ISSN 1188-603X

No. 180 December 12, Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Adolf Ceska (

I apologize to Ian Gibson and Tony Trofymow for misspelling their names in BEN # 177.

Although "truffles" were mentioned in the title of Bryce Kendrick's series, the article dealt entirely with basidiomycetes (subphylum Basidiomycotina). The true truffles, formerly placed in the order Tuberales, belong to the Ascomycetes (subphylum Ascomycotina) and they certainly did not evolve from the families mentioned in BEN # 178. Kendrick (1992, fig. 4.11, page 58) derives hypogeous truffles (genus Tuber) from the epigeous cup fungi, e.g., Peziza, through the following line:

Peziza-like -> Genea-like -> Geopora-like -> Tuber

The order Elaphomycetales ("deer truffles") with a single genus Elaphomyces is another group of hypogeous ascomycetes. Elaphomyces lacks hymenium, and has spherical non-shooting asci that are produced randomly throughout the interior of the ascoma. "Since it no longer offers much in the way of visual clues about its possible epigeous ancestors, Elaphomyces may be the oldest of the hypogeous ascomycetes" (Kendrick 1992, p. 59).

Kendrick, B. 1992.
The Fifth Kingdom. 2nd Edition. Mycologue Publications, 8727 Lochside Dr., Sidney, BC, Canada V8L 1M8


From: Dr. David H. Wagner ( originally published in the Oregon Flora On-Line Newsletter Volume 1 Number 3 - Oregon State University - July 1995

There have apparently been instances in the past where well-meaning botanists have destroyed plant populations through over zealous collecting. The case most familiar to me concerns one of the world's rarest ferns, the pumice grape-fern, Botrychium pumicola. A student searching for new sites found two individuals of this species on Oregon's Tumalo Mountain in 1954 which he collected to make herbarium specimens. In the late 1970s I searched the top of Tumalo Mountain with friends. We were experienced fern hunters, but we found no Botrychium. I strongly suspect that the two plants removed in 1954 eliminated the population at this location. Today we would hope that botanists finding only one or two plants at a site would document their discovery with photographs and notes. Good photographs and careful field notes are increasingly acceptable for recording plant discoveries.

Nevertheless, from time to time, a field worker may encounter a small population of a plant and feel it is necessary to collect a bit of it for positive identification and documentation. The Native Plant Society of Oregon's Guidelines and Ethical Codes for botanists urges that a collector use good judgement and rules of thumb when deciding whether or not to collect. But in this case, what is a good rule of thumb? During the past 10 years, I have been using what I call the "1-in-20 Rule."

The 1-in-20 Rule dictates that a botanist never collect more than one out of twenty plants. It means NOT collecting ONE plant UNTIL you have found at least TWENTY. Only if twenty are found should you consider collecting one plant. And forty should be present before two are taken, and so on. The rule applies to parts of plants, also: remove no more than five percent (one-twentieth) of a shrub, one fern frond from a clump of twenty, 5% of a patch of moss, 5% of seeds from a plant. I use the 1-in-20 Rule whether I am collecting voucher specimens for the herbarium, doing rare plant work, or gathering common species for classroom use.

The 1-in-20 Rule does not obviate the need for good judgement. Only when a botanist has the knowledge to assess whether collecting is both ecologically justified and legally permitted should a specimen be taken. Any pertinent factor relating to the survival of a population needs to be superimposed on the 1-in-20 Rule. The main value of this rule of thumb is to provide a clear point of reference from which to begin assessing a situation. It helps a botanist determine how much time should be spent inventorying before sampling is appropriate. I suggest the 1-in-20 Rule as a minimal criterion to be met before any taking of a plant be considered.

There is at least a modicum of scientific logic behind this rule. Statistically, a population sample of nineteen is not significantly different from a sample of twenty. One population geneticist I consulted advised me that contemporary statistical theory would support the 1-in-20 Rule. Another pointed out, however, that repeated collecting would tend to reduce every population to nineteen individuals. This caution serves to emphasize that the 1-in-20 Rule is a rule of thumb, not a license to ravage.

