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BEN # 98

Adolf Ceska aceska at CUE.BC.CA
Fri Apr 7 22:39:31 EST 1995


BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             ISSN 1188-603X
BB   B   EE       NNN  N
BBBBB    EEEEE    NN N N             BOTANICAL
BB   B   EE       NN  NN             ELECTRONIC
BBBBB    EEEEEE   NN   N             NEWS

No. 98                               April 7, 1995

aceska at freenet.victoria.bc.ca        Victoria, B.C.
-----------------------------------------------------------
 Dr. A. Ceska, P.O.Box 8546, Victoria, B.C. Canada V8W 3S2
-----------------------------------------------------------

BILL VAN DIEREN (1930 - 1995)

Bill  van  Dieren lost his short fight with lung cancer on March
26, 1995. He was born in Holland in 1930, worked shortly in  New
Zealand,  and  in  1956 he emigrated to Canada. He lived in Van-
couver till 1980, when he moved to Port Alberni.  With  his  en-
gineering  background  he  worked  in the oil industry, designed
water supply systems, and in Port Alberni worked on  technologi-
cal changes of the MacMillan-Bloedel paper mill.

Bill  was  an exemplary amateur botanist. He was a keen observer
and was incredibly meticulous in everything he did. After moving
to Port Alberni he started a long-term study of  the  flora  and
vegetation  of  the  Somass  River  estuary and wrote a detailed
report (1982) on this for the Athabasca  University.  His  study
served  as  a  base for the ecological reserve proposal. In 1984
Port Alberni Museum mounted a large  exhibition  on  the  Somass
River  Delta  based  on  Bill's collection and photographs. Bill
supported all records by herbarium voucher specimens. He donated
to the Royal British Columbia Museum close  to  2,000  specimens
and a collection of about 5,000 photographic slides. He actively
promoted  conservation  issues  within his community and natural
history clubs and  shared  his  botanical  knowledge  with  both
laypeople and professional botanists.

The  profile  of  Bill  van Dieren would not be complete without
mentioning his work among the First Nation's people of the  west
coast  of  Vancouver Island. He organized book drives and estab-
lished libraries in villages in Ucluelet, Ahousat, Hesquiat, and
Kyuquot and worked as a lay missionary. The pinnacle of his work
within First Nation's communities was  a  thorough  geneological
research on several west coast families.

He  will  be  missed by his wife Dorothy, who was his partner in
botanical trips and in his work within the  First  Nation's,  by
his  two children, three grandchildren, and by many other people
who were honoured to be his friends. -- Adolf Ceska


WASHINGTON STATE NATURAL HERITAGE PROGRAM THREATENED

Funding for the Washington Natural  Heritage  Program  has  been
eliminated from the Washington state budget. Senate amendment to
the  budget stated that the Program should be supported from the
Department of Natural Resources budget, but at this time  it  is
not  clear  if  the Natural Heritage Program will indeed get the
amount it needs to perform its function. Since the  Nature  Con-
servancy funding of the Program is done on a matching basis, the
funds  the  Program  gets from the Nature Conservancy may be cut
back as well.


NEW PUBLICATION: BROMUS L. OF NORTH AMERICA

Pavlick, Leon E. 1995. Bromus L. of North America. Royal British
      Columbia Museum, Victoria. 160 p. ISBN 0-7718-9417-1 [soft
      cover] Cost: CDN$19.95

"This taxonomic work is the  first  comprehensive  treatment  of
North American bromegrasses since 1900. Leon E. Pavlick presents
his  extensive  research of the genus Bromus occurring in Canada
and the United States in a comprehensive and accessible  format.
This  book  contains  keys to species, descriptions with habitat
information   and   distribution   maps,   synonyms,   glossary,
references  and index. Of the 51 species described, 30 are newly
illustrated [by Elizabeth J. Stephen and Peggy Frank].


NEW PUBLICATION: SUNFLOWER FAMILY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA - VOL. 2

Douglas, George W. 1995. The sunflower  family  (Asteraceae)  of
      British  Columbia:  Volume  II  -  Astereae,  Anthemideae,
      Eupatorieae and Inuleae. Royal  British  Columbia  Museum,
      Victoria.  393  p.  ISBN 0-07726-2161-6 [soft cover] Cost:
      CDN$29.95

This is volume 2 of a three-volume work by George W. Douglas. It
includes keys to tribes and genera, species  descriptions,  dis-
tribution   maps,   illustrations  [by  Elizabeth  J.  Stephen],
synonymies, a glossary, a bibliography and an index.


HOW TO ORDER PUBLICATIONS OF THE ROYAL BRITISH COLUMBIA MUSEUM

You can order Bromus, Asteraceae Vol. 2, and other Museum publi-
cations in the following outlets:

Individuals order from The Royal Museum Shop at  675  Belleville
Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 1X4, Phone: (604) 356-0505, Fax: (604)
356-8197. Major credit cards, purchase orders, personal cheques,
money orders accepted.

Resale  outlets  and institutions order from CROWN Publications,
Inc., 521 Fort Street, Victoria, B.C. V8W 1E7, Phone: (604) 386-
4636, Fax: (604) 386-0221. Major credit cards, purchase  orders,
personal cheques, money orders accepted.


THE SORROWS OF OLD GOETHE
From: R.T. Ogilvie <bogilvie at RBML01.RBCM.BC.CA>

The  article in BEN 97 on Goethe's anti-sex views in plants is a
reaction in his old age  to  his  youthful  enthusiasm  for  the
Linnaean  sexual  system  of plant classification. Linnaeus used
the number of stamens for defining Classes, and  the  number  of
carpels for defining Natural Orders (approximately equivalent to
our present-day Families).

