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Page 22 ï~~22 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST Vol. 40 REVIEW SEVENTH CATALOG OF THE VASCULAR PLANTS OF OHIO. By Tom S. Cooperrider, Allison W. Cusick, and John T. Kartesz, eds. 2001. x + 195 pages. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH (www.ohiostatepress.org). Hardcover ISBN 0-8142-0858-4; paperback ISBN 0-8142-5061-0. This book is the most recent scion of a literary tree that first sprouted in 1860, with John S. Newberry's catalog of Ohio plants, but which has not borne fruit since John H. Schaffner's sixth catalog of 1932. It represents a collaboration of workers who have been in the forefront of Ohio floristic research for the past 40 years or more (contributors in addition to the editors were Barbara K. Andreas, Guy L. Denny, John V. Freudenstein, and John J. Furlow). As someone covered by its dedication (i.e., I've collected a fair number of plant specimens in Ohio over the years), I was much interested to see this volume. The catalog is a list of all vascular plant species known to occur within the state of Ohio. The sequence of entries follows Cronquistian classification at the ranks of phylum, class, subclass, order, and family; species are alphabetical within families. To facilitate access for those of us who haven't memorized the Cronquist system yet, the book includes comprehensive indices to both scientific and vernacular names. As for the nomenclature, rather than swearing allegiance to any one reference (e.g., the Gleason and Cronquist manual), the editors have attempted to use names that reflect the findings of recent taxonomic and nomenclatural research. Altogether, 2716 species of vascular plants are listed; only about 65% (1785) are regarded as native. The remainder comprise 507 naturalized aliens plus another 424 that are not yet naturalized. One hundred thirty-nine interspecific hybrids are recognized, 83% (115) of which involve native species. The information provided for each species frankly is quite meager: scientific name with author, a common name or two, selected synonyms pertinent to Ohio. An asterisk denotes the naturalized aliens, a dagger the non-naturalized ones. No data on distribution, habitats, relative abundance/rarity, or threatened/endangered status are provided. In a housekeeping vein, the authors provide a list of 132 taxa reported from the state whose presence could not be verified. At least one of these comes as a surprise. Crataegus xmansfieldensis Sarg. was expressly described on the basis of a specimen collected at Mansfield, Ohio! Given the nature of the type method, if this taxon doesn't occur in Ohio, where does it occur? The answer is apparently contained within a privately published and distributed checklist cited by the authors, which unfortunately is not to be found in our library. In addition to the catalog per se, the book includes an excellent essay (by Denny and Cooperrider) on the natural history of the state's flora. It is essentially a thumbnail sketch of the major physiographic/biotic regions of Ohio, and will be of great utility and interest to anyone wanting a readily accessible snapshot of this topic. Throughout, the book gives every evidence of great care and scholarship. No
Page 23 ï~~2001 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 23 typographical and factual errors came to my attention. Production values are high, and the layout and typesetting are most pleasing to the eye. If I have any complaint about this book, it is one I have often raised about catalogs and checklists in general. As a practicing plant taxonomist, I am not sure just how a work such as this is to be used. Where does it fit on the botanist's bookshelf? Manuals and guides can be used to identify unknown specimens, and summarize information on distribution and ecology of the plants included. Monographs and revisions can perform a similar function, as well as providing detailed information on the relationships and biology of the taxa covered. Many questions can be answered with such works. With the present volume, very few questions can be addressed. For example, when I look at the entry for Aconitum noveboracense A. Gray, all I learn is that it is a native member of the Ranunculaceae that is called Northern or New York Monkshood, and that it is sometimes included in A. columbianum Nutt. I am left to wonder if it is widespread within Ohio or localized, common or rare; if it is a forest, prairie, or wetland species; if it is protected by state or federal laws. It seems to me that a catalog such as this could be rendered far more useful with the inclusion of such data. A perfect example is The Vascular Plants of Iowa by Lawrence J. Eilers and Dean M. Roosa (University of Iowa Press, 1994). The work is very similar to the Ohio catalog, but gives generalized statements of habitats, distribution within the state, and relative abundance for each species. By comparison, we learn from the Iowa catalog that Aconitum noveboracense (Northern Wild Monkshood) is a native member of the Ranunculaceae [sometimes treated as A. columbianum subsp. noveboracense (A. Gray) Hardin] that grows on moist limestone or sandstone cliffs and algific talus slopes, and that it is rare in central, northeastern, and east-central Iowa, having been documented in Allamakee, Clayton, Delaware, Dubuque, Hardin, and Jackson counties. In light of the long and distinguished history of floristic research in Ohio, it seems that it would have been possible without an inordinate amount of effort to have incorporated data of this sort into the Seventh Ohio Catalog. It is certainly something to consider for the Eighth. -Thomas G. Lammers Department of Biology and Microbiology University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Oshkosh, WI 54901 email@example.com