Scott's Botanical Links--November 2003


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Past links:

November 28, 2003 - Sacred Earth - Ethnobotany
This site on ethnobotany features essays on many aspects of man's uses of plants from mining for drug uses, to maintaining biodiversity, to herbal medication (which of course is among the oldest of ethnobotanical interests). This site also provides resources to indigenous knowledge systems organized by continent, but sadly the link is currently broken. (Hint: Change ik.htm to Ik.htm and it works). This site is not meant to provide any medical information. Site by Kat Morgenstern of Sacred Earth.Com. (***) -S
November 27, 2003 - History: Where Food Crops Originated
As the site states, "A lot of the food we take for granted wasn't even known to the Europeans until after the Columbian Exchange. When contact was made with the new world, a whole Cornucopia of new foods was introduced to the explorers, who would bring back these foods, and distribute them all over the world." This site focuses on 13 New World crops and 11 Old World ones. Among the New World crops are some on the Thanksgiving table in North America: beans, corn, gourds, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, tomatoes. Site archived by the Smithsonian. (****) -S
November 26, 2003 - BioFinder - Image Database
The "BioFinder Image Database" is a search engine-driven site that currently contains plant images representing numerous different families of plants. The selection is outstanding, so if you feel uncomfortable with scientific names, it might be time to convert! The links lead from the home page to family lists alphabetized by genus. The sources of images range from floras (frequently Prof. Dr. Thomé's "Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz"), to more recent digital images of frequently cultivated plants. Site and database by Karl-Friedrich Fischbach and Kurt Stüber, respectively. (***1/2) -S
November 25, 2003 - Angiosperm Phylogeny Website
This website summarizes our current understanding of how flowering plants are related--based on molecular and other data. It is very clearly a research site (not for the faint of heart!), featuring lots of Latin, including a "quick reference" to orders. At the top of the page are links to (phylogenetic) trees, summaries, orders, families, characters, references, a search engine and links. The site is pretty rough going, if you are a gardener, but researchers will appreciate the attempt to integrate the wealth of systematic data at one location. The database was developed by Peter Stevens at Missouri Botanical Garden, website developed and maintained by Hilary Davis. (***1/2) -S
November 24, 2003 - Timelinescience - 1000 Years of Scientific Thought
Timelinescience presents a 1000 to 2000 (AD) time line, as well as student activities, commentary and scientific explanations for events from the past 1000 years of science. Ranges of years are linked from the home page, which expand into specific events, discussions, historic and scientific insights. Overall, the site is interesting, but sometimes links seem inadequate to allow topics to be developed logically. Pfizer UK, Webucators and history consultant Gary Mitchell support the site, based on "Timetables of Science" by Alexander Hellemans and Bryan Bunch. (***) -S
November 21, 2003 - International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN)
The mission of the IUCN is "To influence, encourage and assist societies throughout the world to conserve the integrity and diversity of nature and to ensure that any use of natural resources is equitable and ecologically sustainable." The programme of the IUCN is supported by 6 worldwide commissions (topics including education, policy, law, ecosystem management, species survival, and protected areas), 14 thematic programmes, 9 regional programs, 7 key result areas, and numerous documents & publications. A particularly dynamic feature of the website is the environmental news watch, which has nearly daily updates on conservation issues worldwide. Site by IUCN. (****) -S
November 20, 2003 - IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Each year the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) produces a red list of species that are critically endangered, threatened and vulnerable. The list for 2003 was released two days ago. The number of species has increased and among the most threatened are plants, with gymnosperms having 31% of their known species currently endangered (the highest of any major group of plants or animals). The web site has extensive information about the methodology used, coverage and limitations of the data. Tables provide a bleak picture summarizing encroaching extinction for many taxa. This site is an excellent single source of data on worldwide species endangerment. (****) -S
November 19, 2003 - Wild Ones: Native Plants, Natural Landscapes
Growing native plants instead of lawns saves water, enriches the environment and assures that native species survive. This site provides information and support for those wanting to organize their communities through local organizations. Their publication Wild Ones Journal is a resource for learning how to grow and maintain native plants. Many articles are free and membership includes a subscription. The site also contains useful links, suggested local laws, and means to counter public resistance to letting one's yard "go back to nature". There are also promotional materials for sale, including publications, bumper stickers, and explanatory signs for lawns. Wild Ones is a not-for-profit organization that includes in its mission: the promotion of environmentally sound landscaping practices to preserve biodiversity through the preservation, restoration and establishment of native plant communities. (***1/2) -S
November 18, 2003 - USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map
I was surprised to find that I had never featured the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map after all of these years. The hardiness map refers to temperature and moisture trends that limit plant distributions. The map can be used to predict whether a particular plant will tolerate conditions at various locations; it can also be used to predict special measures that may be needed to protect them as well. This hyperlinked version is provided by the National Arboretum of the US and provides links to each state. (***1/2) -S
November 17, 2003 - Chemistry, Biology and related disciplines in the WWW
This is a directory of botanical resources in German and English. The following topics each have pages of links: Cryptogams, Databases, Data Collections, & Reference Works, Education, Flowering Plants, Institutes, Internet Directories, Comprenhensive Sites & Links, Organizations, Plant Anatomy and Physiology, Plant Chemistry, Plant Geography, Taxonomy & Nomenclature, Trees, and Vascular Plants. There are a lot of sites to look at here! Site is sponsored by the Chemistry Biology Information Center, ETH Hönggerberg, Zürich, Switzerland. (***1/2) -S
November 14, 2003 - Great Plains Nature Center
