Richard Kenneth Brummitt (1937 2013)

  • Published on
    20-Jan-2017

  • View
    223

  • Download
    0

Transcript

Richard Kenneth Brummitt (1937 2013)Richard Brummitt, who has died at the age of 76, was aninternational scientist with a well-deserved reputation forknowledge, intelligence and integrity in the field ofbotanical systematics. Dick, as he was universally known,had a unique personality. His great interest was not onlyin science but also in the people working in it to whomhedisplayed his friendly nature and hospitality combinedwith a strong character and modesty in his private life.Dick Brummitts association with Kew spannedexactly 50 years. He came to work on Flora Zambesiacain September 1963 and his last visit to the Herbariumwas in September 2013, shortly before his death on 18September. This long and fruitful association maynever have happened, had it not been for an accidentat school. Dick had been accepted to study medicineat the University of Edinburgh but before taking uphis place he slipped and cut open his elbow on thecorner of a wall. Catching sight of a protruding bone,he was sick on the spot and decided that perhapsmedicine wasnt the career for him.Scientific workEarly careerDick was born in Liverpool on 22 May 1937 and spentall his early life in the city. Following the aforementionedaccident, he turned down his place at Edinburgh andmade what seems to have been a last-minute decision tostudy for a degree in botany at theUniversity of Liverpool,staying on for his PhD, a revision of the genus Calystegiaunder the supervision of Vernon Heywood. He main-tained a keen interest in the genus throughout his life,working on several projects relating to it after his officialretirement. He carried out fieldwork to collect Calystegiain California in 2012 and recently completed his accountof the genus for the Flora of North America, where thegreatest diversity of the genus is to be found. Mark Carinewho worked on the genus with Dick in recent yearsremembers him as an enthusiastic collaborator with anexcellent understanding of taxonomic complexity in thegroup related to its huge variation and hybridisation. Asmentioned by Mark, Dick worked out the problems oftaxon delimitation in this complex, resolving taxonomicand nomenclatural problems (Brummitt 1963, 1980,1996) and resolving the complexities presented byhybridisation (Brummitt & Chater 2000), collaboratingon a project to use molecular data to examine patterns ofvariation in this group and co-supervising a mastersproject on the topic completed by Jackie Brown atReading University. The project found patterns entirelycongruent with the taxa Dick had identified based onmorphology, even if the hypothesised relationshipsbetween them differed somewhat (Brown et al. 2009).Accepted for publication 7 May 2014.KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522DOI 10.1007/S12225-014-9522-0ISSN: 0075-5974 (print)ISSN: 1874-933X (electronic) The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014He was very generous with his time and alwayswilling to share his knowledge of the genus anddiscuss ideas. He took a keen interest in work notonly on Calystegia but also the family more generallyand was very supportive of efforts to develop anetwork of Convolvulaceae researchers, attendingthe Convolvulaceae Working Group meetingorganised at Singapore Botanic Gardens by GeorgeStaples in 2009.Brian Mathew recalls The day before he died inhospital, he was telling me enthusiastically about somenew Calystegia species that had been discoveredrecently. What he did not tell me was that one ofthem was described by Brazilian botanists earlier thisyear (Ferreira et al. 2013) as C. brummittii.KewImmediately after completion of his PhD, inSeptember 1963, Dick joined the African Section of theHerbarium at Kew. At this stage he was not a member ofthe permanent staff but was employed by the Ministry ofOverseas Development to work on Flora Zambesiaca.Most of Dicks traditional systematic output datesfrom this period in the 1960s and is highly credited. Itincludes a major revision of Tephrosia in CentralAfrica, a broader review of Baphia and other smallergenera of Sophoreae as then defined, as well as generaof Caesalpinieae not published in Flora Zambesiacauntil forty years later, but requiring little change. Healso completed an astute revision of Dichrostachys withPat Brenan. Dick clearly had an excellent workingrelationship with Brenan, the two of them goingthrough specimens together each morning preparato-ry to Dick writing up accounts