora of Washington. I think field botanists in America need to know more about this fellow.

The following is the obituary of David Lyall published by J. D. Hooker in J. Bot. 33: 209-211. 1895.

David Lyall was born in Kinkairdineshire, June 1st, 1817, and after a long period of active service as a medical officer and naturalist in the Royal Navy, he retired in 1873, and died at Cheltenham, March 2nd, 1895, with the rank of Deputy Inspector-General of Hospitals and Fleets and a Good-Service Pension. Dr. Lyall received his medical education at Aberdeen where he had his M.D. degree, having previously been admitted a Licentiate of the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. As was not unfrequently the case with young Aberdonian medical men, he sought to improve his medical knowledge, and threw himself early on his own resources, by undertaking a journey to Greenland as surgeon to a whaling ship; and this no doubt led to his being selected, immediately after entering the Royal Navy in 1839, for service under Sir James Ross in the expedition being fitted out for a scientific voyage to the Antarctic Regions. He was appointed Assistant-Surgeon of H.M.S. 'Terror' (the consort of H.M.S. 'Erebus') under Commander Crozier, to which duties Sir James (the Captain) Ross added those of forming botanical collections.

During the voyage which did not return to England till late in 1842, his conduct was officially reported to the Admiralty as "meriting the highest commendations." The writer of this notice was a brother officer of Dr. Lyall's during that expedition (an intercourse that led to a life-long friendship) and has added his tribute to the value of his services in the following passages: "To him were due many of the botanical results of the Expedition" (Fl. Antarctica vol. 1, p. xii). "He formed a most important herbarium amounting to no less than 1500 species." He also, during the five winter months of 1842, when the ships remained in Berkeley Sound, made a "beautiful collection of interesting Algae", which formed "an important addition to Antarctic Botany" (op. cit., part 11, 215). On this expedition was found, in Kerguelen Island, the remarkable plant named by the writer Lyallia [kerguelensis, Caryophyllaceae].

Shortly after the return of the Antarctic Expedition, Dr. Lyall was appointed to the Mediterranean, where he served in several commissions as Assistant Surgeon till 1847, when he was promoted, and at the recommendation of Sir William Hooker, was selected as Surgeon and Naturalist to accompany Capt. Stokes in H.M.S. 'Acheron' on the survey of the coast of New Zealand. Here, devoting himself to the collection of the lower orders of plants especially, he amassed the most beautiful and extensive herbarium in these branches of botany which had ever been found in the islands, besides making considerable discoveries in phaenogamous plants, and collecting some of that had been previously gathered by Banks and Solander. Among one of his many important discoveries in this survey were that of the monarch of all buttercups, the gigantic white-flowered Ranunculus Lyallii, the only known species with peltate leaves, the "water-lily" of the New Zealand shepherds.

In 1852, Dr. Lyall was appointed Surgeon and Naturalist to the 'Assistance', one of the squadron sent out to the Arctic Regions under the commander of Sir E. Belcher, in search of Sir John Franklin. When in this service he received an acting order as lieutenant in command of one of the sledges employed in the search, and further, as senior medical officer of the expedition, he was appointed Superintending Surgeon of the 'North Star', when the crews of the 'Assistance' and 'Pioneer' retreated to that ship. During this Arctic Expedition Dr. Lyall made good collections at every point visited, from Disko to Polar Islands. A list of these is published in the Journal of the Linnean Society. It contains about ninety phaenogams and vascular cryptogams and a large number of musci, etc. Exclusive of Greenland, this is by far the largest herbarium ever formed in the American Polar Islands, and exceeds the sum of those of all previous expeditions in the same regions; but, as was to have been expected, no novelties rewarded his labours. On his return he was appointed to the 'Pembroke', Capt. Seymour, under whom he served throughout the Baltic Campaign of 1855 [Crimean War], and was present at the bombardment of Sveaborg [Suomenlinna, then in Russian hands].

