Saturday, October 6, 2012

Who Was Bruce of Potentilla bruceae?

Carola Josephine Austin was who was born in 1865 at Slate Creek, near Quincy, Plumas County.  Her mother, Rebecca Merritt Austin, was a prolific early California botanist.    Barneby (N. American Astragalus p. 1050, 1964) gives her name as Carola Josephine but the Mansfield record (below) as simply Josephine.  .  According to "History of Butte County, Cal.," by George C. Mansfield, Pages 1157-1158, Historic Record Co, Los Angeles, CA, 1918 (transcribed by Sharon Walford Yost), “She taught school until her marriage in 1884.  She devote much time to gathering specimens for the Smithsonian Institution at Washington, D. C., collecting and mounting seventeen hundred specimens in one year, but finally discontinued the work on account of her health.  In the CCH, there are 105 accessions at CAS/DS, 61 at UC/JEPS, 383 at RSA/POM and a few elsewhere.

Mansfield:  “After her marriage to Charles Bruce, they were engaged in ranching for a time at Chico, and then moved to Goose Lake Valley, Modoc County, where they continued ranching for five years.  Meantime they had purchased one hundred sixty acres near Lakeview, which he later sold, and then returned to Chico, where again they resumed ranching.  In 1906, they bought a place of ten acres on Eighth Avenue, and had other tree crop orchards in the region.”   

Barneby (1964) gives her date of death in 1931.

IPNI records the following basionyms established in her honor, all with the epithet ‘Bruceae’:
Arnica bruceae Rydb. -- N. Amer. Fl. 34(4): 347. 1927 [27 Jun 1927]
Crepis bruceae Babc. -- Univ. Calif. Publ. Bot. xxii. 401 (1947).
Arabis bruceae M.E.Jones -- Contr. W. Bot. 14: 37. 1912 [29 Jun 1912] (IK)
Astragalus tener var. bruceae M.E.Jones – Rev. Astragalus 268. 1923.
Potentilla bruceae Rydb. -- N. Amer. Fl. xxii. 342 (1908).
Collinsia bruceae M. E. Jones – Contr. W. Bot. 12: 69–70. 1908.

Only the Potentilla survives as a currently treated taxon.

The CCH records begin in April 1887 and are mostly from northern California, and the last is Astragalus bolanderi, at Alta Meadows in 1905.  

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