L-R: Allium campanulatum (Sierra onion), Mimulus primuloides (Primrose monkeyflower), Lamium amplexicaule (Henbit), Gilia capitata (Globe gilia), Trifolium obtusiflorum (Creek clover).  

     W

       In the following names, the stressed vowel is the one preceding the stress mark. It is not always easy to ascertain where such stress should be placed, especially in the case of epithets derived from personal names. I have tried to follow the principle of maintaining the stress of the original name as outlined in the Jepson Manual, and have abandoned it only when it was just too awkward. In the case of some names, I have listed them twice, reflecting either some disagreement or conflict in the rules of pronunciation, some uncertainty on my part as to the correct pronunciation, or that simply sometimes there is no single correct pronunciation. In other instances, the way I record it is just that which sounds right to my ear.

  • wal'keri: after zoologist Ernest Pillsbury Walker (1891-1969). The following is quoted from the website of the Washington Biologists' Field Club: "Ernest was born in 1891 in Blue Springs, Missouri, and grew up on farms in Indiana, Colorado, and Utah. It was in this rural setting that his innate love for furred and feathered wild things was nurtured throughout his childhood. His formal education as a biologist was completed at the University of Wyoming. After college Ernest went to Alaska as a warden and inspector with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries and while there from 1913 to 1919, he met and married the former Astrid Shafsted. On his return to the states he served for two years as a U.S. game warden in Arizona and California. In 1921, he went back to Alaska with the U.S. Biological Survey where he served as fur and game warden and as executive officer and fiscal agent for the Alaska Game Commission. He came to Washington, DC, in 1927 and assumed a position at the National Zoo under the director, William Mann. He was assistant director of the National Zoological Park from 1930 to 1956. Although his articles on animal life appeared in such diverse publications as the National Geographic Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post, and the Illustrated London News, his life’s publishing work was his three-volume Mammals of the World. Other popular works included First Aid and Care of Small Mammals and Studying Small Mammals. These two books were published by the Animal Welfare Institute in which Ernest served as an active member. Ernest was a charter member of the American Society of Mammalogists. He was a member of the Masons and while in Alaska active with the Mount Juneau Lodge and its Eastern Star Chapter. Ernest was considered a friend of the animals and worked diligently throughout his life for their protection. He dedicated one of his books “To the mammals, great and small, who contribute so much to the welfare and happiness of man, another mammal, but receive so little in return except blame, abuse and extermination.” Ernest died on January 31, 1969, in a Rockville, Maryland, motel where he was staying to be close to his doctor who was treating him for a chronic heart condition. His wife had died in 1961 and his closest relative at the time of his death was his sister with whom he had lived for several years in Arlington, Virginia. Ernest was elected to membership in the Washington Biologists’ Field Club in 1927 and received an honorary membership in 1961." And from a 1948 Newsweek: "Since he was a child on a fruit farm in Indiana, the zoologist has collected every kind of animal, bug, and bird. He learned taxidermy in high school, and put himself through the University of Wyoming doing biological work. Thereafter he patrolled the salmon fisheries of Alaska for the government and acted as a fur warden. But research was more to his liking. In 1930 he was appointed assistant director of the Washington zoo and he has been there ever since, blissfully surrounded by the wild life that he finds not so very wild." The dust jacket of his Mammals of the World says: "Upon discovering that there existed no single book containing descriptions of all the world's mammalian genera, Walker set out to collect information from every possible source, searching tirelessly through thousands of books and articles and corresponding with mammalogists the world over. His magnum opus reflected an unequaled store of knowledge about the world's living mammals." According to David Hollombe, Walker collected the type specimen of this taxon at Paradox, Colorado in 1912, and it is for this reason that his name is on it (ref. Chylismia walkeri ssp. tortilis)
  • wal'lacei: after William Allen Wallace (1815-1893), who collected in the vicinity of Los Angeles around 1854 (ref. Eriophyllum wallacei, Solanum wallacei)
  • wallich'ii: named after the Danish botanist and surgeon Dr. Nathaniel Wallich (1786-1854). The following is quoted from the PlantExplorers.com website: "Nathaniel Wallich was born at Copenhagen, in Denmark on January 28, 1786. In 1806 Wallich obtained the diploma of the Royal Academy of Surgeons at Copenhagen and in the autumn of that year was appointed Surgeon to the Danish settlement at Serampore, then known as Frederischnagor in Bengal. He sailed for India in April 1807 and arrived at Serampore in the following November after a long sea voyage around the African Cape. The Danish alliance with Napoleon turned disastrous and resulted in many Danish colonies being seized by the British, including the outpost at Serampore. Wallich was held as a prisoner of war but later, in 1809, he was released from his parole on the merit of his scholarship. On his release Wallich was appointed assistant to William Roxburgh, the East India Company's botanist in Calcutta. Although ill health forced Wallich to spend the years 1811-1813 in the relatively more temperate climate of Mauritius, he still pursued his studies.
