ISSN 1188-603X

No. 529 December 20, 2018 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6



Acta Botanica Weberi is published by members of the Weber family and distributed free of charge through the website. It was specifically founded to publish this and other unpublished papers by William A. Weber. At the age of 100, Dr. Weber cannot wait on the peer review process to see his latest writings published if they are not to become posthumous works. Instead, he and we feel publication in this form to be the most appropriate at his age. The resulting dissemination of these works among his botanical colleagues, known and unknown, and the uses, references and discussions thus arising will be enough of a peer review and contribute to the continuing endeavors to research scientific questions.

Acta Botanica Weberi No. 1 2018 Global Plant Distribution and Continental Drift: Two moss species.

By William A. Weber & Linna Weber Müller-Wille. [The phytogeographical displacements of Grimmia incrassicapsulis and Leptodon smithii have likely taken place over many millennia as the continental plates moved, carrying these mosses to their present positions.]


From: Soreng RJ, Gillespie LJ (2018) Poa secunda J. Presl (Poaceae): a modern summary of infraspecific taxonomy, chromosome numbers, related species and infrageneric placement based on DNA. PhytoKeys 110: 101121.

Abstract Poa secunda J. Presl s.l. is a morphologically highly variable bunchgrass that is a valuable forage species in western North America. There has been much controversy as to whether multiple taxa should be recognized and at what rank in this taxonomically challenging apomictic complex. Here we propose an infraspecific classification for Poa secunda of six varieties within two subspecies, juncifolia and secunda. New combinations are P. secunda vars. ampla, gracillima, juncifolia, nevadensis and scabrella. Conflicting plastid and nrDNA phylogenies show that Poa sect. Secundae is of ancient hybrid origin. Based on this and its distinct morphology, the section is raised to the rank of subgenus. A key is presented for P. secunda infraspecies and closely related non-arctic species. Suppl. materials are provided of chromosome counts for Secundae taxa and D.D. Keck specimen annotations of taxa here included in Poa secunda.

Key to the non-Arctic taxa of Poa subgen. Secundae with rounded lemma keels. Adapted from Hitchcock 1951.

1a.   Lemmas more or less crisp-puberulent on the lower half or basal portion (sometimes obscurely so in Poa secunda var.
         scabrella); ligules of lower culm usually well developed and acute to acuminate (short in Poa tenerrima); 
         tillers strictly intravaginal, cataphylls absent, prophylls well developed, mostly over 1 cm long; leaf blades commonly 
         withering early, long-cells all or mostly fusiform and smooth-walled ........................2 
1b.   Lemmas glabrous, smooth or scabrous (except in "Poa juncifolia subsp. porteri" form, but then plants from the 
         plains of the eastern slope of the Rocky Mts.); ligules of lower culm and lateral shoot leaves truncate to rounded (acute in
         var. nevadensis); tillers intravaginal and sometimes extravaginal, the latter with cataphylls and reduced prophylls 
         (mostly less than 2 mm long); leaf blades more or less persisting in form, long-cells mostly rectangular and sinuous-walled

2a.   Leaf blades short (mostly 13 cm long), (1) 1.53 mm wide, flat, with prominent white, cartilaginous margins; plants of
         serpentine rocks in the Wenatchee Range of the Cascade Mts., Washington State  .........................Poa curtifolia 
2b.   Leaf blades of various lengths and widths, but not short and flat, without prominent cartilaginous margins .............3 

3a.   Sheaths scabrous, at least on the margins; ligules scabrous; panicle branches scabrous, often densely so; plants mainly of 
         California Floristic Province and Mojave Desert ........................................................................4
3b.   Sheaths smooth; ligules smooth or lightly scabrous; panicle branches smooth or scabrous; plants mostly of the eastern 
         slope of the western Cordilleras and eastward ..........................................................................5 

4a.   Ligules of culm leaves well developed (26 mm long), acute to acuminate; blades filiform or broader; panicles branches
         capillary or thicker, appressed to ascending (rarely spreading); plants widespread; chromosomes 2n = 63   
         ..........Poa secunda subsp. secunda var. scabrella 
4b.   Ligules of culm leaves short [0.51.5 (2.5) mm long], truncate to obtuse (acute); blades filiform; panicle branches 
         capillary, widely spreading; plants of serpentine barrens in central foothills of west slope of the Sierra Nevada; 
         chromosomes 2n = 42 ...... Poa tenerrima 

5a.   Panicles open, the branches spreading to patent, divergent more than 45° at anthesis and remaining open with spikelets
         absent in the lower half; plants of moist often shady 
              .............. Poa secunda subsp. secunda var. gracillima 
5b.   Panicles usually loosely to tightly contracted at maturity, branches sometimes ascending but branches finally divergent 
         by less than 45°, spikelets from near the base or lower 1/3rd; plants mostly of more open places 
              .....................Poa secunda subsp. secunda var. secunda 

