Ralph Hoffmann on Massachusetts Plants, III:
Berkshire County's Wild Flora in 1922

Compiled and Edited by
Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek
Ballona Institute & Wetlands Action Network
322 Culver Boulevard, Suite 317
Playa del Rey, California 90293
2005

Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History
Volume 36(5): 171-382
Boston
Printed for the Society
With Aid From The
Gurdon Saltonstall Fund March 1922


FLORA OF BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
By
RALPH HOFFMANN

PREFACE

The following catalogue of the plants growing without cultivation in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, is based chiefly on the collections made by the writer during the last thirty years and now in the herbarium of the New England Botanical Club at Cambridge, supplemented by those of other members of the Club, deposited in the same place. A few species in the list which are not represented in that herbarium but no species has been admitted which the writer has not personally examined. In the case of difficult groups every effort has been made to have the writer's identification verified by competent authorities. In the Appendix a list is given of plants which have been attributed to the County, specimens of which have not been seen by the writer or by some competent authority. A list is also given in the Appendix....

It remains for the writer to express his sincere thanks to those who have generously helped in the preparation of the list both in the field and in thes study. The assistance freely given by Professor M.L. Fernald in the early years of the undertaking was of the greatest service to the writer. ......... The writer wishes to take this opportunity to express his gratitude to Mr. and Mrs. Bernhard Hoffmann for the constant interest which they have shown in the preparation of this list.

CONTENTS
Introduction .............................................................................................................................. 177
... History .................................................................................................................................. 177
... Physiography ........................................................................................................................ 182
Catalogue of Flowering Plants and Ferns .............................................................................. 193
Appendix ................................................................................................................................... 353
... Fugitive Species ................................................................................................................... 353
... Excluded Species ................................................................................................................. 354
... Doubtful Species ................................................................................................................. 356
... Tabular List of Families ...................................................................................................... 357
... Observations on Soil Relations .......................................................................................... 361
... List of New Forms and Combinations ............................................................................... 363
Index ......................................................................................................................................... 365

INTRODUCTION.

History.

The first two decades of the 19th century constituted a period of active study of North American plants, by both native and foreign collectors and systematists. Pursh traveled in North America from 1799 to 1811 and published...

From 1913 to 1917 the County had again for too short a time a resident botanist. Mr. F. Walters in three seasons' collecting discovered in the southern tie of towns a large number of interesting plants which had not previously been reported from the County, besides adding materially to our knowledge of the distribution of many other species.

Physiography
The plants comprised in the list published in this paper have been all collected within the boundaries of Berkshire County, Massachusetts. A brief description of the physiographic features of the County is essential to an understanding of the distribution of the plants here listed.

Berkshire County is the westernmost county in Massachusetts and extends entirely across the State, from Vermont to Connecticut.... It extends from 42 45' north to about 42 2' south, a distance of about 49 miles. In breadth it varies from about 24 to about 12 miles. Its area is about 1000 square miles.

FLORA OF BERKSHIRE COUNTY, MASSACHUSETTS
PTERIDOPHYTA. FERNS AND FERN ALLIES.
POLYPODIACEAE. FERN FAMILY
Adiantum. Maidenhair.
Adiantum pedatum L. MAIDENHAIR. - Rich woods; common. On the slopes of the plateau to 1500 feet; on the slopes of Greylock to 2000 feet.

Asplenium. Spleenwort.
XAsplenium ebenoides R.R. Scott. - A hybrid between ....

AQUIFOLIACEAE. HOLLY FAMILY.
Ilex.
Ilex verticillata (L.) Gray. Black Alder. - Common on the plateau on open ill-drained hillsides and along roadsides; frequent in the valley on the borders of ponds and swamps.
... var. tenuifolia (Torr.) Wats. - (I. bronxensis Ill. Fl. ed. 2.)
... Shaded swamps; frequent.
... var. padifolia (Willd.) T.&G. - Sheffield (Churchill).

