Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Essays on the Early History of Plant Pathology and Mycology in Canada

Essays on the Early History of Plant Pathology and Mycology in Canada

Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 376
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Essays on the Early History of Plant Pathology and Mycology in Canada
    Book Description:

    Ralph Estey chronicles the history of plant pathology and mycology in Canada from this early period to the late 1940s when it entered its professional, biochemically oriented phase. His major topics include the pioneering roles of entomologists and horticulturists in the genesis of plant pathology; the influence of diseases in potatoes, grain, and forage crops on early developments in plant pathology and mycology; the factors prompting the development of the relatively new sciences of forest pathology and nematology; and the teaching of plant pathology. Estey discusses early legislation in Canada pertaining to plant diseases and the faltering first steps toward international regulation, and provides a detailed history of mycology province by province.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6440-4
    Subjects: Technology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-5)

    Plant pathology (phytopathology) is the branch of botany that deals with all aspects of diseases and disorders in plants, especially their causes, symptoms, prevention, control, and cure.

    In many respects it is a uniquely difficult science to chronicle. Because it is not a fundamental science, it has been built on, or with parts of, other sciences; some might say it has parasitized other sciences. Thus, it has no beginning, and no precise boundaries for its scope have yet been drawn. The very expression “plant pathology” is of relatively recent origin, and a generally acceptable all-inclusive definition of those words had...

  6. 1 Entomologists and the Genesis of Plant Pathology in Canada
    (pp. 6-20)

    The very early agriculturists had more plant pest problems than do modern farmers. They had to compete with wild grazing animals, mice and other small animals, birds, insects, and plant diseases. Because they had no concept of plant diseases, they tried to protect their crops from the pests that could be scared away or forcibly removed, and the most numerous and often the most troublesome of them were the insects.

    The fact that insects were sometimes devastating to ancient farmers is reflected in the biblical stories of the locust plagues of Egypt. They were also a nuisance to Roman farmers,...

  7. 2 Contributions of Horticulturists to the Early Development of Plant Pathology in Canada
    (pp. 21-41)

    The amateur gardeners and gentlemen farmers of Europe, especially those who had glasshouses or orangeries, as they were called until about 1725, were among the first to take positive steps toward an understanding of plant diseases, their causes, and how to control them. Those horticulturists were writing about their successes and failures in the battle against mildews, blights, and rots of various kinds in theGardeners’ Chroniclein England, and in similar periodicals on the continent of Europe, beginning late in the seventeenth century. Thus it is easy to understand why horticulturists in Canada, with their numerous contacts in these...

  8. 3 Potato Diseases and the Beginning of Plant Pathology in Canada
    (pp. 42-73)

    Plant pathologists know that it was a potato disease, now called late blight, that stimulated much of the early development of plant pathology in Britain and northern Europe in the middle of the nineteenth century, but it is not generally so well known that diseases of the potato also provided the greatest stimuli to the early development of plant pathology in Canada. By the beginning of the nineteenth century the potato had displaced grain as the major source of carbohydrates in the diets of the peoples of northern Europe and their descendants in North America. For this reason, any failure...

  9. 4 Grain and Forage Crop Diseases and the Early Development of Plant Pathology in Canada
    (pp. 74-115)

    Because the cereal grains have been our major source of carbohydrate food for as far back as we have any written history of agriculture, it is not surprising that some of the earliest records of plant diseases would refer to those affecting grain. The very early Sumerian references to a “samanu” disease causing barley to turn red¹ are not sufficiently descriptive to permit a modern plant pathologist to identify the disease; nevertheless, they indicate the importance the early farmers attached to disease and other irregularities in growing grain.

    The first grain to be sown and harvested by white people in...

  10. 5 Early Forest Pathology in Canada
    (pp. 116-146)

    Prior to the first settlements by Europeans, the land mass that is now Canada was sparsely inhabited by nomadic and semi-nomadic people who, lacking metal tools, wheeled vehicles, and beasts of burden, made very little impact on the vast forests.

    To the pioneer European settlers the forest was a mixed blessing. Although it provided materials for their shelter and warmth it also harboured livestock predators and was a great impediment to the development of agriculture and to communication by land. The forest was often looked upon as something to fight against and to burn, rather than as a valuable asset...

  11. 6 Early Nematology in Canada
    (pp. 147-158)

    Through some accident in its evolution, plant pathology in Canada has not, since about the 1950s, generally included the study of plant diseases induced by insects. However, throughout North America, it does include diseases induced by nematodes. There seems to be no logical explanation for the generally accepted view that a plant gall resulting from the action of a nematode comes within the realm of plant pathology, whereas one induced by an insect does not.

    As a discipline, nematology might well be expected to embrace studies of all forms of nematodes, but a more restricted definition has developed. The study...

  12. 7 Early Plant Disease Legislation in Canada
    (pp. 159-174)

    Many destructive plant pathogens are carried in, on, or with seeds, soil, and plants, all of which can be moved over relatively short distances by such natural means as wind, water, birds, and animals. Large bodies of water, mountain ranges, deserts, and other geographical barriers limited the spread of plant pathogens, until people began to transport them over and around the natural barriers. In doing this, people inadvertently became the chief agents for the long-distance transportation and distribution of plant pathogens, the incitants of plant diseases. As a substitute for natural barriers to the movement of these incitants, artificial ones...

  13. 8 The Early Teaching of Plant Pathology in Canada
    (pp. 175-245)

    Teaching may be done in a variety of ways, the simplest of which occurs when one person, by the spoken word or by example, transmits some knowledge or skill to one or more others. Demonstrations, on government-sponsored farms and on owners’ farms, were among the most effective early methods of teaching better farming methods and plant disease control in Canada, especially among orchardists and potato growers.

    Another common method of teaching is through visual images, printed words and illustrations, such as those found in newspapers, journals, books, etc. In the early days of Canadian agriculture, most of the agricultural societies...

  14. 9 A History of Early Mycology in Canada
    (pp. 246-293)

    People living in the geographical area that is now Canada were collecting mushrooms and other fungi as a hobby in the first half of the nineteenth century. However, their pursuit of mycology (the branch of biology that deals with mushrooms, mildews, and other fungi) during most of that period has to be viewed in the Victorian tradition of natural history, and their study of fungi, mostly the fleshy forms, mainly as an appreciation of nature. Those early “mycologists” were, almost without exception, clergymen, doctors, or businessmen, many of whom developed a scientific spirit that has seldom been seen since their...

  15. General Summary and Conclusions
    (pp. 294-298)

    Long before the microbial cause of plant diseases had been discovered, farmers could see that insects were damaging their crops. It is therefore understandable that insect control preceded the control of disease in plants, and that farmers and amateur entomologists would be the first to attempt to control the ravages of the insects they could see, and also the diseased or damaged conditions of undetermined origin. Thus it came about that entomologists were among the first people in Canada to practise plant disease control and to publish their methods and results.

    For several decades the most intensive care of plants...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 299-360)
  17. Index of Names
    (pp. 361-368)
  18. General Index
    (pp. 369-384)