ISSN 1188-603X

No. 358 February 27, 2006 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


Butte Environmental Council presents The Vernal Pool Complexes of the Northstate: Biology, Conservation, and Management Conference

When: March 23 and 24, 2006
Where: Sierra Nevada Brewery, 1075 E. 20th Street, Chico, CA

Butte Environmental Council (BEC) is hosting this conference and tours on March 23rd and 24th from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Sierra Nevada Brewery in Chico. There will be presentations by eminent scholars and agency representatives concerning plant and animal species dependent on the vernal pool ecosystem, conservation efforts and needs, and what management techniques have been used to enhance the viability of certain sites. If you wonder why you need to attend, consider some of these facts. California has lost 95% of the estimated five |million acres of wetlands that were present in the 1780's (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2000). Four million original Central Valley wetland acres have been filled or degraded, leaving only 380,000 acres (Daly, Sundquist, Waldeck 1992). Vernal pools have been severely impacted. It is commonly accepted that vernal pool habitat losses are over 90% throughout their historic range (Wright 2002). With the Central Valley growing at twice the rate as the rest of the state this habitat continues to be lost at an alarming rate. The conference will assist planners, ranchers, conservationists, students, and builders to understand the importance of the vernal pool landscape and what mechanisms exist or are currently under development to protect the ecosystem.

For more info:


From: Peter F. Zika, WTU herbarium, Box 355325, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-5325, U.S.A.

The most recent classification of Juncus section Juncotypus Dumort. (syn. section Genuini) is found in Kirschner et al. (2002) and Balslev (1996). Members of the group are distinctive in having a seemingly lateral inflorescence and an erect inflorescence bract that resembles a continuation of the stem. In our area most of the species are leafless, and look like "stick- figures" with bladeless sheaths (cataphylls) and green, photosynthetic stems (culms). Some are important components of wetland and montane plant communities, like J. balticus Willd., J. effusus L., and J. drummondii E. Mey.

The Juncus effusus complex was left unresolved in the treatment by Brooks (2000) in the Flora of North America. Starting with the work of Lint (1977) the Pacific Northwest species have gradually been elucidated, but the taxa are still poorly known to most botanists in the region. A global perspective of J. effusus taxa and their relatives was provided by (Kirschner et al. 2002). To grasp the species in our area, it helps to examine the width of the stems. Our broad- stemmed members include introductions such as Juncus conglomeratus L. of Eurasia, and J. pylaei Laharpe of eastern North America. In British Columbia our common coastal native with a stout stem is J. effusus subsp. pacificus (Fernald & Wiegand) Piper & Beattie, but until recently it was confused with two introduced subspecies. These were sorted out nicely by Hamet-Ahti (1980), who discussed eastern North American taxa naturalized in British Columbia, while Zika (2003) illustrated and mapped the native subspecies of Juncus effusus on the west coast.

I agree with the European view that Juncus effusus is represented by a Eurasian subspecies, an African subspecies, and in North America by an eastern subspecies. Two more subspecies are found in western North America, one on the Mexican border, and the other from California to British Columbia (Zika 2003). These subspecies are united by their stout smooth stems, weak stem striations, similar fruits and tepal lengths. The subspecies show discrete distributions, but these have become more obscure due to their weedy tendencies where recently introduced and naturalized in the Pacific Northwest. The subspecies can be differentiated by native range and habit, as well as anther and sheath characters (Kirschner et al. 2002).

There are three slender-stemmed species of Juncus closely related to J. effusus in western North America (Snogerup et al. 2002). Two of these are found in British Columbia, J. laccatus Zika (syn. J. effusus var. gracilis Hook.), and J. hesperius (Piper) Lint (syn. J. effusus var. bruneus Engelm.). As Ceska (2001) points out these are easily separated from J. effusus by several sheath features, but they also differ in tepal color, stem width, fresh stem texture, and the number of stem striations or ridges when dry. Their ranges overlap broadly, and they often grow side by side while maintaining their differences, so I do not agree with other treatments that consider them geographic varieties of J. effusus. Hybrids between these taxa, and between them and J. effusus s. str. are quite rare. Their ranges also differ. Juncus hesperius is coastal in British Columbia, like J. laccatus, but to the south they diverge. In the Cascade Mountains and Sierra Nevada J. laccatus becomes montane, while J. hesperius is essentially coastal, all the way to southern California. With distinct morphology and discrete ranges, it is not surprising these taxa were recognized by early botanists like Englemann, Hooker, and Piper. But the emphasis on floral characters in regional works, like Hitchcock and Cronquist (1973) has obscured their prominent differences in stem and sheath structure.