        Wallich's keen interest in the native flora and fauna of India, and his scholarly work with collecting and cataloguing was making impressions both locally and abroad. As a member of the Asiatic Society Wallich was the driving influence behind the Society's foundation of the Oriental Museum of the Asiatic Society in February 1814. Offering both his services and a number of items from his own collections Wallich founded the museum and took charge as the Honorary Curator and then Superintendent. However, Wallich continued to work in the medical profession and by August 1814 he was working as Assistant Surgeon for the East India Company and consequently he had to resign as Superintendent of the Museum in December 1814. The Museum, later known as the Indian Museum in Calcutta, thrived under the guidance of its enthusiastic founder and the many collectors he supported and inspired. Most of them were Europeans except a solitary Indian, Babu Ramkamal Sen, initially a Collector and later the first Indian Secretary to the Asiatic Society.
        Wallich had been involved with the East India Company's Botanical Garden at Calcutta almost from the day he arrived, but took on a permanent position as Superintendent of the Garden in 1817. Although he continued his duties at the Museum, by 1819 he devoted himself entirely to the garden. As a well respected botanist Nathaniel Wallich prepared a catalogue of more than 20,000 specimens, published two important books -- Tentamen Flora Nepalensis Illustratae (1824-26) and Plantae Asiaticae Rariories (1830-32) and went on a number of expeditions himself. However, one of Wallich's greatest contributions to field of plant exploration was the assistance he regularly offered to the many plant hunters who stopped in Calcutta on their way to the Himalayas. Wallich was responsible for packing many of the specimens that came through the gardens on the way to England, and over the years he developed some innovative methods, including packing seeds in brown sugar. Strange as it may seem, the sugar preserved and protected the seeds very well and, in fact, Wallich had one of the best records for keeping plant material alive for shipping prior to the development of the Wardian Case.
        Wallich retired to London in 1847 and died there on April 28, 1854. On the occasion of his bicentenary, in 1986, the Indian Museum instituted an annual lecture series in memory of the founder of the museum movement in India. (ref. Persicaria wallichii)
  • warneren'se: of or from the Warner Mountains in eastern Modoc County (ref. Galium serpenticum ssp. warnerense)
  • Washington'ia: after George Washington (1732-1799), 1st President of the United States (ref. genus Washingtonia)
  • washingtonia'na: probably after either the state of Washington or Lake Washington near Seattle, where the type specimen was found (Claytonia washingtoniana)
  • washingtonia'num: after Martha Dandridge Custis Washington (1731-1802), wife of the first U.S. President  (ref. Lilium washingtonianum)
  • washoen'sis: of or from Washoe County, Nevada
  • Watson'ia: after Sir William Watson (1715-1787), English botanist and physician, apothecary, physicist, Fellow of the Royal Society, writer on subjects like electricity and lightning (ref. genus Watsonia)
  • watson'ii: named for Sereno Watson (1826-1892) of Harvard, assistant to Asa Gray and Curator of the Gray Herbarium at Harvard University, a distinguished American botanist who named and described many new species found during the pioneer botanical explorations of western and middle North America. Born on a farm in Connecticut, he graduated from Yale in 1847 and some years taught school, did editorial work and studied medicine, after which he went back to Yale to study chemistry and mieralogy. He decided to move to California and participated in Clarence King's geological survey of the 40th parallel, becoming the expedition's botanist by replacing William Whitman Bailey who left on account of poor health. He wrote and published Botany of the King Expedition in 1871, working first at New Haven with Daniel Cady Eaton and then at Harvard under Asa Gray. His report was considered the most useful of the several survey expedition reports and he was appointed an assistant at the Gray Herbarium in 1873, then Curator, which position he held until his death. While at Harvard, he also worked with William H. Brewer (see breweri) and Gray on the first volume of Botany of California, publishing by himself the second volume in 1880. He also completed the Manual of the Mosses of North America, published in 1884, which had was begun by Thomas Potts James and Leo Lesqueriux. He botanized in the northwestern United States in 1880, in Guatemala in 1885, and travelled to Europe in 1886. He was not considered an innovator in the botanical field, but was respected primarily because of his meticulous nature and careful notetaking in the field (ref. Alternanthera watsonii, Atriplex watsonii, Brickellia watsonii, Chorizanthe watsonii, Oxytheca watsonii, Selaginella watsonii, Tricardia watsonii)
