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North American Species of Cactus   By: (1851-1928)

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A Preliminary Revision of the North American Species of Cactus, Anhalonium, and Lophophora by John M. Coulter.

U. S. Department of Agriculture Division of Botany CONTRIBUTIONS FROM THE U. S. NATIONAL HERBARIUM Vol. III No. 2 Issued June 10, 1894 Preliminary Revision of the North American Species of Cactus, Anhalonium, and Lophophora. by John M. Coulter. Published by Authority of the Secretary of Agriculture Washington Government Printing Office 1894 LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL U. S. Department of Agriculture Division of Botany Washington, D. C., March 21, 1894 SIR: I have the honor to transmit herewith, for publication as Vol. III, No. 2, of Contributions from the U. S. National Herbarium, a Preliminary Revision of the North American species of Cactus, Anhalonium, and Lophophora, by President John M. Coulter. Respectfully, Frederick V. Coville, Chief of the Division of Botany. Hon. J. Sterling Morton, Secretary of Agriculture.

PRELIMINARY REVISION OF THE NORTH AMERICAN SPECIES OF CACTUS, ANHALONIUM, AND LOPHOPHORA. Prefatory Note. In the fall of 1890 Dr. George Vasey, then Botanist of the Department of Agriculture, arranged with me to prepare a revision of North American Cactaceae. Owing to the peculiar difficulty of preserving material the family was poorly represented, even in our leading herbaria. To secure a large amount of additional material in the way of specimens and field notes the Department authorized me to visit the region of the Mexican boundary during the summer of 1891. Preliminary to this exploration it was necessary to examine the Engelmann collection of Cactaceae, in the possession of the Missouri Botanical Garden. This collection, supplemented by the continual additions made at the garden, is by far the largest collection of skeletons and living specimens in this country, and also contains the large majority of our types.

In March, 1891, I visited this collection and made such notes as seemed necessary for use in the field, and in June, accompanied by Mr. W. H. Evans and Mr. G. C. Nealley, I began field work in the neighborhood of El Paso, Tex. After ten days of exploration it was necessary for me to leave the field work in charge of Mr. Evans, who, with Mr. Nealley, continued work westward, during July and a part of August, to southern California, along the Southern Pacific Railway. As a result a large number of complete plant bodies was secured, but very few of them were in flower and the field notes indicated little besides collection stations. During the following fall and winter preliminary determinations of this material were made by Mr. Evans. In the fall of 1892 critical study of this and other collections was begun in connection with my assistants, Dr. Elmon M. Fisher and Mr. Edwin B. Uline, who have ever since rendered constant and most import assistance in the examination of material and bibliography, which alone has made the work possible in the midst of other pressing duties.

In the spring of 1893 these two gentlemen spent several weeks at the Missouri Botanical Garden in the critical study of its rich material, and during the latter part of their stay I assisted in the work. Dr. William Trelease, the director of the garden, had hastened the arrangement of the Engelmann material, and had mounted in convenient form the large mass of notes left by Dr. Engelmann. These notes contained not only critical remarks upon known species, but also the diagnoses of many unpublished species which had come into his hands, notably those collected by Mr. William Gabb in 1867 in Lower California. The collections that have thus far been studied are:

(1) Those of the Missouri Botanical Garden; and thanks are especially due to Dr. Trelease for his generous cooperation in the use of this material, without which the work would have been impossible.

(2) Those of the Department of Agriculture, including the results of several recent explorations, for the use of which I am indebted to Mr. Frederick V... Continue reading book >>

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