ISSN 1188-603X

No. 293 July 12, 2002 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Del Meidinger & Andy MacKinnon []

This year's Botany BC was held in conjunction with Botany WA, June 16-19, in the Castlegar area of southern British Columbia. Sixteen WA botanists joined the 60 BC botanists at Selkirk College, Castlegar for an interesting few days. Selkirk College provided excellent facilities for the presentations, for reasonable accommodations, and excellent food. Adolf Ceska organized much of the meeting with local details ably handled by Denise Chernoff at Selkirk College, and registration and other administrative details dealt with by Elizabeth Easton. Tom Braumandl suggested most of the field trip locations and led the group to each site. These folks provided the organization that is required for a successful Botany BC.

Presentations covered topics such as geology and ecology of the area, impacts of the Trail smelter and remediation efforts, vernal pools, rare plants, and electronic botanical `keys'. See program at the Botany BC web site:

Following an excellent presentation by Diana and Alex Inselberg on past Botany BCs, it was suggested that we should gather photos and agendas from previous BBCs on the Botany BC Website (being careful, of course, to avoid actually accomplishing anything.) If you have photos (digital or otherwise) or other BBC memorabilia from past years, please forward to Del Meidinger.

Field trips were conducted to many locations including: mid-elevation, serpentine-influenced meadows, dry south-facing Douglas-fir - Ponderosa pine forests, a low elevation riverside area to see the rare (in BC) plant Hesperostipa spartea, old growth western hemlock - western redcedar forests, a Carex sitchensis/aquatilis fen, and drylands on bluffs above the Kettle River. The weather cooperated overall, with sunny and warm, but not hot, temperatures. The rain that did fall did so during the early morning and during the presentations. One field trip was cut short due to rain at the high elevations (Grassy Mountain). Conducting field trips for over 70 folks with 20+ vehicles is definitely a challenge, and one that probably needs to be addressed in future get-togethers. Species lists from the field trips will be posted on the Botany BC web site near the end of July.

After-dinner speakers and events added to our enjoyment. After the excellent Doukhobor dinner, Ron Walker showed us many of his outstanding plant photos. On the next evening, we heard about various plants threatening botanists (Craig DeLong) and the history of Spinach and Civilization (Adolf Ceska), and everyone got a chance to play "Who Doesn't Want to be a Millionaire". This was after the annual meeting, where again, the membership attending voted not to elect an executive for Botany BC.

Botany BC 2003 is to be held in Bella Coola with the main organizers being Andy MacKinnon, Matt Fairbarns, Elizabeth Easton, and Leanne Kaupp. Anyone else interested in helping, contact:


From: Fred Ganders [], Rose Klinkenberg & Brian Klinkenberg []

Until now, Bidens amplissima E. Greene, Vancouver Island Beggarticks, has generally been considered endemic to British Columbia, with its distribution limited to southern Vancouver Island and the Lower Fraser Valley. A single record exists from an "experimental farm" , Manitoba, [G. A. Stevenson 523 (WIN), 14 Oct 1952] cited in Scoggan (1978-1979). This specimen was examined, and is Bidens amplissima, but almost certainly represents an accidental human introduction. Whether the species persists there requires further field work. A single redetermined specimen from the Kimsquit River Estuary [52 deg. 53' N. 127 deg. 05' W.] is likely an accidental introduction, dispersed by ducks along the Pacific Flyway. It is not certain if the species persists there. The occurrence of this species in Washington State, U. S. A., has been overlooked because collectors have misidentified it as Bidens cernua L. These misidentifications of Bidens amplissima as B. cernua are the result of the use of an unreliable leaf character for identification, despite the existence of a reliable achene character included in keys in Sherff (1937), Cronquist (1955), and Hitchcock & Cronquist (1973).

Bidens amplissima was described by E. L. Greene in 1901 from a specimen (J. Macoun 73) from along the Somass River, Vancouver Island, although it had previously been named in 1842 as B. cernua var. elata by Torrey and Gray. Sherff (1937) monographed the entire genus Bidens, and his description and keys to B. amplissima were based on 5 herbarium specimens, all presumably from Vancouver Island (two early ones have no specific locality). Descriptions and keys in all floristic treatments since Sherff (1937) are based on his monograph. For example, Cronquist's description and key (Cronquist 1955) are condensed from Sherff and translated into English (Sherff's were in Latin). The key was slightly modified in Hitchcock and Cronquist (1973). Douglas's description (Douglas et al. 1998) is simplified from Cronquist (1955) and his keys (Douglas et al. 1989, 1998) are modified from Hitchcock and Cronquist (1973), although Douglas's key omits the achene character used by both Sherff and Cronquist. Incidentally, Sherff and Cronquist considered B. amplissima endemic to Vancouver Island. Douglas, having seen many more specimens of B. amplissima than Sherff or Cronquist, accepted mainland populations as belonging to the species (Douglas et al. 1989, 1998). Neither Sherff nor Cronquist examined specimens from UBC. All published descriptions of B. amplissima in the last 70 years, except Ganders et al. (2000), imply that all plants of this species have some tripartite leaves as well as some simple, unlobed leaves.

