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Glossary

Aberdeen Workingmen’s Natural History and Scientific Society
nineteenth-century group of amateur scientists who collected, named and mapped objects found in nature (today, this type of non-professional group studies ecology)
absolution
forgiveness for sins
afforestation
the conversion of land into forest
agriculture
the science or practice of farming
agronomy
the science of soil management and crop production
algae
simple, non-flowering plants of a group that includes seaweeds and many single-celled forms
alpine
growing above the treeline
altitude
height of an area of the earth, measured from sea level
aneroid measurements
measurements of air pressure, the term “aneroid” means a mechanical barometer, or one that does not use fluid to make its measurements
annotations
explanatory notes
anthropology
the study of cultures
apathy
lack of interest
applied science
the application of knowledge to solving practical problems
apprehensive
anxious or fearful that something bad will happen
Arbor Day
a celebration of urban tree planting
arboretum
a botanical garden devoted to trees
arboriculture
the cultivation of trees and shrubs
arid
dry
Armistice
the end of the war through an agreement made by opposing sides; in this context, the end of the First World War, November 11, 1918
artisan botany
botany practised by craftsmen
ascertain
to make sure of
ascomycetous
a fungus whose spores develop within a sac called an ascus
astronomer
one who studies astronomy, the study of the universe
augmented
made greater in size or value, increased
barren
without vegetation
basidiomycete
a fungus whose spores develop in a structure called a basidia
BCMC
the British Columbia Mountaineering Club
beardtongues
mountain-growing plants with tubular flowers
Belshazzar
the last king of Babylon, whose death was foretold at a great banquet by writing on the palace walls
bereft
without
biffies
outhouses, outdoor toilets
biochemical
concerned with the physical and chemical processes that occur within living organisms
biology
the study of living organisms
bloomers
loose-fitting pants gathered at the knee or the ankle, worn by women and girls
botanical
pertaining to the scientific study of plants
botanical garden
a garden for the display and study of plants
botanist
one who studies plants
botanize
to collect plant specimens
botany
The scientific study of plants. In Davidson’s day, this was called “the natural history of the vegetable kingdom.”
bracken
genus of large coarse fern species
bract
a modified leaf that forms at the base of a flower
breeding
creating new plant varieties
British Admiralty Survey
a British navy mapping mission
British North America
the British colonies of North America
bryologist
one who studies mosses and liverworts
bryophyta
a division of small, simple plants made up of mosses and liverworts
calamity
disaster
canon
an honorary title in the Anglican church
capsule
a paper packet used to store the loose seeds or plant parts of a specimen
cartage
transporting
Chaldeans
members of an ancient people who lived in Chaldea, an area that is now Iraq
chalk beds
seabeds or riverbeds containing a soft white limestone (calcium carbonate) formed from skeletal remains
cinchona
A South American evergreen tree or shrub. Cinchona bark is used in medicines such as quinine.
circular
a letter or advertisement distributed to a large number of people
commodity
an unprocessed material
conjecture
an opinion, a conclusion based on incomplete information
conspicuous
clearly seen
constituting
making up, forming
copper sub-acetate
acetate salt of copper, also known as verdigris, a poisonous blue-green chemical
coterie
a small group of people with shared interests or tastes
crevasse
a deep crack in ice, rock, etc.
cultivation
farming, gardening
custodian
one who temporarily cares for the items of others
cytological
concerned with the structure and function of plant and animal cells
deciduous
broadleaf trees or shrubs that lose their leaves in the fall
deforestation
to clear an area of forest or trees
deliquesce
become liquid, typically during decomposition
denounce
to publicly declare something or someone to be wrong or evil
denudation
the stripping away of trees, bushes, etc.
denuded
stripped of trees, bushes, etc.
denunciation
the public condemnation of someone or something
depletion
becoming used up
dichotomous key
a system to help identify specimens by having users choose between two pieces of information
dissected
cut up to study
disseminated
spread
disseminating
spreading
dogwood
A tree known for its hard timber, decorative foliage, red stems and colourful berries. Since 1956, the Pacific dogwood has been the floral emblem of British Columbia.
dominion
the country of Canada
dominion government
the government of Canada
dredge
a machine used to clean mud and debris from a riverbed or seabed
dredging
the cleaning out of a riverbed or seabed by scooping out mud, weeds and garbage
drought
a shortage of water
Drybelt
the dry area of British Columbia, which includes the Thompson-Nicola area
dung
animal excrement, feces, poop
ecology
a branch of biology that deals with the relations of living organisms to their surroundings, habits, way of life, etc.
