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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/145

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POPULAR MISCELLANY.

a scientific basis as a recognized department of anthropology. A growing interest in its study is manifested especially since it is regarded as an important adjunct to history, often indeed preserving the only records of a race. The officers of the society for 1890 are as follows: President, Dr. Daniel G. Brinton, Philadelphia, Pa.; Council, Hubert Howe Bancroft, San Francisco, Cal.; Franz Boas, Worcester, Mass.; H. Carrington Bolton, New York, N. Y.; Thomas Frederick Crane, Ithaca, N. Y.; Alice Fletcher, Nez Percés Agency, Idaho; Victor Guillou, Philadelphia, Pa.; Horatio Hale, Clinton, Out.; Mary Hemenway, Boston, Mass.; Henry W. Henshaw, Washington, D. C.; Thomas Wentworth Higginson, Cambridge, Mass.; William Preston Johnson, New Orleans, La.; Charles G. Leland, London, England; Otis T. Mason, Washington, D. C.; Secretary, W. W. Newell, Cambridge, Mass.; Treasurer, Henry Phillips, Jr., Philadelphia, Pa. The society publishes a quarterly, entitled The Journal of American Folk-Lore, a handsome octavo, bearing the imprint of Houghton, Mifflin & Co. It is sent free to members. The membership fee is three dollars per annum. The society numbers at present about three hundred and fifty, but an increase in membership, especially in New York and Brooklyn, is desirable. Persons wishing to join the society, or to receive the circular anaouncing the meeting, should address Dr. H. Carrington Bolton, University Club, New York city.

 

Distribution of North American Plants.—A sitting of the Biological Section of the American Association was given, by appointment from the Toronto meeting, to the discussion of the geographical distribution of North American plants. The first paper was by Mr. Sereno Watson, on the relation of the Mexican flora to that of the United States. It showed that the Mexican flora is more nearly related to the flora of our Eastern than of our Western border. Prof. J. M. Coulter, in a paper on the Distribution of the Umbelliferæ, said that the study of the subject was difficult, because of the imperfect definition of the genera. The order and species were, however, better defined. The order is essentially one of the north temperate zone; and, so far as North America is concerned, it is an order of the United States. Of the fifty-three genera of the United States twenty-five are also found in Asia. The chief home of the order is in the region of the Sierra Nevada, where fifty-four per cent of our known species are found. Special areas exist in the Great Basin and in Arkansas. The Distribution of the Hepaticæ was described in a paper by Prof. L. M. Underwood, who spoke of the defective condition of our knowledge of the subject. The order is represented by about 2,500 species, most of which are found in the south tropical regions, in the moist forest areas, and along the borders of waters. Prof. B. D. Halsted traced the origin of some American weeds and the manner of their spread over the country, and described the lines along which they have run and are still advancing. The distribution of North American grasses was described by W. J. Beal, who showed the areas marked by special varieties, the lines along which they are extending, and the modifications that follow the change from wild to cultivated land. The Cornaccæ, or order of dogwoods, was the subject of a second paper by Dr. J. M. Coulter. It includes, he said, three genera, which find their most congenial home in Mexico and along the Mexican border. They are found farthest north in the Pacific States. The last paper was by Prof. N. L. Britton, who presented the general subject. Temperature, he said, is the most important factor in distribution, and it depends on elevation and latitude. The most abundant flora is the temperate, which extends along various lines to a considerable distance north. The northern floras are characteristic, but also extend south, chiefly along the mountain-chains. Tracing the paleontological evidences on the subject, the author thought that all plant-life north of the fortieth degree of latitude was probably destroyed during the Glacial period. Below that line existed the circumboreal flora, which subsequently followed the retreating ice north. Some suppose that it thus simply returned to its former habitat. The sub-tropical flora of the Tertiary age must have been almost destroyed during the Ice age, yet it has certain boreal characters. There is a marked correspondence between the boreal and tropical flora of America and Europe, which can hardly be explained by migration. Probably similar environment