One of us has observed a population of B. amplissima containing both tripartite-leaved plants and unlobed-leaved plants in Jericho Park, Vancouver, for over 20 years. Incidental to other studies, both isozymes (Helenurm & Ganders 1985) and ribosomal ITS DNA base sequences (Ganders et al. 2000) were studied in this population, with no differences found between tripartite and unlobed-leaved plants. Large plants seem more likely to have tripartite leaves than small ones in this population. During the summer of 1998, water levels were low in the pond where the population grows, and all plants were quite small. None of the plants had tripartite leaves, and two plants had only a single leaf with one lobe on one side, all the rest being unlobed. We suspect absence of tripartite leaves can be environmentally determined in at least some cases.

During field work in 1999 and 2000 for a COSEWIC status report (Klinkenberg & Klinkenberg, 2001), two of us collected Bidens amplissima, B. cernua, and Bidens tripartita L. from 30 localities in British Columbia. At numerous localities there were plants which closely resembled B. amplissima in achene and ray floret characters, but some had tripartite leaves, some had all unlobed leaves similar to B. cernua, and some showed variation in the degree of lobing. Following investigations, and referring to Ganders et al. (2000) these were considered to be B. amplissima.

Specimens of Bidens amplissima at UBC without any tripartite leaves, and some with just one lateral lobe on some leaves, were annotated (correctly, we believe) by G. G. Douglas as early as April 1976. The presence of tripartite leaves is not well correlated with the other morphological characters that distinguish B. amplissima from B. cernua, except on Vancouver Island where plants of B. amplissima are very uniform and have tripartite leaves.

Even although no one has ever claimed that all of the leaves on Bidens amplissima are tripartite, authors and collectors seem to have considered that just one tripartite leaf is enough to consider a specimen as B. amplissima, and that at least one tripartite leaf is required to define a specimen as B. amplissima. Our conclusion, however is that many plants of B. amplissima lack tripartite leaves, and that these are almost always identified as B. cernua in herbaria.

It is not at all surprising that leaf characters in Bidens amplissima are variable and taxonomically unreliable. Sherff (1937) named many taxa based solely on leaf characters. No one who has studied Bidens experimentally has supported Sherff's taxonomic treatment and, specifically, they have rejected Sherff's taxa based on leaf variation (Ballard, 1986; Ganders & Nagata, 1990; Ganders et al., 2000; Gillett & Lim, 1970; Hart, 1979; Roseman, 1986). For example, concerning Bidens pilosa L., Ballard (1986) states, "However, many characters within this taxon are highly variable. For example, the plants may be erect or decumbent; leaflets may be simple, tripartite, or highly dissected; . . . Sherff (1937) used these morphological variations to separate this species into six varieties and many forms. Field and greenhouse observations, however, have shown that many of these variations (e. g., leaf dissection and ray-floret ligule color) commonly occur within a single population and therefore are taxonomically trivial."

Following recognition that specimens with unlobed leaves fit within the concept of B. amplissima, herbarium specimens of B. cernua and B. amplissima were borrowed from V, WTU, WWB, and OSC in order to investigate the possibility of misidentified specimens elsewhere. Quantitative studies of herbarium specimens and cluster analysis confirmed that the unlobed-leaved plants were B. amplissima. Besides the achene and ray floret characters, there are obvious differences in leaf length-width ratio, inflorescence morphology, and habitat preference between B. amplissima and B. cernua that make separation relatively easy (in prep.).

Numerous specimens labelled B. cernua from British Columbia, and five specimens from Washington, were determined to be B. amplissima.

