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


Botanical Latin 82-1309 - WILLOW Arboretum essay (**)
Visit and support Harvard Botany Libraries - ----------WILLOWS - Lovely, diverse, of evolutionary interest -with literary-historical associations John Barrett June 23, 1994 The Linnaean name for willow "SALIX" is said to have a Celtic root 'sal" = near "Lough" = water. The older name was "sallow", Latin Salix. Austrian Camillo Schneider recognized one hundred sixteen Norh American species in a series of papers published 1919-1921 in volume 1-3 of Arnold Arboretum Journal. Gerhard Rehder of West Roxbury Historical Society remembered Schneider, who continued his work for the Arboretum under difficult conditions as an Austrian national living in Boston 1918. Gerhard's father Alfred Rehder, the famous woody plant systematist had to make a hurried emergency trip from Jamaica Plain to Boston to vouch to federal officials that Schneider was a working botanist and not a spy or saboteur. Schneider's systematic work is still of great importance to taxonomists, though new molecular data are clarifying relationships of species groups. The nearest relatives of willors are the poplars, aspens, and cottonwoods of genus Populus in the willow family Salicaceae. Species Chosenia in Asia is treated by some taxonomists as a separate genus, because of morphological peculiarities related to wind pollination, but a majority of specialists currently treat it as a willow species. Willows range from fairly large trees through medium-sized shrubs to very small forms in Arctic and alpine environments. Some of the variation is genetic and some ecological.In the Alpine Gardens above 6288-ft. Mount Washington's timber line dwarf willow trees a few inches tall may be decades old, but genetically they are identical with fair-sized shrubs and small trees in lower, less windy locations. Many willows have only one or two stamens in each pollen-producing male flower.This reduction has probably occurred in parallel in several evolutionary lines. Poplars have more stamens, and the black willow Salix nigra and its relatives such as the peach-leaf willow S. amygdaloides and the widespread Central American S. humboldtiana are considered conservative in retaining three or more stamens. These species are largely Americam + known as 'Polyandrae' many-stamened. S. Humboldtiana is the only species whose natural range originally reached South America, probably after the Isthmus of Panama formed four million years ago. The "Sylvics of North America" US Department of Agriculture Forest Service 1990 considers S. nigra the only native willow commercially important as a timber tree. George Argus treats the willow flora of the southeastern United States and discusses hybridization of black willow with closely related S. caroliniana, which he considers a valid species.Salix floridana has sometimes been confused with these, but Argus suspects it may be nearer the Asian S. tetrasperma. Ice age history has affected distributions. Nearly all willows have separate, dioecious male- and female-flowering trees. = Newsholme 1986 provides many excellent illustrations of willows worldwide, with horticultural data on their temperature and space requirements. The most popular ornamental tree willows are cultivars and hybrids of three closely related Eurasian species of the white willow group. During the Babylonian Captivity around 600 B.C. the ancient Hebrews are recorded in the Old Testament to have wept about their nation's fate by the Rivers of Babylon - the willow specialist Richard Schulhof [at Arnold Arboretum 1994 later director of a garden in Los Angeles area] has seen papers that suggest the trees by the Euphrates River were actually poplars. The species name Salix babylonica has been given to a Chinese population that varies betwen upright and weeping growth genetics, as does the closely related Salix alba centered perhaps in Iran oe west Asia. Female clones of Salix alba were widely cultivated in most of Europe by the 1500s, and the yellow-greenish light bark of female cultivars of Salix alba variety 'vitellina' have been a great favorite. They can be seen in many locations around Boston on the Charles River, ih the Fens, and probably the prominent Public Garden collection. A hybrid of 'alba' and 'fragilis' species called 'x-Sepulcralis' was very popular for planting in cemeteries. These willows became the subject of tombstone art, beginning in England but with great artistic diversity in New England, because the willow became a symbol for belief in the transcendent importance of the soul. Locally willow tombstone art appears in the Walter Street burying ground in the Arnold Arboretum, the Westerly Cemetery West Roxbury, and many sites 1800-1825. The white willows and the majority of Eurasian willows have two stamens. Pussy willows Salix repens are an ornamental favorite grown for early spring silky male catkins that show bright silver or yellow before the leaves appear. Linnaeus recognized two species, now merged - as the typical pussy willow grows in Western Europe - Britain Ireland France Scandinavia while the longer, narrow