An interesting line of argument in support of the 1-in-20 rule has developed since I first published the idea in the Bulletin of the Native Plant Society of Oregon in 1991. First, I received a letter from James Grimes of the New York Botanical Garden querying whether or not I had picked up the idea from a similar article he and others had published in the newsletter of the Idaho Native Plant Society a few years before. I honestly cannot recall seeing their note. Then, last year, four botanists from Australia and New Zealand published an article in the international journal, Taxon, which made essentially the same recommendation. Thus, three botanists or groups of botanists, deliberating independently, have arrived at the same standard. I submit that this concurrence from three separate sources speaks strongly for the sensibility of the 1-in-20 Rule.


From: Terry Spurgeon (

I am an archaeology graduate student (MA) at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, British Columbia) working with Dr. Jon Driver as my supervisor. Jon and I are working in the Pitt Polder (lower Fraser River valley) at present on a research project for the Katzie First Nation on the "Prehistoric Use of the Alouette River Drainage". Also, I have been working in the Pitt Polder area for more than a decade doing archaeology and have worked closely with Katzie and continue to do so. I am a past president of the Archeological Society of British Columbia, so I have been around a bit.

My thesis topic is going to address "wapato" (Sagittaria latifolia) a subject which interests me and has the support of the Katzie First Nation as well. There has been lots of talk about wapato but upon critical review there is less than a solid base of facts in the ethnographic work, none locally in arch. and plenty of apparent(?) confusion. Maybe I can cast some light on the subject from a different perspective as botanists have done plenty on Sagittaria.

Several Katzie women and men are interested in my pursuing the topic, and I now have a preliminary idea of what I will do as follows:

I have done a lot of reading research already (all the usual sources & some not so usual). Can always use more information. Have also done some preliminary looking in Polder for wapato (saw some) and will be recording modern locations (GPS) and tying in with other work. This info will be kept in confidence except for those researchers who request and the Katzie. I will need wapato for replication, identification, SEM (seeds, pollen, tissue etc.) and photography. Better info on distribution would be a good start. This is not good time of year for finding Sagittaria as tides high, water high, no blooms etc. but this is work for next summer. Nevertheless, I am spending a lot of time in the Polder looking and getting familiar with potential sites. Meanwhile there is much to do in research design work, comparative collections, document research, archives etc.

Thank you for anything you might be able to do for me to assist with information, including pointing me in new research directions.


Small, E. 1997.
Culinary herbs. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, Ont. Canada. 710 p. ISBN 0-660-16668-2 [hard cover] Price: $79.95 (CDN$ in Canada, US$ other countries).

Ordering information: Monograph Orders, NRC Research Press, M-55, National Research Council Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A 0R6 Phone: 613-993-0151, Fax: 613-952-7656 e-mail: web web:

This book is a comprehensive guide to culinary herbs grown in Canada and northern United States. It provides information on 85 genera and 125 species of culinary herbs including many references to less common herbs (e.g., wasabi, culantro). For each species, the author lists the scientific name and synonyms, English names and French names, description, taxonomy and history, cultivation notes, and "Additional notes." The subsections deal with the chemistry of plants, recipe references, medicinal uses, etc. The book is richly illustrated with over 400 line drawings. The author used many excellent drawings from old botanical publications, and four botanical artists provided original illustrations that match the quality of the old botanical illustrations. The book is well researched with more than 1500 references cited. About 120 internationally recognized experts reviewed the information. You can find their contribution to the book in many references, in the text cited as "personal communication," that bring additional, not previously published facts. For Internet addicts, the author provides a list of major web sites that deal with herbs. This is an excellent book for botanists and laypeople alike.

A short chapter of Culinary Herbs is available for viewing at


The New Scientist (6 December 1997, No.2111) published an interesting article on Wollemi Pine (Wollemia nobilis) written by Wilson da Silva. The article brings several new interesting facts: 1) the individual plant populations, 2 groups of trees known so far, show no genetic variation; 2) pollen of Wollemia is very similar to the mysterious fossilized pollen known as Dilwynites which is relatively abundant in the fossil record of Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica; 3) Wollemia can be easily propagated from seeds and cuttings. The article has several very interesting colour photographs of the plant and its habitat.


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