  1. USA. Washington: King County, Seattle, Sand Point, Sphagnum bog, 28 August1932, Helmrich 89 (WTU 306069). Previously labelled B. cernua.
  2. USA. Washington: Snohomish County, along Snohomish River near Everett, abundant in meadows, 29 August 1937, Jones 10542 (WTU 128690). Labelled only as Bidens.
  3. USA. Washington: Whatcom County, Lake Whatcom, near water's edge, 4 October1963, Sundquist, 91 (WWB 5966). Previously labelled B. cernua.
  4. USA. Washington: Whatcom County, Lake Fazo, wet marshy shoreline, 14 September 1964, Sundquist 554 (WWB 9420). Previously labelled B. cernua.
  5. USA. Washington: Whatcom County, Lake Whatcom, foot of Alabama Street, shoreline, under Salix lasiandra and Salix sitchensis, 07 September 1967, Sundquist 1439 (WWB 11205). Previously labelled B. cernua.

The five specimens from King, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties establish that Bidens amplissima occurs on the east side of Puget Sound in Washington State. This substantiates the unvouchered, anecdotal report of B. amplissima from Washington State by Lyons and Merilees (1995).

The ramifications of this recognition of the variable leaf morphology of B. amplissima are that the species is now known to occur in more localities over a wider range than was previously recognized, and, unfortunately, that it can no longer be considered endemic to British Columbia. Also, the additional localities lower its status in British Columbia to rare or a species of concern, rather than threatened or endangered.

This, too, is not unprecedented in Bidens. Bidens cuneata Sherff was one of Sherff's many "species" based solely on leaf characters, and supposedly endemic to the summit of Diamond Head in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was listed as endangered by the U. S. federal government. When transplanted to cooler growing conditions in a growth chamber at the University of British Columbia, leaves were produced that were indistinguishable from Bidens molokaiensis (Hillebr.) Sherff. After Ganders & Nagata (1990) synonymized it with B. molokaiensis, it was officially delisted from the U. S. Endangered Species List.

Based on our investigations, the following key may be used to separate B. amplissima

1 Ray florets absent ........................ B. tripartita
1 Ray florets present, yellow ............................. 2

2 Summit of mature achenes convex and cartilaginous, heads nodding, fruiting heads on pressed specimens spherical, leaves never deeply three-lobed ............... B. cernua
2 Summit of mature achenes flat or concave, not cartilaginous, heads erect, fruiting heads on pressed specimens hemispherical, leaves often three-lobed ........................................... B. amplissima


Ballard, R. 1986.
Bidens pilosa complex (Asteraceae) in North and Central America. American Journal of Botany 73: 1452-1465.
Cronquist, A. 1955.
Vascular plants of the Pacific Northwest, part 5. University of Washington Press, Seattle.
Douglas, G. W., G. B. Straley, & D. Meidinger. 1989.
The vascular plants of British Columbia, part 1. Ministry of Forests, Victoria, B.C.
Douglas, G. W., G. B. Straley, D. Meidinger, & J. Pojar. 1998.
Illustrated flora of British Columbia, volume 1. Ministry of Environment, Lands, and Parks & Ministry of Forests, Victoria B.C.
Ganders, F. R. & K. M. Nagata. 1990.
Bidens. Pp. 267-283 In: Wagner, W.L., D. R. Herbst, & S. H. Sohmer. [eds.] Manual of the flowering plants of Hawai'i, University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.
Ganders, F. R., M. Berbee, & M. Perseyedi. 2000.
ITS base sequence phylogeny in Bidens (Asteraceae): Evidence for the continental relatives of Hawaiian and Marquesan Bidens. Systematic Botany 25: 122-133.
Gillett, G. W. & E. K. S. Lim. 1970.
An experimental study of the genus Bidens in the Hawaiian Islands. University of California Publications in Botany 56: 1-63.
Hart, C. R. 1979.
The systematics of the Bidens ferulaefolia complex (Compositae). Systematic Botany 4: 130-147.
Helenurm, K. & F. R. Ganders. 1985.
Adaptive radiation and genetic differentiation in Hawaiian Bidens. Evolution 39: 753-765.
Hitchcock, C. L. & A. Cronquist. 1973.
Flora of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press, Seattle.
Klinkenberg, B. & R. Klinkenberg. 2001.
COSEWIC status report on Vancouver Island Beggarticks (Bidens amplissima Greene). Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ottawa.
Lyons, C. P. & W. Merilees. 1995.
Trees, shrubs and flowers to know in British Columbia and Washington. Lone Pine Publishing, Edmonton & Vancouver.
Roseman, R. R. 1986.
A systematic study of Bidens section Greenmania in Mexico, Central America, and Jamaica: chemotaxonomy, cytotaxonomy and phenetics. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Iowa, Iowa City.
Scoggan, H. J. 1978-1979.
The flora of Canada. Parts 1-4. National Museum of Natural Sciences Publications in Botany.No. 7: 1-1626.
Sherff, E. E. 1937.
The genus Bidens. Field Museum of Natural History, Botanical Series 16: 1-721.


