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BEN # 225

Adolf Ceska aceska at VICTORIA.TC.CA
Mon Jun 7 22:37:13 EST 1999

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

No. 225                              June 7, 1999

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

From: Adolf & Oluna Ceska c/o <aceska at victoria.tc.ca>

Macoun's  meadowfoam,  Limnanthes  macounii,  is  an  enigmatic,
elusive plant that  was  described  from  Victoria  on  southern
Vancouver  Island  and  until  recently  has not been known from
anywhere else in the world other than from the southern part  of
Vancouver Island and adjacent islands.

The  first  specimens  were  collected by John Macoun (pronounce
"Macown") "in ditches at  Victoria"  in  May  1875.  Macoun  was
unable  to  identify this plant and send it to William Trelease,
who described it as a new species and named it after the collec-
tor (Trelease 1888).

Macoun's meadowfoam is a winter annual  that  occurs  in  vernal
pools, seepy places, or in wet depressions in open Garry oak and
Douglas-fir  forests.  The  places  where  it  grows  are wet or
flooded from winter rains and bone  dry  in  summer.  Meadowfoam
germinates  in  October, early after the first heavier rains. At
this phase it is the most conspicuous since it starts well ahead
of other annual plants. The size of plants does not  change  too
much  during  the  winter and spring. It flowers in April and it
can be easily overlooked at flowering time,  since  its  flowers
are  inconspicuous  and plants are usually overgrown with plants
of other species.

The species was at the botanical centre of interest in  Victoria
at  the beginning of this century. Dr. C.F. Newcombe (Newcombe's
Family Papers, B.C. Provincial  Archives,  ms.),  for  instance,
regularly  visited localities known to him. After Dr. Newcombe's
death in 1924, the interest in this species diminished. The last
collection of L. macounii cited in Mason's (1952)  monograph  of
Limnanthes  was  that  made  by  Mr.  G.A. Hardy in 1926. In his
correspondence with Mason, Mr. Hardy wrote "The localities  from
which these specimens were gathered have undergone some man-made
changes in recent years with the result that this species is now
either  very  rare or extinct in these particular places" (Mason
1952). Based on this information Hitchcock (1961, p.  406)  sug-
gested  the  possibility  that  L.  macounii  "was  a very local
species which no longer survives."

In 1956, however, Mr. Hardy found Limnanthes macounii  on  Trial
Island and in 1958 Miss M.C. Melburn found a large population of
the  species on Cattle Point in the Uplands Park area, Victoria.
A specimen from this population has the following remark on  the
label:  "rare, not known from any other locality except reported
from Trial Island." Miss Melburn then recorded the sightings  of
Limnanthes  macounii  at  Cattle  Point  every year from 1961 to

Our interest in the distribution of Limnanthes macounii began in
1972 when we accidentally found at that time an unknown locality
in the Chinese cemetery at Harling Point, Victoria. From 1972 to
1980 we discovered over 30 distinct populations of L.  macounii.
The  most  important find was a cluster of populations on Yellow
Point north of Ladysmith in 1977; this extended the known  range
of L. macounii by 70 km.

In  1987 we completed a status report on Limnanthes macounii and
submitted it to  the  Committee  on  the  Status  of  Endangered
Wildlife  in  Canada  (Ceska  &  Ceska  1987). In this report we
listed 53 populations  of  Macoun's  meadowfoam  from  about  23
localities,  distributed from Beechey Head in Sooke (48 deg. 19'
N. 123 deg. 39' W., 25 km SW of Victoria) to Yellow  Point  near
Ladysmith (49 deg 02' N. 123 deg. 45' W., 72 km N of Victoria).

Since  1987  the  range of Limnanthes macounii has been extended
when Richard Martin found a northernmost locality of  Limnanthes
on  Hornby  Island  (49 deg. 31' N. 124 deg. 37' W., 151 km N of
Victoria). George Douglas found  another  locality  on  Gabriola
Island,  about  half way between Hornby Island and Yellow Point.
Macoun's meadowfoam had remained a local  endemic  with  a  very
narrow range.

