ISSN 1188-603X

No. 542 August 23, 2019 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6

FRANK ALEXANDER LANG (MAY 14, 1937 - JUNE 26, 2019)

From: Cindy Roche

Frank was born in Olympia, Washington, and spent his childhood roaming the surrounding woods and fields, as well as the shores of Puget Sound. From these experiences, he decided that his life's ambition was to be a biologist. He was fortunate that his Boy Scout merit badge counselor was naturalist Margaret McKenny, author of The Savory Wild Mushroom. He spent a good part of his high school years on field trips with Margaret and her friends, a highlight of which was meeting Roger Tory Peterson.

He majored in botany at Oregon State College and there met his wife, Suzanne. He worked filing specimens and drawing plants for his systematic botany instructor, Dr. Albert N. Steward, director of the herbarium. Frank planned to pursue his interest in ferns in graduate school at the University of Washington, but was diverted by Dr. Arthur Kruckeberg whose project was to determine why Douglas-fir was invading the gravelly prairies of western Washington. After concluding that the cause was lack of regular fires since European settlement, Frank decided it was time to seek a PhD. He met T.M.C. Taylor at the University of British Columbia, who suggested a taxonomic treatment of the Polypodium vulgare complex. Frank's thesis, completed in 1965, worked out the evolutionary relationship and taxonomy of three taxa using comparative morphology, cytology, and geographical-ecological criteria. This work was later confirmed by DNA and isozyme analyses.

Frank taught botany, ecology, and botanical illustration at Southern Oregon College for 31 years, from 1966 to 1996. He also served as department chair and chairman of the Faculty Senate. He taught biological illustration at the Malheur Field Station for eight summers. After he retired from teaching, he worked for the Medford District of the BLM, concentrating on the Ashland Resource Area. One of his passions was the Cascade/Siskiyou Ecological Emphasis Area, which later became the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. Starting in 1989 he became Mr. Nature Notes. With his signature wit and humor, he commented on topics related to the flora and fauna of Southern Oregon and Northern California. He produced over 300 radio scripts broadcast weekly on Jefferson Public Radio, and a selected script published in each issue of the Jefferson Monthly. Many of these pieces are in his books, A Nature Notes Sampler Vols. 1 & 2.

Frank served three terms as president of Native Plant Society of Oregon (1985-1986, 1979-1981), was a "Founding Father" of the Siskiyou Chapter (1977), co-edited the Bulletin from 1979-1981. He was the first editor of the annual journal, Kalmiopsis (1991-1994), and served on the journal's editorial board from 2004 through 2015. He was the author or co-author of several articles in Kalmiopsis, including John Jeffrey in the Wild West: Speculations on His Life and Times (1828-1854?), Green-flowered Wild Ginger (Asarum wagneri), Botanizers in the Land of Conifers, and numerous book reviews.

Frank was honored as NPSO Fellow in 2000. He has also won many awards for his research, publications and volunteer work, including 1990 "Volunteer of the Year" for The Nature Conservancy of Oregon His interests included history of botanical exploration of the Pacific Northwest, fern evolution, threatened and endangered plants, Charles Darwin in the Southern Hemisphere, Patagonia and Tasmania. He also contributed a large number of online entries for the Oregon Encyclopedia; as he said, he is computer literate (and he has a sense of humor). In his role as teacher and advocate for the natural world, Frank touched many lives. He will be remembered for his dry wit, irreverent sense of humor, and terribly wonderful puns.

Frank is survived by his wife Suzanne, son Thomas Lang (Shawn Barrett), daughter Amy Lang (Kerry Knestis), grandson Milo Knestis, and older sister Mary Lou York, and a host of former students he inspired to become botanists.


From: Sandra Davis & Olivia Lee with help of Terry McIntosh

Bryologists across the northwest spent a weekend exploring the habitats of the South Okanagan Valley. The first stop was at Zimmerman's Coulee off Arkell Road, south of Summerland. Terry McIntosh described the geology as the remnant of an ancient glacial lake. We explored the south-facing glacio-lacustrine banks for dryland mosses and found Didymodon nevadensis, Aloina bifrons and A. rigida, Pseudocrossidium obtusulum, Crossidium seriatum (a species of concern for COSEWIC), and many other species. On the north-facing, more shaded slopes we saw Homalothecium aeneum, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, and Brachythecium albicans.

After, lunch we continued to the Trout Creek Ecological Reserve off Canyon View Road and past the Summerland Golf and Country Club. The Reserve is dominated by Ponderosa Pine, Douglas Fir and Bunchgrass. On the rock outcrops, we observed lots of lichens- Melanelia stygia, Pseudoephebe pubescens, Rhizoplaca melanophthalma, and many others yet to be identified. Orthotrichum laevigatum, Coscinodon calyptratum, and Grimmia species were common mosses on the outcrops.

