ISSN 1188-603X

No. 553 November 24, 2020 Victoria, B.C.
Dr. A. Ceska, 1809 Penshurst, Victoria, BC, Canada V8N 2N6


From: Björk, C.R. 2020. Five new species of North American Taraxacum (Asteraceae). Brittonia

ABSTRACT Five new species of native North American Taraxacum are described: Taraxacum argilliticola, T. cordilleranum, T. lautellum, T. pugioniferum, and T. simplex, all of them from high elevation habitats or high latitudes in western Canada, mostly from British Columbia.

INTRODUCTION [abbrev.] A workable taxonomy of temperate to boreal North American Taraxacum F.H. Wigg. (Asteraceae) has never been established, with species delimitation and identification being perceived as a near impossibility. Based on one or few morphological characters, most North American botanists apply a small number of Taraxacum names to a vast array of North American Taraxacum entities. This extremely broad taxonomic approach soon reveals its disadvantages when exploring North American Taraxacum both in the field and in the herbarium. Many North American species can be delimited and well-marked by morphological characters, characterized in part by reproductive syndrome, and occupy distinct geographical ranges and ecological settings. [...] For investigating Taraxacum diversity and taxonomy, I have found it is best to study living plants, both in the field and in a common garden setting. Photographs of in-situ living plants are invaluable to document the colour, texture, gloss, and orientation of parts accurately. Taraxacum specimens of suitable quality can be obtained by gathering material during the year's peak first bloom, drying rapidly, pressing the leaves flat. Specimens should be mounted to clearly show critical characters, such as the petioles' inner and outer surfaces and the capitula in profile.

The present paper is part of a series of studies contributing to a taxonomic foundation for the upcoming manual of British Columbia vascular plants (Björk & Cronk, in prep.). It is also part of a series of papers that will discuss both native and exotic Taraxacum of North America. My earlier paper (Björk, C. R. 2019. Overlooked diversity of exotic Taraxacum in British Columbia, Canada. Botany 97: 329-346.) provides keys to sections as a means of distinguishing native from exotic Taraxacum species; previous floras had not made that reliably possible.


From: Wershow, S. T. & E. G. DeChaine. 2018. Retreat to refugia: Severe habitat contraction projected for endemic alpine plants of the Olympic Peninsula. American Journal of Botany 105(4): 760-778.

This study involved four major components: (1) a field sampling study in locating sufficient occurrence data for high-resolution habitat modelling and fully characterize each taxon's distribution; (2) principal components analysis (PCA) to assess each taxon's climate envelope relative to current and projected future conditions in the Olympic alpine; (3) species distribution models (SDMs) in projecting changes in the suitable habitat distribution for each taxon and identify potential thermal refugia; and (4) topographic suitability modelling to refine climate-based predictions and further investigate the influence of micro-topography on potential refugia.

Focal taxa The five endemic plant taxa studied were:

    Campanula piperi Howell (Campanulaceae); Viola flettii Piper (Violaceae); Erigeron flettii G.N. Jones (Asteraceae); Senecio neowebsteri S.F. Blake (Asteraceae); and Synthyris pinnatifida var. lanuginosa (Piper) Cronquist (Plantaginaceae).

These species were selected because they have truly alpine distributions, sufficient numbers of reliable occurrence points, and reflect the taxonomic and ecological diversity within the alpine zone. Four families and three distinct habitat types are represented. All five taxa are of conservation concern due to their habitat specificity, endemism, and high elevation. However, little is known about their ecology, demographics, or genetics.

All taxa projected massive habitat contraction throughout their ranges, with a near-total loss around northern populations in the Bailey Range, Mt. Angeles, and Hurricane Ridge areas. Highly suitable habitat patches were projected to become smaller and more fragmented. Taxa with higher elevation ranges, lower prevalence, and narrower climate envelopes would experience greater habitat loss, greater fragmentation, and lower suitability within potential refugia. Mt. Constance, the peaks of the upper Dosewallips River, Mt. Stone, and The Brothers were identified as potential refugia, where habitat suitability could be maintained into the future.


From: Linda K. Hardison, Ph.D. email:

Volume 2 of Oregon's Flora is now available for preorder from BRIT Press: This installment of the three-volume Flora treats the dicot families Aizoaceae - Fagaceae. There are descriptions and distribution maps for 1,668 native and naturalized taxa, 785 of which are accompanied by pen and ink illustrations. Front chapters discuss plant-insect interactions, landscaping with native species, and the connections between floras and herbaria; they are augmented with 96 full-colour photographs and appendices.

OregonFlora is also pleased to announce the launch of its redesigned website: The website is a Symbiota portal with a customized user interface. It provides a regionally focused context to specimen records and unvouchered observations, thereby expanding their relevance to a broad audience. Applications of plant data, such as the section featuring native species for gardening and landscaping ( ), provide further outreach.

The OregonFlora website serves as a digital flora, presenting information under the taxonomic framework of the Flora of Oregon. Nomenclature, distribution mapping, field images, and descriptions are summarized on taxon profile pages. An interactive plant identification tool is also available: .


From: Noffsinger C, Cripps CL, Horak E. 2020. A 200-year history of arctic and alpine fungi in North America: Early sailing expeditions to the molecular era. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research. 52(1): 323-340.

ABSTRACT Mushrooms and other fleshy fungi are important components of arctic and alpine habitats where they enhance nutrient uptake in plants and replenish poor soils through decomposition. Here we assemble the 200-year (1819-2019) record of their discovery in North America, beginning with early Arctic sailing expeditions, followed by intense taxonomic studies, and concluding with the molecular era, all of which highlight the difficulty of exhaustively revealing their biodiversity in these extreme, cold-dominated habitats. Compiled biogeographic data reveal that a majority of arctic fungi have large intercontinental distributions with disjunct alpine populations. A newly compiled checklist of 170 species of Basidiomycota in fifty-one genera and twenty families in the Rocky Mountain alpine zone provides current baseline data prior to expected environmental shifts.



In the time of COVID reign, editing and posting BEN is difficult. Scott Russell, Oklahoma University BEN editor & archivist, has limited access to their computer. I cannot go to the UVIC library and use Netlink to access journal articles. I am using Grammarly to correct my Czechlish, and once-a-while their misspelling corrections are absurd and I miss it. Apologies!

With Grammarly, I am better at using English articles and prepositions. Last week's Grammarly report of my major problems almost killed me: Grammarly: Top 3 mistakes: 1. Missing period 116 alerts. Be kind, be calm, be safe!

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