leaf of variety Rosmarinifolia dominates Eastern Europe. Newsholme believes new willow species are evolving in Alaska, and species and taxonomic problems abound in the Rockies, Califonria, Oregon, and Canada.In dry areas willows often have a gray underside to leaves,a defense against ultra-violet, overheating, and dehydration. Willows can be seen along the Platte,Snake, Columbia, Deschutes, and other western rivers, along with the introduced Eurasian "Russian olive". In Peck's 1960 "Flora of Oregon" of forty willow species seven are listed with leaves green on both sides -including caudata, monochroma, pseudomyrsinites, commutata, and orestera, but the remaining thirty-four have gray or whitish undersides.Leaves show great variety of shape and hair and create many vistas. Willow bark was an early source of salycilic acid or aspirin, an extremely important remedy for fever, pain, and inflammation with anti-coagulant properties believed to reduce risk of stroke and heart attack. Prostrate, dwarf, and occasional herbaceous willows have great ornamental potential for rock gardens, bonsai, and small spaces. Some of the arctic types may be disease-prone in warm climates.Schneider's 'Reticulatae' include S. reticulata, vestita, leiolepis,nivalis,polaris,uva-ursi, herbacea, rotundifolia, dodgana,cascadensis - these all are small. Most cricket bats are made from a single female clone of Salix alba caerulea discovered north of London in eastern England in early 1800s - this tree has been widely cultivated for light, reliable uniform wood.OAKS Oaks are the most abundant deciduous trees in the 265-acre Arnold Arboretum,with at least 56 species and numerous hybrids represented.Most oaks fall into two groups "white" and "red" the subgenus Erythrobalanus contains the North American "red" oaks usually easy to recognize because of "drip tips" or bristles on usually pointed leaf lobes;and their acorns typically take two seasons to ripen.Most of the species hybridize freely but have distinguishing ecology and morphology.Native in the Boston area and eastern Massachusetts are the great Northern Red Oak Quercus rubra L. named by Linnaeus founder of scientific binomial nomenclature] whose range extends north to the Saint Lawrence Valley and Nova soctia and south to Arkansas and Alabama; Puercus velutina less northerly but reaching east Texas and north Florida known as "blaCK OAK" from its bark and appearance or "yellow" oak in the timber trade; and Q. coccinea "scarlet oak" an early succession species shade iintolerant but sprouting vigorously after fires ,with bright autumn foliage.Especially favored for street trees and for urban use are the stately,long-lived northern Red oak and the fast-growing "pin oak" Quercus palustris (probably not native near Boston] wi9th small acorns and a distinctive pyramidal shape when young.On Arbor Day l995 Landscape and horticulture specialist Gary Koller took a walking tour that examined the hundred-year-old Northern Red oaks in the Arborway just outside the Jamaica Plain entrance of the Arboretum.The firest three years are a critical time for street trees,which help curb air pollution and noise and increase property values.Street trees are a substantial investment and may need water during the first few years - others succumb to vandals.The pin oak is characteristic of the Ohio river Valley,often in wetland sites.The "willow oak" Q. phellos is another eastern red oak. in the south USA red oaks are represented by the important lowland timber Shumard oak Q. shumardii Indiana-Texas-Florida and the upland Q. falcata "southern red" oak and its variety "pagodifolia" the "cherrybark" oak.California has about twenty oak species, and the "California black" oak Q. belongs to subgenus Erthyrobalanus.The white oaks are more widely distributed,also occuring in Europe and Asia.The Arboretum has both typical and horticultural varieties of the famous English oak Quercus robur,which can live a thousand years and has many historical and literary associations- Sherwood Forest - writing of Arthur Conan Doyle.Old trees often show signs of pollarding and grazing.Specimens occur on the hillside descending west of the Arboretum's Chinese path.Not hardy in Boston, oaks of Portugal and the Mediterranean are the source of cork, and France is the preferred source of oak wood used in agin cabernet sauvignon and other wines,where the oak tannin has complex effects on scent, flavor, and acidity.Acorns, generally boiled to reduce tannin levels have been a major foiod source both for native Americans and many Chinese and other Asian peoples. Slow-digesting acorn starch is a healthy food for diabetics, including certain native Americans vulnerable to this disease on western diets.Acorns have been important in oak taxonomy, especially as hybrids and introgression are widespread; so anyone seriously interested in identifying a specimen should collect acorns and other reproductive material such as the generally wind-pollinated flowers. Both "red" and "white" oaks are valuable timber trees,but the white oak group is superior for ship-building,which was of great importance through the nineteenth century.probably