Linnaeus'  classification  system for higher categories was more
precisely a numerical system rather than a sexual  system.  Each
Class  and  Order was given a Latin name, a brief Latin descrip-
tive phrase, a short Latin "anthropocentric" phrase, and in some
editions after 1759 the English equivalent for these  names  and
phrases.  Some  examples,  which may give an idea of what Goethe
was reacting to:

Class Pentandria (Five Males) - five stamens in a  hermaphrodite
      (bisexual) flower (five husbands in the same marriage).
Class  Didynamia  (Two  Powers) - four stamens, two long and two
      short (four husbands, two tall and two short).
Class Monoecia (One House) - male and female flowers on the same
      plant (husbands live with their wives in  the  same  house
      but have different beds).
Class  Dioecia  (Two  Houses)  - male and female flowers on dif-
      ferent plants; (husbands and wives have different houses).
Class Polygamia - bisexual flowers, male, or female  flowers  in
      the   same   species   (husbands   live   with  wives  and
      concubines).
Class Cryptogamia (Clandestine Marriages)  -  flowers  are  con-
      cealed (nuptials are celebrated privately).
Order  Polygamia  Aequalis  (Equal Polygamy) - many florets with
      stamens  and  pistils  (many  marriages  with  promiscuous
      intercourse).
Order  Polygamia Spuria Segregata (Spurious Separate Polygamy) -
      many flower- bearing involucres contained  in  one  common
      involucre  (many  beds  united so that they constitute one
      common bed).

Linnaeus first published his system in 1735, and republished  it
many  times  with  minor  changes in the next thirty years. Lin-
naeus' system was widely adopted throughout  Europe  as  a  con-
venient  means  of  identifying plants. France was an exception,
where many French botanists such as Gerard, Adanson, and the  de
Jussieus  rejected  the  Linnaeus  system  because  of  its  ar-
tificiality. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a serious amateur  botanist,
saw  the  value of Linnaeus' system for teaching and used it for
his very popular book on plant  identification  "Essais  Elemen-
taires sur la Botanique" (1771). Goethe was a generation younger
than  Linnaeus  and  Rousseau,  but like Rousseau he was both an
ardent student  of  the  enlightenment  and  a  serious  amateur
botanist.  It  was during the very last years of his life (1820)
that Goethe wrote his remarks criticising the sexual  system  of
plant classification.


TROUBLE IN TRUFFLELAND
From:  "Made-in-China  Variety Galls French Gourmets" by William
      Drozdiak, Washington  Post  Foreign  Service.  Publication
      date: 2/18/95 [abbrev.]

PARIS,  Feb.  17  --  Ever  since classical times, gourmets have
extolled the fragrant virtues of the truffle. The fabled fungus,
known as the "black diamond" because of its rarity and value, is
especially revered in France, where culture is  defined  by  the
taste bud as much as by the eye or the mind.

But  as  truffle fans are discovering to their chagrin, there is
nothing sacred in the modern global marketplace. While Americans
complain of China's piracy in the electronics trade, the French,
among others, are crying foul because  an  invasion  of  Chinese
truffles has enabled unscrupulous dealers to perpetrate fraud in
the guise of one of their greatest culinary delights.

The  Asian  intruder  bears an almost perfect resemblance to the
Tuber melanosporum found in the French woodlands of Dordogne and
Provence. Any superficial disparities can only be detected  when
the  spores of the truffle -- which can range in size from a pea
to an orange -- are examined under a microscope.

But taste is another matter. Unlike the  rich  pungency  of  the
French  version, the Chinese truffle, or Tuber himalayensis, has
little appreciable flavor when  fresh  and  can  even  turn  un-
pleasant  after  a  few days. "If it is not consumed quickly, it
becomes nasty and sulfurous," said Louis Riousset, a mycologist,
who is regarded as one of France's most  renowned  truffle  con-
noisseurs.

By  dousing  the Chinese fungus with some truffle-scented oil or
bunching them in a box that includes a few  fragrant  chunks  of
the French species, dishonest dealers have been able to get away
with incalculable fraud, especially when the truffles are marked
up for re-export to such lucrative markets as the United States.
Indeed,  the potential for profits is considerable. While French
truffles sell for about $270 a pound, the  Chinese  cousin  goes
for almost $50 a pound.

The  vanishing  quantities  of  the French variety have only en-
hanced the value of the truffle trade. French output has dropped
from 800 tons a year at the end of the last century to less than
20 tons today. "The harvest of the whole country can now be  put
into  one  truck,"  said  Pierre-Jean  Pebeyre,  heir  to one of
France's greatest truffle dynasties.

Meanwhile, the Chinese have rapidly filled the void. The  French
federation  of  truffle producers estimates that since the Asian
fungus began appearing two years ago, several  hundred  tons  of
truffles  have  been flown in from the provinces of Shandong and
Szechuan. This year, Chinese truffles have  become  a  veritable
plague on the market.

Truffle  fraud  is  difficult  to detect. "Since the Chinese and
French truffles have the same look and feel to  them,  the  only
way to know the difference is to have a trained palate taste and
identify  them,"  Rostang  said. His own fool-proof method is to
sample the truffle on a piece of toast with salt and olive  oil;
an  even  better way to bring out the pure flavor of truffles is
to mix them in scrambled eggs.

"We have nothing against the Chinese farmers who  want  to  cul-
tivate  their  truffles, but they should be sold under their own
name and not confused with ours," said Riousset, who has  earned
his  living  digging up and studying truffles in southern France
for more than 30 years. "I know that money breeds all  sorts  of
scams,"  he said. "But this is a moral crisis and not just busi-
ness, because it involves a unique part of our culture  that  is
rooted  in  our  own earth. We cannot allow it to be destroyed."
[Cf. also BEN # 92]



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