Red Headed Stepchild
(The Barrett family memoir of Navy Life)
by Sophie Ruth Meranski with photos


Mon, 24 Jan 2000 08:56:15 -0500 From: Judy Warnement | Subject: Re: Cereus grandiflora highly endangered Dear John,Sorry for the delay in responding to your question. It has been rather busy & we are shorthanded these days w/Gretchen & Cathy on vacation. I asked Barbara Whitlock to research your question and here is her response:Barbara found no information on "cereus grandiflora" and speculates that it is not a valid name. The genus Cereus has been variously split into Hyloareus, Slenicereus, etc. The phrase "night-blooming cereus" is used for several species in several genera in the US, Mexico, and Central Am. Many of these are pollinated by either bats or moths. I hope this sheds some light on your question, but you know how hard it is when you can't pin down the valid name! I hate to share sad news, but I am attaching a couple of obits since I know you know Herb Wagner & Ledyard Stebbins (Remember when you met him in my office?!). Must run, but thanks for the emails on cold fusion. If it ever actually becomes a reality, we will have you to thank! All the best, Judy[from Ledyard Stebbins caregiver:] Dear One and All: I am writing to confirm what most of you will already know. Ledyard passed away peacefully at home at about 11pm, Weds. Jan. 19. With the help of the marvelous staff of Yolo Hospice Ledyard was able to remain at home and cared for by his long-standing team of assistants. A memorial is planned for an as yet to be chosen location on the UC Davis campus, Sunday, Jan 30. Some of you may have heard Saturday the 29th. That was changed to Sunday, the 30th to allow colleagues attending the NAS sponsored colloquium in honor of the 50th year of publication of Ledyard's opus, Variation and Evolution in Plants, to get from Irvine to Davis. Time is tentatively set for 1 pm, but the date is now firm. Please notify colleagues, especially in light of the day change. I hope to see many of you there. Regards, ************** WARREN"HERB"WAGNER (1920-2000) From: W.R. Anderson & the ASPT web site: [Reprinted with permission.] Warren H. Wagner, Jr. (known affectionately to all as Herb) died on 8 January 2000; he was in his eightieth year. He was probably the best-known botanist ever to work at the University of Michigan. After Navy service in the Pacific during World War II, Wagner did his Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley, spent one year at Harvard as an instructor, and came to the University of Michigan as Assistant Professor of Botany in 1951. His primary research focus was the systematics, hybridization,evolution, and evolutionary history of ferns and fernlike plants, but his interests went far beyond ferns, to include(among many other things) oaks and other difficult groups of flowering plants, butterflies, and minerals. His energy was boundless and his enthusiasm famously contagious, which made him one of the most successful teachers of both undergraduates and graduate students in the University. After retirement he continued to participate in the teaching of courses in plant systematics in both Biology and Natural Resources; indeed, he taught more in retirement than many younger colleagues ever do. He chaired or co-chaired 45 doctoral committees and served as a member of over 240 graduate com- mittee. He served a term as director of the Matthaei Botanical Garden from 1966 to 1971, but administration was never his strong suit. He had more fun stirring things up and getting people excited than smoothing over rough places and finding consensus solutions to little problems that did not really matter in the "big picture," which was one of his favorite phrases. In the 1950s and 60s, working in collaboration with his wife,Dr. Florence S. Wagner, he published a series of elegant studies showing that ferns hybridize freely and that hybridization is a major source of new species in plants. That idea is now widely accepted, but 45 years ago it contradicted a dogma that had been imported into botany uncritically from zoology, and the Wagners' beautifully documented research helped botanists realize that the constraints of plants' habits and habitats and reproductive styles made a different species concept appropriate for them. Wagner's attempts to infer the ancestors of the Hawaiian fern genus Diellia, and his desire to teach undergraduates how to think about evolutionary history, led him to propose a method of deducing phylogeny that was radical at the time, and with characteristic missionary zeal he went around the country and the world exhorting botanists to abandon their traditionally sloppy approach to the inference of phylogeny and start using methods that are explicit and testable. Wagner's success and influence were widely recognized during his life. His many honors included election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1985 and the Asa Gray Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists in 1990. He served as president of seven professional societies, including the ASPT (1966), the Botanical Society of America, the American Fern Society, and the International Association of Pteridologists. He was in wide demand as a speaker to groups of professional botanists and amateurs, and after the talk he was likely to sit down at a piano and entertain the astonished guests with lively honky-tonk playing. He is survived by his wife, Florence, their children Margaret and Warren, both of Ann Arbor, and two grandsons. Condolences may be sent to: Dr. Florence Wagner, 2111 Melrose, Ann Arbor, MI 48104. IRVING W. KNOBLOCH (1907-1999) Michigan State University pteridologist Irving W. Knobloch (or "Knobby", as he was affectionately known) died 27 December 1999 at the age of 92. Born in Buffalo, New York, Knobloch earned bachelor's and master's degrees at what is now SUNY at Buffalo. In the 1930s, he was a naturalist and cultural foreman with the Civilian Conservation Corps for projects in New York's Allegheny Sate Park. In 1937 he went to a rugged part of Mexico to manage a copper mine. He became known for identifying new plants and animals in that region. Knobloch went on in 1940 to Iowa State University where he received a doctorate in botany in 1942. Joining MSU in 1945, Knobloch taught biological science and natural science, then botany and plant pathology. In 1960 he was president of the university's chapter of the American Associa- tion of University Professors. After retiring from MSU 25 years ago, Knobloch was a university and community volunteer. [This note was originally posted on the ASPT web site; posted on BEN with permission.] At 03:43 PM 1/20/00 -0800, you wrote:On the 'google' website I read that the Night Blooming Cereus - Cereus grandiflora of Mexico has become highly endangered and rare in the wild because of herbal-medical use. It has a beautiful flower that we use to see of walls of Punahou School in Honolulu - it would be interested to know the pollinator - perhaps large moths or bats? -John Barrett Judith A. Warnement, Librarian Harvard University Botany Libraries 22 Divinity Avenue Cambridge MA 02138 USA Phone: (617)495-2366; Fax: (617)495-8654
Year: 2000