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Second Genus of Plants Named in Honor of UW’s Hartman

October 23, 2017
man holding a drawing of plants
Ron Hartman, an emeritus professor of botany at UW, holds a specimen of Hartmaniella sierrae. It is one of two species in the genus Hartmaniella, which was named in Hartman’s honor. (Charmaine Delmatier Photo)

For the second time, a genus of plants has been named in honor of Ron Hartman, an emeritus professor of botany at the University of Wyoming.

The latest genus named for him, Hartmaniella, is described in a paper published in the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. The genus has two species: Hartmaniella sierrae and Hartmaniella oxyphylla.

Hartmaniella is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family -- commonly called the pink family or carnation family. Both members of the new genus are white-flowered perennial herbs that are less than 10 inches tall. The plants’ stems have five to 10 pairs of narrow leaves that are 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. The flowers have five yellow anthers with five notched petals about one-third inch long. Hartmaniella sierrae is found in the understory of oak and conifer forests, while Hartmaniella oxyphylla is found on stream margins.

Hartman and colleague Rich Rabeler, who manages the operation of the University of Michigan Herbarium, have collaborated on research involving the Caryophyllaceae family for a number of years. They published a new species from the Sierra of northern California in 2002 that was similar to members of the genus Stellaria (chickweed) but shared certain morphological (form and structure) features with the genus Pseudostellaria. They named the species Pseudostellaria sierrae.

About the same time, Hartman rediscovered Stellaria oxyphylla in northern Idaho. This plant had been described by B.L. Robinson in 1898 from material collected near Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Subsequently, the name was considered a synonym of Pseudostellaria jamesiana and was collected only once since (in 1940). Hartman and Rabeler realized it was a distinct species and placed it in Pseudostellaria as well. They suspected that the two species might represent an undescribed genus endemic to North America, but did not want to describe it without supporting DNA evidence.

Ming-Li Zhang, a botanist with the Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, along with his associates from China, North America and Russia, performed a molecular analysis of members of Pseudostellaria and related genera. Rabeler provided them with leaf material from specimens of the two species so they could be included in the study.

The results showed that the two species formed a well-supported group and were distinct from Pseudostellaria. Based on molecular evidence and morphological differences, a new genus was required.

Rabeler, who reviewed the manuscript for the journal, suggested that the genus be named in honor of Hartman for his contributions to taxonomy of Caryophyllaceae in North America.

“I feel quite honored having a genus named for me, one that contains two species, both of which I have studied in the field and in the lab, and one of which Rich Rabeler and I described as new to science,” Hartman says. “Furthermore, they belong to a family that I have studied periodically throughout my career.”

In addition to studying Caryophyllaceae, Hartman has focused his career on taxonomic studies of Apiaceae (the carrot family) and Asteraceae (the sunflower family).

The first genus named in his honor, Elaphandra, is a genus in the sunflower family. Hartman collected the first-known specimen of the genus from a cloud forest in Panama in 1977 and 1978.

In 1991, John Strother, of the University Herbarium at the University of California-Berkeley, described the new species (Elaphandra bicornis) and genus in Systematic Botany Monographs. Because the generic name Hartmannia had been used already, Elaphandra was chosen as a take on “Hartman.” The name is derived from the Greek words elaphos (deer) and andros (man).

Besides his roles of researcher and professor in the UW Department of Botany, Hartman served as curator/director of the Rocky Mountain Herbarium, including the National Herbarium of the U.S. Forest Service, both housed at UW. He helped to build the herbarium into an institution that ranks in the top 2 percent of herbaria in the U.S. and in the world.

“Of greatest significance and satisfaction has been our program in floristics, which has consisted of 63 plant inventories of federal lands in Wyoming and elsewhere in the Rockies. This includes projects by my 50 M.S. degree students,” Hartman says.

Hartman, who retired from UW in November 2015, recently received the UW Biodiversity Institute’s 2017 Contributions to Wyoming Biodiversity Science Award for his extensive research with the Rocky Mountain Herbarium and his training of graduate students in the field of botany.


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