Vascular plants were mostly in full flower. Balsamroots (Balsamorhiza sagitata) were almost all finished, but we saw a few Lewisia rediviva in bloom, lots of Eriogonum heracleoides, and tried to dodge the prickly pear cacti, although some of us got stabbed by the spines.

That evening we met at the Penticton Community Centre with our books, microscopes and samples. We were so lucky to have a dry land moss expert, Terry McIntosh, to help us identify our specimens.

Saturday was another hot and sunny day, perfect for botanizing! Our first stop was the Vaseux Lake Conservation Area, south of Okanagan Falls. This habitat is protected due to the rare species found in the ponderosa pine, Douglas-fir, and grassland communities, including birds and mammals. We explored two areas in the rock outcrops looking for Grimmia, Syntrichia, Hedwigia, Orthotrichum and others.

We were entertained by 2 red tail hawks, one had a gopher snake in its talons and circled overhead for a while - we were probably near their nest.

Our next stop was the White Lake Grasslands Protected area. This is an open and extensive shrub-steppe area with associated forests of Ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir. A fairly new occurrence of rusty cord-moss (Entosthodon rubiginosus), also listed by COSEWIC, was observed along a spring seepage flat.

Our final visit was in a dry, north-facing Douglas Fir forest near White Lake, which was full of blooming wildflowers, including the rare Showy Phlox (Phlox speciosa ssp. occidentalis. That evening we worked on our IDs and Terry prepared specimens for us to reinforce what we have seen.


From: G. Karen Golinski []

Gilles Ayotte, Line Rochefort. 2019. Les sphaignes de l'Est du Canada - Clé d'identification visuelle et cartes de repartition. Les Éditions JFD Inc., ISBN: 978-2-924651-99-5 [Softcover]; 270 p. CAD$ 69.95 (In French).

The recently published book Les sphaignes de l'Est du Canada, Clé d'identification visuelle et cartes de repartition by Gilles Ayotte and Line Rochefort is a welcome addition to northern bryologists' libraries. Dedicated to Québec bryologist Robert Gautier, it follows the lead of Flatberg's (2013) groundbreaking Norges Torvmoser, which used detailed photographs to demystify the Norwegian Sphagnum flora, and the more recent Sphagnum mosses, The stars of European mires by Laine et al. (2018) which is essentially an updated, geographically expanded, more comprehensive version of Laine et al. (2009): The Intricate Beauty of Sphagnum Mosses: A Finnish Guide to Identification.

Although Les sphaignes de l'Est du Canada is written entirely in French, the multiple of photographs ease comprehension for non-French speakers. The book covers more than 60 species divided among six Subgenera, with one Subgenus, Acutifolia, further divided into three Sections. Keys to the Subgenera are followed by keys to the species. Further taxonomic consideration is given to groups of morphologically-similar species such as the "Sphagnum recurvum complex" in Subgenus Cuspidata.

Two-page descriptions of each species typically include photos of branch and stem leaves (stained with crystal violet), field habit, and where relevant to identification, close-ups illustrating cell-level details. A map indicating the range of distribution in Québec, Labrador, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, but not Newfoundland is also given for each species. Differences between similar species, and notes on "biotope", habitat, and macroscopic characters are written in French. Curiously, global distribution is noted for only a few species.

Approximately half of the species of Sphagnum included in the book are widely distributed in the Boreal region. This book will therefore be particularly useful for readers in northern Canada. It does not include a handful of species known from the Pacific coast (which limits use of the keys for that area) but it will still be very helpful to readers lacking access to verified specimens.

I am particularly impressed with the comprehensive list of references and the three appendices. Appendix 1 nicely illustrates reproductive structures and key morphological characters, some of which may not be well-known to readers unfamiliar with Sphagnum. Appendix 2 is a comprehensive guide to the process of collecting specimens, including which data to record. Appendix 3 covers a selection of identification techniques.

A minor criticism of the book is the somewhat uneven treatment of some species. For example, photographs of field habit are included for most but not all species. Further, it would have been helpful to have included photographs of Sphagnum cyclophyllum, which is rare in Nova Scotia, and to have illustrated the differences among species in the Sphagnum magellanicum complex. However, none of these minor issues undermine the value of this book, which is well-worth the purchase price.


Flatberg, K.I. 2013.
Norges Torvmoser. Akademika Forlag, Trondheim, Norway. 307 p.
Laine, J., K.I. Flatberg, P. Harjo, T. Timonen, K. Minkkinen, A. Laine, E.-S. Tuittila, H. Vasander. 2018.
Sphagnum Mosses, The Stars of European Mires. Dept. of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. 329 p.
Laine, J.; Harju, P.; Timonen, T.; Laine, A.; Tuittila, E.-S.; Minkkinen, K.; Vasander, H. 2009.
The Intricate Beauty of Sphagnum Mosses - a Finnish Guide to Identification. University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Ecology.

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