|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 336 November 10, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
Approximately 70 people attended Botany B.C., held July 5-8, 2004 in the village of Atlin in the northwestern corner of the province. Atlin sits in a spectacular location on the shores of Atlin Lake overlooking Teresa Island, as well as a large rock glacier and the snow-capped coastal mountains in the distance. The village itself is full of small picturesque houses (many are cabins belonging to Yukoners) and escaped rhubarb.
The first morning, botanists heard a talk about the local flora; especially alpines on Teresa Island from Carol Latimer (an Atlin resident botanist) and then a couple of talks about the role of NatureServe in plant conservation and listed species. Three field trips were then offered. Some hiked up Monarch Mountain, which sits as a backdrop to the village. There botanists explored the flora of the dry boreal ecosystems and saw the unusual Selaginella sibirica en route to the alpine where Masonhalea richardsonii abounds.
Another group traveled many kilometers by bus up the back roads, past the devastation caused by placer mining, and then on up the road to the alpine meadows of Ruby Mountain, a spectacular volcanic massive. Excitement was high and all heads went down as we saw one beautiful alpine flower after another. Although not lush, the meadows were very diverse and many species were added to our preliminary list. Particularly attractive were the abundant colourful lichens and Patrick Williston was left drooling over Allocetraria madreporiformis, Dactylina arctica and D. ramulosa. We were excited to find a poppy on the scree that was later identified as Papaver alboroseum - only the second confirmed location in British Columbia. The third group took a slower paced stroll through the absolutely fascinating Warm Springs meadows just south of Atlin. These wet meadows are extremely species rich and really needed much more time to explore. Highlights included the many sedge species, asphodel, Langsdorff's violets, lobelia, asters, butterworts, and the rare Orobanche fasciculata.
After supper we attended 2 very interesting evening talks at the historic Globe Theatre. One was about the history of the area and the theatre itself and was followed by a very enlightening talk given by Dr Jim Dickson about the Kwaday Dan T'sinchi (Long Ago Person Found), the frozen body found in the Tatshenshini area. Dr Dickson outlined the forensic investigations that took place to determine whether the man was a coastal or interior First Nation's person. Much of the evidence that he came from the interior was based on the nutrient content of his bones. However, the fact that he had recently traveled to the coast was based on plant materials like sweet cicely seeds and Salicornia carried on the clothing and the salmon in his stomach.
On the second day, Shawn Francis from Whitehorse gave an excellent overview of the complexity of the ecosystems in the Atlin area. This was followed by a great discussion of plant disjuncts as evidence for the extent of Beringia given by Bruce Bennett. Unfortunately, Adolf Ceska's interesting discussion about problems with fern taxonomy was cut short due to lack of time.
A peculiar event occurred during one of our field sessions when an apparently 'lost miner', was 'rescued' by botanists from the Yukon, and driven into town. This strange episode will surely not be forgotten soon (see BEN # 332 for details).
To cap off the formal part of the meeting, we were treated to a salmon dinner on the M.V. Tarahne - the old boat moored on the beach in Atlin. Since there were too many of us to serve at one time, the half that were not eating were entertained by one of two illustrated talks - one by artist Pamela Stagg on the complexities of Contemporary Botanical Painting, and the other by Gernot Dick on the Flora of Monarch Mountain. Both were excellent.
At the end of the meeting, amid intellectually stimulating chaos, the site for next year's meeting was chosen. We decided, following the closest vote in Botany BC history, that botanists and their ilk will meet in 2005 in Lytton and will be exploring Botanie Mountain, the Stein Valley, and the surrounding territory. This will be our 20th, yes 20th, anniversary and nostalgia will reign supreme.
Some participants then went off on a post-BOTANY BC excursion to see the Carcross Dunes and the Takhini Salt Flats, while others took a hike on White Mountain or headed home with plans to return soon to this charming and botanically fascinating part of British Columbia.
