ISSN 1188-603X

No. 483 October 16, 2014 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, P.O. Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2


From: Victoria Freenet Association web page

Gareth Shearman, after a lengthy battle with cancer, died, October 14, 2013. He spent much of his last year working to ensure that Victoria Free-Net could continue in his absence.

Gareth was an educator and community network practitioner with over 40 years experience in local, national and international arenas. For much of his career he worked as an educator in the pubic school system and in educational administration. His early involvement with computing was in research in Computer Assisted Instruction and the development of education networks. He was involved with the founding of a number of educational and community computing organizations in BC. He held a BEd degree from the University of British Columbia and an MSc (Ed) degree from Simon Fraser University.

In 1992, he was instrumental in establishing the Victoria Free-Net Association Canada's first Free-Net which fostered a sense of electronic community and introduced people to the internet. Gareth was also founding president of Pacific Community Networks Association, president of Telecommunities Canada since 1998, and active in the British Columbia Community Connectivity Cooperative (BC3), the Global Community Networks Partnership (GCNP), and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). These organizations continue their work as supporters of his deep commitment to all aspects of community development and digital inclusion through the uses of information and communications technologies.

He and Mae were co-recipients of an Industry Canada Information Highway Leadership Recognition Award.

Adolf Ceska: It was in the fall of 1991 when Gary Shearman offered to host BEN on the internet system of the Victoria Free-Net Association, which was then in its early stages. BEN # 13 was the first BEN issue sent out from the system Gary set up for me, and I'm sure that some BEN subscribers still remember it. My posting of BEN # 13 created a mail storm, and some BEN subscribers received it up to 70 times. The last time I met Gary was in front of the Victoria Jubilee Hospital cancer clinic: he was leaving from his checkup and I was going to mine. He and his wife Mae meant a lot to me, and we are grateful for Gary's contribution to BEN and to the internet chain in Victoria. For me, Gary is still living in our virtual world.


From: Diana D. Jolles & Carol A. Wilson. 2014. Pyrola crypta: A Pacific Northwest species belonging to the Pyrola picta species complex. Taxon 63 (4) * August 2014: 789800. DOI


A new species of Pyrola was discovered from the Pacific Northwest Physiographic Province of western North America. This new species belongs to the Pyrola picta species complex (section Scotophylla), comprising the closely related P. picta, P. dentata, and P. aphylla. The new species shares a similar habitat with other members of the species complex, but differs in that its geographic range is restricted to the Pacific Northwest. The other species have wider ranges throughout montane western North America. Although the new species is phylogenetically sister to P. dentata, it is nearly indistinguishable morphologically from P. picta, which poses a challenge to species diagnosis. Phylogenetic analyses based on genetic markers from the chloroplast and nuclear genomes show no evidence of recent hybridization between the new species and any of its close congeners. Additionally, morphometric analyses show that the new species has larger floral bracts and sepals relative to plants of P. picta, P. dentata, and P. aphylla from the same geographic region. We provide justification for recognizing a new species, P. crypta, and briefly discuss the importance of recognizing cryptic species.

Key to the Pyrola picta species complex within the Pacific Northwest Physiographic Province

(Because Pyrola crypta is restricted to the Pacific Northwest, our key is meant to help workers distinguish among members of the P. picta species complex exclusively within that region.)

1a. Basal rosette of narrow leaves < 1 cm wide and < 1.5 cm long, lacking petioles and rarely photosynthetic, often hidden beneath surrounding leaf litter ................ P. aphylla 1b. Basal rosette of leaves at least 1 cm wide and > 1.5 cm long, petiolate, photosynthetic, lamina not hidden beneath surrounding litter ................................................. 2 2a. Leaves light green to bluish, lacking white mottling along veins, glaucous leaf surfaces; leaf shape oblong to oblanceolate to (less commonly) small and orbicular .... P. dentata 2b. Leaves dark green with white mottling along primary and secondary veins, not bluish or obviously glaucous on leaf surfaces; leaf shape oblong to obovate ..................... 3 3a. Sepals > 2 mm, floral bracts typically > 4 mm, leaf petioles 1.73.9 cm long ................................... P. crypta 3b. Sepals = 2mm, floral bracts typically < 4 mm, leaf petioles 1.52 cm long ................................... P. picta


From: P.M. Catling and G. Mitrow

Invasive alien plants cost billions of dollars in Canada each year due to the damage caused to crops, rangeland, and the environment. The costs can be reduced through knowledge-based management, but knowledge of invasive alien plants is limited and comprehensive review of current information is lacking for many species. Accurate information is vital in the areas of identification, classification, ecology and management, and review is needed as a basis for future research.