economic botany
the study of plants, with a focus on how people use them
ediface
organizational or conceptual structure
egalitarian
relating to the idea of equality among people (in this instance, not discriminating on the basis of social class)
egotism
self-importance
electromagnetism
the field of force (with both electric and magnetic components) associated with electric charge in motion
emigrant
a person who has left his or her native country to settle elsewhere
eminent
famous, respected
empathy
to imagine, and to try to understand, another’s point of view
entomological
relating to the scientific study of insects
Entomological Society
a group formed for the scientific study of insects
entomologist
one who studies insects
entomology
the scientific study of insects
enumerate
to establish how many
ericaceous
plants belonging to the heath family (which includes heather)
erosion
wearing away
ethnobotanical
relating to the study of plant knowledge held by a particular cultural group (in this case, First Nations people)
ethnobotany
the study of plant knowledge held by a particular cultural group (in this case, First Nations people)
evergreen
a plant that retains its green leaves throughout the year
exterminate
completely destroy
extol
praise
fauna
the variety of animal life within a specified geographical area or time period
Federal Geological Survey
institution for the national systematic investigation of mineral wealth.
Fellow of the Linnean Society (FLS)
a member of the Linnean Society, the world’s most important organization for the discussion of scientific plant names
fireweed
a small plant that easily grows in disturbed places, such as where a forest fire had occurred
First Narrows
the first narrowing of the Burrard Inlet, between Stanley Park and North Vancouver. The Lions Gate Bridge now spans First Narrows.
fixative
a liquid preparation used to prevent evaporation or decay
flora
the variety of plants within a specified geographical area or time period
forester
a person in charge of a forest or one skilled in planting, managing or caring for trees
freshets
rushes of water from heavy rain or melted snow
fructification
a spore-bearing or fruiting structure
gangs
groups of people hired to do manual labour
genera
family subdivisions (plural of genus)
genetics
the study of heredity
genus
family subdivision
geographer
one who studies geography, the study of the earth’s physical features
geological
pertaining to the science of the earth’s crust and layers, and the changes over time that gave rise to their current situation
geology
the science of the earth’s crust and layers, and the changes over time that gave rise to their current situation
ginkgo tree
a tree with fan-shaped leaves and yellow flowers
Golden Ears
the twin peaks of Mount Blanshard, which stands near Maple Ridge, BC. The area was formerly considered part of the Garibaldi region.
habitat
the environment in which an organism resides
head tax
a tax immigrants must pay upon arrival in their new country
heedlessly
without care or attention
Helmet Glacier
a glacier in the Mount Garibaldi region
herbaceous
plants that do not develop wood in their stems or branches, but die back each year after flowering
herbarium
a collection of dried plants, systematically arranged; also refers to the case, room or building in which the collection is housed (plural: herbaria)
herbarium accession number
a unique identifying number to help catalogue specimens and record information
histology
the study of the microscopic structure of tissues
hitherto
until now
horticultural
relating to the art and science of growing flowers, fruits and vegetables
horticulture
the art and science of growing flowers, fruits and vegetables
hydrophytic
water loving
imperial
pertaining to the British Empire
inaugurate
begin, introduce
inconspicuous
not clearly visible or attracting attention
inculcated
instilled
indefatigable
tireless
Index Kewensis
an index of plants, maintained by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
inscribed
wrote or carved
intemperate
showing a lack of self-control
internment camp
a place for the imprisonment of large numbers of people, usually without trial
interposed
inserted
Interurban Railway
an electric railway system that ran through Greater Vancouver and out to the Fraser Valley until the late 1950s
Iona Island
a peninsula in Richmond, BC, that was formerly an island
jeopardized
put into danger
Kew Gardens
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Located in southwest London, England. Extensive gardens and botanical greenhouses.
knickerbockers
loose-fitting pants gathered at the knee or calf
latitude
the distance from the equator
laymen
people without professional or specialized knowledge in a particular subject
lichens
simple slow-growing plants that typically growth on rocks, walls and trees
Linnean Society
the world’s most important organization for the discussion of scientific plant names; based in London, England; founded in 1788
liverwort
a small, flowerless plant with leaf-like stems or lobed leaves
longitude
the distance from the Greenwich meridian
lunatic asylum
A hospital for those suffering from mental or emotional problems. The term is no longer used because it is considered offensive.