for the Flora. Many yearslater he praised Brenans qualities as a teacher andremarked that this daily routine was wonderfultraining for any young botanist.In January 1968 Dick became a permanent Kewemployee and was given responsibility for theAcanthaceae and associated families in Wing C at thattime. Dick authored or co-authored a number ofpapers on the family, but nothing on the scale of hisearlier work and he later regretted that he didnt domore taxonomic research due to his nomenclatureresponsibilities. One interesting discovery was aCrossandra possessing the longest pollen grain everfound with a sporopollenin exine, stumbled on bySally Bidgood as part of the collaborative work she didwith Dick on Acanthaceae (Brummitt et al. 1980).Dick was very proud of his part in the founding of theKew Record of Taxonomic Literature, describing it as one ofmy major achievements. The AETFAT Index, a listingof new species and taxonomic literature for tropicalAfrica, had made a big impression on him and led to hiswork on an annually published Index to EuropeanTaxonomic Literature. Subsequently he convinced RayDesmond, then librarian, that the Kew Library shouldstart listing all papers relating to taxonomy and thisbecame the Kew Record (1971 2007).It seems that Dicks private life in the early 1960swas influenced hugely by scientific work since, oncehis official working day was over, he spent eveningsand weekends working on a series of projects withfriends such as Keith Ferguson and Arthur Chater.Regarding the Index to European Taxonomic Literature,Keith remembers I was asked by the Flora EuropaeaEditorial Committee to help get it complete and infact used to go back into Kew with Dick Pat Brenanwas very kind and allowed me in the Herbariumafter hours under Dicks supervision. We used towork until we were put out at 9 pm as the electricitywas turned off then until 6 am in those days. Wenow and again took to the garden of the Rose andCrown and had a pint! In the winter of 1966 67we made regular visits to the BMNH on cold wetSaturdays and worked through all the journals inthe basement of the general library seeking papersof relevance to the Index.Another ambitious project conceived at that time wasan index of subspecies remembered by his collaboratorArthur Chater: When Dick got his job at the KewHerbarium, and I used to go there frequently for a weekat a time, we became interested in the nomenclaturalproblems of subspecies and planned to compile anIndex of Subspecies. This would include all namespublished up to 1900, with commentaries on eachauthor's concept of subspecies and the validity of theirnames. We began working through the Floras fromFriedrich Ehrhart onwards, and had a special dispensa-tion to take volumes out of the library overnight to dothe indexing in Dicks flat, Dick providing a meal. Ivividly remember indexing away while we listened to theCuban missile crisis unfolding on the radio. The Indexwas never completed, as our other commitments grew,and Dick got married, but it gave rise to a massive cardindex and joint papers on subspecies in the works ofEhrhart and Persoon as well as on the general nomen-clature of infraspecific taxa, and the names weunearthed or evaluated were much used in FloraEuropaea and other publications.Following Desmond Meikles retirement in 1983,Dick took on the role of unofficial nomenclatureadvisor to Index Kewensis. Despite his nomenclaturalinterests, Dick only had formal management respon-sibility for the Index Kewensis during a short period inthe mid- 1990s just before it became part of theInternational Plant Names Index.Dick retired in May 1999 but this made nodifference to his daily routine and he continued towork in the Herbarium every day. Only in the lastcouple of years, as his health deteriorated, did he cutdown on his visits but nevertheless he still made anappearance once or twice a week.9522, Page 2 of 8 KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014Dick was awarded the Kew Medal in 1991 For hisoutstanding knowledge of, and contribution to, theInternational Code of Botanical Nomenclature, theKew Generic Index and the guidance and care he hasunstintingly given to colleagues at Kew.NomenclatureDick is probably best-known to the internationalbotanical community for his contributions to nomen-clature. He was secretary of the Committee forSpermatophyta (later the Nomenclature Committeefor Vascular Plants) for over 30 years and attendedNomenclature Sections at six successive InternationalBotanical Congresses from Leningrad (1975) toVienna (2005).Dick got into nomenclature very early in his career,having worked on the Flora Europaea Secretariat duringhis Liverpool days. Once he arrived at Kew, Dick wassoon consulting Arthur Bullock. The long-establishedKew nomenclaturist had strong opinions and didntsuffer fools gladly but Dick said he had a lot to thankhim for: I got on well with him and he wassympathetic to me. Roger Polhill also remembersthat Bullocks fearsome reputation wasnt the wholestory He had a bad back and was generally regardedas an ill-tempered and condescending recluse, but wasactually very kind and considerate to young staff out ofhours. I remember him and Dick ensconced in thecomfort of the Old Library, now the Kew Guild Room,with its large table, comfortable Victorian chairs,surrounded by books, with incoming literature to bepored over for nomenclatural outrages.Although he didnt attend the 1969 Congress inSeattle, Dick published a large number of proposalsto amend the Code and was invited to join theCommittee for Spermatophyta. Six years later, in1975, he took over from Rogers McVaugh asSecretary, a position he held for a remarkable 36years until 2011.Mats Thulin reported, as a member of theCommittee during the last 20 years I feel greatadmiration for Dick's tireless work. What he seemedto like most was the difficult cases, the proposalsthat provoked controversy and discussion. Dick alsotook much interest in improving the Code, alwayswith common sense as a leading principle. AsDicks successor, Wendy Applequist says, When Ijoined the Nomenclature Committee for VascularPlants, Dick had already been serving as theSecretary of that Committee, or its predecessorCommittee for Spermatophyta, for thirty years. Hehad an exceptional ability to keep its work runningsmoothly and to summarise complex nomenclaturalproblems so coherently that those of us with far lessexperience could understand them. He respondedquickly to correspondence and seemed endlesslywilling to share his wisdom and expertise. Whenhe retired as Secretary of the NCVP, he assured methat hed never comment on my management of theCommittee, generously wanting me to feel free todo things differently, though in fact, my goal wasalways to preserve his way of doing things. Justamong the people who have served on that com-mittee over the years, there must be dozens of uswho have come to think of Dick as our mentor inthe field of nomenclature and as a really fineman who was always a pleasure to work with.In an article on the 1999 Nomenclature Sectionprinted in the St Louis Post-Dispatch veteran bota-nist Richard Brummitt was quoted thus: Namesalways generate emotions. They are things peopleuse, and people get very attached to a name. Dickexperienced the full force of this emotion shortlyafterwards when a proposal to conserve the nameAcacia with an Australian type came before theCommittee. In the face of fierce, sometimes vitriolic,opposition following the Committees vote to approvethe proposal, Dick always maintained that he was solelyinterested in achieving the most practical outcome fornomenclatural stability and had treated all the argu-ments for and against the proposal with objectivity(Brummitt 2004).One example of the many lesser cases that Dicksteered through the committee concerned Salix fragilisL. It took the Nomenclature Committee for VascularPlants nearly four years to make a decision (Brummitt2009) after a proposal to conserve this name waspublished (Christensen & Jonsell 2005). Dick wasdelighted to hear, less than two weeks before hisdeath, that the decision taken four years earlier hadbeen shown to be correct when a PhD Thesis byKarolien Van Puyvelde (2013) was published. Usingmolecular markers she showed that the conclusionmade on the basis of morphology (Belyaeva 2009) waswell supported.Dealing with nomenclature on a daily basis wasusual for Dick. His colleagues at Kew and around theword much appreciated his valuable advice andconsultations. Rafal Govaerts remembers, For resolv-ing nomenclatural issues that came up in compilingthe checklist, I regularly went to his office for advice.He often remembered a similar case and went to oneof the many piles of paper and instantly pulled out therelevant piece of paper. Although his office lookedchaotic, his filing system seemed to work perfectly. Innomenclature also he advocated standardisation. Whywrite differently epithets that mean the same? Heexpertly guided me through the nomenclatural codeand the nomenclatural committee in correcting andconserving names. Although I have learned a lot