Past Botanical Links of the Day for: January 21

Past Botanical Links of the Day for: January 21


January 21, 1997 - The Navasota Flora
The Navasota region is an area of SE Texas underlain by sandstone outcrops that help define the local flora. This site features the Navasota Outcrop Flora (a very nice virtual tour!!), an experimental key to families of flowering plants, native plants useful for landscaping, plants of Lick Creek Park, the Flynn Bog System (featured before), the local flora through time, and images from the TAMU Botany collection (also featured before, but worth revisiting!). Site constructed and maintained by Monique Reed, Biology Herbarium, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX. (****)
January 21, 1998 - The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois

The Tallgrass Prairie in Illinois serves as a general article about the prairie as the "Last evolved, first dissolved ecosystem in North America," and the prairie as a landscape no longer a part of many American memories. The text covers types of prairies and their formation, a history of prairie settlement, biota (especially plants), prairie plants that have become garden plants, and an introduction to prairie restoration. On the author's homepage find a number of excellent images, for he is also a specialist in photographs of plants for use in professional seminars, demonstrations, and lectures. A bonus link to the author's Rosaceae Homepage for a survey of the family as taught in Plant Biology 260 makes this a truly informative and stimulating site by Kenneth R. Robertson, Curator of the Herbarium, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois, Champaign, Illinois. (****) -LF
January 21, 1999 - Leonhard Fuchs' Botanical, 1545
Medieval herbals were the very currency of early plant knowledge. This well-illustrated herbal, with 516 pages of plates (some colored), was published during the Renaissance more than 200 years before Linnaeus. A wide variety of medicinally-important plants are illustrated with generic names that are surprisingly modern. Published in 1545, the plants are identified in Latin and old German. Each page is indexed on the Table of Contents and links to *large* format scans of the pages--many up to 1 MB interlaced GIFs of excellent quality. Scanned by Richard Siderits, M.D., through the Yale University Medical Library. (****) -SR
January 21, 2000 - Gymnosperm Database
Each listing (family, genus and species) includes: scientific name, common name, taxonomic notes, plant description, range, biggest tree, oldest tree, dendrochronology, ethnobotany, remarks, citations and links to images at other sites. Maps, forest and habit photos are available for the more major taxa. The images are medium size (400 pixels wide) without much image processing (which might have improved them). This is an excellent taxonomic reference site with lots of data! Site by Christopher J. Earle. (****) -SR
January 21, 2002 - Racist Relics: An Ugly Blight On Our Botanical Nomenclature
This is an encore presentation of this online article for Martin Luther King Day. Here we are in 2002 and some of these nomenclatural artifacts still exist. Melvin Hunter's article addresses the need to abandon racist names of plants. We as botanists should help make them extinct. The article is free at The Scientist, but you will need to provide an email address for access. Originally appeared in Vol 5, #23, November 25, 1991. (****)-SR
January 21, 2003 - Ricin Toxin from Castor Bean Plant, Ricinus communis
The recent arrest of terrorists in the United Kingdom for trying to isolate ricin from the castor bean, Ricinus communis, is certainly a surprise economic botany story (see http://www.msnbc.com/news/860684.asp, for example). Each castor bean carries some of this toxin, so botanists have always warned gardeners to keep children away and to destroy the flowers (to prevent seed production). All in all, it is not a likely choice for a terrorist weapon. This page explains the chemical basis of poisoning and why it takes days to kill (it inactivates ribosomes). Still there are medical uses. This is from Cornell's poisonous plants page, first featured Feb. 13, 1997. (****) -SR
January 21, 2005 - Cal's Plant-of-the-Week Calendars
Some of you may be familiar with Cal's Plant of the Week site, which I have featured before (October 18, 2002). As part of the project, I developed some calendars that I thought some viewers of SBLD may appreciate. These are PDF files and will require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader. Their printed quality relies largely on the quality of the paper selected, but otherwise the calendar is free. I hope you enjoy it. -SR