Hello! Apart from our CLM internship duties, that usually include a variety of things such as providing help with BLM’s environmental education program, rare endemics monitoring, seed collecting, and so forth… we of course deal a lot with many different common plants around us, which sometimes are not as important for land use management but are of great interest from the prospective of biodiversity. In particular it is highly beneficial for any botanist to be familiar with biodiversity and estimate its value for each site of public lands. This is, of course, part of our duties too. And so, being involved in this fascinating learning process you start to notice some curious facts about plants themselves and their names.
This time I’d like post a short notice about an example of such fact – another prominent botany personality of the past. Actually, two personalities that we, particularly botanists and whoever from time to time deals with plants, hear all the time but often don’t have enough interest or time to find more about. William Hooker and Joseph Hooker. If you just go to the USDA plants database – a national database of North American plants, and type in “search box” the word “hookeri” you’ll get over 30 different taxa named after some Hooker (and those are only valid, currently recognized Latin names). An interesting thing about this either specific epithet, genus or variety name is that there were two famous persons in the botany world with such a last name closely related to each other. A father – William Jackson Hooker, a founder of world’s biggest herbarium – The Herbarium of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and his son Joseph Dalton Hooker a director of named herbarium, plant collector and Charles Darwin’s good friend, who played a significant role in Evolution Theory development by reviewing and providing a constructive criticism of his theory. It is hard to imagine modern botany without these two British scientists. It’s also worthwhile to mention that the majority of taxa named after Hooker are actually named after the father – William Hooker, whereas William’s son, Joseph, described many plants and varieties and consequently was the one who gave a name to a newly described species. Looking at this, I always wish we had more and more time to get deeper into our botanical past, scientists’ works and achievements; discover new things about the origin of our present concepts, things that were known far long time ago and are still around us today.
BLM, Carson City, NV