Many thanks go to Bruce Bennett and his wife, Randy Mulder, for organizing the event so well and to the local people of Atlin who fed us and showed us around the area.
Recently we have received a number of questions regarding the occurrence of Elodea bifoliata St. John in Canada including particularly questions about its status and occurrence. The genus Elodea, the water-weeds, includes three Canadian species. One of these, previously called E. longivaginata St. John, was recently combined with a species from the southwestern United States called E. bifoliata. Both names were published by St. John (1962) on the same date. Cook and Urmi-König (1985) chose the name E. bifoliata "because St. John's original description of E. longivaginata does not fit the holotype and because the holotype of E. bifoliata is a male plant with well-preserved flowers and mature pollen." Regardless of whether or not these were satisfactory reasons, this first choice is to be followed according to the rules of nomenclature as long as the two names are considered synonymous. Thus what was previously referred to in Canada as E. longivaginata is now correctly called E. bifoliata.
With its relatively large size and rather limited prairie distribution in Canada, Elodea longivaginata was considered a distinctive species (Catling & Wojtas 1986). When combined with E. bifoliata the concept of the newly created species is broadened and it is a little less distinctive. The emended Elodea bifoliata includes St. John's concept E. longivaginata in part, but it also includes characters of E. bifoliata such as the shorter pistillate spathe 2-2.2 cm long and leaves occasionally in whorls of three.
With regard to the question of why the two species were combined, there was no data or analysis to support the union nor an explanation. The possibility of Elodea bifoliata being a hybrid or a local taxon of hybrid origin was not considered. In contrast to E. longivaginata, it was known to St. John only from Arizona, whereas he reported E. longivaginata from 4 states and one province and its distribution extended from New Mexico to Alberta. Believing that progress is reflected in more recent monographic studies, we often accept the most recent results. This is a case however, where further research is clearly necessary and that research may result in a return to St. John's (1962) classification which separated E. longivaginata and E. bifoliata.
Elodea bifoliata excluded from British Columbia
Most recent literature has not reported Elodea bifoliata from British Columbia (Catling & Wojtas 1986, Douglas 2001). For his work on Flora of North America Haynes kept a record of one justifying specimen for each state and province shown on his maps (Haynes, pers. comm). The justification recorded for his report for British Columbia (Haynes 2000) is a specimen in the Agriculture and Agri-food Canada herbarium (DAO) in Ottawa collected by A. White and B. Mitchell (no. 1465) on 10 Aug. 1978 in Queen Elizabeth Park, Vancouver (Haynes, pers. comm.). This female specimen (DAO 342681) bears Haynes' 1995 annotation label revising its identification from E. nuttallii (Planchon) St. John to E. bifoliata. The fragments mounted on the sheet have leaves 1- 1.5 mm wide and 6-8 mm long with the middle and upper leaves in whorls of three. Five well developed pistillate spathes 11-13 mm long are present along with a single female flower with sepals 1.5 mm long. There are no mature seeds to assist in identification. Nevertheless with the characteristics noted, the plants key readily to E. nuttallii in the key produced by Catling & Wojtas (1986). They also key to E. nuttallii in the key provided by Haynes (2000) on account of the relatively narrow leaves and relatively short pistillate spathes. In the key to vegetative plants produced by Cook and Urmi-König (1985) the plants key to E. nuttallii since the leaves are less than 1.75 mm wide and less than 10 mm long. In their key to female plants, the fragments also key to E. nuttallii on the basis of sepals less than 2 mm long. There seems little doubt that this sheet is best labeled as E. nuttallii.
Another DAO specimen (DAO 341635), also annotated by Haynes as Elodea bifoliata in 1995, is entirely vegetative. With its relatively long (15-21 mm long), narrow and straight- margined leaves, this specimen has some characteristics of the South American E. callitrichoides (L. C. M. Richard) Caspary, which has been introduced elsewhere as an aquarium plant, but in the absence of flowers it seems best placed with E. nuttallii to which it keys (considering North American species) in the literature noted above based on leaves 1-1.5 mm wide.
