ISSN 1188-603X

No. 456 July 12, 2012 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


Hope, BC 17-19 August 2012

This year we will be based in Hope, BC, and will be exploring the surrounding areas.

We have reserved a meeting room at the Hope & District Recreation Center where we can set up our microscopes and key out the great finds that we make. There are quite a few motels in the area but the Park Motel has offered us a great deal on room rates. Reserve early because they only have 19 units. Please call and make your own reservations and mention that you are part of the UBC Herbarium group. There are plenty of campgrounds in the area if you would like to camp instead.


Friday Aug. 17th, meet at the Hope & District Recreation Center by 10:00 am to set up our meeting room and then we will head out to the field.

Saturday, Aug. 18th we will spend the morning in the field and come back to the Recreation Center to work on our collections. It would be nice if we can go out to dinner that evening. We need to clean up and be out of the Center that evening.

Sunday, Aug. 19th, we will plan on visiting some areas in the morning as we leave the region.

Park Motel Reservation No.: 1-888-531-9933 832 4th Ave. Hope, BC

Hope & District Recreation Centre 999 6th Ave. Hope, BC

Registration Fee $30 (cheque payable to the UBC Herbarium) For more information please contact

Olivia Lee
Bryophyte, Fungi & Lichen Collections Manager
UBC Herbarium | Beaty Museum | Faculty of Science | Dept of Botany
University of British Columbia, Vancouver
#3529-6270 University Blvd.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z4
Tel: (604) 822-3344 Fax: (604) 822-6089


From: Shannon Berch & Ben Hircock

In April 2012, one of us (Ben Hircock) collected Tuber gibbosum Harkn. from locations in Metchosin and Colwood, British Columbia. Many of the sporocarps were immature but enough spores were present for Dr. Jim Trappe to help confirm the species identity. This identification was backed up by DNA sequencing at the Fragment Analysis & DNA Sequencing Services laboratory ( FADSS ), UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, with final confirmation from Dr. Greg Bonito of the molecular match with this species. Tuber gibbosum is one of four Oregon White Truffles (along with Tuber bellisporum Bonito & Trappe, T. castellanoi Bonito & Trappe, and T. oregonense Trappe, Bonito & Rawlinson) and one of the two Oregon White Truffles that are commercially harvested in the Pacific Northwest (along with T. oregonense). Bonito et al. (2010) list a single collection of Oregon White Truffle from British Columbia, a specimen of Tuber gibbosum collected by Dr. Marc Bell (founder of the herbarium at the University of Victoria) on January 24, 1977 in his semi-forested backyard in the Royal Oak area of Victoria. All four Oregon White Truffle species are associated with Douglas-fir, Pseudotsuga menziesii. The other three species have not been reported from British Columbia.

Specimens examined

Royal Oak, Victoria, British Columbia; under Pseudotsuga menziesii; January 24, 1977; Coll.: Marc Bell (DAVFP 27247; OSC 131484)

1365 Neild Rd., Metchosin, British Columbia; in a cultivated vegetable bed about 5 m from Pseudotsuga menziesii; April 23, 2012; coll.: Ben Hircock

863 Cuaulta Cres., Triangle Mtn., Colwood, British Columbia; in a disturbed site below the septic tank ca. 3 m from the closest Pseudotsuga menziesii; April 26, 2012; coll.: Ben Hircock

Literature Cited

Bonito, G, JM Trappe, P Rawlinson, & R Vilgalys. 2010.
Improved resolution of major clades within Tuber and taxonomy of species within the Tuber gibbosum clade. Mycologia 102: 1042-1057.


From: Richard J. Hebda & Ken L. Marr Royal British Columbia Museum c/o

Northern BC alpine habitats are extensive yet have received little botanical attention because of their remoteness. Over the past 10 years, R. Hebda, K. Marr and W. MacKenzie have made intensive collections of vascular plants at 65 high elevation sites, most never collected before. Many new records were discovered especially from "blank" spots on the map (Marr et al. 2012a, 2012b).

Two classic high alpine-arctic species are of note, Phippsia algida and Koenigia islandica. Prior to our fieldtrips, Phippsia had never been collected in the province though it was suspected to occur. Our first collection was from the centre of the isolated volcanic massive of Level Mountain west of Dease Lake. We subsequently have found it at nine more sites in north central BC as a far south as Brothers Lake, extending its range southward in BC by 630 km. This is a plant of cold open, generally moist sites often near melting snow. The species favours gravelly substrates and one has to look carefully to distinguish it from other small prostrate graminoids. Being rather small and inconspicuous, it is no wonder the species has been missed. It almost certainly occurs at more sites at high elevations in north central BC.

Koenigia islandica is another inconspicuous species, remarkable for being an annual in the harsh alpine landscape with its brief growing season. This polygonaceous species was known from a handful of sites in British Columbia but we have added many others now from a wide distribution, ranging from the Yukon border to Brothers Lake . Mostly it grows as a tiny reddish plant scarcely the size of a penny. The near microscopic white trimerous flowers give it away, but the hands-and-knees position is almost always required to verify the identification. Normally it inhabits sites similar to Phippsia, with seepage, often on gravel. Two exceptional occurrences included hundreds of healthy individuals along tens of metres of a horse trail near Little Blue Sheep Lake and amongst wet mosses at Brothers Lake, where Koenigia plants grew 10cm long.