aboutthe code over the years I doubt I will ever know all thearticle numbers, how they had changed and how theycame about as he did.9522, Page 3 of 8KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014Dick was always keen to emphasise what he calledthe democratic nature of botanical nomenclature and,as well as more formal papers, he was willing to sharehis knowledge with a much wider community, forexample explaining changes affecting plant names ofhorticultural interest (Brummitt 1997a). For manyyears he taught nomenclature to Masters students atthe Universities of Reading and Edinburgh, and wasnomenclature and taxonomy referee for the BotanicalSociety of the British Isles (now the Botanical Societyof Britain and Ireland).Large-scale projectsThroughout his career Dick took great interest inlarge-scale syntheses and global projects aimed atstandardisation of taxonomic data, as demonstratedby his involvement in the founding of the TaxonomicDatabases Working Group (TDWG) in the 1980s. Anumber of these projects came to fruition in the 1990s.Authors of Plant Names (Brummitt & Powell 1992) becameaTDWGStandard and is the basis of theAuthors databasemaintained to this day as part of the International PlantNames Index. Such an undertaking inevitably involveduntold hours of rather tedious checking and, to lightenthe burden, Dick and his colleague Emma Powell (nowShort) devised a competition whereby they scored pointsby inventing fantasy author combinations. Some of Dicksfavourite (and printable!) examples included (Flat) Spin,(Below) Parr and (Orlova & Dunn) With. The worldgeographical scheme for recording plant distributions(Hollis & Brummitt 1992, 2001) is another TDWGStandard and Vascular Plant Families and Genera(Brummitt 1992) was the basis of the Kew herbariumarrangement at that time.Dicks determination and organisational abilitycame to the fore in his championing of the SpeciesPlantarum Project (SPP), though Dick himself wasdisappointed that the international botanical commu-nity didnt share his enthusiasm. Dick was activelyinvolved from the early 1990s until a few years ago, asoutlined by Tony Orchard: Dick, as Convenor of theSteering Committee, took on the role of Secretary inhis usual conscientious way, and gradually, by corre-spondence, steered the Committee towards develop-ing the concept and content of the project. Almostsingle-handedly he held the group together with hispolite, meticulously worded and argued circulars,never imposing his own views, but quietly insistingthat all recipients reply, and in a timely manner. Hewas also instrumental in gradually expanding theSteering Committee to get the widest and mostrepresentative group of taxonomic botanists included.Dick was also instrumental in shaping the Flora,both directly and indirectly. He continually lobbiedbotanists to write treatments for SPP, and most of thepublished parts came about through his efforts, atleast in part. He also worked tirelessly on publicisingthe project, most notably as senior author in an articlein Taxon 50: 1217 1230 (Brummitt et al. 2001).Whatever its future, SPP will stand for all time as atribute to Dicks determination to advance taxonomyand taxonomic knowledge, despite the obstacles.Discussion on paraphylyRemembering Dicks scientific contribution itwould not be right to fail to mention his view onparaphyly and the nearly 16 year-long discussion aboutit that was led by him. Since Hennig (1966) there werewidely accepted new algorithms in analysing charac-ters, constructing cladograms based on synapomor-phies for determining relationships betweenorganisms, and Hennigian classification has accepteda monophyletic concept for definition of taxa that wasdifferent from the traditional classification based onsimilarity and common descent that allows the use ofranks and groups according to Linnaean hierarchies(Mayr & Bock 2002; Hrandl 2006; Stuessy & Knig2008). Roger Polhill shares his memories: By the 1980scladistics was in vogue. The old guard tended to retreatinto the safety of traditional concepts of Linneanhierarchies. Dick was having none of that. Like a fewothers he was sure this was all too simplistic and took onthe challenge, as in his nomenclatural work, of dissectingthe problem. He concluded that if you extend cladisticclassifications backwards they will always becomeparaphyletic and unworkable. His paper in Taxon,entitled Taxonomy versus cladonomy, a fundamental contro-versy in biological systematics (Brummitt 1997b) gathersdust, but one suspects one day that it will be rediscoveredand