Another trouble spot in Juncus section Juncotypus has long been the complex involving Juncus balticus Willd. and J. arcticus Willd. (see Ceska 2001). The concepts followed here are those of Snogerup et al. (2002), who showed we have one subspecies representing each taxon in western North America. These are separable by their stamens and by the shape of their ripe capsules. Both range far north into the American arctic. Juncus balticus grows further south, reaching Mexico. It is more much common than J. arcticus in our province, and J. balticus is the only member of section Juncotypus that grows in salt marshes. Both J. balticus and J. arcticus are found in eastern and northeastern British Columbia.

There are some closely related species that muddy the marsh. One is the coastal Juncus haenkei E. Mey. (syn. J. arcticus subsp. sitchensis Engelm.), found in the Russian Far East as well as southeastern and southwestern Alaska, and south to the Queen Charlotte Islands. The strong fruit beak immediately differentiates it from J. arcticus subsp. alaskanus Hulten, while short anthers distinguish it from J. balticus subsp. ater (Rydb.) Snogerup (syn. J. arcticus var. balticus (Willd.) Trautv.; J. balticus var. vallicola Rydb.; and J. balticus var. montanus Engelm.). Lint (1977) believed that the varieties of J. balticus might be worth recognizing in our area, and this still needs investigation. Our plants vary considerably in inflorescence size, stem diameter, sheath height, color and luster, but I have not found consistent ecogeographic patterns.

A fourth species in this group is Juncus breweri Engelm. (J. lescurii Bol. misapplied in Hitchcock and Cronquist 1973), which is found from the Queen Charlotte Islands south to California. Juncus breweri is restricted to coastal sand, and has a uniquely large and thickened perianth and dense flower head, among other differences.

A key is provided below to serve as a summary. The key is designed for mature plants, with roots, intact leaf sheaths with undamaged summits, and ripe fruits with seed. Anthers and filaments are preserved under the perianth (tepals), even late in the season when the plants are fruiting, so there is no need to make collections of flowering plants. I have verified at least one British Columbia herbarium specimen for each taxon.

Representative specimens for taxa not included in Ceska (2001).

A key to Juncus section Juncotypus in British Columbia

* = introductions

1. Long-rhizomatous, plants in linear or loose colonies.

   2. Fruiting perianth 6 - 8 mm long.

      3. Anthers equaling or 1.5 x as long as the 0.5 - 1.0 mm
         long filaments; stems round and erect; inflorescence
         sparse and usually slightly loose; from the Queen
         Charlotte Islands north to coastal Alaska and northeast
         Asia ............................  J. haenkei E. Mey.

      3. Anthers 4 - 5 x as long as the 0.2 - 0.4 mm long
         filaments; stems often slightly flattened and arching;
         inflorescence usually dense and hemispherical to
         globular; from the Queen Charlotte Islands south to
         California ......................  J. breweri Engelm.

   2. Fruiting perianth 3.0 - 5.5 mm long.

      4. Tepals and capsules green, pale brown, or pale reddish;
         anthers shorter than or equal to 0.5 - 0.9 mm long
         filaments; inflorescence usually near or below half way
         point from base of stem to tip of involucral bract
         ...................................  J. filiformis L.

      4. Tepals and capsules with dark brown to blackish
         coloration; anthers longer than 0.3 - 1.0 mm long
         filaments; inflorescence usually well above half way
         point from base of stem to tip of involucral bract.

         5. Anthers 1.2 - 2.2 mm long, 2 - 6 x as long as 0.3 -
            0.7 mm long filaments; inflorescence usually
            diffuse; mature fruit usually shorter than tepals
            J. balticus Willd. subsp. ater (Rydb.) Snogerup
            [see Editorial Note below]

         5. Anthers 0.6 - 1.2 mm long, slightly longer than 0.5
            - 1.0 mm long filaments; inflorescence usually
            compact; mature fruit usually longer than tepals.

            6. Capsule blunt to truncate, abruptly tapered to
               very short persistent stylar beak 0.0 - 0.2 mm
               long; inner tepals blunt, margins broadly
               scarious; inflorescence bract less than 6 cm long
               .  J. arcticus Willd. subsp. alaskanus Hulten

            6. Capsule acute to acuminate, gradually tapered to
               prominent beak, beak + persisting style 0.3 - 1.0
               mm long; inner tepals acuminate, margins narrowly
               scarious; inflorescence bract usually 10 - 20 cm
               long .......................  J. haenkei E. Mey.

