ISSN 1188-603X

No. 497 November 4, 2015 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6


From: Norton Brown Herbarium:

James L. Reveal passed away January 9, 2015 in Ithaca, NY at the age of 73. Jim was on faculty in the Botany Department at University of Maryland from 1969 until his retirement in 1999. He was also Director of the Norton-Brown Herbarium from 1979-1999. After retirement, Jim became an Honorary Curator of the New York Botanical Garden (2003-2015) and Adjunct Professor at Cornell University (2007-2015).

Jim was an important figure in the botanical community and was best known for his work on systematics at the level of family and above. He developed the Reveal System (1999) before joining the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group. Jim was also an authority on the history of American botany, particularly the Lewis and Clark Expedition, about which he wrote several books and articles. During his long career, Jim made more than 500 published contributions to botany. He also collected more than 9,000 plant specimens from North America, Central America and China.

Those who worked with Jim, will always remember his passion for the flora of North America and his enthusiasm for botanical history. Throughout his life, he worked on the American flora and made major contributions to the systematics of Polygonaceae subfamily Eriogonoideae and other families. For his many contributions to botany, seven species and one genus have been named in his honor: Castilleja revealii N. H. Holmgren (Orobanchaceae); Eriogonum revealianum S. L. Welsh (=_E. corymbosum var. revealianum (S. L. Welsh) Reveal)(Polygonaceae); Montanoa revealii H. Rob. (Asteraceae), Rumfordia reveallii H. Rob. (Asteraceae), Koanophyllon revealii Turner (Asteraceae), Cupressus revealiana (Silba) Bisbee (Cupressaceae), Oreocarya revealii W. A. Weber & R. C. Witmann (Boraginaceae) and the genus Revealia R. M. King & H. Rob. (Asteraceae).

Jim supervised many graduate students during his 30 years at UMD and introduced hundreds of students to botany through his courses at UMD and Cornell. As a colleague, Jim could be counted on as an authority on nomenclature, botanical history and, of course, Eriogonum.

Jim's influence can be observed throughout the collection at the Norton-Brown Herbarium (MARY). Through his tireless research, he amassed one of the greatest collections of Polygonaceae subfam. Eriogonoideae in the world. His interests and reputation brought fascinating specimens from Central and South America on exchange to the herbarium. With colleagues and students, he helped document the flora of Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic and published the first checklist of Rare and Endangered Vascular Plants in Maryland (Broome et al. 1979).

Jim was a gifted story-teller and he enjoyed sharing his experiences with friends and colleagues. Listen to his radio program on Clark & Lewis expedition here:

He also wrote several engaging books about botany and botanical history. Jim's many contributions, awards and honors are best documented by his own hand here:

For a more detailed obituary see Plant Science Bulletin 61(2): 66-67. See

Literature Cited

Broome, C.R., J.L. Reveal, A.O. Tucker & N.H. Dill. 1979.
Rare and endangered vascular plants of Maryland. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, Newton Corner, MA. 63 p.


From: Bruce Bennett (B.A. Bennett Herbarium Yukon (BABY)) [] Plates:

This plant was first mentioned by Hultén (1967), who wrote "The small Alaskan population has evolved totally independent of the rest of the species during its million or more years of isolation and with this in mind, combined with its morphological characteristics, the population is given taxonomic recognition."

James L. Reveal formally described Yukon Wild Buckwheat, Eriogonum flavum var. aquilinum as a new variety of species otherwise widespread in western North America based on a collection near Eagle, Alaska, about 10 kilometres west of the Yukon-Alaska border (Reveal 1967). The type specimen was collected by H.T. Shacklette in Alaska (Mission Bluff near Eagle) on June 26, 1960.

The Yukon first collection was made in 1981 by graduate student Jamie Bastedo. He gave his collection to Dr. Mary A. Vetter (Professor at the University of Regina), who was working on grasslands at the north end of Aishihik Lake in southwest Yukon (Vetter 2000). Using Hultén's (1968) Flora of Alaska, Dr. Vetter recognize it as the same taxon as the one only known from near Eagle, Alaska.

The discovery remained unreported until referenced in Cody (1994). In 2004, I took a group of biologists sponsored by the Yukon Department of Environment to search for this plant in the Aishihik area. We had only vague information from Jamie Bastedo about his 1981 collection. He only remembered that he was camped on the Aishihik Lake airstrip but otherwise there were no other clues.

Mr. Harry Smith with the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations joined us for the last day of our 2004 survey. He knew of the existence of this species and said that it had been traditionally used as a heart medicine Champagne and Aishihik First Nation. In North America, several Eriogonum species have been also used by First Nations for medicine or food (Nancy Turner, pers.comm.). Blackfoot First Nation people in Alberta ate the root of Eriogonum flavum Nutt. var. flavum (Johnstone 1987, Moerman 2003).

Though extremely showy when in bloom, only four additional Yukon sites have been found through helicopter and ground surveys by Environment Canada (YCDC 2015). In 2016, the Committee on the Status of Endangered Plants in Canada (COSEWIC) is due to assess the status of this plant, which is currently known from four subpopulations, very close to where Jamie Bastedo found it in 1981. It is hoped that a plant that shared the Beringian steppe with the likes of the Woolly Mammoth and the Yukon Horse will remain as a unique part of the Canadian flora.