Other specimens seen by Haynes to support his report from British Columbia, may reside in herbaria that he borrowed from to complete his Flora of North America treatments. These include ACAD, CAN, TRT, and UBC (Haynes 2004, pers. comm.). None of these herbaria had specimens labelled Elodea bifoliata from British Columbia and neither did V or MMMN. Based on all of these observations, Elodea bifoliata is to be excluded from the flora of British Columbia. It is to be noted however that suitable habitat, corresponding to that of the western Great Plains, may exist in some of the dry interior valleys of British Columbia.
Elodea bifoliata excluded from Manitoba
Elodea bifoliata is not currently recognized in Manitoba by the Manitoba Conservation Data Centre (see http://web2.gov.mb.ca/conservation/cdc/) and there was no report from Manitoba prior to Haynes' (2000). The specimen that Haynes' recorded and annotated to support the Manitoba occurrence is a sheet at DAO with five fragments collected on 16 July 1956 by J.P. Bernard (no. 5387) "entre Matlock et Whytewold, Ruisseau du Petit Tugela," in Selkirk District (DAO 52560). The leaves are 2-3 mm wide and the middle and upper leaves are in whorls of three. Four of the fragments are vegetative and one is staminate. Three of the vegetative fragments have long lanceolate leaves, but the fact that the leaves are in whorls of three suggests against E. bifoliata. Regardless, vegetative material is subject to much variation and does not provide a fully reliable basis for identification. The staminate fragment has oblong and ovate leaves and thus corresponds to E. canadensis Michaux in vegetative characters (e.g. Catling & Wojtas 1986, Cook and Urmi-König 1985 and Haynes 2000). With two male spathes 14 mm long, anthers 2.5 mm long and pollen exclusively in tetrads, this fragment keys to E. canadensis Michx. in the keys provided by Catling & Wojtas (1986), Cook and Urmi- König (1985) and Haynes (2000). There are no other specimens labeled as E. bifoliata from Manitoba in the herbaria that Haynes borrowed from, nor from the others surveyed (see above). Thus, it appears that there are no other specimens to support the report from Manitoba and E. bifoliata is to be excluded from the flora of that province as well.
Elodea bifoliata in Alberta and Saskatchewan
The reports of Elodea bifoliata from Alberta and Saskatchewan are based on a number of correctly identified specimens at DAO and elsewhere, but it appears to be rare. Cook and Urmi- König (1985) listed only two localities. Catling & Wojtas (1986) mapped 11 localities in the prairie region of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Haynes (2000) showed occurrence in the extreme southern portions of both provinces. It is currently ranked as S2 in Saskatchewan and S1 in Alberta by their Conservation Data Centres, suggesting risk status. Although the species does not have a national rank at present, with risk status in two of the provinces in which it occurs it is clearly a priority species for accurate documentation in Canada.
Essential information on locations of vouchers was provided by R.R. Haynes. Comments and suggestions were provided by W.J. Cody, L. Black and J. Penny.
For herbarium acronyms see: http://sciweb.nybg.org/science2/ih/searchih.html
Epilobium x treleasianum L‚veill‚ is a fertile hybrid between the relatively common, pink-flowered E. ciliatum subsp. glandulosum (Lehm.) Hoch & Raven and the attractive, yellow-flowered E. luteum Pursh. With a pink corolla, E. x treleasianum resembles E. ciliatum subsp. glandulosum, but it has larger flowers (petals often greater than 10 mm long) and a four-lobed stigma, which are characteristics of E. luteum. These willowherbs have a brief flowering season, only a few weeks in late July and early August, and are difficult to identify when lacking stigmas and corollas. Their preferred habitat is beside alpine and subalpine creeks and seepages in mountainous regions. Epilobium luteum is endemic to western North America with a distribution centred in British Columbia, while E. ciliatum subsp. glandulosum is amphiberigian (Douglas et al. 1999). Epilobium x treleasianum is presently known from 10 localities in British Columbia, a small number of populations in Alaska, and close to 25 populations in Washington (Seavey 1993).