  • web'beri: after David Gould Webber (1809-1883), "...son of William and Susanna Webber, born in Livingston county, New York, September 12, 1809. When sixteen years old he began working on a canal in summer, attending school in winter, and followed this for two years, when he engaged as a drug clerk and student with Dr. Woodworth of Springfield, Pennsylvania. Three years after, young Webber bought him out, and continued in business for twelve years. In 1843 he closed out his business there, and dealt in stock for two years. He went to Chicago in 1845, and bought a half-interest in a steam flouring mill, and was also a contractor on the Illinois canal for about four years. He started for California in December, 1849, via Panama, and upon his arrival in April, 1850, went to Downieville, and mined during the summer of 1850. In 1851 he located the Oak ranch near Monte Christo, but sold out the next year and bought a sawmill in Downieville, going also into stock-raising in Scott valley. During the four years following, Dr. Webber superintended the building of the first wagon road to Downieville, the first bridge across Yuba river, and the courthouse, jail, and jailer's house. He was school superintendent of Sierra county two years. During this time, in 1852, he located all the land around what was then called Little Truckee lake (now known as Webber lake), for a stock range, and in 1854 stocked the lake with trout, there having been previously no fish in it, because of the falls a mile below. In 1860 he built the Webber Lake hotel there, and opened it to the public that year. The ranch he lived on, four miles north of Loyalton, was located by him in 1859, where he spent the winters, and he ran the hotel at the lake during the remainder of the year, until 1877. He practiced medicine in Loyalton for three years. In 1833 he was married to Miss Margaret Bradish of Cranerville, Pennsylvania, by whom he had one child, James W., who was born in 1835, and died in Sacramento in 1856. Mrs. Webber died in 1842." (from Plumas County Biographies) He accompanied and collected plants for John G. Lemmon, one of which (Ivesia webberi) he found on his own ranch and which Lemmon named in his honor (ref. Achnatherum webberi, Astragalus webberi, Ivesia webberi)
  • weed'ii: after Amos Weed (1828-1918).  Born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, he became a carriage maker by trade and with his schoolteacher cousin Ephraim Weed Morse joined the New England Trading and Mining Association.  Desirous of travelling to the gold fields of California, each member contributed $300 to buy a ship named the Lenore and cargo in Boston, and the group sailed around Cape Horn to San Francisco, arriving in 1849.  After the ship and its cargo were sold, most of the members headed for the gold country, where Weed and Morse tried placer mining.  Many of them were affected by the scurvy and typhoid fever that was prevalent around the gold camps, and both men decided to resettle to San Diego, Morse becoming a prosperous and respected citizen of that community, and Weed taking up carpentry.  After a brief period Weed returned to San Francisco and took up gold mining again, spending several years in Tuolomne County, and living for a while in the Hawaiian Islands.  In the Tuolomne area he picked up an 18-1/2 oz. gold nugget.  He finally settled in San Diego in 1862, and resumed his close relationship with his cousin Ephraim.  He apparently worked as a farmer and a carpenter, and collected plants on the side, one of which was this beautiful mariposa lily, named for him by Professor Alphonso Wood.  Ephraim became a merchant, lawyer, real estate promoter and civic official, and one of the interests in which he had a part ownership was the Oriflamme Mine and Mill which was situated four miles east of Cuyamaca.  In the early 1870's there was a minor gold rush in the Julian-Banner area of the mountains east of San Diego, and Weed again took up his gold pan to seek a fortune, but soon taking over management of the Oriflamme Mine and Mill where he worked until 1876.  I don't know anything about the period of his life that followed this.  He never married and died April 29, 1918, and in accordance with his wishes, his ashes were scattered along the tracks of the San Diego and Arizona Railway, in which he had had a longtime interest (ref. Calochortus weedii)
  • wells'ii: after Philip Vincent Wells (1928-2004). The following is from an obituary in the Lawrence Journal-World of Lawrence, Kansas 11/3/04: "He was born April 24, 1928, in Brooklyn, N.Y., the son of Philip V. and Florence Ceceilia Lennon Wells. He received a bachelor's degree, with honors, in biology in 1951 at City University of New York Brooklyn College; a master's in botany in 1956 from University of Wisconsin, Madison; and a doctorate in botany in 1959 from Duke University. Mr. Wells served in the U.S. Army as a research associate at Fort Detrick Biological Warfare Laboratories, Crops Division, from 1951 to 1953. He was a research fellow at Duke University from 1955-1958. He was an instructor at University of California in Santa Barbara from 1958 to 1959, a resident ecologist at Nevada Test Site, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission from 1960 to 1961, a research associate at New Mexico Highlands University from 1961 to 1962, a professor of botany at Kansas University from 1962 to 1971, acting director at Botanical Garden and visiting associate professor at University of California-Berkeley from 1966 to 1967, a professor of botany and of systematics and ecology at KU from 1971 to 1998, and professor emeritus of ecology and evolutionary biology at KU from 1998 to 2004. He published "The Manzanitas of California: Also of Mexico and the World" in 2000.(ref. Arctostaphylos wellsii)