native around Boston are the widespread "white oak" Quercus alba, the Ohio-River-centered "swamp white oak" Q. bicolor;the chestnut oak Q. prinusof the Appalachians; and perhaps the "chinkapin oak" .muhlenbergii, more abundant toward the Great Plains.Other eastern white oaks often with distinctive acorns are the "bur" oak Q.macrocarpa; Q lyrata the "overcup" oak;Q. laevis "turkey" oak; Q. stellata drought-resistant "post" or "iron" oak; and 4 southern species: Q. virginiana the evergreen "live" oak with water-resistant wood useful for ships found on coast Virginia-Florida-Texas - with 500-700 year-old specimens in South Carolina; Q. michauxii the "swamp chestnut" "cow" or "basket oak"; Q. nigra the "water oak" deep South; and Q. nuttallii of lower Mississippi.The historic -"Charter Oak" near Hartford Connecticut was a "white" oak.California prior to settlement was richly endowed with oaks, and some of the lowland types are becoming scarce and perhaps vulnerable to extinction with intensive agriculture,grazing and land use.Members of the white oak group in California have adapted specialized ecologies.Among the more economically important the Forest Service USDA lists the "blue" oak Q. douglasii and the "canyon live" oak Q. chrysolepis [fire-prone].In the Pacific northwest, dominated by conifers.,oaks are generally conspicuus by their absence except for Quercus garryana, the oregon white oak, important in forests of Oregon's Willamette Valley, Columbia river Valley,and Washington's Puget Sound and some parts of Vancouver Island,British Columbia. These areas are in the rain shadow of the ocast ranges and have some dry periods in the summer, unlike the immediate coast and higher elevations.The scientific name "for the oak genus "Quercus" is said to come from a Celtic source meaning "beautiful tree."The fossil record begins in the Eocene epooch 40-45 million years before present. Mark Moffatt of Harvard MCZ published a National Geographic article on animal-acorn interactions with an excellent shot of the long-snouted acorn weevil,which has specialized sawing equipment and an explanation of the helpful role of mice and squirrels, as an acorn has an improved chance of growing into a tree when it is buried away from high oxygen,rot and herbivores.Pollen data make possible detailed chronology of the return of oaks,.beeches and other trees after the ice ages in the Northeast.All of new England and eastern Canada were covered by ice twelve thousand years ago, researchers are fairly certain though plant life prbably existed in offshore refugia under the Atlantic Ocean.Cap Cod and Long Island, New York were terminal moraines of two of the later glacial advances.Ice covewred nearly all of New York and Michigan and much of Ohio,Indianaa, Illinois, Wisconsin, Miinnesota.The return of oaks was quite rapid after the glacial retreatand it is suggested blue jays and other birds helped spread acorns north rapidly.Around 8000 years BP migrants from Pennsylvaniaare believed to have visited Massachusetts in late summer and quarried rock in the Blue Hills and hunted along rivers.Later permanent populations formed where clams and shellfish were available in winter-Nantucket, Plum Island, and areas now under water.Anong the nearest relatives of the eight hundred species of true oaks genus Quercus is the large Asian genus Lithocarpus - the inflorescene is different, but the fruit superficially resembles an acorn, though its developmental homologies are puzzling. Kevin Nixon o Cornell has worked on the problem. Oaks and related beeches and birches gain nutrition from ectomycorrhizal fungi including many edible mushroom. - Typing will be continued from Oc. l9, l995 original. Essays on Arnold Arboretum #4 May 25, l996 John Barrett European Trees and Forests: Euyropean trees came to New England with the earliest Massachusetts settlers and are popular acroess cool regions of USA. For native species the USDA Forest Service "Trees of north America" two volumes l990 have extensive data on natural distribution, genetics, timber qualities, ecology, life cycles, insects, diseases,and management,but I am unaware of a comparable source on the natural history and ecology of European taxa.The Scots pine and Norway spruce dominated northern forests across Scandinavia and russia with diverse associated fungi, mosses, and lichens. The European larch Larix decidua is an alpine species of Alps and Carpathians but three lowland Siberian-Canadian larch species dominate large areas of swamp, peat, and permafrost across Russian Arctic especially east of Lena River and also Alaska-Canada.Spruces Picea abies, obovata and glauca with their square needles since retreat of Pleistocene glaciers have dominated very large cold dry interior continental areas where July temperature is below l0 degrees C. average.In central European forests beeches Fagus sylvatica dominate a larger area than the single American species.The principal species is naturally variable and weeping, cut-leaf and copper-leaf-color cultivars are popular in the US. Cortinarius mushrooms are diverse and important components of ecosystems with beech,pine, spruce,oak