1. Cespitose, plants in dense tufts like a bunchgrass.

   7. Stamens 6; seeds blunt (1 species) or with long tails
      nearly equaling seed body.

      8. Seeds blunt; inflorescence usually near or below half
         way point from base of stem to tip of involucral bract
         ...................................  J. filiformis L.

      8. Seeds with long tails; inflorescence well above half
         way point from base of stem to tip of involucral bract.

         9. Sheaths bladeless, apex with hair-like bristle;
            capsule apex notched ......  J. drummondii E. Mey.

         9. Sheaths with well-developed leaf blades resembling
            the stems; capsule apex acute .. J. parryi Englem.

   7. Stamens 3; seeds with blunt or short-apiculate tips.

      10. Fresh upper stems dull or matt, evidently ridged near
          inflorescence (roll several stems together to feel
          ridges); dried stems usually coarsely ridged, ridges
          visible in high relief on dried stems; dried ridges
          capped with shiny papillose cells (use 10x

          11. Inflorescence bract swollen at base of
              inflorescence; in fruit bract often somewhat
              reflexed; sheath bases warm reddish-brown; upper
              sheaths 15-23 cm long; inflorescence capitate or
              lobed; 18-24 ridges visible on one side of stem
              .........................  J. conglomeratus L. *

          11. Inflorescence bract not swollen; in fruit bract
              erect; sheath bases dark red-brown to more usually
              purplish-black; upper sheaths 5-12 cm long;
              inflorescence usually open; 8 -16 ridges visible
              on one side of stem .......  J. pylaei Laharpe *

      10. Fresh upper stems shiny, smooth or nearly so near
          inflorescence, striations inconspicuous until dried,
          dried stems usually with finer ridges, these visible
          in lower relief on dried stems; dried ridgetops lined
          with low dull cells.

          12. Upper sheath apex strongly asymmetrical on
              fruiting stems.

              13. Sheath apex strongly thickened, with a raised
                  rim; sheath dark brown to black; fruiting
                  stems stout, 2.2- 4.9 mm thick just above
                  upper sheath apex; tepals usually pale to
                  medium brown
                  J. effusus L. subsp. pacificus (Fernald &
                  Wiegand) Piper & Beattie

              13. Sheath apex thin with broad membranous wings;
                  sheath green (fresh) to pale or medium brown
                  (dried); fruiting stems slender, 0.8-2.0 mm
                  thick just above upper sheath apex; tepals
                  with dark brown to black stripes
                  .................  J. hesperius (Piper) Lint

          12. Upper sheath apex essentially symmetrical on
              fruiting stems.

              14. Fruiting stems slender, 0.8-2.0 mm thick just
                  above upper sheath apex; fresh perianth
                  striped with medium to dark brown; stems with
                  8-12 coarser striations visible on one side;
                  upper sheath thickened, glossy, dark brown,
                  castaneous, or black; sheath veins
                  inconspicuous or obscure; native, coastal
                  ..........................  J. laccatus Zika

              14. Fruiting stems stout, 2.2-4.9 mm thick just
                  above upper sheath apex; perianth usually pale
                  brown; stems with 18-26 fine striations
                  visible on one side (most easily seen when
                  stem is dried); upper sheaths thin and
                  membranous, matt, green (fresh) to light brown
                  (dried), sometimes with darker margins; sheath
                  veins conspicuous when dry, raised; widespread
                  introductions along the coast and inland.

                  15. Sheath margins on fruiting stems
                      overlapping 2-4 cm from apex (i.e.,
                      overlapping in the distal third); sheaths
                      of fertile stems usually 6-14 cm long,
                      upper sheath margins usually with dark
                      marginal band; tepals spreading or curving
                      away from mature capsule; mature sheaths
                      clasping stem; Eurasian introduction
                      ......  J. effusus L. subsp. effusus *

                  15. Sheath margins on fruiting stems split
                      deeply, often more than half the sheath,
                      sometimes to base; longer sheaths of
                      fertile stems usually 15-27 cm long, upper
                      sheath margins usually lack dark marginal
                      band; tepals erect or appressed to mature
                      capsule; mature sheaths often loose or
                      lax, flattened or unrolled, and not
                      clasping stem; eastern North American
                      J. effusus L. subsp. solutus (Fernald
                      & Wiegand) Hamet-Ahti *

Editorial Note:

In this concept presented here, Juncus balticus subsp. ater contains both the plant of saline coastal habitats and that of the oligotrophic shores of inland lakes. In his Ph.D. thesis, Lint (1977) described the former as "J. balticus subsp. occidentalis", but the name has never been validly published. Although the author of this key does not agree with treating the coastal plants as a different taxon, the BEN editor suspects that there may be a case for this division, and he urges plant taxonomists on the West Coast of North America to have another look at this problem. - AC


Balslev, H. 1996.
Juncaceae. Flora Neotropica Monograph 68: 1-168.
Brooks, R.E. 2000.
Juncus Linnaeus subg. Genuini. Pp. 212-217. In: Flora of North America north of Mexico, volume 22, Magnoliophyta: Alismatidae, Arecidae, Commelinidae (in part), and Zingiberidae. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, NY.
Ceska, A. 2001.
Juncaceae. In: Douglas, G. W., D. Meidinger, and J. Pojar, Eds. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Volume 6, Monocotyledons (Acoraceae Through Najadaceae). British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Ministry of Forests, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Hamet-Ahti, L. 1980.
The Juncus effusus aggregate in eastern North America. Ann. Bot. Fennici 17: 183-191.
Hitchcock, C.L. and A. Cronquist. 1973.
Flora of the Pacific Northwest. Univ. of Washington Press, Seattle, WA.
Kirschner, J., B. Ertter, L. Hamet-Ahti, L.J. Novara, V.S. Novikov, S. Snogerup, K.L. Wilson, and P.F. Zika. 2002.
Juncus subg. Agathryon sect. Juncotypus. Pp. 57-145, in: Kirschner, J., Ed. Juncaceae 3: Juncus subg. Agathryon, Species Plantarum: Flora of the World Part 8. Australian Biological Resources Study, Canberra, Australia.
Lint, H.L. 1977.
A revision of Juncus subgenus Genuini (Juncaceae) in the Pacific States. Unpublished Ph. D. thesis, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR.
Snogerup, S., P.F. Zika, and J. Kirschner. 2002.
Taxonomic and nomenclatural notes on Juncus. Preslia 74: 247-266.
Zika, P.F. 2003.
The native subspecies of Juncus effusus Juncaceae) in western North America. Brittonia 55: 150-156.


From: Adolf Ceska []
La Expedicion de Alejandro Malaspina y Tadeo Haenke. Ibero-Americana Pragensia Supplementum 14/2005. Universita Karlova, Praha. 175 p. ISBN 80-246-0962-2 [soft cover] Price: Kc 160.00 (= ca. US$7.00) Order from:

This is a collection of papers presented at a symposium in Prague on November 5, 2004. The symposium was to commemorate 250 years since Malaspina's birthday.

Eight contributions dealt with several specific aspects of the Malaspina expedition and Haenke's participation in this expedition. Two issues of BEN (# 287 & # 288) were dedicated to the legacy of Tadeo Haenke, and one of the BEN articles is cited twice in this collection.

After a broad introduction by Josef Opatrny, editor of this collection, different authors cover several aspects of Malaspina's Expedition (3 articles), Haenke and his professional connection, his Alma Mater (Charles University in Prague), the fate of his collections in the Hiecke, Rautenstrach & Zienke trading company, and finally an extensive article covers Haenke and Haenke's tradition in the Bolivian town Cochabamba.

This collection of papers contains a wealth of material about Malaspina's expedition and various aspects of Haenke's life and his scientific activities. However, I had great difficulty getting through this volume because it is written entirely in Spanish and none of the articles include an English abstract. In addition, the articles do not have any summaries, not even in Spanish, and readers have to scan the whole article in order to get a sense of what it contains.

References and other additional information are given in the footnotes that sometimes take up half of the page. For us, the low-brow botanists, this creates additional obstacles, since most of the notes are more interesting to read than the actual text and so detract from the actual themes of each single paragraph.

In spite of the difficulties in getting through this collection of papers, this opus was worth the trouble. The Malaspina expedition was marred by its tragic end, when Alejandro Malaspina was called back to return to Spain after which he was put in jail. Some results of his expedition were only first published in the 1850's, and there has been a constant trickle of new facts and findings in the archives of the Museo Naval and Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid. This collection of papers is another significant contribution to the body of Haenke & Malaspina research.

A final note on this subject: the very first English translation of Malaspina's journals was recently published by the Hakluyt Society, London, in association with the Museo Naval, Madrid. For more information see:
Online sales and more info on the series at: Ashgate Publishing

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