  • werneriifo'lia: with leaves like genus Werneria, which was named for the German geologist Abraham Gottlob Werner (1749-1817) (ref. Packera [formerly Senecio] werneriifolia)
  • weston'ii: after Edward Roy Weston (1885-1966), draftsman, amateur photographer and botanical collector. The following entry is quoted from Cantelow and Cantelow, "Biographical Notes on Persons in whose Honor Alice Eastwood Named Native Plants," (1957) in Leaflets of Western Botany 8 (5): 83-101: "Weston, Edward Roy. Geological draftsman; born in Dayton, Ohio, 17 Apr.1885, now residing in San Francisco, Calif. He came to Calif. from Idaho, 1915; his love of the out-of-doors led to the 'popular sport of hiking in Marin County,' and it was thus that he 'had the pleasure and honor of meeting Miss Alice Eastwood.' He has been chiefly engaged in map making for the State Mining Bureau, War Department, and many oil companies; still active on a consulting basis; has made excursions to remote spots in Calif. in search of rare plants, sometimes in company with Alice Eastwood." Ernest Twisselman in A Flora of Kern County adds that he was a draftsman with the Shell Oil Co. and collected in Kern County in 1925 and 1926 while living in Bakersfield, making "carefully prepared  specimens as vouchers for his photographs of plants." I am indebted to David Hollombe once again for correcting my entry and allowing me to avoid embarrassment at having previously identified Edward Weston (1886-1958), the noted American photographer, as the source of this name (ref. Eriogonum nudum var. westonii)
  • wheel'eri: after George Montague Wheeler (1842-1905), born in Massachusetts and graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1866, Lt. and member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers director of U.S. Army surveys of the western U.S. 1869-1879 during which he explored and mapped the deserts of the Great Basin south of the 40th parallel to the Mexican border, mapping in total almost one-third of all the land west of the 100th meridian, including parts of Arizona, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. His surveying actually began when he was assigned the job of making a geographical reconnaissance of central Nevada, and two years later he bcame the superintending engineer of the Geographical Survey of the territory of the United States west of the 100th meridian at the head of a group of scientists and surveyors. During his first major expedition, he explored and mapped some 72,000 square miles of territory, including the Death Valley and Mojave Desert regions. His detachments again surveyed the Death Valley and Mojave Desert areas in 1875, recording data on archeology, geology, botany, zoology, and Native Americans, and made extensive topographic maps of the region. He was promoted to Captain in 1879 and retired from active duty in 1888. Numerous mountain peaks and other geographical features are named for Wheeler, including Wheeler Peak, the highest point in New Mexico (ref. Chaetadelpha wheeleri, Chorizanthe wheeleri, Poa wheeleri, Potentilla wheeleri)
  • Whipp'lea: see whipplei below (ref. genus Whipplea)
  • whipp'lei: named for Lt. Amiel Weeks Whipple (1817-1863), a topographical engineer/surveyor who commanded the Pacific Railroad Survey from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Los Angeles in 1853 and 1854 searching for a potential route for a transcontinental railroad. The route basically followed the 35th parallel crossed present-day Oklahoma, the panhandle of Texas, and what is now New Mexico and Arizona. The expedition consisted of about seventy men, soldiers, teamsters, herders and a number of scientists from the Smithsonian Institution including John M. Bigelow as surgeon and botanist, and the young Joseph C. Ives who later would survey the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. They took measurements, recorded geological data, collected plant samples and other specimens, and had numerous contacts, mostly friendly, with members of a number of western indian tribes. His expedition demonstrated the feasibility of the 35th parallel route for a transcontinental railroad, and despite the fact the cross-country railroad eventually followed a different route, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad did follow much of his trail from Albuquerque to Los Angeles. This route would also eventually become that of the famous Route 66. Whipple was born in Massachusetts, and after a year at Amherst College graduated fifth in his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. After being commissioned into the Artillery branch of the Army, he was transferred to the Topographical Engineers, where he spent several years doing hydrographic surveys in different parts of the country. He worked on a survey of the northeast boundary of the United States, then became an assistant with the U.S. Boundary Commission where he helped survey the new boundary with Mexico west from El Paso to the Pacific. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he drew the Union Army's first maps of the Northern Virginia military region and was chief topographical engineer for General Irvin McDowell. He took part in the battles of First Manassas, Fredericksburg and Chancellorsville. He was wounded in the stomach during the latter engagement on May 4th, 1863 and died several days later. He had met and become friends with President Lincoln, who signed his promotion to Major General just before he died. His son, Charles William, received a presidential appointment to West Point and graduated in 1868 (ref. Hesperoyucca whipplei)