I would like to thank Mr. Harry Smith (Champagne and Aishihik First Nation) for helping us to find additional sites, Jamie Bastedo for sharing his recollections, and people in our 2004 search party: Barney Smith, Terry McIntosh, Rhonda Rosie, Lori Schroeder, Oluna and Adolf Ceska, and Pippa Seccombe-Hett.


Cody, W.J. 1994.
The flora of the Yukon Territory: additions, range extensions and comments. Canadian Field-Naturalist 108(4): 428-476.
Hultén, E. 1967 [1968].
Comments on the flora of Alaska and Yukon. Arkiv för Botanik, Andra Serien 7(1): 1-147.
Hultén, E. 1968.
Flora of Alaska and the Neighboring Territories. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California 1008 p.
Johnston, A. 1987.
Plants and the Blackfoot. Lethbridge Historical Society, Lethbridge, Alberta.
Moerman, D. 2003.
Native American Ethnobotany: A database of Foods, Drugs, Dyes and Fibers of Native American Peoples, Derived from Plants. Website: [accessed 2 November 2015].
Reveal, J.L. 1967 [1968].
Eriogonum flavum Nutt. in Fras. Pp. 45-46 In: E. Hultén Comments on the flora of Alaska and Yukon. Arkiv för Botanik, Andra Serien 7(1): 45-46.
Vetter, M.A. 2000.
Grasslands of the Aishihik-Selkulmun lakes area, Yukon Territory, Canada. Arctic 53(2): 165-173.
YCDC - Yukon Conservation Data Centre. 2015.
Rare species database. Yukon Department of Environment, Whitehorse, Yukon. Website: [18 September 2015].


From: David F. Murray (Fairbanks) and Reidar Elven (Oslo)

After reviewing specimens of Saxifraga tenuis and S. nivalis in North America, we believe that it was D.B.O. Savile, who first reported a third element, one from the boreal alpine of Alaska and Yukon, and apparently confined to refugial areas of Beringia.

This taxon was first named Saxifraga nivalis var. rufopilosa by Eric Hultén (1967), based on material he collected in Interior Alaska with Les Viereck. It was obviously part of a complex of forms exhibited by Saxifraga nivalis and S. tenuis. Erling Porsild saw it as a distinct species, Saxifraga rufopilosa (Porsild 1974). We have followed Porsild's taxonomy but saw the obvious need to make the combination in Micranthes, to which these species have been transferred - see the treatment of Micranthes in Flora of North America, Vol. 8, by Luc Brouillet and P.E. Elvander (2009).

Brouillet and Elvander did not formally recognize Micranthes rufopilosa, rather they referred to it in their discussion of M . gaspensis. Micranthes gaspensis which also has a chromosome number of 2n=40 is cytologically intermediate between M. tenuis (2n=20) and M. nivalis (2n=60) thus ipso facto, interpreted by Gervais et al. (1995) as a stabilized hybrid between M. tenuis and M. nivalis, notwithstanding the absence of the putative parents on the Gaspé. The occurrence of a published count of n=20 from Yukon has led to speculation that such a saxifrage would also be a hybrid between the same parental species as M. gaspensis and would "key out" in Gaspe et al. to M. gaspensis.

The voucher for the Yukon count has not yet been found. Please look for Krause, Beamish, and Luitjens 682000, Mile 101, Lapie L., Yukon, det. S. nivalis-tenuis complex.

As we wrote: One must ask why, where both Micranthes tenuis and M. nivalis are sympatric, sometimes growing in mixed stands, such as throughout the Scandinavian mountains and in the Svalbard Archipelago of arctic Norway, throughout northern Greenland and arctic Canada, and in most of arctic Russia, intermediates, fertile or sterile, have not been found and no counts of 2n = 40 have been made with the singular exception of one from Wrangel Island. Hybridization, if that is the explanation for the existence of 2n = 40 cytotypes, must be a very rare event.

Our key to the morphologically related, arctic-alpine species of Micranthes follows.

     1. Petals white or margins pink with age; stems glabrous or with only white hairs, hypanthium triangular to hemispheric.
         2. Stems and inflorescence with short crisp and long tangled white hairs ........... M. nivalis (L.) Small 
         2. Stems and inflorescence glabrate or with short white hairs ...................... M. gaspensis (Fernald) Small 
     1. Petals reddish topurple; stems pubescent not as above, hypanthium turbinate.
         3. Stems with long tangled white and brown hairs; inflorescence racemose or paniculate in fruit ...... M. rufopilosa (Hultén) D.F. Murray & Elven
         3. Stems glabrate or with short white and short, glandular hairs; inflorescence corymbose in fruit ... M. tenuis (Wahlenb.) Small


Brouillet, L. & P.E. Elvander. 2009.
Micranthes. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. Flora of North America north of Mexico. Oxford Univ. Press, New York, U.S.A. 8:49-70.
Gervais, C., N. Dignard, & R. Trahan. 1995.
The chromosome number of Saxifraga gaspensis Fernald. Rhodora 97: 171-175.
Hultén, E. 1967.
Comments on the flora of Alaska and Yukon. Arkiv for Botanik Ser.2, 7(1): 1-147.
Krause, D.L. & K.I. Beamish. 1973.
Notes on Saxifraga occidentalis and closely related species in British Columbia. Syesis 6: 105-113.
Porsild, A.E. 1974 [1975].
Materials for a flora of central Yukon Territory. Natl.Mus.Canad.Publ.Bot.No.4. Ottawa, Ont.
Savile, D.B.O. 1961.
The botany of the northwestern Queen Elizabeth Islands. Canad. J. Bot. 39:909-942

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