Fred Ganders & Rose Klinkenberg
UBC Herbarium, Department of Botany, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B. C., Canada V6T 1Z4

Brian Klinkenberg
Department of Geography and UBC Herbarium, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B. C., Canada V6T 1Z4


From: Mary Stensvold []


During recent years several new species of moonwort fern (Botrychium) have been discovered in North America. Their identity has been verified through enzyme electrophoresis. In several cases, the new species had previously been called common moonwort (Botrychium lunaria L.). All of this moonwort work has been done in North America, however it is possible that new species of Botrychium also occur in Eurasia. These may be species new to science, or may be the species recently discovered in North America. To test this I will analyze Eurasian and North American moonworts electrophoretically and morphologically to determine their true identity. After identifying the ferns, I plan to investigate moonwort differentiation over populational, regional, continental and global scales.

To do this work I need fresh moonwort fern material (Botrychium) to analyze electrophoretically in order to determine the fern's identity. The following are guidelines for collecting moonworts for electrophoresis. I will appreciate any material you send.

Procedures for collecting Botrychium for isozyme analysis


To do enzyme electrophoresis and morphological analysis, it is not necessary or desirable to collect the whole plant, just the above-ground leaf. If the leaf is carefully cut off at the soil level, not pulled off, so the underground stem and roots are not disturbed, removing the leaf does not kill or damage the below-ground portion of the plant. We know from tracking hundreds of individual plants over ten years that loss of the above-ground leaf has little or no effect on the plant's survival. In fact, in natural populations of the four species that have been followed, most plants do not produce an above-ground leaf every year. They may produce a leaf for several years, then skip a year or two, then resume above-ground growth. Moonworts are a lot like mushrooms, they are sustained underground by mycorrhizal fungi, and apparently do not put up a leaf if the preceding year has not been a good one for their fungal partner.


In the field, keep the plants in a plastic bag. Be careful not to let them sit in the sun and become cooked. Do not add any water or other source of moisture to the bag. When you return from the field, remove the plants from the bag and blot off any moisture that may be on them with a paper towel (this is especially important if it has been raining). Then place them into a small zip-lock bag and add one or two good-sized (fresh but not wet) leaves of some handy flowering plant. Then force out all the air, zip the bag closed, and store in a refrigerator or cool place until ready to mail. This process provides enough moisture to keep the plants in good condition without introducing free water, which causes the plants to rot. We have satisfactorily stored plants in a refrigerator for up to a month when they are carefully packaged as described here.

How many to collect:

Ideally, to characterize a species, about 30 leaves collected from several populations are best. This number provides sufficient confidence as to the common alleles and their frequency so tests of genetic similarity can be conducted. Two populations are better than one, three are even better. If I receive a fair number of plants in total (around 30), it does not matter if some of the populations are represented by just a few plants. Just a single plant from a different population tells a great deal about the distribution of alleles and genotypes, and about population genetics and history of the species. So, it is better to get one or two plants from a range of populations and a larger number from a couple of populations than it is to get the same total number of plants from just one or two populations.

Although collecting above-ground leaves does not seem to harm the plants, please don't collect more than 10% of the leaves present. Ten leaves from a population are plenty, assuming we will get 30 or more of a species in total (from various sources). If clearly different morphological types are present, each type should be represented in the collection, but keep in mind that small plants are often morphologically less complex than large ones and do not necessarily represent a different morphological type. A mixture of small, medium, and large plants is most informative.


It is not necessary to mail plants overnight. It is important to mail them via airmail. The package should be marked "Please Refrigerate". Please mail the plants in a padded envelope to me at the address below:

Mary Stensvold c/o Donald R. Farrar
Department of Botany
353 Bessey Hall
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011

Since I am working with several species of moonworts, I will appreciate receiving any amount of any moonwort fern species.

If you need further information regarding Botrychium collecting, or have any questions, please E-mail me at or at

What happens to your specimen after it reaches Iowa?

As soon as specimens arrive at the lab, they are logged in with the collector's name and collection data and are numbered for tracking through electrophoresis and voucher preparation. About 1 cm is clipped from the bottom of each stem, individually prepared for electrophoresis and frozen. The remainder of the specimen is carefully pressed and will be used for morphological analysis and prepared as a voucher specimen.

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