These two species are notable because they occur much more widely than previously known and they may be key indicators of high elevation late-Pleistocene refugia. Our studies of Oxyria digyna DNA suggests widespread occurrence of high mountain refugia in northern BC (Allen et al. 2012). Phippsia and Koenigia are the sorts of plants one might expect to have survived in such refugia during the harshest full-glacial climates. They occur in BC in association with the sorts of highly frost-shattered and profoundly cryoturbated landscapes that one might expect to have developed in refugia.

There remain many alpine zones in northern BC that have yet to be investigated. We expected that with close inspection of the ground and a solid understanding of the habitats of these two species, additional sites of both will be discovered.

Literature cited

Allen, G.A., K.L. Marr, L.J. McCormick and R.J. Hebda. 2012.
The impact of Pleistocene climate change on an ancient arctic-alpine plant: multiple lineages of disparate history in Oxyria digyna. Ecology and Evolution 2(3): 649-665. doi: 10.1002/ece3.213
Marr, K.L., R.J. Hebda & W. H. MacKenzie. 2012a.
Alpine plant range extensions for northern British Columbia including two species new to the province. Canadian Field Naturalist 125: 227-234.
Marr, K.L., R.J. Hebda & W. H. MacKenzie. 2012b.
New alpine plant records for British Columbia and the recognition of a new biogeographical element in western North America. Botany 90(6): 445-455.


KOENIGIA L. 1753 [for J.G. König, 1728-1785, Danish botanist] One species, K. Islandica L. [of Iceland], 85B. Infrequent, but locally abundant in front scars and wet gravel alpine tundra, our only truly alpine annual, with possible exception of some Draba species. The entire plant is only a few mm high. High mountains, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana. Also circumpolar and in southern South America.

Following the rediscovery of Phippsia algida at Summit Lake in 1953, we experienced an influx of visitors from far and wide from eastern United States and Scandinavia to see all of the exciting arctic-alpine plants. One weekend I took George Neville Jones, University of Illinois, who was teaching that summer at my university, on a tour of Summit Lake, where I could show him this tiny grass. On this walk, we found the first specimen of Spatularia (Saxifraga) foliosa. (I learned later that E.L. Green previously had collected this on Mount Epaulet, the neighboring peak.)

A week after the Spatularia discovery, I was joined by a group from Colorado State University, including the geologist, who wanted to determine how deep one had to go to find permafrost (eight feet), and Eilif Dahl, the Norwegian plant ecologist. As we drove up the road Elif asked me, "Well, Bill, and what shall we find today?" I searched my biological computer blurted out the name of an arbitrary arctic plant: "How about Koenigia?" We all had a hearty laugh over this, because it was so "far out" as to be inconceivable. Eilif was the first out of the car, and immediately was on his knees in the wet gravel: "What did you say about Koenigia, for here it is!" Then, I recalled that when walking over the inlet to the lake with Neville Jones, I did notice little red plants only a few millimetres high, but passed them over as seedlings of Epilobium anagallidifolium. Was it why Koenigia came to my mind so easily?

But this is not the end of the story. In 1960, Erling Porsild, the great Danish Arctic botanist, visited the lake with me , and when we returned home and began to press our current haul of specimens, he said to me, "You should know, Bill, that Koenigia was collected in Colorado in 1914 [correction by BEN: it was 1913] on the first [correction by BEN: it was the second one] International Phytogeographic Excursion. In fact, I have seen the specimen in the museum in Copenhagen. You should take a look at it the next time you are there." I did eventually have the chance to visit that herbarium, and was shown the "specimen" that he told me about. It had been collected at "Severn Lakes," which was actually Seven Lakes, on Pikes Peak, in the watershed of Colorado Springs. On the sheet there was the notation, "See the alcoholic collection." The alcoholic collection proved to be a litter bottle filled to brim with tiny plants of Koenigia. This would have been the first collection from the lower forty-eight, but evidently Paulsen did not realize that it was a major discovery!

Evidently Colorado plants differ from arctic populations in their seed germination behavior (Wagner & Simons 2008).

Literature Cited

Wagner I. & A.M. Simons. 2008.
Infraspecific divergence in seed germination traits between high- and low-latitude populations of the Arctic-alpine annual Koenigia islandica. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Res. 40: 233-239.


From: May 8, 2012

At 93, botanist Bill Weber is one of the oldest professors at University of Colorado -Boulder. Back in 1953, he wrote the first field guide to plants in Colorado. The fourth edition of "Colorado Flora" is just out. What started as just a survey of Front Range plants is now two books: one for the Western Slope, and another for the eastern part of the state. Weber, who also started the herbarium at CU, speaks with Colorado Public Radio's Ryan Warner.

Listen to his May 8, 2012 interview now:|Author_William_Weber_Colorado_Flora



July 3, 2012 - Retired University of Colorado professor and botanist William A. Weber -- who founded the university's herbarium in 1946 -- is receiving recognition for his years of dedication.

The CU Museum of Natural History Herbarium's collection of a half-million specimens of vascular plants, moss and lichen is being named in his honor. [For more, go to the original source.]

Send submissions to

BEN is archived at