hailed as prescient. The debate became fraught attimes, but he soldiered on and no doubt helped tostimulate reassessments and better sampling in a num-ber of places. Nearly every year after this publicationDick provided new arguments to support the acceptanceof paraphyletic taxa and published his papers withattention grabbing titles such as How to chop up a tree(Brummitt 2002), Further dogged defense of paraphyletic taxa(Brummitt 2003) and Am I a bony fish? (Brummitt 2006).His view was supported by a large number of colleaguesaround the world in the letter to the editor of Taxon:Paraphyletic taxa should be accepted coordinated by Nordal& Stedje (2005). Sylvia Phillips has written: I shallalways remember Dick as being steadfast in hisopinions, even if this made him unpopular in certainquarters at times. From his deep knowledge of plantshe would form a considered opinion, and then stickto it through thick and thin. For me, the biggestmanifestation of this was his attitude to paraphyly. Hewas exceptionally good with words, and his clear andlogical mind was put to good use in writing articlesfor Taxon and elsewhere on paraphyly and othermatters where he held strong opinions.9522, Page 4 of 8 KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014In his publication Evolution in taxonomic perspective(Brummitt 2008) Dick asked: Can we not all agree thatevolution of characters is important and should berecognised in our taxonomy? If not, why not? Can wehave some answers so that we may make progress towardsagreement on our taxonomic principles? Hopefully,these questions will find an answer in the future.Travels and collectionsEveryone who botanised with Dick has commented onhis incredible ability to collect plants wherever andwhenever possible. He collected work-wise and onholiday around the world and here we present someof the memories of colleagues who were lucky enoughto botanise with Dick. Their accounts paint a vividpicture of life in the field with Dick.EuropeAs mentioned by Keith Ferguson, he was an avidplant collector throughout his life collecting manythousands of herbarium specimens. Dick while writinghis PhD travelled widely in Europe often alone. Hetravelled to Italy pulling a trolley made from pramwheels etc. and loaded with plant presses. On onetrip sadly he was robbed in southern Italy and hadto be helped home by the British embassy. Summerevenings, in 1966 especially, often involved a tripout on the A40 to collect plants and Dick would filla press in an hour.Arthur Chater shares his memories of travellingand botanising with Dick: In May 1972, Dick and Iwent to the Picos de Europa in north Spain to collectplants, and on to Coimbra in Portugal to attend theFlora Europaea Symposium there. We had booked ahotel at Covadonga in the Picos, but at the last minutewere told that we had been transferred to a hotel atFuente De. It later transpired that General Franco washaving a shooting holiday at Covadonga, so all visitorswere banned. Fuente De was under an unprecedentedlate spring blanket of snow, so botanising involved longdrives, inDick's car, to unaffected areas. Although he wasa good and careful driver, I was surprised at the speedwith which he went through villages on the long drive toPortugal, but I did not like to comment until on thesecond day he said What do all these signs with 30, 40, 50etc. inside circles mean?Dick was a great believer in the value of collectingspecimens, all the more so at a time when theconservation movement often discouraged it and soin effect led to the loss of information about the veryplants it was trying to conserve.East AfricaDick first travelled to Malawi in 1970, spending sixmonths there with his wife Hilary, allowing him toreally get to know the country and its flora. Anothertrip, as a member of the Wye College Expedition tothe Nyika Plateau, followed soon after in 1972. He andJames Seyani, who became a personal friend, wereinstrumental in setting up the National Herbariumand Botanic Gardens of Malawi in Zomba, a detailedaccount of which can be found in Hepper (1989).Dick was the driving force behind the 1994 AETFATmeeting in Malawi, the first to be held in Africa.Roger Polhill shared his memories about thisperiod, In his lifetime he collected some 22,000 plantnumbers, largely from Malawi and the adjacentcountries of Zambia, Zimbabwe and southern Tanzania.Furthermore he serviced and encouraged the verysubstantial collections of Jim Chapman, Isabel la Croix,Jean Pawek and Franoise Lemaire. Malawi is now one ofthe best collected little