fir (alder?)Pleistocene glaciation was less extensive in Europe than North Americathough Scandinavia, the Alps and British Isles had ice caps.France, Spain, and other regions such as Balkans had Neanderthal and early modern humans who hunted mammoths, rhinoceros and ungulates - the role of forests for these early Europeans needs documentation.The Atlantic ocean and gulf Stream give coastal Europe a mild wet climate, with a gradient eastward.Red oaks, hemlocks Tsuga, and Douglas fir Pseudotsuga are not native in Europe but the White Oak group is represented by English Quercus robur and the Mediterranean cork oak.Macaronesia (isles of the blessed) Canary and other Atlantic Islands are an important refuge areaa museum of older European forms including pines.The Mediterranean region is dry with rainfall predominantly in winter and fragmented by natural barriers.Crete has sixty orchid species mostly endemic, rare and endangered -see Alibertis's book at Ames Orchid Library 22 Divinity Avenue.Cambvrdige.From the Mediterranean just outside Europe come the true cedars Cedrus libani with a hardy form from the Turkish mountains discovered by Arnold Arboretum research - and the African Atlas mountain cedar with a popular blue color type.Human activities have impacted these areas much longer than in North America.Agriculture, wheat, and Indoeuropean languages are believed to have spread from Asia Minor about ten thousand years BP.Romania-Bulgaria are a native area for European lilacs, brought to New England very early by colonists.Alfred Rehder authored a pamphlet on dates of tree introductions to United StatesThe "sycamore" maple Acer pseudoplatanus is common in England and Ireland and was introduced to US before l800.The Norway maple Acer platanoides became popular in US about l9l0 because of its fast growth- it has a longer growing season in autumn than American sugar maple .and is related to bigleaf maple Acer macrophyllum of US northwest and Asian species according to Delendick, Ackerley, and others.A horticulturally popular variety or (?subspecies?) of European gray-silver birch seems to originate in a range centered in Sweden.The olive and grape have long intense histories of cultivation going back to classic Greece, with spread westward.New American root stocks are preferred for their resistance to an introduced scale insect, so quality grapes are grafted on the American rootstocks.Genetic stocks for fine grapes have long histories of adaptation to local soils, climates, and taste preferences.Red and white roses were symbols of the English royal houses of Lancaster and York (l400's) but it is possible to trace their introduction from the south as with the "English" walnut from Persia. The "London" sycamore or plane tree is a very successful hybrid between trees brought back from Virginia early l600's and Asia-Persian species. Europe has diverse willows including small Arctic and alpine types, but popular vitelline-yellow-barked lines of white willow Salix alba are old introductions from the east.A clone of bluish Salix alba caerulea from the Norfolk area England makes the best cricket bats. They are low in density.The date of introduction of citrus to europe is problematical.Were the GGolden Apples of the Hesperides actually oranges, lemons, or citrons? A new book at Gray Herbarium library shows details from Sandro Botticelli's A.D.1478 mural "Primavera" ("Spring") that appear to be orange blossoms and fruits.European forms of linden Tilia "lime tree" horse-chestnut Scots broom and inflammable Irish gorse legumes Cytisus and Ulex English Elms Ulmus, Russian olive Eleagnus, and many heaths Ericaceae, and cherries, apples, plums, spiraeas and hawthornes Crataeugus of Rosaceae are grown in the United States including important collections at the Arnold Arboretum.At the present time Harvard-Arboretum botanists have special responsibilities in Asia on taxonomy and conservation of huge, little-known floras and contacts with the Neo-tropics are extensive also.But Europe played a central role in the emergence of the linnaean system of scientific nomenclature l753 and Kew and other centers in Europe were vital. Asa Gray had close contacts with European leaders including Darwin and Hookerand Europeans at Harvard-Arnold have included Nuttall, Aggasiz, Alfred Rehder, Ernest Wilson, Camillo Schneider,and currently Peter Ashton and Peter Stevens. the forest resources of Europe at the present time are less than those of the united States, Canada, Malesia, Amazonia, Siberia, and the total number of tree species is not comparable to the tropics. But conservation and regrowth are important, and palynology and herbarium material need work and attention.Goethe had a great interest in botany, and one of the palms he studied is still at Parma, now over four centuries old.Europeans have made great contributions to pollen study, which can reconstruct paleoenvironments in remarkable detail. Lichens are an indicator of acidification by pollution - much work in Scandinavia.Europeans are doing more than US to conserve rare fungi and cryptogamic plants.-John Barrettt
Subject: Botanical Latin word square
Year: 1999