It  was difficult to explain the presence of this species, rela-
tively distinct from other species of the  genus,  in  the  area
that  was  glaciated  in  the  last  glaciation that ended about
12,000 years ago. In our report (Ceska & Ceska 1987) we  offered
the following possibilities:

 1. Limnanthes  macounii survived glaciation on open unglaciated
    rock walls along the western edge of the ice sheet.

 2. The present distribution is merely a northern  extension  of
    an  originally  more southerly distribution, and the species
    spread into its recent  localities  together  with  numerous
    other  southern  floristic  elements during the Hypsithermal
    period. In the southern part of  its  area  of  distribution
    Limnanthes  macounii  either  became  extinct,  or  has been

 3. The species is the product  of  rapid  evolution,  evolution
    which   combines   the   so-called  founder  principle  with
    catastrophic evolution.

The second hypothesis, i.e., that Limnanthes macounii originally
occurred or still occurs in California or Oregon, was  the  most
plausible. We have a group of species that occur from California
to  the  Columbia  River  Gorge  (on  the border with Oregon and
Washington), are rare or missing in the  Washington  State,  and
re-occur  again  on  the  southeastern part of Vancouver Island.
Allium amplectens, Crassula connata, Dryopteris arguta,  Githop-
sis  specularioides,  Isoetes  nuttallii,  Microseris bigelovii,
Montia howellii, Ranunculus californicus, Sanicula  arctopoides,
Trifolium  depauperatum, Triphysaria versicolor subsp. faucibar-
bata, and Vulpia microstachys var. pauciflora can be given as an
example. Most of these species  have  ecology  similar  to  Lim-
nanthes  macounii  and  some  occur  in  the  same localities as
Macoun's meadowfoam.

In the winter of 1977 we made an unsuccessful attempt to explore
the California coast  for  Limnanthes  macounii.  Several  Ph.D.
students  from  the University of California in Berkeley and the
University of California in Davis, Ed Guerrant, Charles McNeill,
and Kermit Ritland, visited Victoria to see our  populations  of
Limnanthes  macounii.  We urged them to look for this species in
California, but they were  convinced  that  Macoun's  meadowfoam
could not been overlooked, if it grew there.

In  March 1998 Eva Buxton found a large population of Limnanthes
macounii near Moss Beach, San Mateo Co. in California (Buxton  &
Ornduff  1999),  where Limnanthes macounii is "abundant on ca 18
acres of a seasonally fallow [cabbage]  field.  ...  There  were
doubtless  many more individuals in the Moss Beach population in
1998 that in all the British Columbia populations combined."  It
is  obvious  that the cabbage field is not the native habitat of
Macoun's meadowfoam in California. The question remains where in
native habitats of California (and coastal Oregon  and  possibly
Washington) we should look for its indigenous occurrences.

Californian  plants  of  Limnanthes macounii are morphologically
slightly different from the Vancouver Island  plants.  They  are
usually  bigger  (but still prostrate), leaves are more divided,
and when we planted Californian seed in our Victoria garden, the
majority of the seedlings died in  a  short  freezing  spell  in
December  1998, whereas Vancouver Island plants survived without
too much damage. In spite of these differences, we believe  that
the  Vancouver  Island and Californian plants belong to the same

It is obvious that Limnanthes macounii needs further  study.  At
this  time,  Californian  botanists should concentrate their ef-
forts on finding more about the distribution of this species  in
California,  and  the  search  should  be extended to Oregon and
Washington. Native populations of this plant will be  less  con-
spicuous  than  an  18 acre cabbage field. The best time to look
for this plant is in December and  January  when  the  seedlings
still  have cotyledons and are conspicuous by their yellow-green
colour. Until we get more information  on  the  distribution  of
Limnanthes  macounii,  it  will  remain an enigmatic and elusive


Buxton, E. & R. Ornduff. 1999. Noteworthy collections - Califor-
   nia:  Limnanthes  macounii  Trel.  (Limnanthaceae).   Madrono
   45(1998): 184.
Ceska, A.  &  O. Ceska. 1987.  Status  report  on  the  Macoun's 
   meadowfoam (Limnanthes macounii Trel.). Report for  the  Com-
   mittee  on  the  Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, Ot-
   tawa, Ont. [unpublished ms.]
Hitchcock, C.L. 1961. Limnanthaceae. Pp. 405-406. In: Hitchcock,
   C.L., A. Cronquist,  M.  Ownbey  &  J.W.  Thompson.  Vascular
   plants  of  the  Pacific  Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to
   Ericaceae. University of Washington Press, Seattle  and  Lon-
   don. 614 p.
Mason,  C.T.,  Jr.  1952.  A  systematic study of the genus Lim-
   nanthes R.Br. Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. 25: 455-512; pl. 43-46.
Trelease, W. 1888. A study of North  America  Geraniaceae.  Mem.
   Boston Soc. Nat. Hist. 4: 71-104.

