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BEN # 35

Adolf Ceska aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Sun Jul 5 08:16:00 EST 1992

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No. 35                            July 5, 1992

Address: aceska at cue.bc.ca         Victoria, B.C.

From: A. Ceska <aceska at cue.bc.ca>

This year was a bumper crop year for phantom orchid in the
Victoria area. We counted 34 to 39 plants on one site, and
two and six plants on two other sites. In spite of this
abundant occurrence all flowers fell off without setting
fruit. We are at the northern limit of the phantom orchid's
distribution and I wonder, if we lack its pollinator(s).
I have not done my homework (literature search etc.) and
I would greatly appreciate any suggestion, literature
citations, observations you can give me.

From: Terry Taylor c/o <rtaylor at cue.bc.ca>

Last Sunday I saw two populations of Hemitomes congestum
[gnome-plant] beside two separate trails on the lower
slopes of Grouse Mountain.  Eric Damer at Golden Ears Park
reports 3 populations flowering there - the well- known
one at the Spirea Nature Trail, beside one of the
campgrounds, and beside the trail to the Viking Creek
Lookout.  During the last few years it is being reported
in this area much more often.

The Heritage Tree Society asked me to go to the Caren
Range [see BEN # 31] and make a plant list, which I did on
July 1.  Although there did not appear to be any rare
species, I was very impressed with the incredibly open
forest floor of this Tsuga heterophylla-Abies amabilis old
growth forest. It is densely covered by Rhytidiopsis, and
very large, flat patches of Sphagnum girgensohnii, with
extensive Listera cordata growing in the Sphagnum.  I do
not recall ever seeing a forest area with this overall
appearance, and hope it will be possible to prevent the
logging of this site. 

From: A. Ceska <aceska at cue.bc.ca>

The Proceedings of the Conference on Endangered Species &
Habitats in British Columbia (Vancouver 1991) is about
to be published. Due to the lack of money only about
200 copies will be printed and they are all reserved for
the two contributing B.C. Ministries (Forests & Environment),
or the authors. It is sad to see a publication being out of
print even before it is printed. The cost of a volume will
be about $15.00 to 20.00.

The botanical contributions: Rare aquatic vascular plants
of B.C. (A. Ceska), Conservation status of marine plants
and invertebrates in B.C (M.W. Hawkes), Endangered and
threatened plants species of the Southern Interior of B.C.
(E.C. Lea & G.W. Douglas), Rare and endangered alpine
plants in B.C. (R.T. Ogilvie), Epiphytic lichens (T.
Goward). A wide variety of zoological topics, problems of
strategies and legislation for the protection are also

I would like to find, how many people would like to buy a
copy of the Proceedings. I would also be grateful, if you
could give me some advice on where to look for the "seed
money," in order to get more copies printed. 

From: Don Norris  (DNORRIS on BC gov network)

Bill Parker of Lakehead University used to do chemical
taxonomy and his results on spruce hybrids and balsam
hybrids indicated that there were macroscopic integrades
between members of the same genus, indicating
hybridization; but when chemically analyzed, all
specimens were clearly belonging to one group or the
other. I believe he obtained similar results in black vs
white spruce "so called hybrids". Perhaps Jack Maze at UBC
could shed some more light on this technique.

AC: Hybrids usually have the sum of all compounds 
found in the respective parents. E.g., if one parent has
compounds ACDFG and the other parent BCGHL then the hybrid
would have ABCDFGHL and sometimes something more. Anna
Picman and Bruce Bohm studied flavonoids of Tiarella
(Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 10[1982]: 139-143)
and they found that T. laciniata has in fact fewer
compounds than either T. trifoliata or T. unifoliata. I
did not want to bring up this evidence, because the
authors sampled only one population of T. laciniata.

Cross-posted from BNFNET-L list <BNFNET-L at FINHUTC.BITNET> 

Gary Stacey:
I have just returned [May 1992] from the American Society of
Microbiology meeting that was held in New Orleans, LA. 
During this meeting, I had occasion to listen to the talk
of Johanna Dobereiner concerning her work on nitrogen
fixation in sugar cane in Brazil. She reported on the
isolation of an endophytic Acetobacter strain that appears
to play a significant role in providing nitrogen to sugar
cane. During this talk, she made the surprising statement
that Brazil is now recommending that sugar cane farmers
not, yes not, use any nitrogen fertilizer on their crop.
She showed a table that indicated that with specific
cultivars (this effect was cultivar specific) there was no
drop in yield between cuttings when the plants were not
given nitrogen fertilizer.  I was very impressed with
these data and I wonder if I am missing something or if
others have heard of this.

Eric Triplett:
Hello Gary.  Yes, I have had many conversations with Dr.
Dobereiner on her discovery of nitrogen-fixing sugar cane. 
IT IS VERY EXCITING! The data is very impressive and is
supported by very solid N15 data. I first heard this story
2 years ago when I visited Rio.  ... Shortly after
learning this story in Rio, I heard a seminar by Anne
Vidaver.  She has found that perfectly healthy corn and
sorghum plants contain lots of bacteria.  She has no idea
what they are doing.

We should make a big push in the USA to get nitrogen-
fixing corn.  I think it is no longer "pie in the sky"
The Brazilians have also noticed a significant cultivar
effect with their endophytic nitrogen-fixing bacteria. 
Those lines of sugar cane which were bred under high
nitrogen fertilizer conditions do not fix nitrogen with

[For more information on the nitrogen-fixing Acetobacter
see Plant and Soil 108(1988): 23-31 and 137(1991): 111-
117. - AC]


Barth, F.R. 1991. Insects and flowers: The biology of
partnership. Princeton Science Library, Princeton
University Press, Princeton, NJ. 408 p. [paperback]
ISBN 0-691-02523-1  Cost: CDN$ 17.95
[This is a paperback edition of the English 1985 translation
from German 1982 book "Biologie eiener Begegnung: Die
Partnershaft der Insekten und Blumen." The author is
Professor of Zoology in the University of Vienna.]


"The true botanist knows a tree as soon as he sees it.
He learns to distinguish it from a vegetable by merely
putting his ear to it."  --  Stephen Leacock

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