countries in tropical Africa: beforeDicks time the herbaceous flora in particular was poorlyknown indeed.I had two field trips with Dick, in 1974 and in 1982. Hewas amost accommodating companion and very happy toshare responsibilities Id do the arrangements for EastAfrica and hed do the same for Central Africa. Theplanning was fine, he relished the good experiences, andhunkered down and tolerated the bad times. He wasmodest about his culinary skills, though perfectly compe-tent, he eschewed photography and motor mechanics,but he was a superb collector. He just kept going frommorning to night, collected good sets of plants, careful intheir preparation, meticulous with his field notes, con-tentedly going through his presses morning and night tochange papers and keep all in good order. Ill neverforget a long tedious drive south from Dar es Salaam,stopping in a godforsaken spot for late lunch. I was reallyhot and tired, but in his inimitable way he wanderedround chewing his sandwich and insisted on collecting adreary difficult-to-press succulent Talinum and ofcourse it proved to be a new country record. From luxuryin posh hotels to being very nearly shot up by drunkensoldiers, or exhausted climbing Mt Mulanje, it was a greatcomfort to have Dicks stolid and unwavering support.He made a point of naming up most of his own vastcollections, and even where he got specialist help hedalways write up his determination books and look throughthe material to memorise the identifications. He endedup with an outstanding knowledge of the Central Africanflora, so that he could collect more selectively what heknew would enhance the holdings at Kew.All in all, Dick reckoned he had made about 25trips to Malawi over a span of more than 30 years andreferred to it as my second home. Ted Oliver says, Iwell remember the botanists and herbarium staff on avisit to Malawi telling me how much they respectedhim and how much they appreciated his contributionsto the flora of their part of tropical Africa.The major sets of his Malawi collections are at Kew(K) and Zomba (MAL) with duplicates at Brussels(BR), Copenhagen (C), Lisbon (LISC), Nairobi (EA),9522, Page 5 of 8KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014Paris (P) and Harare (SRGH). He also collected inKenya and Tanzania, the major set of collections fromthe Flora of Tropical East Africa area being deposited atKew with duplicates at Brussels, Copenhagen, Dar esSalaam (DSM), Nairobi and San Francisco (CAS).AustraliaAs reported by Alex George, having joined Kew in1963 Dick knew all the Australian Botanical LiaisonOfficers from that time. In fact, all but seven of the 53who held the position until it was ended in 2009. Inaddition, Dick met many other Australian botanists(and often their families) during their visits to Kewand during his own visits to this country. His first triphere was for the XIII IBC in Sydney in 1981, his last torun a course in nomenclature in Brisbane in 2005.Over the years a number of people were able to repaythe hospitality that he had shown them at Kew and athis home.In his desire to know as much of the worlds flora aspossible, Dick was almost a compulsive collector. Hejoined me in south-western Australia for several weeks inSeptember 2004 and filled a number of large pressesas they filled and the task of changing papers grew, hewould say Im not going to collect today, but at our firststop he would see yet another endemic plant, his fingerswould twitch and the resolve disappeared. Dickmade collection trips to Western Australia in 2001& 2004 and the map of these collections is availableon the website: http://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/brummitt-richard-kenneth.html.RussiaAljos Farjon remembers his most intimate experi-ence with Dick during an expedition to Kamchatka, theremote peninsula at the end of the Asian continent, insummer 2003 for general plant collecting, to which I hadinvited him as well as his son Neil. As soon as we arrivedat the airport of Petropavlovsk it became apparent thatDick was themost avid plant collector I had ever met. Hehad been given responsibility for the collected speci-mens, so he was in charge of plant pressing and all thatwent with it. He turned this activity into an almostmilitary routine, so as soon as we arrived in camp it wastime for laying over specimens collected during the day,untying presses of the previous day for the same exercise,drying used blotting papers out in the sun (which oftenshone) and making sure that numbers and dates onnewspaper margins agreed with