The first time I learned about Epilobium x treleasianum was during Botany BC in Bella Coola in 2003. Dr. Jim Pojar made a collection while on one of the field trips. He made the determination using Hult‚n's Flora of Alaska. A few months later while hiking on Ashman Ridge near Smithers, British Columbia, Dr. Pojar found it again and we collected several specimens and took photographs. When I decided to learn more about this plant, Dr. Peter Hoch (Missouri Botanical Garden) informed me that the type locality was from British Columbia.
Epilobium x treleasianum was described in 1908 by H. L‚veill‚. The type specimen was collected on August 12, 1903 by E. M. Farr; the label locality simply stating: Canada, British Columbia, Selkirk Mts., Glacier National Park, Rogers Pass. The specimen is housed at the Missouri Botanical Garden Herbarium (MO). A second collection from Glacier National Park was collected by F. K. Butters in 1914 (Seavey 1993). There were no further collections of this plant within Glacier National Park for the following 90 years.
On August 4, 2004, Paula Bartemucci and I searched for the plant at Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park, which is Canada's second national park established in 1886 (the first was Banff established in 1885). In 1903, Rogers Pass was not serviced by a road; the only access was by rail. The pass harboured a railway siding known as Glacier House which was a popular tourist destination, built with elaborate Victorian decor. Less than two kilometres south of Glacier House along a hiking trail was the magnificent Great Glacier, presently known as the Illecillewaet Glacier. A second glacier, the Asulkan Glacier, was less than three kilometres away along an adjacent trail. We searched along both trails with hopes of finding Epilobium x treleasianum. At around 1.5 km along the Asulkan Trail we encountered a small population of E. luteum intermixed with E. ciliatum subsp. glandulosum along an ephemeral creek. Here, to our great excitement, we found the large-flowered E. x treleasianum with its four-lobed stigma (UTM Nad 27, 11U 465935E 5677636N, elev. 1400 m). There were 6 plants. We found another subpopula- tion about 100 metres further along the trail beside a larger creek with more than 20 plants. One kilometre further, at the base of an avalanche chute just beyond treeline, was another subpopulation of E. luteum, this one with hundreds of plants; however, this site did not support Epilobium x treleasianum.
We also searched along the well-used Great Glacier Trail, which is perhaps as popular today as it was 100 years ago. About 1.5 km from the ruins of Glacier House we encountered Epilobium luteum once more growing with E. ciliatum subsp. glandulosum (11U 466931E 5677932N, elev. 1425 m). Could this be the true type locality? Despite an intensive search, we could not locate E. x treleasianum here. In the past 100 years, the toe of the glacier has receded approximately 2000 metres (Morris 2003) and plant succession has caused changes in vegetation composition. Furthermore, drainage patterns among the smaller creeks have likely changed. We may never know precisely where the first collections were made; however, we do now know that Epilobium x treleasianum presently grows along the Asulkan Trail, very close to the historic site of Glacier House in Rogers Pass. Given the general nature of the location information on the type specimen, the population reported here may be as close as we will come to finding the type locality.
Although the type locality is in British Columbia and it is presently known from several extant populations, Epilobium x treleasianum is not included among the keys in the Illustrated Flora of British Columbia (though it is mentioned in the notes under E. luteum; Douglas et al. 1999), nor is it recognized by the British Columbia Conservation Data Centre. This western endemic with a primary distribution within British Columbia deserves wider recognition.
The author gratefully acknowledges the contributions of Paula Bartemucci, Peter Hoch, and Jim Pojar to this work. Funding for investigations in Glacier National Park was provided by Parks Canada.
