ISSN 1188-603X

No. 165 May 13, Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2

HAROLD A. SENN (1912-1997)

From: FNA Newsletter 11(1): 5. [abbrev.]

Harold A. Senn died on 22 January 1997 in Victoria, B.C. He was born on 12 January 1912 in Caledonia, Ontario. He received his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from McMaster University on Hamilton, Ontario, and went to the University of Virginia to complete his Doctorate of Philosophy in Plant Genetics in 1937. After postdoctoral work at Harvard University's Arnold Herbarium, he joined the Canadian Department of Agriculture in Ottawa as a botanist. From 1960-1978, he was Director of the Biotron at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He and his wife retired to Victoria, where he pursued his lifelong love of gardening, developing a special interest in rhododendrons from around the world. Dr. Senn was a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a life member of the Agriculture Institute of Canada.


Reveal, J.L., F. Caplow, & K. Beck. 1997.
Eriogonum codium (Polygonaceae: Eriogonoideae), a new species from south-central Washington. Rhodora 97(1995 [sic!] No. 892): 350-356.

Eriogonum codium, a low, matted, cespitose perennial with tomentose flowers and achenes found on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, Benton Co. Washington, U.S.A., is described as a new species. It belongs to the same group of matted perennials in the subgenus Eucycla as E. chrysops but has a cymose-umbellate inflorescence similar to E. cusickii. The tomentose flowers and achenes readily distinguish the new species from all of its near relatives. Eriogonum codium is highly restricted in its distribution. Approximately 5000 plants grow interruptedly in a narrow band 2.5 km long and less than 30 m wide. The Hansford Site is currently managed by the U.S. Department of Energy. Any change of ownership or management of this area could potentially threaten the viability of this highly restricted species.

Barkworth, M.E., R.L. Burkhamer, & L.E. Talbert. 1997.
Elymus calderi: a new species of the Triticeae (Poaceae). Systematic Botany 21(3): 349-354.

The authors examined the type specimen of Agropyron yukonense and concluded that the holotype probably represents "one of the many sterile hybrids that occur in Triticeae." None of the other 60-70 specimens identified as A. yukonense (or one of its synonyms) matched the holotype or the original description. This suggests that the non-holotype plants represent a new species. Morphological, cytogenetic, and molecular results support inclusion of the new species in Elymus. The name Elymus calderi Barkworth is proposed in honor of J. A. Calder, a taxonomist who worked extensively in western Canada. Elymus calderi grows in the Yukon Territory, eastern Alaska, and northern British Columbia, on benches and in sandy alkaline soils, often forming large stands.


Compton, Brian D., Bruce Rigsby and Marie-Lucie Tarpent, eds. 1997.
Gitksan Ethnobotany by Harlan I. Smith (1925-1927). Mercury Series Paper 132, Canadian Ethnology Service. Canadian Museum of Civilization, Hull, Quebec. 210 p. $27.95 ISBN 0-660-15968-6 [hardcover] Cost CND$27.95

This document represents an edited version of a manuscript from the Canadian Museum of Civilization prepared between 1925 and 1927 by Harland I. Smith on Gitksan ethnobotany. It contains information on 112 botanical species with traditional cultural roles among the Gitksan [northwestern British Columbia].

The publication is available from the Canadian Museum of Civilization (tel.: 1-800-555-5621, e-mail:


From: "Thomas G. Lammers" (lammers@FMPPR.FMNH.ORG) originally on TAXACOM (TAXACOM@CMSA.BERKELEY.EDU)

The third and last volume of "Michigan Flora," by Edward G. Voss, was published in late December 1996. Like the first two volumes, this beautiful hardback book was subsidized by the Hanes Fund, so it is an incredible bargain. All three parts of the Flora can be ordered by sending a check in U.S. dollars, payable to "University of Michigan Herbarium," to: University of Michigan Herbarium, North University Building, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1057. The prices quoted below include packing and postage. Sorry, but credit card orders cannot be accepted.

For more information, call Linda Williams in the UM Herbarium (313 764-2407, or see the Herbarium's Web site:


Once upon a time the British scientific weekly New Scientist used to publish an April Fools' issue called Old Scientist. As much as I like New Scientist, the Old Scientist was the issue I was always looking for.

Their tradition was discontinued some time ago, but as you might have noticed, it still survives in BEN. With a very few exceptions, April Fools' postings on BEN are real articles. Only the story of frozen Jara da Cimrman (BEN # CXXXII) was a hoax. Jara da Cimrman is a ficticious Czech genius who was created by Ladislav Smoljak and Zdenek Sverak. (Zdenek Sverak wrote a script to the Oscar winning Czech film "Kolya," and played the musician; his real son Jan Sverak directed the movie.) Jara da Cimrman, a multifaceted genius, became an object of many studies and Jan Rehacek's contribution posted on April 1996 BEN was a good example of these.

The article that hit the screens of many BEN readers was indeed taken from The Week in Germany - January 8, 1993. It is my suspicion that in their article on messy desks the German writers tried to repair the image of Germans all around the world as being obsessively punctilious.

The "volcano" model brought an animated reaction from many BEN readers: it is always good to know the name of the syndrome you are afflicted with even if there is no cure for it. My co-worker with whom I used to share an office for quite a few years went even further in her organizational technique:

"There is quite a lot of truth in the article on messy desks. However, where are the times when I still operated within the 'volcano' model! In the present time I have more something like 'lava flows' - everything is spread evenly wherever you look. I am also often sharing the experience of Mr. Vrba. My cottage is raided by robbers several times each winter and thanks to my 'lava flow' technique, the robbers have never been able to find the valuable stuff that I keep there embeded in the lava."


From: Janos Podani (

Please note that there was an error in the SYN-TAX web homepage address. It should be:

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