Notes and News: Rev. Fred W. Gray, Panax Quinquefolius, Alnus Crispa, and West Virginia
The first plants I ever saw of Pluchea camphorata were growing in a small marshy bottom beside a brook on the farm of my father-in- law, in Martin County, Kentucky. There were only a dozen or so of the plants and my father-in-law detested them and called them “polecat weed,” because of the rank, unpleasant odor which the leaves give out when crushed. He also said if his cows should eat them, it would make the milk most unpleasant to the taste. I became much interested in studying these plants, not only because of their spicy odor, but because of their general scarcity throughout Eastern Kentucky. I next found two or three plants growing in a moist place on the bank of Hobbs Creek, in Martin County, and these were in bloom, and I had a chance to study them. They bear numerous heads of flowers, each head about one-half
Although western Pennsylvania is relatively well known botanically, some interesting plants have been discovered here recently.
John Ruskin’s vigorous protest against paying two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face might almost have damned James M. Whistler’s “Nocturne in Black and Gold” to eternal fame, and contrasts sharply with the serenity of an observation from the “Stones of Venice,” viz., “The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.” But it was among the farming people of the general Slabtown area in South Carolina that we found a distinction between the blue-leaf and the yellow-leaf white oaks, nor will we deny the source of our information being what Ruskin would expect. However, mixed with it was a shrewd distinction between the lasting qualities of the two woods. This difference was mentioned in Meridian States Research, VI:4, along with the reddish and yellowish varieties of red maples. Some noteworthy botanical variations in both Carolinas and in Georgia are
Nine different kinds of pole beans were planted in rows of about fifty hills each. All nine kinds twined about the poles in the same direction, namely, a right-hand screw thread. The vines on even numbered poles of three rows were carefully unwound and twined backward. The runner was loosely tied about two inches below the tip, and this process was repeated whenever the runner had grown eight to ten inches. The period between ties was only a couple of days at first and gradually increased to about ten days as vines reached full growth. All vines and pods were allowed to ripen, wither and dry on the poles. Then the plants were harvested. The field data on each hill consists of: number and weight of pods, number and weight of beans, weight of shucks, number and weight of vines. Since the vines still appeared a bit green in places,
At the time of a casual vacation visit to the top of Spruce Knob on August 5, 1960, I had not seen William C. Robison’s very interesting account of the vegetation of this mountain top, the highest in West Virginia. Assuming that the mountain had been thoroughly botanized and adequately described, I made only casual notes on the vegetation and a few collections of species that interested me and that were in good condition for specimens. On checking these notes with Robison’s article I find that I have a few observations that should be added to his account.
Copeland (1947) assigned Pilularia L., Regnellidium Lindm. and Marsilea L. to the Marsileaceae and separated the genera on the basis of frond-form and the number of leaflets. In Pilularia L. the frond is filiform or grasslike, Regnellidium Lindm. and Marsilea L. are bifoliate and tetrafoliate respectively.