After a short period of home service in the 'Royal William' at Devonport, Dr. Lyall was commissioned as Surgeon and Naturalist to H.M.'s surveying ship 'Plumper' and afterwards to the 'Hecate', under Captain (now Admiral Sir George) Richards, employed in the delimitation of the sea boundary between Great Britain and the United States in the Pacific Ocean. From this his services (in 1858) were transferred to the Land Boundary Commission, under Col. Sir John Hawkins, R.E., which he accompanied in its survey of the boundary line between British Columbia and the United States possessions, from the Gulf of Georgia to the summit of the Rocky Mountains. From this exploration Dr. Lyall brought home a magnificent herbarium, one of such importance that, at the earnest representation of Sir William Hooker, he was borne on the books of H.M.S. 'Fisguard' at Woolwich as Staff Surgeon, a vicarious appointment that allowed of his residing at Kew for the purpose of arranging, reporting on, and distributing his collections. The results are published in a valuable contribution to the Linnean Society* which contains an account of the regions traversed, from the sea to 8,000 feet alt. of the Rocky Mountains, where the various zones of vegetation in British Columbia are for the first time indicated and scientifically portrayed. Immediately after the conclusion of his labours at Kew, Dr. Lyall was appointed Surgeon to Pembroke Dockyard, at that time a permanency, and when the regulations affecting this branch of the service (the dockyard) were changed in 1868, he accepted home appointment to H.M.S. 'Trincomalee' and 'Daedalus' consecutively till 1873, when he retired. Latterly he resided at Cheltenham, where shortly before his death he met with an accident, the breaking of an arm, from which he never wholly recovered.

Dr. Lyall's only other published contribution to science was a paper on the habits of a remarkable New Zealand bird, the Kakapo, Strigops habroptilus**. He married in 1866 to Miss F.A. Rowe, daughter of Dr. Rowe of Haverfordwest, by whom he had three children who survived him. He was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society in November, 1862.

* Account of the botanical collections made by David Lyall, R.N., M.D., F.L.S. Journal of the Linnean Society vii (1863): 124-147.
** Proc. Zoological Society xx (1852): 31-33.


From: Loren Russell, Corvallis, OR (loren@PEAK.ORG) originally posted on Alpine-L the Electronic Rock Garden Society (ALPINE-L@HEARN.NIC.SURFNET.NL)

A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to go over a thesis proposal for a graduate student in forest resources. Her interest is in the way reproductive systems of various native forest herbs determine their response/recolonization following fire, logging, or other disturbance.

What was striking to me was her comment that faculty have been advising students away from studies of herbaceous plants because "you can't grow them." It seems that some previous local work with the likes of trilliums, erythronium, baneberry, asarum, and such failed because they don't behave like douglas-fir. And so this was seen as a death trap for theses! [I was consulted via "buzz" from a workshop I presented for the local Native Plant Society last spring.]

I pulled out my usual resources -- Deno (1993), back issues of the AGS and NARGS bulletins -- totally unknown to local foresters (and botanists). Betsy's thesis proposal seems now to be going through. Grey literature or not, the thesis advisor [himself a backyard nurseryman] was persuaded that "the little green things" will germinate.

Another example of the isolation of scientists from our culture was work, also at Oregon State University, on the reproductive biology of the Umpqua population of Kalmiopsis leachiana (soon to be K. fragrans, I understand). One of the students complained that they had transplanted, with great care, a number of Kalmiopsis, and that all of them promptly died. I told him: "Of course, and why didn't you take cuttings?" Never heard of such a thing. And hadn't seen even one of the many horticultural publications on this species (and this population).

Ref.: Deno, N.C. 1993. Seed germination theory and practice. 2nd Edition. 242 p. Published and distributed by the author [Dr. Norman C. Deno, 139 Lenor Drive, State College, PA 16801, USA].


From: Tom Volk ( originally posted on bionet.mycology

I have just updated my Mycology web page, whichh can be found at the following URL:

Improvements include moving most of the inline images to other pages, so the first page will load faster. There is a link to over 800 of my images of fungi (currently under major reorganization and revision) at a University of Wisconsin Gopher site. There are descriptions and pictures of the fungi we work on at the Forest Products Lab here in Madison, including a new key to North American Armillaria species, including in-line images. There are some miscellaneous in-line images of some other fungi. There is also a bit of information about the Wisconsin Mycological Society.


From: Roy Reehil ( originally on bionet.mycology

I would like to share the address of our electronic club newsletter with any interested mycologists. Included are stories of local and national interest, a laugh, and a recipe now and then. Link to NAMA/NEMF 96 Foray home page (new). Created by Dave Fischer, VP of NEMF and organizer of last years NEMF foray. Includes registration info, costs, faculty and location description.

Roy Reehil
Editor, Central New York Mycological Society Newsletter

Submissions, subscriptions, etc.: BEN is archived on gopher The URL is: gopher:// Also archived at