From: Nick Otting <ottingn at efn.org>

The  Carex  Working Group is pleased to announce the publication
"Atlas of Oregon Carex". This publication, which  documents  the
results  of  nearly  7  years of sedging in Oregon, is the first
occasional paper of the Native  Plant  Society  of  Oregon.  The
"Atlas  of  Oregon  Carex"  has  128 location maps, one for each
Carex taxon  in  the  state  of  Oregon.  Also  included  are  a
synonymy,  fun facts about sedges, a history of the project, and
Oregon geography maps. Order your copy by  sending  a  $5  check
(made payable to NPSO) to:

   Atlas of Oregon Carex
   c/o Keli Kuykendall
   4550 S.W. Nash Ave.
   Corvallis, OR 97333-9301

From: Tom Booth <tbooth at teleport.com>

Boyd,  Robert  [ed.]  1999.  Indians,  fire, and the land in the
   Pacific Northwest Oregon State University  Press,  Corvallis,
   OR. 320 p. ISBN 0-87071-459-7 [soft cover] Cost: US$34.95

   Available  in  bookstores  or  by calling 1-800-426-3797. For
   further information, please contact the OSU Press at 503-282-
   9801 or tbooth at teleport.com

Instead of discovering a land blanketed by dense forests,  early
explorers   of   the  Pacific  Northwest  encountered  a  varied
landscape  of  open  woods,  spacious  meadows,  and   extensive
prairies.  Far from a pristine wilderness, much of the Northwest
was actively managed and shaped  by  the  hands  of  its  Native
American inhabitants. Their primary tool was fire.

"Indians,  Fire,  and the Land in the Pacific Northwest," edited
by Robert Boyd, offers an interdisciplinary approach to  one  of
the  most important issues concerning Native Americans and their
relationship to the land.  During  more  than  10,000  years  of
occupation,  Native  Americans  in the Northwest learned the in-
tricacies of their local environments and how  to  use  fire  to
create desired effects, mostly in the quest for food.

Drawing  on historical journals, Native American informants, and
botanical and forestry studies, the contributors  to  this  book
describe  local patterns of fire use in eight ecoregions, repre-
senting all parts of the Native Northwest, from southwest Oregon
to British  Columbia  and  from  Puget  Sound  to  the  Northern
Rockies. Their essays provide glimpses into a unique understand-
ing  of  the  environment-a traditional ecological knowledge now
for the most part lost.  Together,  these  writings  also  offer
historical   perspective   on   the   contemporary  debate  over
"prescribed burning" on public lands.

Contributors: Stephen Arno, Stephen Barrett,  Theresa  Ferguson,
   David  French,  Eugene  Hunn,  Leslie  Johnson, Jeff LaLande,
   Estella Leopold, Henry Lewis, Helen H.  Norton,  Reg  Pullen,
   William Robbins, John Ross, Nancy Turner, & Richard White.

From: Erika North <enorth at baynet.net>

Ley, L.M. & J.M. Crowe. 1999. An Enthusiasts Guide to the Liver-
   worts  and Hornworts of Ontario. Lakehead University, Thunder
   Bay, Ontario. 134 p., line drawings, 6 colour plates. ISBN 0-
   88663-027-4 [spiral bound]
   Cost: $15 (postage included) or US$10 (postage included)
   Copies available from:
       Erika North, Claude Garton Herbarium
       Lakehead University
       955 Oliver Rd., Thunder Bay, ON
       Canada P7B 5E1
       (cheques payable to Lakehead University)

Although this guide has  been  written  for  the  liverworts  of
Ontario, it is very comprehensive in providing scale drawings of
all  the  species, with keys and illustrated glossary. It should
be useful to the naturalist as well as the botanist.

All 170 known species of hornworts and liverworts  from  Ontario
are  included in this book. There is an illustration of at least
part of a plant for all these species. Rare status of a  species
is noted and locations of verified specimens are given by County
(in southern Ontario) or by District.

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