Published in Taxon 45: 398-399 (May 1996)
Howard, Richard A. An almanac of botanical trivia. The Author, 4 Jefferson Dr., Acton, MA 01720, USA, winter 1996, 52 pp., unill. (exc. covers), no ISBN (PB), $7.00 postpaid. [Contents: almanac; trivia verified or known to year only; appendix (generic name anagrams); no index.]

Many of us lighten our days with paper or electronic calendars that list humorous and/or notable events of the day, though more oft such calendars burden our lives with reminders to pay bills or go to odious appointments. Howard now comes to our botanical rescue. As he explains (p. 3):

During a career of teaching I have assembled a miscellany of notes that have been used in lectures as trivia. Birth dates and places have been as interesting as data on how botanists died, where, or after what longevity. Who died on his birthday? Who died in the bed in which he was born? Even postage stamps and their illustrations offer trivia for discussion of an unusual plant family, a morphological feature, or an economic use.
This handy little pamphlet of botanicotrivia thus will:
  • inform (e.g., Charles Darwin and Abe Lincoln were both born on 12 Feb. 1809)
  • sadden (on 31 Dec. 1932 Dorothy Popenoe, archeologist and wife of fruit-man Wilson Popenoe died at the age of 33 in Guatemala after eating the fruit of Blighia sapida)
  • amuse (in 1957 Exotica described Rumandia of Alcoholiaceae)
  • astound (Salm-Dyck, "the botanist with the longest given name," died 21 Mar. 1861, "was formally known as Prince Joseph Maria Franz Anton Hubert Ignaz, Fürst und Altgrad zu Salm-Reifferscheitd-Dyck of Castle Dyck, Düsseldorf," or on 1 Apr. 1952 Léon Croizat published the first of four books, which totaled 5126 pages), and 
  • perhaps even mildly titillate (on 8 May 1916 paleobotanist Marie Stopes petitioned for "nullification of her marriage to pioneer geneticist Reginald Ruggles Gates" on the grounds of his impotence; she later "remarried and became Great Britain's foremost author on sex and contraception")
There is much botanical humor here, for instance: 
  • Reid Moran's 40-word title, 5-word text article in Madroño 16: 272 (25 Oct. 1962), which Rogers McVaugh admitted to me he had turned down for another journal, much to his later regret
  • the Schuss-Yucca, Oct. 1952
  • Unowattia, 13 Jan. 1972
  • Golfballia ambusta, 1962
  • the poitrine hoax Mammillaria busonii milked, Apr. 1971 
  • (but apparently not zootrivia as the woofen-poof Eoornis or the snouters)
  • There is an entry for just about every day of the year, including 31 February for "Doomsday. Peter Stevens cleaned up his office(s)." This delightful compilation belongs on every worthy reference shelf. [For Howard's non-trivial "The role of botanists during World War II in the Pacific theatre" (Bot. Rev. 60: 197-257, 1994) see Taxon 43: 703.] Rudolf Schmid, UC

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