2016 PA Botany Symposium Workshops

James Bissell
Pennsylvania’s willows. This workshop will explain identification of native and some non-native Pennsylvania willows. Museum herbarium specimens will be used for the workshop. A brief introduction of willow floral and vegetative characters will be discussed. Following the discussion of willow flora parts and vegetative characters, the participants will attempt to key out several willow specimens using dissecting scopes. Several willows can be identified by vegetative characters but some native willows are best determined with flowers and fruits. The participants should bring a 20 power hand lens. Willow specimens with the labels covered will be set out for the participants to identify using vascular plant manuals. The Plants of Pennsylvania by Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timothy Block is recommended. After participants use the dissecting scopes to identify several willow specimens, a discussion of habitats of many Pennsylvania willows will be given.

Sarah Chamberlain
Demystifying the Challenging World of Grasses. Looking to demystify the challenging world of grasses? Then this workshop is for you! Join Sarah Chamberlain, Botanist and Curator of the PSU Herbarium to learn skills necessary to identify this difficult group of plants. The first part of the workshop will focus on basic morphology, the characteristics of common groups, and identification of plant specimens using a simplified grass key. Slides, handouts, herbarium and freshly collected field specimens will be used to illustrate plant characters, especially those that may prove an obstacle to keying. A 10x hand lens is required.  Microscopes and keys will be provided.

Dwayne Estes
A Review of the Major Taxonomic Sections Sections of Carex (Cyperaceae) for east-central U.S. This workshop will review the major taxonomic sections of the difficult genus Carex (Cyperaceae) common to east-central U.S. The workshop will feature the examination of specimens and parts of specimens of approximately 20-25 species representing different sections that will be accompanied by a lecture and detailed drawings of each section. For each section, we will review the important morphological characteristics needed to identify the section as well as important variation needed to distinguish species in the section. Participants will need fine forceps, and a sketch pad.

Steve Grund and Bonnie Isaac
Pteridophyte Identification in Pennsylvania. We will use herbarium specimens, photographs, and literature to teach participants to identify the ferns and lycophytes of Pennsylvania. Emphasis will be on difficult groups such as Dryopteris and Cystopteris. Participants are encouraged to bring unknown specimens. The leaders are very experienced field botanists and are particularly interested in pteridophytes, but they are not specialists in any individual genus, and occasional specimens in genera like Cystopteris cannot be referred to species with confidence except by people who have studied them intensely. Hybrids will be scorned and also adored. We will demonstrate how to work with suspected hybrids by distinguishing between aborted from normal, fertile spores, and by looking for traits of different species. Please bring a hand lens if you can.

Barre Hellquist
Potamogetonaceae and Hydrocharitaceae of North America. The Potamogetonaceae and Hydrocharitaceae will be studied in a day-long workshop through the use of slides and herbarium sheets. Representative of all species in inland waters of North America will be covered with special details for those species of northeastern U.S. Information discussed will include habitat, ecology, distribution, and relevant hybrids for the various species. Participants are encouraged to bring specimens for further study. A handout for the Potamogeton and Stuckenia will be provided that parallels the illustrations in Vol. 2 of Crow and Hellquist, 2000, Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America.

Wes Knapp
Pennsylvanian Juncus; What’s the Rush? Juncus is a morphologically diverse and intimidating genus for the novice and expert alike. Reduced floral morphology and explicit terminology encountered rarely outside the genus increase its difficulty. Though overlooked or outright ignored, Juncus are encountered in an abundance of habitat types and can be dominant. An introductory lecture will be given discussing the variation in the genus and to set the stage when comparing Juncus to similar genera, primarily the Grasses and Sedges. We will focus on understanding the morphological variability in the genus through the examination of freshly collected specimens as well as dried herbarium specimens. Microscopes will be provided to assist identification. We hope that the majority of Juncus species that are found in Pennsylvania will be taught. The sectional classification which aides in the understanding and identification of the genus will be applied, will be a focal point.