6a.   Sheaths scabridulous; ligule   .................................. Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia var. nevadensis
6b.   Sheaths smooth; ligules of lower culm and basal leaf short, obtuse to truncate, not decurrent
                                     .................................. 7 

7a.   Blades involute; plants of open riparian and alkali or saline meadows ... Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia var. juncifolia 
7b.   Blades flat; plants of mountain meadows and forests 
                                                         ..................... Poa secunda subsp. juncifolia var. ampla


From: Elizabeth Easton & Jenifer L. Penny, c/o &

On June 21st, 2018 more than 50 botany enthusiasts from across British Columbia, Alberta and Washington gathered on Haida Gwaii (formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, abbreviated as HG henceforth) for the 33rd annual Botany BC field meeting. It was the second time the meeting was held on the islands; the first was in 1994. Why did they come back? The combination of the unique flora (including many plants of phytogeographical interest such as the endemic, Sinosenecio newcombei), rich Haida culture, beautiful old forests and hundreds of miles of sandy beaches. It is also a very auspicious year to hold the meeting there being the 50th anniversary of Calder and Taylor's Flora of the Queen Islands (Calder & Taylor 1968).

Haida Gwaii is such an interesting place botanically because of refugia where native vegetation from a former period was maintained during maximum Pleistocene glaciation. There are species that are only known from HG, some that are only known from HG and Vancouver Island (and the mainland BC coast in some cases), and some that are endemic to Southeast Alaska and HG. There is also an example of a plant that is disjunct on Vancouver Island and HG with its main range in Oregon and California. HG's geographic placement in northwestern North America on the northern coast of BC also provides it with an assortment of southern and northern plant elements.

Participants were eager to seek out these botanical delights and started the meeting Thursday evening, June 21st at the Haida Heritage Centre at ?ay Llnagaay near HlG_aagilda (Skidegate) on Graham Island to hear keynote speaker and Haida elder Kii'iljuus (Barbara Wilson), who was introduced by ethnobotanist, Nancy Turner. Barb welcomed the group to the islands, and gave a sobering talk titled "Current Issues around our World of Plants, Trees and Related Subjects" in which she discussed the impacts of climate change and other stressors from a Haida perspective, including shifts in flowering times and the depletion of culturally significant plants like highbush-cranberry (Viburnum edule) by introduced Sitka black-tailed deer.

The next morning the group set out on their adventure looking for the interesting plants of HG. They travelled north by bus to Tlell and stopped for three field trips: a visit to the Pesuta shipwreck with Trudy Chatwin, a hike along the Anvil trail with Jim Pojar, and a ramble through the dunes near Misty Meadows with Nick Page and local naturalist, Jan Oord.

During the dune walk with Nick and Jan, participants saw some rare dune plants, including one of only three patches of Abronia latifolia known on HG, all from that particular beach, perhaps in the same spot that it was first observed in 1957 by James A. Calder and Roy L. Taylor. This species is more common on Vancouver Island and in neighbouring jurisdictions to the south. Two other rare plants were also seen, Lathyrus littoralis and Glehnia littoralis ssp. leiocarpa which are among ten species in total that reach their northern limits on HG beaches in BC (mostly listed as rare/at risk by the BC Conservation Data Centre). The group also searched for Mertensia martima, which had previously been observed in the area, but were unable to find it, perhaps due to its ephemeral nature in the driftwood zone of the beach where at the mercy of winter storms. Mertensia has the opposite distribution pattern from the other three being at its southern geographic limit in North America. There are 18 other species from various other habitats that reach their southern limits in HG.

Following a successful field day, the group stayed at the ideally-situated Hiellen Longhouse Village in Naikoon Park on the north end of Graham Island and were welcomed by Andrew Merilees, the Mayor of Masset. Senior BC Parks Ranger, Chris Ashurst, also provided an overview of Naikoon Park. Details of the following day's offerings were made available, and people set about discussing which option they might choose.

On Saturday, groups got to explore more beaches and one of them had the rare opportunity to visit Rose Spit, which is situated on the northeastern point of Graham Island and is the largest spit in BC with sand dunes up to 10 m high. BC Parks personnel and other local volunteers generously transported participants to the spit since the road conditions up through dunes are somewhat challenging. Once they reached the Spit, participants were rewarded with stunning views north to Alaska and observations of rare beach plants including species that can only be seen on Haida Gwaii in BC (both at their southern distribution limits): Senecio pseudoarnica and Mertensia martima.

