News From MO: 2000


The bryophyte collection at MO numbers nearly 300,000 and increases by about 18,000 each year. Acquisitions are primarily from tropical and south temperate areas. In the past few years, several orphaned collections have been acquired and are being incorporated into the collection to make them available to bryologists for study. Marshall R. Crosby continues his work on the Index of Mosses. The latest addition, Index of Mosses, 1996-1998, was published this year in the Garden's Monographs in Systematic Botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden as Volume 62. Information from this addition and the Index of Mosses database is available on the World Wide Web. Crosby completed A World Checklist of Mosses, the first edition of which was printed for the International Botanical Congress held in St. Louis in August 1999. Robert E. Magill began work on the fourth and last part of the mosses for the Flora of Southern Africa. Fascicle 3, Erpodiaceae through Hookeriaceae, was published in 1998. He is also concerned with the mosses of tropical Africa, an area that has never had its mosses treated as a whole. This program will involve field work throughout the area. Through the years, MO's curators have also collected substantial quantities of mosses in tropical Africa, and these will add greatly to the specimen base for the project. The Moss Flora of Central America is continuing. The first fascicle, Sphagnaceae-Calymperaceae, was published in 1994. The second volume, Encalyptaceae-Orthotrichaceae, is in press. The aims of the project are to do additional collecting in poorly known areas; to involve Central American counterparts; and to produce a moss Flora similar in format to Bartram's Mosses of Guatemala (1949). This manual will complement the moss Floras of Mexico (H. Crum and A. J. Sharp, MICH and TENN) and the West Indies (W. R. Buck, NY). The project is being written by Bruce Allen, who continues to collect in little known areas of Central America. Si He has completed annotated checklists of the mosses of Thailand and Chile. Both are on the Bryology website. He continues working on the National Science Foundation-sponsored Moss Flora of China. Steven Churchill is continuing his research on the moss flora of Colombia and retains his interests in the Great Plains mosses of North America. He is currently investigating the possibility of undertaking a moss flora of the Andes, a massive undertaking that would cover most of the moss diversity in South America. Leonardo Mourré and Carol Hebblethwaite continue to packet the backlog of bryophyte specimens. Barbara Mack handles numerous administrative matters for the bryology group. Greg Pedano manages the bryophyte collection and should be contacted about loans or use of the bryophyte laboratory (e-mail:

Missouri Botanical Garden's PEET [Partnerships for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy] Project in Systematic Bryology is a National Science Foundation program designed to encourage the training of new generations of taxonomists and to translate current expertise into electronic databases and other formats with broad accessibility to the scientific community. Three major elements are included in the PEET projects: monographic research, training, and computer infrastructure. A monograph of the Pilotrichelloideae (Musci: Meteoriaceae) has been undertaken under the Direction of Robert E. Magill and Bruce Allen. The Meteoriaceae (22 genera, 300 species) are a tropical, Leucodontalian family concentrated in the Southern hemisphere. The subfamily Pilotrichelloideae, which contains 111 species in eight genera, is the monographic component of this project. Three bryology students, Zacharia Magombo, Michelle Price, and Christina Casado, are assisting in this program. The students are also preparing revisions of Streptopogon, Diphysium, and Holomitrium respectively. In addition, Price is just completing a revision of Rhynchostegiopsis and Magombo a study of Floribundaria.

Bryoflora of China, English Version: The Missouri Botanical Garden is cooperating with Chinese bryologists from several institutions within the Chinese Academy of Sciences and two universities to produce an English version of the Flora Bryophytarum Sinicorum. The project is guided by a joint International Editorial Committee consisting of five Chinese and five other members from Canada, Finland, Japan, and the U.S. The Committee is co-chaired by Wu Pan-cheng (PE) and Marshall R. Crosby, who also supervises the project operation at MO. Si He, the project coordinator, is responsible for tracking and editing manuscripts, corresponding with authors, collaborators, and reviewers, and writing proposals. The current focus of the project is a moss flora. It will be published in somewhat condensed form in a total of eight volumes, with illustrations of Chinese and East Asian endemic taxa. The taxonomic treatments are generally written by Chinese authors. In most cases, the Chinese authors collaborate with western experts to produce final drafts of the treatments. The English version of the Flora will more or less correspond with the Chinese edition. Volume 1 of the Flora was published in June 1999 and is available through MBG Press. Volume 2, which will treat the Fissidentaceae, Calymperaceae, Encalyptraceae, Pottiaceae, and Ptychomitriaceae, is expected to appear in late Fall of 2000. The coordination center at MO is currently editing and soliciting the manuscripts for Volume 3, containing mainly the Hookeriaceae, Fabroniaceae, Laskeaceae, and Thuidiaceae.

Natural Products Research

The Garden was awarded a third contract in 1996 to collect plant samples in tropical Africa and Madagascar for the National Cancer Institute (NCI) for screening in their drug discovery program. Under the current contract managed by James S. Miller, collecting has taken place in Madagascar in conjunction with collaborators from the Parc Botanique et Zoologique de Tsimbazaza and the Centre National d'Application des Recherches Pharmaceutiques in Madagascar. Richard Randrianaivo is responsible for collecting plants for NCI in Madagascar. Adam Bradley maintains the NCI database and processes the collections. Gordon McPherson identifies NCI specimens.

