July 14, 2022
North American Cercis (Redbud): a Study of Evolution and Adaptation
Speaker: Camille Nowell MSc
Thursday, July 14, 2022 6 p.m.
For many centuries, Cercis, a genus of attractive woody plants that includes our native western redbud, has been a focus of botanical study and appreciation. The first recorded mention of the group was by the ancient Greek philosopher Theophrastus, circa 325 BC. Native Americans, distinguished botanists, and eminent statesmen have also taken an interest in Cercis, including Carl Linnaeus, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Edward Lee Greene, Milton Hopkins, and Duane Isley.
More recently scientists have been investigating this group to better define the species and to understand the global patterns of distribution. The traditional taxonomic treatment of Cercis described two species in North America: the eastern species C. canadensis and the western species C. occidentalis (western redbud). In her master’s research on Cercis, Camille found through DNA analysis that Cercis in the Colorado River drainage may in fact be a different species. In her presentation, Camille will introduce the redbud genus and explain how she determined there could be a “cryptic” third species in North America.
Camille Nowell has conducted botanical surveys in the Mojave Desert, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, the San Joaquin Valley, and southeastern Idaho. She earned her M.S. degree from San Francisco State University (in partnership with the California Academy of Sciences) in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology, with an emphasis on California native flora. Her research on Cercis took her on expeditions throughout montane California, and the Colorado Plateau. Camille also enjoyed working on barn owl, golden eagle and prairie falcon studies for the East Bay Regional Park District. In 2021 she relocated to Nevada City and is now a proud member of the CNPS Redbud Chapter.
Watch on Youtube: https://youtu.be/3s8ywEeWDzc