The Great Plains Nature Center's mission includes educational outreach, interpreting nature in general, and more specifically, the prairie, as well as cultivating appreciation and management of this formerly extensive (but now mostly cultivated) great grassland. The GPNC site offers attractive flora and fauna images, information on species, and programs for students and teachers. The web design is noteably clean and succinct--a nice model for other sites as well. GPNC is a cooperative partnership between three major agencies: US Department of the Interior Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP), and Wichita Department of Parks and Recreation. (***1/2) -S
November 13, 2003 - Cyanophyta - Cyanobacteria
Members of the Kingdom Monera (bacteria), the Cyanophyta were formerly known as bluegreen algae and grouped with the plants. In fact, among their members are the likely precursors of chloroplasts! This site by Dave Webb provides a detailed overview (20 pages) on many aspects of cyanobacter biology, including their organization, specialized structures (akinetes, heterocysts), ultrastructure, nitrogen fixation, symbioses with plants, diversity, common genera and their ecological role. The site provides a well illustrated introduction that would easily meet the needs of a sophisticated survey of green organisms. (****) -S
November 12, 2003 - Chlorophyta - Green Algae
The Chlorophyta are closely phylogenetically related to higher plants. Green algae have similar pigments, the same cell wall components and some have truly parenchymatous growth (3D cell formation forming multicellular layers instead of 2D sheets of cells). They also include the highest proportion of freshwater members. The green algae site is 18 pages long, including pages on classification, pigmentation, sexual reproduction and morphology. The range of diversity is well illustrated and striking. Some images are quite rare. This site is by Dave Webb, University of Hawaii. (****) -S
November 11, 2003 - Phaeophyta - Brown Algae
Brown algae represent some of the largest organisms on earth, with growth rates that may reach 1 meter per day (e.g., kelp). Essentially exclusively marine, the largest species produce cells that are very much like phloem, with sieve plates and very active transport physiology. This site is currently 11 pages long, with pages on physiology, structure, major groups and adaptations -- and don't miss the link to ecological distribution of brown algae. This site is an excellent and graphically rich overview of the brown algae, presented in much greater detail general botany texts, part of BOT 311 "Form & Function in Algae & Plants" by Dave Webb, University of Hawaii. (****) -S
November 10, 2003 - Rhodophyta - The Red Algae
Although the alignment of the biological kingdoms place algae in the Protista, algae retain affinity with the Kindom Plantae in their ability to conduct photosynthesis. This site presents a detailed overview of the red algae, including life cycles -- some so complicated and different in appearance that they were initially assigned to different genera. Red algae are reasonably morphologically complex, almost all are marine and some are strongly calcified and thus coralline. This 10-page site provides a nice mix of imagery and scientifically-rich narrative. The site is part of BOT 311 "Form & Function in Algae & Plants" by Dave Webb, University of Hawaii. (****) -S
November 7, 2003 - NCDC Freeze/Frost Maps
The National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) collects data on when first and last frosts/freezes occur across the United States and probability ranges. When data on this site indicate a greater likelihood of freeze than the USDA cold hardiness map, gardeners would be well advised to develop a strategy for protecting their frost-sensitive plants. These maps are a good starting point, but do not provide you with everything you may need to know to react. This site is supported by NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration. (***) -S
November 6, 2003 - How a Domain is Activated
Part of the modern age involves understanding how technology works. Each of my botanical links (and web sites in general) are accessed through this technology, so I thought that I would indulge myself and share a page I wrote that describes how Internet addressing works, so if you hate "geek" stuff, don't click the above link. My reasons for writing the page (in summer, 2002) are given in the footnote. If you manage to make it through the description, perhaps you should give yourself (****), but as for myself, I don't rate my own sites. -S
November 5, 2003 - International Palm Society
In addition to the usual membership perks, back issues to the journal Palms (formerly Principes) are available, as are an image gallery featuring a number of palms and some external web links. Particularly interesting are the articles on palms, including papers on several specific palms, pests, unusual palm floras in exotic locales, ethnobotanical uses of palms, a guide to germinating palm seeds, and a myriad of other topics. Each article is well edited; only some are illustrated in the online version. Site by the International Palm Society. (***) -S
November 4, 2003 - Vegetation and Flora of Pitcairn Islands
The Pitcairn Islands are a World Heritage site with noteable endemic plants and animals. Situated halfway between Australia and Chile in the southern Pacific Ocean, they consist of four remote islands, two inhabited and two uninhabited. Pitcairn Island is best known as the island colonized the H.M.S. Bounty mutineers, their descendents continuing to live on the island. Research continues on sites started in the mid- to late-1990s. Site by Steve Waldren, Trinity College, University of Dublin, Ireland, who profitably spent a sabbatical there. (***) -S
November 3, 2003 - MBG Research: Photo Essays
Research efforts of the Missouri Botanical Garden are shown at this site, featuring 15 photo essays on field sites around the world. Essays include botanical explorations of Cordillera del Cóndor, the Republic of Georgia, Venezuelan Guayana, Gabon, Madidi National Park (6 essays: Apolo1, Apolo2, Chiriuno, Hondo, Mamacona and Rudidi), Northwestern Yunnan China, as well as a special essay on Madagascar Biodiversity and Conservation. This site includes hundreds of images, sponsored by the MBG. (***1/2) -S

Past, past links (by date):

2006: January
2005: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2003: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2002: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2001: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
2000: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1999: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
1998: January*, February*, March*, April*, May*, June*, July, August, September, October, November, December   (*Leigh's links)
1997: January, February, March, April, May, June, September*, October*, November*, December*    (*Leigh's links)
1996: February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December
Or search by: Subject Index