our field note books.Dick and Sharon McDonald, who assisted him in thistask, usually collected around camp while I took theothers on further hikes into the wilderness. When on themove in the Russian army vehicle, which could tackle allterrain no matter how rough or overgrown, Dick usuallydozed off. When it stopped, even for a sanitary purpose,Dick woke up, got out and started collecting plants, so wehad to wait. Then he and Neil would quickly lay them inwhile we drove on. On our return flight to Moscow, wehad several bags of half-dried specimens with us. I hadwanted all to be sent to the Komarov Institute in St.Petersburg as planned, but Dick said these were not yetdry and would rot in the slow Russian mail. I could notgainsay him as I had given him responsibility for thespecimens, and he was right. However, inMoscow we gotinto trouble. The airport police thought we might besmuggling drugs and we could be arrested. Dickannounced he would go to jail with the specimens, asthey had to be laid over every day to dry. At the lastminute I found a letter in Russian from the KomarovInstitute which mellowed the police and we met ourflight to London within seconds of departure, takingDick and the specimens with us.Personal lifeDick married Hilary Crawford in May 1968 and thecouple set up home in Claygate on the outskirts ofsouthwest London, where Dick remained for the rest ofhis life. Hilarys early death inDecember 1988 was a hugeloss to Dick but however great his personal trials at thistime he kept them well hidden from colleagues andquietly got on with his work and his life at home with histhree children. He was quite a private person and didntengage willingly in small talk on family matters but wasalways happy to share an anecdote, especially oneinvolving wordplay. He showed many kindnesses tocolleagues over the years, for example teaching SheilaHooper and Irene Blewett to drive and inviting AljosFarjon to convalesce at his home following a seriouscycling accident. Dick and Hilary entertained manyvisiting botanists at their home over the years and Dickcontinued this hospitality after Hilarys death.Like many herbarium botanists, Dick was also a keenplantsman. As can be seen from Brian Mathewsdescription of the Brummitt garden, Dick did a lot toenhance the local area: Dick may have spent much ofhis working life with dried specimens, but he also foundenjoyment in growing an interesting range of plants.Dick and Hilary also created a garden which he carriedon with enthusiasm after Hilarys death, extending itoutside the boundaries to the verges. Other people inthe village would comment on the fine display ofhellebores by the roadside. The adjacent triangle ofgrass, which Dick persuaded Elmbridge council to leaveunmown, became and still is a notable local featurewith wild flowers and naturalised colonies of Fritillariameleagris, Narcissus species and other bulbs.Mention has already been made of Dicks steadfast-ness of opinion. In fact, he had quite a stubborn streak,at times justified but sometimes ill-considered. Althoughit could cause clashes in his professional life, this side ofhis character served him well in his sporting life. He wasa stalwart of the Kew tennis club (the staff courts weresited where the Banks Building now stands), winning the9522, Page 6 of 8 KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014http://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/brummitt-richard-kenneth.htmlhttp://www.anbg.gov.au/biography/brummitt-richard-kenneth.htmlProudlock Cup for mens singles on at least threeoccasions. Later, he was one of a group who would headto the London Welsh Club at the southern end of KewRoad for lunchtime squash sessions where he wasrenowned for his tenacious and competitive attitude.And he stayed true to his roots, as a keen supporter ofLiverpool Football Club throughout his life.Dicks ability to drop off to sleep at any time waslegendary and there are numerous amusing anecdotesillustrating the trait. It used to be reported fromLiverpool that after lunch a click could be heard fromDicks bit of the bench, denoting when his spectacles hitthe binocular microscope. As a young man at Kew, heused to regularly fall asleep in the old front library afterlunch with his head in his arms but seemed tomanage towake in time to avoid a reprimand from Edgar MilneRedhead the deputy Keeper. In later life he would boastthat he could wake and appear to be working betweenthe time somebody knocked on his office door and themopening the door to see if he was there.Dick Brummitts