magistrate
judge
mandate
an order or requirement to fulfill certain tasks
Mechanics’ Institute
educational establishment, usually set up to provide adult education to working men
microbiology
the study of microorganisms
microfauna
microscopic animals
microscopists
people skilled in the use of microscopes
moorland
an area of uncultivated highland
morphology
the branch of biology that deals with the form of living organisms and the relationships between their structures
mounting sheet
a piece of acid-free paper used to display and document dried plant specimens
muskeg
swamp, bog
mycologist
one who studies fungi
natural theologian
a person who practices natural theology, which suggests that a person can prove the existence of God by looking at nature
natural theology
the set of religious ideas that suggest a person can prove the existence of God by looking at nature
naturalist
a natural historian, or a person who studied what used to be called the three kingdoms (the mineral, the animal and the vegetable)
negligence
failure to take proper care
neo-classical style
an architectural method inspired by the buildings of ancient Greece and Rome
nomenclature
the choosing of names for things
nominal
very small
Normal School
a school or college for training teachers
old growth
an original stand of trees not yet disturbed by human activity
organic chemistry
the study of carbon compounds
ovary
the hollow base of the flower’s female reproductive organ (carpel)
paleobotany
the study of fossil plants
paleontological
referring to paleontology, the study of fossil animals and plants
parasites
organisms that live in or on another organism (a host) and benefit by taking nutrients from the host
parasitic
something that acts like a parasite
penitentiary
prison, jail
percolating
filtering gradually through a porous surface or substance
peregrinations
travels, treks, excursions
petioles
leafstalks
pheasant
large, long-tailed game birds native to Asia
phenomenal
remarkable, amazing
phonological
pertaining to the study of cyclic and seasonal natural phenomena, especially in relation to climate and plant and animal life
phylloger
Concerned with phylogeny (evolutionary relationships). Here, John Davidson may be referring to one who studies or is interested in phylogeny.
physiological
pertaining to the normal functions of living organisms and their parts
phytogeographical
pertaining to the geographical distribution of plants
pilfered
stolen
pitch
a sticky substance that comes from trees
plant accession number
a unique identifying number used in gardens to link together plant specimens and associated information
plasmodia
forms within the life cycle of simple organisms such as slime moulds
Pleurococcus viride
a type of algae
plundering
stealing, usually in a forceful manner
pollinating insects
insects (such as bumblebees) that fertilize a plant with pollen
portage
the carrying of a boat or its cargo over land, between two bodies of water
primeval
of the earliest ages in the history of the world
proclamation
a public or official announcement
professor emeritus
a retired professor who keeps the title of professor as an honour
propagated
made to produce young offspring
propagation
causing plants to produce young offspring
prophecy
a prediction
prospecting
experimental mining
prospector
one who conducts experimental mining
providence
the protective care of God or nature as a spiritual power
ptarmigan
a wild grouse of cold and mountainous regions
pubescence
the soft down or fine short hairs on the leaves and stems of plants
pure science
basic truths studied without regard to practical applications
quarries
large, deep pits from which stone or other materials are extracted
quinine
a bitter-tasting drug made from cinchona bark used to treat certain forms of malaria
racemes
clusters
rainforest
a dense forest in an area with high rainfall all year long
rucksack
a backpack
saprophytic
living on dead or decaying organic matter
sepal
a modified leaf that encloses a flower’s petals and other parts
serpentine
a dark green mineral (consisting of hydrated magnesium silicate) that is sometimes mottled or spotted like a snake’s skin
shrublet
a small shrub
sic
A Latin word (originally sicut) meaning “thus.” Scholars use this abbreviation in square brackets when they are quoting from a document that contains an error of spelling or grammar. It lets the reader know that the error in the quoted material appears in the original text.
snow cornice
an overhanging mass of snow or ice formed by the wind
species
a basic unit of biological classification, often thought of as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring
specimen
an individual plant used to represent the properties of the whole population of that species
spermatophyte
a plant that bears seeds
sphagnum
a plant family that includes the peat mosses
spiraea
a shrub of the rose family, with clusters of small white or pink flowers
sterile
without life
succulent
a plant that stores water
surveyor
one who examines and records the area and features of an area of land to create a map, plan or description
systematic botany, systematics
the classification of plants based on a common evolutionary ancestry
systematist
one who classifies plants based on a common evolutionary ancestry
Talinum okanagenensis
a small plant that grows on the rocky slopes of northern central Washington and southern central British Columbia
taxonomic
name of an organisms (in this case plants) based on accepted criteria
taxonomist
One who classifies. John Davidson was a plant taxonomist.
taxonomy
The science and practice of naming organisms (in this case plants) based on accepted criteria. This includes creating an exact description of the species and the application of a scientific name.
temperate
moderate, neither hot nor cold
timber limit
an area of forest designated for logging
timber line
the level of altitude on a mountain above which no trees grow; also called treeline
topographical
the science or practice of describing a particular place or the physical features of an area of land
translucent
see-through, something that allows light to easily pass through
umbelliferous
pertaining to the parsley family
under the auspices of
with the help of
Vancouver Natural History Society (VNHS)
A group of amateur scientists formed in the early twentieth century who collected, named and mapped objects found in nature. In 2007, the society changed its name to Nature Vancouver.
vasculum
a box for collecting plants, typically a flattened cylindrical metal case with a lengthwise opening and a shoulder strap
Veterans Affairs
the government department responsible for pensions, benefits and services for war veterans
viz.
namely, that is to say
VNHS
the Vancouver Natural History Society (as of 2007, renamed Nature Vancouver)
wanton
cruel, violent
watershed
an area drained by a river or other body of water
wrought
worked
xerophytic
requiring very little water
zoologist
one who studies zoology, the scientific study of animals
zoology
the scientific study of animals