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PART II. Pachycereus pringlei / La Isla de California




Chapter 4


All quotations from the letters of Hernán Cortés are from Anthony Pagden's translation.



Chapter 5


I base the claim of high sequence similarity on a translated nucleotide alignment of aloe arborescens pep-c with Carnegiea gigantea pep-c. Over a stretch of 57 amino acids, there is 98% identity. Over another stretch of 19 amino acids, there is 100% identity.



Chapter 6


"They all reported thousands of islands." For example: "the riches of those islands is something wonderful, whether in gold or precious stones, or in all manner of spicery..." Page 209 of volume two of Henry Yule's translation of The Book of Ser Marco Polo. For other examples, see Dora Beale Polk's book, The Island of California.


"In that land.... in such a case he will die." Page 144 of Robert Silverberg's The Realm of Prester John.


"He brought me word.... They also told me that it was very rich in pearls and gold." Page 300 of Pagden's translation of The Letters of Hernan Cortes.


"To the right hand of the Indies.... then he was killed." Pages 457 - 458 in W.T. Little's translation of Esplandián.


"Montalvo invented the word California..." One historical antecedent is particularly intriguing, however. It’s possible that Montalvo derived his feminization of Calif from the Old French poem Le Chanson de Roland. Dora Beale Polk directed my attention to the convincing article by Ruth Putnam.





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Cortes, Hernán; Pagden, Anthony, 2001. Hernan Cortes: Letters from Mexico. Yale Nota Bene, New Haven.

Crayn, D.M., Winter, K. and Smith, J.A.C., 2004. Multiple origins of crassulacean acid metabolism and the epiphytic habit in the Neotropical family Bromeliaceae. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(10): 3703-3708.

Ctesias of Cnidus; Nichols, A., 2008. The Complete Fragments of Ctesias of Cnidus: Translation and Commentary with an Introduction. University of Florida.


Darwin, C., 1859. On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. John Murray, London.

Darwin, C., 1872. The Origin of Species, 6th ed. John Murray, London.

Davis, L.G., 2003. Geoarchaeology and geochronology of pluvial lake Chapala, Baja California, Mexico. Geoarchaeology-an International Journal, 18(2): 205-223.

de Montalvo, G.R.; Little, W.T., 1992. The Labors of the Very Brave Knight Esplandián. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies. Arizona State University, Arizona Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Tucson.

Edwards, E.J., Nyffeler, R. and Donoghue, M.J., 2005. Basal cactus phylogeny: Implications of Pereskia (Cactaceae) paraphyly for the transition to the cactus life form. American Journal of Botany, 92(7): 1177-1188.

Ehleringer, J.R. and Monson, R.K., 1993. Evolutionary and Ecological Aspects of Photosynthetic Pathway Variation. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 24: 411-439.

Elliott, J.H., 1970, 1998. The Old World and The New. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Ellis, R., 2005. No Turning Back: The Life and Death of Animal Species. Harper Perennial, New York.

Escoto-Rodriguez, M. and Bullock, S.H., 2002. Long-term growth rates of cirio (Fouquieria columnaris), a giant succulent of the Sonoran Desert in Baja California. Journal of Arid Environments, 50(4): 593-611.

Etges, W.J., 1998. Premating isolation is determined by larval rearing substrates in cactophilic Drosophila mojavensis. IV. Correlated responses in behavioral isolation to artificial selection on a life-history trait. American Naturalist, 152(1): 129-144.

Fleming, T.H., Maurice, S. and Hamrick, J.L., 1998. Geographic variation in the breeding system and the evolutionary stability of trioecy in Pachycereus pringlei (Cactaceae). Evolutionary Ecology, 12(3): 279-289.

Fleming, T.H., Sahley, C.T., Holland, J.N., Nason, J.D. and Hamrick, J.L., 2001. Sonoran Desert columnar cacti and the evolution of generalized pollination systems. Ecological Monographs, 71(4): 511-530.

Francovizcaino, E., Goldstein, G. and Ting, I.P., 1990. Comparative Gas-Exchange of Leaves and Bark in 3 Stem Succulents of Baja-California. American Journal of Botany, 77(10): 1272-1278.

Godinez-Alvarez, H. and Valiente-Banuet, A., 2000. Fruit-feeding behavior of the bats Leptonycteris curasoae and Choeronycteris mexicana in flight cage experiments: Consequences for dispersal of columnar cactus seeds. Biotropica, 32(3): 552-556.