eventful life has touched and inspiredmany people to try to emulate his style and analyticalapproach to science and to life. He had a great love of lifeand showed the same commitment to anything that hewas engaged in whether it be committee work, writingscientific papers or discovering new plants.His work, in allthese forms, will stand as a permanent memorial to abotanist who enhanced the reputation of Kew through-out the world with a knowledge of taxonomy andnomenclature which was surpassed by none. The spacehe leaves will be difficult if not impossible to fill.Katherine Challis & Irina BelyaevaAcknowledgementsIn addition to those quoted in the text, we thankthe many people who shared their memories ofDick: Neil Brummitt, Marie Briggs, Mark Coode,Kaj Vollesen, Maria Vorontsova. An interview heldin the Kew Archives (QX 10-0012A Oral HistoryInterview with Dick Brummitt, 7 June 2010) provedinvaluable for insights from Dick himself.ReferencesBelyaeva, I. V. (2009). Nomenclature of Salix fragilis L.and a new species, S. euxina (Salicaceae). Taxon 58:1344 1348.Brummitt, R. K. (1963). A taxonomic revision of the genusCalystegia. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.____ (1980). Further new names in the genus Calystegia(Convolvulaceae). Kew Bull. 35: 327 334.____ (1992). Vascular Plant Families and Genera. RoyalBotanic Gardens, Kew.____ (1996). Two subspecies of Calystegia silvatica (Kit.)Griseb. (Convolvulaceae) in theMediterranean region.Lagascalia 18: 338 340.____ (1997a). Chrysanthemum Once Again. The Garden122 (9): 662 663.____ (1997b). Taxonomy versus cladonomy, a funda-mental controversy in biological systematic. Taxon46: 723 734.____ (2002). How to chop up a tree. Taxon 51: 31 41.____ (2003). Further dogged defense of paraphyletictaxa. Taxon 52: 803 804.____ (2004). Report of theCommittee for Spermatophyta:55. Proposal 1584 on Acacia. Taxon 53: 826 829.____ (2006). Am I a bony fish? Taxon 55: 268 269.____ (2008). Evolution in taxonomic perspective. Taxon57: 1049 1050.____ (2009). Report of the Nomenclature Committeefor Vascular Plants: 60. Taxon 58: 280 292.____, Castroviejo, S., Chikuni, A. C., Orchard, A. E.,Smith, G. F. & Wagner, W. L. (2001). The SpeciesPlantarum Project, an International CollaborationInitiative for Higher Plant Taxonomy. Taxon 50:1217 1230.____ & Chater, A. O. (2000). Calystegia (Convolvulaceae)hybrids in West Wales. Watsonia 23: 161 165.____ & Powell, C. E. (1992). Authors of Plant Names.Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.____, Ferguson, I. K. & Poole, M. M. (1980). A uniqueand extraordinary pollen type in the genusCrossandra (Acanthaceae). Pollen Spores 22 (1): 11 16.Brown, J. M., Brummitt, R. K., Spencer, M. & Carine,M. A. (2009). Disentangling the bindweeds: hybrid-ization and taxonomic diversity in Calystegia R. Br.Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 160: 388 401.Christensen, K. I. & Jonsell, B. (2005). Proposal toconserve the name Salix fragilis with a conservedtype (Salicaceae). Taxon 54: 555 556.Ferreira, P. P. A., Simo-Bianchini, R. & Miotto, S. T.S. (2013). Three new species of ConvolvulaceaeJuss. from South America. Phytotaxa 135 (1): 27 34.Hennig, W. (1966). Phylogenetic Systematics. Universityof Illinois Press, Urbana.Hepper, F. N. (1989). Plant Hunting for Kew. HMSO,London.Hollis, S. & Brummitt, R. K. (1992). World Geo-graphical Scheme for recording plant distributions.Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation,Pittsburgh.____ & ____ (2001). World Geographical Scheme forrecording plant distributions. Second Edition.Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation,Pittsburgh.Hrandl, E. (2006). Paraphyletic versus monophyletictaxa evolutionary versus cladistic classifications.Taxon 55: 564 570.Mayr, E. & Bock, W. J. (2002). Classifications andother ordering systems. J. Zool. Syst. Evol. 40 (4):169 194.9522, Page 7 of 8KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014Nordal, I. & Stedje, B. (2005). Paraphyletic taxa shouldbe accepted. Taxon 54: 5 6.Stuessy, T. F. & Knig, C. (2008). Patrocladisticclassification. Taxon 57: 594 601.Van Puyvelde, K. (2013). Population genetic structure andunravelling hybridisation of riparian softwood Salix speciesin parts of Europe. A case study on Salix alba and S. albaS. euxina complex. PhD thesis. Vrije University Brussels.9522, Page 8 of 8 KEW BULLETIN (2014) 69: 9522 The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, 2014Richard Kenneth Brummitt (1937 2013)Scientific workTravels and collectionsPersonal lifeReferences