  • Whit'neya/whit'neyi: named after Josiah Dwight Whitney (1819-1896), state geologist of California from 1860 to 1876, who made the first geologic study of Yosemite Valley, and for whom Mt. Whitney was named (ref. genus Whitneya, also Astragalus whitneyi var. whitneyi, Carex whitneyi, Hazardia whitneyi, Mimulus whitneyi)
  • wiesland'eri: after Albert Everett Wieslander (1890-1992), California forester who was responsible in the 1930's for surveying California vegetation and creating the Vegetation Type Mapping Project. "The ultimate goal of the original VTM project was to create vegetation type maps, but in the process the surveyors collected several other kinds of data as well. In order to validate some of the broad zones of vegetation they designated from high vantage points, the surveyors also ran vegetation transects, collecting data on species composition, depth of leaf litter, and tree size, among other things. They marked the location of these plots on USGS topographic maps, which today provide us with point occurrences of the individual species they found. Addtionally, they collected sample specimens and placed them in the University Herbarium (now the Jepson Herbarium), many of which remain there today. They also took photos of many vegetatively distinct locations, and marked the locations of these photos on maps (unfortunately most of these photos maps have been lost). And finally, of course, they created vegetation maps, drawing broad zones of single or mixed stands in crayon over USGS topographic quads. Originally, the project was slated to included detailed vegetation type maps of 220 USGS quadrangles, but the survey was halted by World War II, and only 23 maps were published. The project continued after the war under state funding, but no more quads ever saw publication. However, much of the unpublished data survives today and exists in storage at the University of California, Berkeley. The VTM dataset has been recognized as an invaluable window into the state of California flora in the early 20th century, and has provided data for several graduate theses at the University. However, the dataset's physical fragility and resultant restriction to the U. C. Berkeley campus have made it largely inaccessible to the broader scientific community. Thus, researchers at U. C. Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management (ESPM), in conjunction with the Marian Koshland Bioscience and Natural Resources Library, sought funding to digitize all of the published and unpublished dataset, for use in modern geographic information systems and to facilitate its distribution via the Internet." This information is quoted from a Berkeley website and through this site the digitized material is now largely available to the public (ref. Arctostaphylos manzanita ssp. wieslanderi)
  • Wigan'dia: after Johann Wigand (1523-1587), a Prussian writer on plants, professor of theology and Bishop of Pomerania (ref. genus Wigandia)
  • wiggins'ii: after Ira Loren Wiggins (1899-1987), author of Flora of Baja California, A Flora of the Alaskan Arctic Slope with John Hunter Thomas, and the two-volume Vegetation and Flora of the Sonoran Desert with Forrest Shreve. Wiggins also prepared a flora of San Diego County as his PhD thesis at Occidental College in 1929, he collected plants in Ecuador, and was a Professor of Biological Sciences at Humboldt State University beginning in 1932 (ref. Croton wigginsii, Opuntia wigginsii)
  • wight'ii: after Robert Wight (1796-1872), Scottish surgeon and botanist, Director of the Botanic Garden in Madras. From Taxonomic Literature: "B.S. Michigan Agricultural College, 1894; A.M. Stanford, 1899; assistant for systematic botany at Stanford 1899-1900; with USDA from 1900 working in agricultural exploration, fruit breeding, systematic pomology and the flora of Alaska." (Taxonomic Literature) (ref. Castilleja wightii)
  • wilcox'ii: after plant collector Ernest Norton Wilcox (1869-1961). From the San Luis Obispo Telegram-Tribune, 4 Sep. 1961: "Mr. Wilcox was born on March 27, 1869 in Thawville, Ill. When 15 he accompanied his family to South Dakota where they homesteaded for a number of years. He graduated from South Dakota State College at Brookings and worked for a time with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1903 he was married to Emily B. Sprague of Thawville, and [he] farmed in that vicinity until 1919 when he moved to Atascadero Garden Farms. In 1940 he came to San Luis Obispo to reside with his son-in-law and daughter, Mr. and Mrs Charles V. Gates. In addition to water-color art, Mr. Wilcox was interested in his large collection of tropical and fossil shells, some of which were presented recently to the Cal Poly and County Museum Association. He was a member of the Gem and Mineral Club, San Luis Obispo; the Conchological Club of Southern California, and the San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay Art Associations." David Hollombe adds that he "worked for the Agrostology Division of the USDA and collected plants in Montana and adjacent states. He has often been confused with the better-known Earley Vernon Wilcox" (ref. Eriastrum wilcoxii)