In 1993 the Garden began collaborating with Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Bedrijf Geneesmiddelen Voorziening Suriname (BGVS), Conservation International-Suriname, and Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, on a project designed to stimulate biodiversity conservation in Suriname by demonstrating the value of biodiversity to the country and its people. The project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and USAID. The Garden's primary role in the project has been to provide BVGS with samples of plant species collected from numerous localities. Extracts made from the samples by BVGS are then forwarded to Bristol-Myers and Virginia Polytechnic for screening for potential medicinal agents. Miller coordinates the Garden's portion of the project. In 1998 the project's activities expanded to include Madagascar, in collaboration with the Centre National d'Applications et des Recherches Pharmaceutiques (CNARP) and the Centre National de la Recherche Appliquée au Développement Rural (TEF). Another partner, Dow Agrosciences, Inc., joined the group to evaluate plants for potential agricultural applications. Chris Birkinshaw is coordinating project activities in Madagascar. In addition to providing samples for pharmaceutical and agricultural evaluation, the project will generate annotated checklists of the Zahamena and Ankarafantsika reserves.

This year the Garden began participating in a new project led by the University of Missouri-Columbia and funded by the National Institutes of Health. Garden botanists will identify plant species used as active ingredients in dietary supplements, while researchers from the university will isolate active chemicals, document their efficacy, and study how these compounds act in the human body. The Garden will produce a catalog that will help manufacturers of dietary supplements properly identify the plants that are used to make their products. The protocols developed for identifying plants used as ingredients in herbal supplements will ensure that desirable species are not confused with look-alikes or contaminated with other species. Dennis Lubahn (University of Missouri, Columbia) is the Principal Investigator for the project, and Jim Miller coordinates the Garden's participation. Wendy Applequist will work on developing standards for identifying plants used in supplements, with the assistance of Heidi Schmidt.

The Garden has entered into a partnership with Sequoia Sciences to provide chemical discovery programs with natural product compound libraries. Garden botanists collect and identify plant specimens for Sequoia, which screens and processes them for distribution to other research programs and organizations. John Stone and Gretchen Walters will collect and process specimens for delivery to Sequoia.

Jan Salick, who recently joined the research staff as Curator of Ethnobotany, started work in tropical China collecting plants of economic importance for the Food Library at the Garden. As past President of the Society for Economic Botany, she works with AIBS and NSF to strengthen funding for ethnobotany as a discipline. Salick comes to us with research experience among indigenous peoples and useful plants around the world in Southeast Asia, Latin America, and South Africa. Collaborating with various Flora projects, she will continue her work on plant/people interactions within the Applied Research Department at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

The Applied Research Department maintains a web site at

Linnaean Typification Project

This project, based in the Botany Department of the Natural History Museum in London (BM) and partly supported by the Linnean Society of London (LINN), is headed by Charles E. Jarvis. It is designed to provide a thorough assessment of the typification of each of the approximately 11,000 generic, specific, and varietal plant names published by Linnaeus between 1753 and 1778, and to produce an annotated catalog containing detailed notes and the citation of all relevant literature for each name. Once the catalog is published, the Linnaean project's database will be made available on the Internet. Fred Barrie worked on the project in London for three years until 1993, and later continued to contribute from his Chicago base. The project has already published "A list of Linnaean generic names and their types" (Jarvis et al., Regnum Vegetabile 127), which includes the 1,313 validly published Linnaean generic names, the generitype (the ultimate type for each), and 450 new typifications. Nicholas Turland was Barrie's successor on the project, from 1994 until he came to MO in 1997, and was himself succeeded by Steve Cafferty, who continues to work on the project. Turland published three papers with Jarvis and Cafferty in the journal Taxon newly typifying over 500 Linnaean names in the families Asteraceae, Fabaceae, and Poaceae, in addition to 26 proposals to conserve or reject Linnaean names. The project currently has papers typifying names in the Brassicaceae and Lamiaceae in advanced stages of preparation, and it recently digitized and placed online the John Clayton Herbarium, which contains many Linnaean types for North American taxa. The Hermann and other historic herbaria will follow in the near future. Further details are available on the Linnaean Project and Botany Department web pages at the Natural History Museum.

Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers

Peter Goldblatt is editor, together with D. E. Johnson (Timber Press, Portland) of the Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers, a project funded by the National Science Foundation. For this project, contributing editors throughout the world collect information on original chromosome counts published in the scientific literature, and the data is assembled in biennial indices published by the Missouri Botanical Garden. An Index covering the years 1994-1995 was published in 1998 and another for 1996-1997 is in press and is expected to be released in Fall 2000. Marie Johnson works part-time managing data entry and processing for the project. The Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers (IPCN) is available in a searchable database.

Systematics Symposium

The 47th Annual Systematics Symposium held on October 13–14, 2000, featured a distinguished group of experts who addressed the topic of "Conservation." Peter H. Raven moderated the session. Mick Richardson continues as the coordinator of the Symposium, with the assistance of Eloise Cannady, Lois Ganss, Kathy Hurlbert, Sandy Lopez, Brenda Sneed, and Azemina "Zemka" Zeljkovic.

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