Gunther’s Travels: The Odyssey of Metasequoia Seeds from the 1920s?
- Judy Barrett Litoff
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The story of the establishment of the fossil genus Metasequoia Miki in 1941 by the Japanese paleobotanist S. Miki and the discovery and classification of the living Metasequoia glyptostroboides Hu et Cheng (Dawn Redwood) in 1946–1948 by Professors H. H. Hu and W.C. Cheng are well known. In addition, the efforts of Elmer D. Merrill of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University and paleontologist Ralph Chaney of the University of California, Berkeley to collect and disperse M. glyptostroboides seeds throughout the world have been carefully chronicled. But what is not well-known is the story of how Wilhelm Gunther (1893–1983), a German national who lived and worked in China between 1914 and 1941, acquired seeds in the late 1920s that decades later would be identified as those of M. glyptostroboides. Drawing from historical and contemporary photographs as well as interviews with Gunther’s daughters, this essay unravels the odyssey of these M. glyptostroboides seeds that possibly predate the discovery of the native population in China.
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- Vann, D.R., C.J. Williams & B.A. LePage. 2003. Experimental evaluation of photosystem parameters and their role in the evolution of stand structure and deciduousness in response to paleoclimate seasonality in Metasequoia glyptostroboides (Hu et Cheng). Pp. 431–449. In A. Hemsley & I. Poole (eds.). The Evolution of Plant Physiology: From Whole Plants to Ecosystems. Elsevier, London.
- Gunther’s Travels: The Odyssey of Metasequoia Seeds from the 1920s?
- Book Title
- The Geobiology and Ecology of Metasequoia
- Book Part
- Part I
- pp 187-194
- Print ISBN
- Online ISBN
- Series Title
- Topics in Geobiology
- Series Volume
- Springer Netherlands
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- Hubei Province
- Rhode Island
- Shuisha-ba Valley
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- Yangtze River
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- Editor Affiliations
- 3. URS Corporation
- 4. Department of Earth and Environment, Franklin and Marshall College
- 5. Department of Science and Technology, Bryant University
- Author Affiliations
- 6. Department of History and Social Sciences, Bryant University, 1150 Douglas Pike, Smithfield, Rhode Island, 02917, USA
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