  • wild'erae: after Charlotte May Wood Thurber Wilder (1866-1957), wife first of Eugene Carleton Thurber and then of Harry Edward Wilder, American botanist who collected in the San Gabriel Mts of Southern California (ref. Horkelia wilderae)
  • wilkinsia'na: after Lewanna Wilkins (1869-1955), American botanist who collected specimens as part of the U.S. Biological Survey to Mt. Shasta led by Clinton Hart Merriam
  • willdeno'vii: named after Carl Ludwig Willdenow (1765-1812), eminent German botanist who was director of the Berlin Botanical Garden 1801-1812 and who in his multi-volume Species plantarum published many of the new species discovered by Gotthilf Henry Muhlenberg (ref. Trifolium willdenovii)
  • williams'iae: after Margaret Jensen (Mrs. Loring Ryder) Williams (1917-2000), founder of the Northern Nevada Native Plant Society. David Hollombe provided the following brief note from Arnold Tiehm in 'Nevada Vascular Types': "Margaret Jensen William and Arnold Tiehm collected the type of Eriogonum ovalifolium var. williamsiae Reveal in 1979. Williams received Bachelor's and Master's degrees from the University of Nevada and for many years was an elementary school teacher in Reno, retiring in 1981. She has had a long-time interest in rock gardening, gardens in general, and a strong love for the Great Basin. A member of the California Native Plant Society since its early years, she had envisioned such a society for Nevada and was the moving force behind the Northern Nevada Native Plant Society's (NNNPS) inception in 1975. She subsequently has served as NNNPS President and for many years has been its Executive Director." (ref. Polyctenium williamsiae)
  • williamson'ii: named after Lt. Robert Williamson, leader of a railway survey in the mid-eighteenth century (ref. Clarkia williamsonii)
  • Wislizen'ia/wislizen'i: after Frederick Adolf Wislizenus (1810-1889), Army surgeon, explorer, botanist and plant collector of German birth who travelled extensively in the southwestern United States. The pale leopard lizard, Gambelia wislizeni, was named for him. The following is quoted from The Cold-Blooded News (The Newsletter of the Colorado Herpetological Society), Vol. 30, No. 11, Nov. 2003: "Frederick Adolph Wislizenus was born in Koenigsee, Schwarzburg-Rudolstady, Germany in 1810. Emigrating to the United States in 1835 following an unsuccessful student uprising in which he participated, Wislizenus settled in Illinois near St. Louis and set up a medical practice. However, this physician was not one to let grass grow between his toes. Succumbing to wanderlust, he joined a cadre of fur traders traveling the Oregon Trail in 1839. Wislizenus accompanied them as far as Idaho; then he joined another party that traveled through Colorado to Bent's Fort on the Santa Fe Trail, and from there he returned to St. Louis. A result of this journey was a book entitled A Journey to The Rocky Mountains in the Year 1839. While not a confirmed naturalist, Wislizenus had made the acquaintance of the celebrated botanist George Engelmann who had instilled in him the importance of making collections and natural history observations when traveling. Apparently no herps were collected on this journey. However, he did describe a "horned frog" that he correctly identified as a lizard and which appears to have been Phrynosoma cornutum.
         By 1846, Wislizenus was ready to go again. Joining a group of traders, he traveled to Santa Fe and then on to Chihuahua. This was a troubled time, just before the outbreak of the Mexican War, and the U.S. Army was suspicious that any party of traders heading from Mexico might be carrying arms. According to one account, Wislizenus's group was pursued by an attachment of soldiers led by Colonel Stephen Kearney, commander of the Army of the West, but they reached Mexico safely. However, it was out of the frying pan and into the fire, for they were immediately taken as prisoners of war by the Mexicans and were interred at a camp in the Sierra Madre Occidental. Apparently Wislizenus was not considered to be too much of a threat to Mexican security as he was permitted to wander up to two leagues away from the prison camp, in order to collect plants, many of which are still rarities in herbaria. Eventually, he was rescued by a company of U.S. troops. Indebted to the army for the rescue, he then joined them for a time as a surgeon before returning to St. Louis. Sometime during this adventure, Wislizenus collected the type specimen of the Long-nosed leopard lizard. His adventures on this trip were later published in an 1848 government report entitled Tour Through Northern Mexico, which included a section by George Engelmann, describing the unusual plants collected. Following this adventure, Wislizenus married and settled down in St. Louis. He became a respected pillar of the community helping to found the Missouri Historical Society and the Academy of Science of St. Louis. Scientists named several new species after him. In addition to the Long-nosed leopard lizard, Asa Gray, the famous Harvard botanist, added the legume, Dafea wislizeni, and Augustine de Candolle, the Swiss botanist, described an oak as Quercus wislizenii. Presumably, these scientists thought highly of Wislizenus. However, one need wonder about his mentor, George Engelmann, who named Wislizenia refracta, the jackass clover in his honor."