The first of this series of 10-page reviews was published in the Canadian Botanical Association Bulletin in Sept. 2011 and one has been published in all but one bulletin since. The articles are designed to substantially improve identification as well as providing information on distribution and ecology in Canada. Information on both damage and beneficial aspects is provided as well as information on management. Scientific concepts are explained and anecdotes are included. Selected references favour those that are more recent (from which earlier work can be traced). These reviews are based on recent data from publication, information online and from specimens in collections. The species featured are selected from a list of prioritized invasive alien plants of Canada which includes 81 species (Catling & Mitrow 2005).

The reviews are part of a larger project called Major Invasive Alien Plants of Natural Habitats in Canada. It involves authoritative identification, databasing of up to 3000 specimens of a particular invasive in each of 30 plant collections across the country (see Table 1). The maps and other information for the review series are derived from these specimens. The databases and images are designed to become available online. The assembly of specimens facilitates their analysis as part of directed research projects. Answers to specific questions, such as the likelihood of increased impact and spread, are then based on as much detailed information as possible. Additionally the needs of clients can be met in a timely manner with the capability to easily acquire extensive collection-based information.

The European Common Reed database was first used to predict its impact and spread in Canada. Then it was made available online at by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility along with mapping, point query and predictive capabilities attached to a climate model (Catling 2007). It was accessed more than 50 times a week and during those visits it answered 71,500 questions from 2007 to 2009. Both the reviews, the associated research, and the cooperatively produced databases and imagery have been very well received and very successful in efficiently providing accurate information. This is a good example of the value of biological collections in Canada and another example of the value of cooperation between them (see also Mitrow and Catling 2012).

Literature Cited

Catling, P.M. and G. Mitrow. 2005.
A prioritized list of the invasive alien plants of natural habitats in Canada. Can. Bot. Assoc. Bull. 38(4): 55-57.
Catling, P.M. 2007.
Canadian Phragmites database - notes for use. BEN (Botanical Electronic News) 370: 3-5. Mitrow, G. and P.M. Catling. 2012.
Evaluation of a Collections Network as a Source of Information on Economically Important Plants. The Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections, Collection Forum. Spring 2012 Vol. 26, Numbers 1-2:70-87.
Thiers, B. 2014+.
[continuously updated]. Index Herbariorum: A global directory of public herbaria and associated staff. New York Botanical Garden's Virtual Herbarium.

Table 1. List of acronyms from Index herbariorum (Thiers 2014), and locations for collections which have cooperated in the Canadian Invasive Plant Project.

Table 2. List of completed reviews of high priority invasive alien plants of natural habitats in Canada. The numbers are the contribution numbers and do not indicate the priority level.

  1. Phragmites australis subsp. australis, European Common Reed, roseau commun, 44(2): 52-61. Sept. 2011.
  2. Cytissus scoparius, Scotch Broom, genêt à balais, 44(3): 90-99. Dec. 2011.
  3. Euphorbia esula, Leafy Spurge, euphorbe ésule, 45(1): 24-32. March 2012
  4. Frangula alnus, Glossy Buckthorn, neprun bourdaine, 45(2): 70-77. April 2013.
  5. Rhamnus cathartica, Common Buckthorn, nerprun cathartique, 45(3): 110-117. Dec. 2012.
  6. Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, European Frog-bit, hydrocharide grenouillette, 46(1): 13-18. March 2013.
  7. Fallopia japonica, Japanese Knotweed, renouée du Japon, 46(2):53-60. Sept. 2013.
  8. Phalaris arundinacea, Reed Canarygrass, phalaris roseau, 47(1): 25-34. March 2014.
  9. Bromus inermis, Smooth Brome, brome inerme, 47(2): 47-54. Sept. 2014.
  10. Lythrum salicaria, Purple Loosestrife, salicaire commune, in production.


An error occurred in the Oxypolis occidentalis article of BEN #482. The name Symphyotrichum spathulatum var. spathulatum was based on a misidentification. This species, mentioned both in the text and in the captions to the plates, should have been named Symphyotrichum foliaceum var. apricum (A. Gray) G.L. Nesom. - Hans Roemer

Addendum: Specimens Examined

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