BIOGRAPHICAL NOTE ABOUT RALPH HOFFMANN

Robert Jan 'Roy' van de Hoek

Ralph Hoffmann was born in Berkshire County in 1870. He grew up in Stockbridge and traveled around the County as a boy during the 1870s to 1880s. At the age of 13 years, he was considered an expert bird watcher. He moved east to Boston in order to attend Harvard University. Soon after graduation, he began to write his first articles on birds. However, his first known article on plants appears in 1899, and is believed to be the first article that he wrote about botany and a wild flora. It would be 23 years later, when he would write a comprehensive monograph, reprinted here, and entitled: Flora of Berkshire County. Although he had been writing articles on birds for several years, his research publications on wild flora came behind his ornithological research. He was a 52-year old man and director of a private school in Santa Barbara, when his Berkshire flora was published in 1922. He had moved to Santa Barbara in 1919, at 49 years of age, so that for three years, from 1919-1922, he completed the Flora, while in California. Within three years of his 1922 Flora being published, in 1925, he would become the director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. So we see his life, as a mature middle-aged man of 49 years of age, he moves again, this time from the Midwest, to California, and took up, once again, a dual interest in birds and plants. He pursued both ornithology and floristics simultaneously, with a passion. He observed birds and collected plants from the California Channel Islands, desert, California coast, and wetlands of southern California. For example, at Carpinteria, where Ralph Hoffmann resided, he collected at least 15 plants from the dune and marsh at Carpinteria. Wayne Ferren, a UCSB botanist, carefully edited a monograph on the biology and ecology of Carpinteria Salt Marsh. In this monograph, Ferren listed Ralph Hoffmann's name at least 15 times, in regard to varioius plants that he had collected at Carpinteria Marsh. He also wrote a brief biographical note about Ralph Hoffmann as follows:

"The second quarter of the 20th Century included visits to Carpinteria Salt Marsh by many notable collectors. Ralph Hoffmann, Director of SBM (1925-1932), collected numerous specimens from the estuary and dunes between 1925-1932. These specimens are housed at SBM, CAS, and POM."

In the 1980s, Pamela Weatherbee, as a student of the flora of Berkshire County, emerged on the "landscape." She did graduate work on the floristics and vegetation, and published a comprehensive book entitled: Flora of Berkshire County Massachusetts. It is the exact same title that Ralph Hoffmann used 74 years earlier. Her book is 123 pages in length, while Ralph Hoffmann's book is 211 pages in length. Pamela Weatherbee quotes Hoffmann profusely throughout her book because Hoffmann's book is a good baseline of information upon which she could draw many observations. A few excerpts from Pamela Weatherbee's book regarding Ralph Hoffmann are worthy of quotation:

"Ralph Hoffmann, compiler of the most recent Berkshire county Flora (1922), was born in 1870 in Stockbridge, where his father was headmaster of a private school. He was known first as an accomplished ornithologist, publishing a paper on Berkshire birds in 1900, and subsequently, field guides and books on birds of a wider area. His interest in botany surfaced in 1899, and ... he documented the discovery of autumn willow (Salix serissima) and Frank's lovegrass (Eragrostis frankii) in the county. Thirty years of collecting laid the foundation for his flora, which is a thorough, accurate work, providing much information on habitat and distribution. His professional career was in teaching, although later in life he became Director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. It was in 1932, while collecting plants on a coastal cliff in California, that he fell to his death."

All in all, more than 100 plants that were collected by Ralph Hoffmann are compiled in Pam Weatherbee's flora with Hoffmann's year of collection and location in Berkshire County.

In summary, this early lengthy monograph, 83 year ago in 1922, by Ralph Hoffmann, beyond a doubt, establishes Ralph Hoffmann as a botanist. Therefore, he is also a genuine biologist and naturalist, and can be termed an early ecologist, conservation biologist, and environmental biologist. Of course, after a few more years, he would become Director of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History with a biologist bent and then we can also refer to him as a "genuine" natural historian.