LYON, William Scrugham

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LYON, William Scrugham (1851-1916), New York born early resident of Los Angeles and forester of California’s first forestry board [SBMNH Leaflet, September 1935] who collected on Santa Catalina Island with Reverend Joseph C. Nevin in 1884. Lyon’s specimen of Santa Catalina Ironwood is first collected. The tree specimen was referred to Dr. Asa Gray of Harvard University for nomenclature, and the genus was named Lyonothamnus in honor of its discover. Nevin and Lyon collected together again on San Clemente Island in April 1885. In 1886, botanist E. L. Greene visited Santa Cruz Island where he determined a tree reported by Barclay Hazard in the summer of 1885 was in fact a new species of Lyonothamnus on Santa Cruz Island. In 1888 T. S. Brandegee found the same species on Santa Rosa Island, where he states “the trees were small and often distorted by the wind.” Lyon’s wife, Emma Mellus Lyon (1857-1941) died at age 84, and was survived by daughter, Catherine Lyon Johnston (1877-1953), and son, William Ward Lyon (1886-1961). Lyon’s prime set of specimens is located in the Gray Herbarium, Harvard. » Ford, Henry Chapman “The Lyonothamnus asplenifolius” in Bulletin of the Society of Natural History 1: 2, 56-58, 1890.


“The writer has enjoyed the rare advantage of several visits at different seasons of the year to some of the islands of the Santa Barbara Archipelage; made copious collections and field notes, and had, possibly (thanks to the courtesy of the San Clemente Sheep and Wool Company, and to the principal lessee of Santa Catalina Island), better facilities for the careful and extended observation of their respective floras, than had Messrs. Dall, Gambel, Wallace or Dr. Cooper, who had reviously made brief excursions to one or more of these islands.” » The Flora of our South-western Archipelago in Botanical Gazette XI(8), August, 1886.


Lyon collected specimens on two California Channel Islands:

  • San Clemente Island (1885)
  • Santa Catalina Island (1884)



Island Collections~
ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
San Clemente Island J. C. Nevin & W. S. Lyon DS April 1884 DS-127981 Eriophyllum nevinii Plants
~ trip ~
San Clemente Island J. C. Nevin, Joseph Cook & W. S. Lyon CAS April 1885 CAS-73128 Lasthenia chrysostoma Plants
San Clemente Island J. C. Nevin & W. S. Lyon DS April 1885 DS-73128 Lasthenia chrysostoma Plants
San Clemente Island W. S. Lyon & J. C. Nevin DS April 1885 DS-117023 Malva assurgentiflora Plants
San Clemente Island J. C. Nevin & W. S. Lyon GH April 1885 GH-58841 Astragalus nevinii Plants
San Clemente Island J. C. Nevin & W. S. Lyon POM April 1885 POM-228224 Astragalus nevinii Plants
San Clemente Island J. C. Nevin & W. S. Lyon UC April 1885 UC-74585 Astragalus nevinii Plants


ISLAND COLLECTOR INSTITUTION DATE NUMBER SPECIMEN
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon UC May 1884 UC-28210 Galium catalinense Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon CAS July 1884 CAS-939 Phacelia lyonii Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon DS July 1884 DS-72983 Lyonothamnus floribundus subsp. floribundus Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon DS July 1884 DS-105426 Phacelia lyonii Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon Harvard July 1884 GH-26556 Lyonothamnus floribundus Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon RSA July 1884 RSA-562003 Prunus lyonii Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon UC July 1884 UC-185699 Galium catalinense Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon GH December 1884 GH-92791 Galium catalinense Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon DS 1884 DS-92316 Crossosoma californicum Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon DS 1884 DS-72227 Perityle emoryi Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon GH 1884 GH-93414 Phacelia lyonii Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon NY 1884 NY-323297 Eriogonum giganteum Plants
Santa Catalina Island W. S. Lyon Harvard 1885 GH-244872 Solanum wallacei Plants



In the News~

1897: …” Mr. Lyon speaks of a trifoliate form of Rhus integrifolia…” [Blanche Trask. Field Notes from Santa Catalina Island Erythea 7:137, 1899].


October 10, 1889 [LAT]: “San Francisco. William S. Lyon, head forester of the State Board of Forestry, has returned from Livermore, where he accepted conditionally, on behalf of the board, a piece of ground for an experimental station…”


September 8, 1892 [LAT/SD]: “William S. Lyon, head forester of the State, has offered 1000 shade trees to this city for street planting.”


April 21, 1895 [LAT/SB]: “Exhibition of flowers… Among the more interesting specimens shows a tiny fern-like seedling, the first attempt at artificial cultivation of the famous ironwood tree indigenous to Santa Cruz, one of our Channel Islands, and which is not only found nowhere else upon the globe, but which has not a single botanical relative, and has therefore created a new botanical genus, named Lyonothamnus asplenifolius, after a Los Angeles gentleman, Mr. Lyon, who was the first to bring this tree to the notice of scientific men. The tree is a very stately species, with a fern-like foliage, and grows to a height of fifty feet in its wild state.”