The maritime dwarf shrub heath vegetation of the Northern Pacific, Simeonof Island, Shumagin Islands, Southwestern Alaska, was studied according to the Braun_Blanquet approach. Based on 30 relev‚s of 16 m2 that include vascular plants, bryophytes, and lichens, two new associations could be described belonging to the class Loiseleurio-Vaccinietea Eggler 1952 em. Schubert 1960 (order Rhododendro- Vaccinietalia Br.-Bl. in Br.-Bl. et Jenny 1926 emend. Daniels 1982): Rubo [stellati]-Empetretum nigri and Carici [circinatae]-Empetretum nigri.
The wind-sheltered Rubo [stellati]-Empetretum nigri - alliance Phyllodoco-Vaccinion Nordhagen 1936 - mainly occurs in the lowlands on level terrain or sloping sites at lower foot slopes of mountains on deeper, mesic soil; this association is the zonal vegetation of the lowlands. Boreal, widespread and amphi-Beringian species are prominent in the distribution-type spectrum of the vascular plants. Two variants of Rubo-Empetretum nigri are described. Geranium erianthum variant occurs on south-facing slopes and is rich in vascular plants species. Plagiothecium undulatum variant is restricted to northern exposures and is rich in bryophytes and lichens.
Carici [circinatae]-Empetretum nigri - alliance Loiseleurio-Diapension (Br.-Bl., Siss. & Vlg. 1939) Daniels 1982 - occurs on shallow soil on wind exposed sites at higher elevations in the mountains. It is very rich in lichen species of arctic-alpine distribution. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) suggests that altitude, nutrient content of the soil and exposition are the most important differential ecological factors. Soil depth, total carbon and nitrogen content, plant available phosphorus and all other measured cation contents are higher in Rubo-Empetretum than in Carici-Empetretum. Literature comparisons confirm the occurrence of both associations in other areas on the Southwest Alaska Peninsula and Aleutian Islands. Presumably both associations have an amphi-Beringian distribution. The syntaxonomy of boreal-montane dwarf shrub heaths and synecological aspects are briefly discussed.
Rubo [stellati]-Empetretum nigri:
Empetrum nigrum, Rubus stellatus, Trientalis europaea subsp. arctica, Angelica lucida, Calamagrostis canadensis, Viola langsdorfii, Prenathes alata, Sanguisorba stipulata, Epilobium angustifolium, Listera cordata, Vaccinium vitis idaea subsp. minus, Ledum palustre subsp. decumbens, Salix arctica, Polytrichastrum alpinum, Carex macrochaeta, Sanionia uncinata, Pleurozium schreberi, Hylocomium splendens, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Festuca rubra and Dicranum scoparium.
Carici [circinatae]-Empetretum nigri:
Empetrum nigrum, Racomitrium lanuginosum, Carex circinnata, Antennaria monocephala subsp. monocephala, Salix rotundifolia, Cladonia crispata, Lycopodium selago, Anastrophyllum minutum, Aulacomnium turgidum, Thamnolia vermicularis, Flavocetraria cucullata, Sphaerophorus globosus, Cladonia amaurocraea, Cetraria ericetorum, Alectoria nigricans, A. ochroleuca, Ochrolechia frigida, Cladina stellaris, Ptilidium ciliare, Vaccinium vitis idaea subsp. minus, Ledum palustre subsp. decumbens, Salix arctica, Polytrichastrum alpinum, Rhytidiadelphus loreus, Cladina rangiferina, Lobaria linita, Cladonia uncialis, Polygonum viviparum, Arctostaphylos alpina, Stereocaulon paschale, Carex macrochaeta, Sanionia uncinata, Pleurozium schreberi, Hylocomium splendens, Rhytidiadelphus triquetrus, Cladonia gracilis, Cladina mitis, Dicranum scoparium, Solidago multiradiata multiradiata and Campanula lasiocarpa.
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