    (ref. genus Wislizenia, also species Quercus wislizeni var. frutescens, Quercus wislizeni var. wislizeni)
  • Wister'ia: after Dr. Caspar Wistar (1761-1818), anatomist and professor of chemistry and physiology. Wistar was a friend of Thomas Jefferson who had worked with him on identifying fossil remains that Jefferson was interested in, and was one of those who instructed Meriwether Lewis on the natural sciences in preparation for the Lewis and Clark expedition.  He received his M.D. at the University of Edinburgh in 1786, and later served as staff physician at several Philadelphia area hospitals.  He created for instructional purposes a set of life-sized anatomical models, which were actual human remains that were injected with wax to preserve them. He was an early advocate for vaccinations against disease.  He almost died of yellow fever during an epidemic in 1793 while helping others.  He published the first American textbook on anatomy in 1811.  The work, in two volumes, was entitled A System of Ananatomy for the Use of Students of Medicine.  He held the Chair of Anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania medical school.  He was also President of the American Philosphical Society from 1815 to 1818, and President of the Society for the Abolition of Slavery.  His home was a meeting place for students and scientists.  He was particularly interested in botany and paleontology.  The genus Wisteria was named for him in 1818 by his friend, the English botanist Thomas Nuttall of Harvard, who wrote in The Genera of North American Plants: "In memory of Caspar Wistar M.D., ... a philanthrophist of simple manners, and modest pretensions, but an active promoter of science." For some reason the genus name was spelled 'Wisteria' with an 'e'.  This is one of those cases where the genus name and the common name are the same. Occasionally, it is spelled 'Wistaria,' in recognition of the spelling of Wistar's name, as with the famous Sierra Madre Wistaria Festival, and the plants often carry the common name of Wistaria, but according to the rules of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, since the original name given by Nuttall to the genus was spelled 'Wisteria,' that must remain its correct Latin name regardless of the inconsistency. It is unclear why Nuttall did not assign a name that was consistent with Wistar's name, but the fact that he published it in the same year that Wistar died may perhaps not be a coincidence. Nuttall's biographer Jeannette Graustein wrote in Thomas Nuttall, Naturalist: Explorations in America, 1808-1841 (1967): "Queried about the spelling, Nuttall stated that it was chosen for euphony ["a pleasing or sweet sound, the acoustic effect produced by words so formed or combined as to please the ear"]. However, in the Wister branch of the family Nuttall had a very good friend, Charles Jones Wister, Sr., (1782-1865), often his host and his companion on mineralogical and botanizing excursions." Back in those days, spelling was not as firmly established as it is now, and it was not uncommon for different members of the same family to spell their names differently. According to my South African friend Hugh Clarke, "Thomas Nuttall, the botanist who named the genus Wisteria attributed the error to 'euphony' as Wister and Wistar are acceptable american spellings of his original German family name 'Vüster'." The ICBN rules are that the spelling of originally published epithets may be changed for typographic or orthographic reasons, but in this case, seeming to have been a purposeful choice, the spelling must remain as it was. (ref. genus Wisteria)
  • Wolff'ia: after Johann Friedric Wolff (1778-1806), German botanist and physician (ref. genus Wolffia)
  • Wolffiel'la: a diminutive of Wolffia (ref. genus Wolffiella)
  • wolf'ii: after Dr. Carl Brandt Wolf (1905-1974, botanist at Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Gardens and author on oaks and cypresses. He collected extensively in Kern County, including several type specimens, and spent many years studying cypresses (ref. Oenothera wolfii, Cylindropuntia wolfii)
  • wolf'ii: after John Wolf (1820-1897), teacher, government assayer, geologist, entomologist botanical collector in Colorado and Illinois, author of a list of Illinois mosses, liverworts, and lichens in 1878, participated in the Wheeler Survey of 1869-1879 (ref. Trisetum wolfii)
  • Woods'ia/woods'ii: after Joseph Woods (1776-1864), English architect and botanical author. The following is quoted from a website of the University of Toronto: "Joseph Woods was born in Stoke Newington, Middlesex, England on 24 August 1776. He was the second son of Joseph and Margaret Woods. As a child, he was educated at home and mastered Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, Italian, and Modern Greek. Disliking his initial occupation in business, Woods studied architecture under Daniel Asher Alexander at the age of sixteen. In 1806 he founded the London Architectural Society and became the first president. However, even while occupied with his profession, he devoted much time to geology and botany. The end of the Napoleonic Wars permitted him to travel throughout the continent. In 1816, after travelling through France, Switzerland, and Italy, Woods completed one of his most prominent works, “Letters of an Architect,” which was published in 1828. He retired from architecture in 1835 and thereafter devoted his time mainly to botany. His work on the genus Rosa, “Synopsis of the British Species of Rosa” was published in the Transactions of the Linnean Society in 1818 and established Woods’ reputation as a systematic botanist. The botanical notes made during his Continental and British excursions were published in the Companion to the Botanical Magazine in 1835 and in 1836, and in successive volumes of Phytologist beginning in 1843. His work The Tourist’s Flora: A Descriptive Catalogue of the Flowering Plants and Ferns of the British Islands, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and the Italian Islands, published in 1850, was based on his many years of work in Europe and the British Isles. Woods contributed work to the fields of architecture, botany, and geology. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society, a Fellow of the Geological Society, a Member of the Society of Antiquaries, and an Honorary Member for the Society of British Architects." The genus Woodsia was named in his honor by well-known English botanist and President of the Linnaean Society Robert Brown (1773-1858) (ref. Rosa woodsii var. ultramontana and genus Woodsia)
  • Woodwar'dia: named after Thomas Jenkinson Woodward (1745-1820), a British phycologist and botanist (ref. genus Woodwardia)
  • woot'onii: named for Elmer Otis Wooton (1865-1945), a professor of biology at New Mexico State College 1890-1911, assistant curator at the National Herbarium in 1910, and employed by the US Department of Agriculture from 1911 to 1935 (ref. Astragalus wootonii, Cheilanthes wootonii)
  • wormskiold'ii: after Morten Wormskjold (1783-1845), a Danish botanist who led a naval expedition to Greenland in 1813 and made the first major collection of Greenland flora there, and who subsequently sailed with Adelbert von Chamisso and J.F. Eschscholtz on Captain Otto Kotzebue's exploring voyage on the Rurik, but left the expedition at Kamchatka before it reached North America [This specific name is often spelled wormskjoldii] (ref. Trifolium wormskioldii)
  • wormskjold'ii: see previous entry (ref. Veronica wormskjoldii)
  • wort: an old English word for plant
  • wrangelia'nus: after Ferdinand Petrovich von Wrangell (1796-1870), "Russian naval officer, arctic explorer, and government administrator. He commanded a Russian naval expedition (1820–24) that explored the Arctic. He led another Russian expedition around the world (1825–27) and was the first governor of the Russian colonies in Alaska (1829–35), director of the Russian-American company (1840–49), and minister of the navy (1855–57). He was highly critical of the sale of Alaska to the United States in 1867. Several islands are named for him. His diaries of his arctic expedition have been translated into German and English." (from AllRefer.com) (ref. Acmispon wrangelianus, Lotus wrangelianus)
  • wrangellia'na: see wrangelianus.
  • wright'ii: named for Charles Wright (1811-1885), an American botanical collector.  His career began as a teacher and a surveyor, but he soon began collecting plants and sending specimens to Professor Asa Gray at Harvard, eventually becoming one of his most trusted collectors.  Gray procured passage for him on an Army supply mission across western Texas, but he ended up walking almost 700 miles from San Antonio to El Paso, all the time keeping his eyes glued to the ground the better to see small desert flowering plants.  In 1851 he became part of the Mexican Boundary Survey, and helped collect many of the 2,600 species that were sent back to Professor John Torrey for description and identification.  His name was honored by George Engelmann who gave it to a cactus, Opuntia wrightii.  Asa Gray based the first botanical work published by the Smithsonian on Wright's collection.  Altogether he spent eight years botanizing in Texas and another eleven in Cuba (ref. Aloysia wrightii, Boerhavia wrightii, Calycoseris wrightii, Datura wrightii, Eriogonum wrightii ssp. subscaposum, Galium wrightii, Halodule wrightii, Hymenothrix wrightii, Trichocoronis wrightii)
  • wright'ii: after William Greenwood Wright (1831-1912), one of the first lepidopterists in California, author of Butterflies of British Columbia, The Butterflies of the West Coast of the United States (1905), Colored Plates of the Butterflies of the West Coast (1907), and Butterfly Hunting in the Desert. He was born in New Hampshire and died in San Bernardino, California. In addition to being known primarily as a collector of moths and butterflies, according to the Harvard University Herbaria database of botanical specimens he also collected specimens of some 93 taxa of plants (ref. Chrysopsis wrightii, Collinsia torreyi var. wrightii, Hemizonia wrightii)
  • Wyeth'ia: named for Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth (1802-1856), an American plant collector and explorer who discovered these plants and sent samples to his friend Harvard botanist Thomas Nuttall.  Although an unsuccessful entrepreneur, he is considered one of the great pioneers of Oregon, having blazed pathways that would become known as the Oregon Trail.  He is best known in botany for the plant called Mule's Ears. He was related in some fashion that I have been unable to establish to the famous American painter Andrew Wyeth (ref. genus Wyethia)
  • wyomingen'sis: of or from Wyoming

View from Mishe Mokwe Trail, Santa Monica Mountains.

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