ISSN 1188-603X

No. 545 February 20, 2020 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6


A reminder that the 4th Annual Washington Botanical Symposium, co-organized by the UW Herbarium, is coming up on March 4th. The event will be held at the UW Botanical Garden's Center for Urban Horticulture on the UW campus (free parking). The keynote speaker is Dr. Bruce Baldwin from the University of California-Berkeley. A limited number of student scholarships providing free registration are available. For a full list of speakers and registration information visit:


From: Thomas Edward Reimchen & Estelle Arbellay. 2019. In?uence of spawning salmon on tree-ring width, isotopic nitrogen, and total nitrogen in old-growth Sitka spruce from coastal British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 49: 1078-1086.


Coastal watersheds of the North Pacific benefit immensely from bear-mediated uploading of salmon nutrients, which increases aquatic and terrestrial productivity. To quantify the influence of spawning salmonon tree-ring signatures, we analyzed 543 rings from the heartwood of 13 old-growth Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carrière) trees from five geographically separated watersheds in coastal British Columbia. In comparison with adjacent control trees, those receiving salmon nutrients (salmontrees) have rings that are, on average, 1.5 mm wider, 4.5‰ more enriched in isotopic nitrogen, and 0.021% more elevated in total nitrogen (P<0.001, Mann–Whitney–Wilcoxon test).In this study, salmon nutrients enhance average stem growth by 19%. Furthermore, salmon trees show that increases in tree-ring width and nitrogen values lag sporadic, high salmon runs by 0 to 5 years. Using differences between control and salmon trees from the same site, our results collectively indicate that tree-ring width, isotopic nitrogen, and total nitrogen are valid, complementary tools for investigating historic, annual ?uctuations in salmon abundance in coastal watersheds. We recommend their use in future, tree ring-based reconstructions of past nutrient cycling over decadal to centennial time scales.


From: Stephen Ruttan [originally published in The Log Autumn/Winter 2019/2020]

Michael Layland, 2019. In Nature's Realm: Early Naturalists Explore Vancouver Island. ISBN 9781771513067 [hard copy], 288 p. Cost: CDN$ 40.00

Michael Layland has done it again. In the past few years he has written award-winning books on the early map-makers and explorers of Vancouver Island. Now he has turned his attention to the naturalists. In his new book he has prepared a major study of the early naturalists who explored Vancouver Island. To say this fills a gap in our knowledge is an understatement. To my knowledge we have had nothing like it. Now, though, we have a large, comprehensive work, that covers many people and topics. For some of us it opens up a whole new area of study.

In his introduction, Layland tells us that the book is divided into four parts. First comes indigenous knowledge and use of the region. In the next section, he covers the earliest European records. This was a golden age of European discovery, and included people such as Cook from Britain, and Malaspina from Spain. The third part is the settlement area, with the settlers writing about the nature of their new surroundings. The fourth section of the book is especially wide-ranging. He writes about organized expeditions, such as those of the federal government. But he also has chapters on special topics, such as women and botany, and the history of importing songbirds to this region.

The chapter on indigenous use shows the book's diversity. He describes the different indigenous groups, and their use of the land and sea. But he also covers some special topics. He has a section on the clam gardens constructed by local groups. He writes on Nancy Turner, and her important studies on local ethnobotany. And, on a topic new to me, he writes about the bird-net poles, up to thirty metres high, that were constructed by indigenous people to catch migrating waterfowl.

From pre-contact times till the First World War, Layland covers the work of many naturalists. Some, such as David Douglas and John Macoun, are well known. Others, such as many on the Spanish ships, are almost unknown. Sometimes the famous and the obscure complement each other. Archibald Menzies, for example, was one of the most important collectors on the coast, and has a whole chapter devoted to his career. But important to understanding Menzies work is the research of a twentieth century scientist, Eric Groves. Groves has researched and written several papers on Menzies work. These papers are central to our understanding of Menzies, and Layland includes an article on him in the Menzies chapter.

As well as text, the book includes dozens of illustrations which complement the writing. Layland has obviously searched far and wide for the appropriate pictures; I see, for example, that some come from institutions in Madrid. But some of the best comes from right here at home. Botanical and landscape paintings by Emily Carr, Emily Sartain, E. J. Hughes, and others show how our natural world has inspired some of our best artists.

Finally, I would like to mention something that might get overlooked: the notes and bibliography. Not only has Layland created the basic text for this subject, but in his twelve pages of notes and eight pages of bibliography he takes us much beyond the bounds of this book. The bibliography is very wide-ranging, and some items might be hard to discover on your own. This will be a standard reference text on Vancouver Island for years to come.


Second Edition - Denis R Benjamin

Denis Benjamin, author of the landmark book on the health effects of mushrooms (Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas) has distilled four decades of mushroom hunting stories into this expanded second edition of his classic book on foraging. From discovering the world of fungi, through the joys, disappointments, and competition of foraging; to the characters who share this obsession. The engaging style and perceptive observations address those who venture into fields and forests seeking edible mushrooms. The book reflects on the activity of foraging, and the people involved. "It is for those who hunt for their stomach." The book appeals to outdoor enthusiasts, locavores, wild food and mushroom gatherers, amateur mycologists, hikers and naturalists.

The author, an amateur mycologist, is a frequent speaker at mushroom clubs and societies. In addition to nearly 100 professional publications, he has contributed to the lay literature and mushroom magazines. He is now a Research Associate at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth and is a watercolorist, focusing on botanical subjects and fungi - and whatever else takes his fancy.

Book Specifications; Soft cover; 6 x 9 inches, 170 pages (ISBN 978-0-9829359-1-0) Retail Cost $12.00 Soft cover ( Kindle version $ 9.50 (

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