Although it was difficult to compete with the charms of Rose Spit, opportunities to explore other ecosystems in and around Naikoon Provincial Park were similarly enticing, including a transect through successional beach, forest and wetland ecosystems at Yakan Point led by Jim and Rosamund Pojar and a half-day hike through old forest and open peatlands on the White Creek trail with Stu Crawford and Karen Golinski. Many species restricted to hyperoceanic peatlands were observed, and the trip to White Creek culminated in fabulous views of Tow Hill from what one participant described as "a mosaic of Technicolor peatlands".

On Saturday evening BBC participants were treated to a duo of "tailgate talks" by Jim Pojar and Jenifer Penny who went ahead despite a power outage. Thanks to ingenious planning involving a white bedsheet and the kindness of another yet generous local, who donated use of his generator to the noble cause, the evening's presentations were held outdoors in a picnic shelter.

Jim Pojar's lecture on the Terrestrial Plant Life of Haida Gwaii provided an overview of all major vegetation types occurring on the 350 islands comprising Haida Gwaii and included an array of photos showing forest biologists gathering plot data over the course of four decades. We were transported to the early years of forest ecological studies by the words "We knew we were going to find big trees and lots of moss but were delighted with discovering the amazing diversity and uniqueness of the vegetation."

Jenifer Penny's talk focused on the collecting history of the region, ranging from the first vascular plant collections documented for the islands (e.g., T. Archibald Menzies's collection of Rubus nutkanus Moc. ex Ser. in 1788- MO 1613538, a species you likely know as Rubus parviflorus), to the expeditions of Calder and Taylor in the summers of 1957 and 1964. She presented the 50th-anniversary homage to their Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands and discussed the distribution of "special" plants such as Hymenophyllum wrightii, Sinosenecio newcombei, Oxypolis occidentalis and others.

Oxypolis occidentalis, a member of the carrot family, is one of the most interesting plant distributions on Haida Gwaii. It was discovered on HG in 2003 by Mike Cheney, native plant enthusiast that made many contributions to knowledge of the local flora and who unfortunately passed away in 2007 (Marr et al. 2008). He was the first author of a HG flora checklist (Cheney & al. 2007). The next nearest occurrences of Oxypolis occidentalis are on Vancouver Island (Roemer & Batten 2014) and disjunct south to Oregon and California where the majority of populations are found. The species alluded the group for most of their stay on the islands, but was spotted on the last day by some of the group that was on the Yakoun Lake field trip.

On Sunday, July 20th, the group departed Hiellen and headed south toward Queen Charlotte. After a guided walk of Stu Crawford's majestic "secret old growth" forest, the group stopped at the Kumdis Slough, where Jim Pojar showed folks what one participant described as a "pitch-perfect" estuarine marsh.

The final day of Botany BC included an energetic hike up Sleeping Beauty Mountain, which is not far out of Queen Charlotte City, with Judith Holm and Craig Delong in search of alpine delights and still more examples of interesting plant distributions. Hikers were not disappointed with the display of flowering plants on the slopes below the summit including Sinosenecio newcombei (endemic to HG), Ligusticum calderi (restricted to HG, northern Vancouver Island, and southeast Alaska), and Viola biflora ssp. carlottae (similarly restricted to HG and Vancouver Island).

Another group of botanists set out toward Yakoun Lake in search of big trees, old deer exclosures, and a lovely sandy beach on the edge of the lake. At the last stop of the day a few lucky participants relocated what they thought was the elusive Oxypolis occidentalis alongside the Phantom Main logging road. Berry Wijdeven, a local ecologist returned to the area looking for the new location and did find some in the area.

At the end of the day the group reconvened at the Haida Heritage Centre over a stellar seafood dinner at the Kay Bistro and to fulfill the tradition of voting to see where Botany BC 2019 would be held. Botany BC 2019 will be held in the Rossland/Nelson area. Stay tuned to the Botany BC website for additional information!


Calder, J.A. & R.L. Taylor. 1968.
Flora of the Queen Charlotte Islands. Part 1. Systematics of the Vascular Plants. Queen's Printer, Ottawa.
Cheney, M., P. Bartier, & B. Johnston. 2007.
The Vascular Plants of Haida Gwaii. Cheney et al 2007 - Haida Gwaii Plant Checklist
Marr, K., J. Pinder-Moss & R. Hebda. 2008.
Fond memories Of Mike Cheney (December 4, 1956 November 2, 2007). BEN (Botanical Electronic News) no. 389.
Roemer, H.L. & R. Batten. 2014.
Oxypolis occidentalis (Apiaceae) on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. BEN (Botanical Electronic News) no. 482. and See also:

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