THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST
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