Hartmann, S., Nason, J.D. and Bhattacharya, D., 2001. Extensive ribosomal DNA genic variation in the columnar cactus Lophocereus. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 53(2): 124-134.

Herodotus; Macaulay, G.C., 2006. An Account of Egypt, being the second book of his histories called Euterpe. Project Gutenberg:

Keeley, J.E. and Rundel, P.W., 2003. Evolution of CAM and C-4 carbon-concentrating mechanisms. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 164(3): S55-S77.

Kuhn, T.S., 1962, 1996. The structure of scientific revolutions. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Leigh, E.G.J., Davidar, P., Dick, C.W., Puyravaud, J.-P., Terborgh, J., ter Steege, H. and Wright, S.J., 2004. Why do some tropical forests have so many species of trees? Biotropica, 36(4): 447-473.

Mandeville, J. de; Outremeuse, Jean de, 1961. Mandeville's Travels. Pub. for the Early English Text Society, by K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., ltd.

Martin, W. and Schnarrenberger, C., 1997. The evolution of the Calvin cycle from prokaryotic to eukaryotic chromosomes: a case study of functional redundancy in ancient pathways through endosymbiosis. Current Genetics, 32(1): 1-18.

Molina-Freamer, F., Cervantes-Salas, M., Morales-Romero, D., Buchmann, S. and Fleming, T.H., 2003. Does the pollinator abundance hypothesis explain geographic variation in the breeding system of Pachycereus pringlei? International Journal of Plant Sciences, 164(3): 383-393.

Monson, R.K., 2003. Gene duplication, neofunctionalization, and the evolution of C-4 photosynthesis. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 164(3): S43-S54.

Nason, J.D., Hamrick, J.L. and Fleming, T.H., 2002. Historical vicariance and postglacial colonization effects on the evolution of genetic structure in Lophocereus, a Sonoran Desert columnar cactus. Evolution, 56(11): 2214-2226.

Nobel, P.S. and Zutta, B.R., 2005. Morphology, ecophysiology, and seedling establishment for Fouquieria splendens in the northwestern Sonoran Desert. Journal of Arid Environments, 62(2): 251-265.

Pliny the Elder; Bostock, J.; Henry, T., 1890. The Natural History of Pliny, translated, with copious notes and illustrations, by John Bostock and H.T. Riley, II. William Clowe and Sons, Ltd, London.

Polo, Marco, 1254-1323; Yule, Henry, 1820-1889, 1871. The Book of Ser Marco Polo, the Venetian: concerning the kingdoms and marvels of the East, Volume II. John Murray, London.


Polk, D.B., 1995. The Island of California: A History of the Myth. University of Nebraska Press.


Putnam, R. and Priestly, H.I., 1917. California: The name. Univ. of Calif. Pub in History, 4(4): 293-365.

Sage, R.F., 2002. Variation in the k(cat) of Rubisco in C-3 and C-4 plants and some implications for photosynthetic performance at high and low temperature. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53(369): 609-620.

Schmitt, A.K., Martin, C.E., Loeschen, V.S. and Schmitt, A., 1993. Midsummer Gas-Exchange and Water Relations of 7 C3 Species in a Desert Wash in Baja-California, Mexico. Journal of Arid Environments, 24(2): 155-164.

Schultheis, L.M. and Baldwin, B.G., 1999. Molecular phylogenetics of Fouquieriaceae: Evidence from nuclear rDNA ITS studies. American Journal of Botany, 86(4): 578-589.


Silverberg, R., 1972. The Realm of Prester John. Doubleday, New York.

ValienteBanuet, A., Arizmendi, M.D., RojasMartinez, A. and DominguezCanseco, L., 1996. Ecological relationships between columnar cacti and nectar-feeding bats in Mexico. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 12: 103-119.

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Walton, J.C., Martinez-Gonzalez, F. and Worthington, R., 2005. Desert vegetation and timing of solar radiation. Journal of Arid Environments, 60(4): 697-707.

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Xiong, J. and Bauer, C.E., 2002. A cytochrome b origin of photosynthetic reaction centers: an evolutionary link between respiration and photosynthesis. Journal of Molecular Biology, 322(5): 1025-1037.

Xiong, J., Fischer, W.M., Inoue, K., Nakahara, M. and Bauer, C.E., 2000. Molecular evidence for the early evolution of photosynthesis. Science, 289(5485): 1724-1730.


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