|BOTANICAL ELECTRONIC NEWS|
|No. 236 November 27, email@example.com||Victoria, B.C.|
Dr. William A. Weber, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been awarded the Edgar T. Wherry Award by the North American Rock Garden Society.
As quoted from "A History of the North American Rock Garden Society" the Edgar T. Wherry Award is "...given to a person who has made an outstanding contribution in the dissemination of botanical and/or horticultural knowledge about native American plants....Generally the award recognizes a body of work or a lifetime of literary effort rather than a single work."
[Pteridologist and geologist Dr Edgar T. Wherry (1885--1982) served as president of the American Fern Society, and the Mineralogical Society of America. When he was Professor of Botany at the University of Pennsylvania, Wherry was the editor of the Bulletin of the American Rock Garden Society and encouraged appreciation for native plants among gardeners.]
The award announcement (Rock Garden Quarterly 56: 298-299) cites Dr. Weber's "monumental contributions to botanical knowledge, and awareness locally, nationally, and internationally."
BEN readers know Dr. Weber from his many stimulating contributions (e.g., "Vernacular names: why, oh why?" - BEN # 109), and BEN celebrated Dr. Weber's 80th birthday in special issues # 207, 208 and 209, just a year ago.
In recent years, Calicioid, or "stubble" lichens have been attracting attention as surpassing bioindicators of relative forest age. Resembling diminutive straightpins (or, if you prefer, lilliputian stubble), most stubble lichens are at home on the sheltered undersides of leaning trees. Some species prefer conifers, while others inhabit the wood or bark of deciduous trees. At north temperate and boreal latitudes, stubble lichens can be found pretty well wherever there are trees. But only in humid inland forests do they really come into their own. The richest (and presumably oldest!) oldgrowth forests yield as many as thirty different species. By contrast, mature forests less than about 150 years old hardly support half this number; while species numbers in young plantation forests seldom rise above about five or six.
The down side of using stubble lichens as ecological indicators is that they themselves are notoriously difficult to get to know. This is partly owing to their small size and extreme morphological variability, but mostly it reflects a general lack of entry-level treatments to these species. Earlier this year, I attempted to rectify this situation for western North America by preparing "user friendly" keys to all 71 stubble lichen species known to occur in British Columbia [see Part 2 of "Lichens of British Columbia: illustrated keys", available from Crown Publications, Victoria - cf. BEN # 231].
As coincidence would have it, a second quite usable account of the stubble lichens appeared almost simultaneously with my own! That account, however, has the advantage of having being prepared by the undisputed dean of calicioid studies worldwide, Dr. Leif Tibell, of Uppsala, Sweden. Doubling as Volume 1 in the "Nordic Lichen Flora" series, this 74 page treatise represents the first truly comprehensive treatment of stubble lichens yet to have appeared in Europe. Included here are keys, detailed descriptions, chemical notes, habitat summaries, nordic distributional maps, and colour photographs. For most genera, all species occurring in British Columbia are treated in detail in Tibell's book -- the only exceptions being Stenocybe major and several species in the genus Chaenothecopsis.
Unfortunately for the beginner, the terminology in Tibell's book is unstintingly technical, while the book itself lacks anything resembling a glossary of terms. Yet these "deficiencies" can be largely overcome by using the Nordic book as a companion volume to the British Columbia treatment, in which all technical words are carefully defined, and many are illustrated. By the same token, those who use the British Columbia treatment will benefit greatly from the descriptions and photographs presented in the Nordic book. From this it can perhaps be concluded that these books work well together. They are, so to speak, the fungal and the algal partners of a single learning experience.
In my study of European populations of Conyza canadensis (L.) Cronq., I would like to compare those with the native populations in North America. I would greatly appreciate seed samples from throughout its native, North American range. - Many thanks!