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What are some helpful books or guides about native plants?

11 years ago


Posted by: john_MO z5/6 on Thu, Jun 20, 02
"Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines" by William Cullina. He is the horticulture director of Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA. Like his Wildflowers book, it is a wonderful resource and fills a need that I have had for years. It fits nicely between the nice, but limited, regional guides available and the exhaustive and technical botanical tomes. Cullina's style is a wonderful combination of interesting anecdotes and down-to-earth practical advice.

* Posted by: Sam_MD z7 MD on Sun, Jun 9, 02
... "Growing and Propagating Wildflowers of the United States and Canada" by William Cullina. This is a beautifully illustrated guide from the NE Wildflower Society's Garden in the Woods, where the author works. It is published by Houghton Mifflin. This is an excellent reference. It provides many insights that only someone who works with plants can make.

"The Native Plant Primer" by Carole Ottesen.

Posted by: Doris_J Z8 WA on Sun, Apr 28, 02
... "The American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants". It is a great plant bible. Huge book but well worth it. I use it constantly.

"Hortus 3rd"

* Posted by: Treedoc66 6b on Sun, Aug 11, 02
"The Hillier Manual of Trees and Shrubs".

* Posted by: david7a_ga z7a GA on Sat, Jun 8, 02
Maybe I have expensive tastes, but I like Allan Armitage's "Perennial Plants" and Michael Dirr's "Manual of Woody Landscape Plants". That's two big expensive volumes, and I don't even have anything to cover annuals yet!

* Posted by: woodland_gardens z5 WI on Mon, Jul 15, 02.
Dirr has quite a few good books out. Dirr's "Hardy Trees and Shrubs" is a good pictoral guide, and of course the manual. 5th edition is the newest, being only 3 or 4 years old. There's a similar book by Steven Still that is a manual of herbaceous plants. I dislike it as it leaves out many common (and more not so common) herbaceous plants, but it covers annuals, biennials, and perennials. A-Z encyclopedia is good. Good pics and good information.. Heightshoe has a good, but expensive, book out called "Native Trees and Shrubs for Urban or Suburban Landscapes" or something really long like that. Not many pics, but good illustrations showing structure.

Posted by: NYC_Native z7aNY on Sun, Aug 11, 02
The Roger Tory Peterson book of NE w/f is a good one. I use mine a lot. Pictures go by color and flower type.

Posted by: aris z5CT on Sat, Aug 10, 02 .
I get a lot of information about native plants from keys that include detailed descriptions. My favorite is the "Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada", Second Edition, by Gleason and Cronquist, a New York Boatnical Garden Publication, and the "Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual", by Holmgren, also a New York Botanical Garden publication. (Both expensive) Another favorite is the old "The Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture", by L.H.Bailey, which was first published about 1900. Mine is a 1943 edition, 3 volumes, over 3600 pages, with wonderful essays on various garden topics and genera -- for example, there is a key and description of 48 species of Penstemon. For me, it has much more useful information that the later "Hortus 3rd". It seems to be readily available used.

"Gardening With Native Wild Flowers" by Leonard E. Foote and Samuel B. Jones (paperback, but may be hard to find)

"Noah's Garden : Restoring the Ecology of Our Own Back Yards" by Sarah Stein

"Planting Noah's Garden : Further Adventures in Backyard Ecology" by Sarah Stein


* Posted by: TheMrAugie z6 NYon Sat, Aug 31, 02
New York's own Roger Tory Peterson has published a number of field guides. I've had "A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America" for 25 years. It has both natives and aliens. It's been everywhere and never lost a page despite difficult conditions. I just ordered the Fern guide in the series

* Posted by: Sam_MD z7on Tue, Aug 27, 02
Following references contain the answers to many queries posted on this forum:
"Herbaceous Plants of Maryland" by Brown & Brown
"Woody Plants of Maryland" by Brown & Brown
"Flora of West Virginia" by Strausbaugh & Core
"Vascular Plants of the Washington-Baltimore Area" by Shetler
"The Ferns and Fern-Allies of Maryland and Delaware including District of Columbia" by Reed

Posted by: Donna_in_NC z7NC on Mon, Jul 29, 02
my favorite NC wildflower guide. It has great color photos (408 pics)& good descriptions & counties where plants are most often found: "Wild Flowers of North Carolina -also covering VA,SC,TN,KY,WV,MD, & DE" by William S.Justice & C.Ritchie Bell. Published by the University of North Carolina Press P.O. Box 2288 Chapel Hill, NC 27515-2288

Posted by: esh_ga z7 GA on Sat, Aug 24, 02
For my area, I like "Southeastern Wildflowers" by Jan Midgley. In addition to the information it provides on specific plants, there is also helpful information on plant communities and cultivation.

* Posted by: Bullnettle z8b TX on Fri, Sep 6, 02

"Native Texas Plants" by Wasowski and Wasowski - an excellent resource for native Texas plants for use in the home landscape that contains only natives to Texas.

"How to Grow Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest" by Jill Nokes: excellent resource on propagating 155 native plants.

"Texas Wildscapes, Gardening for Wildlife" by Damude and Bender: fairly comprehensive but few pictures.

"The National Wildflower Research Center's Wildflower Handbook": resources for buying native plants and seeds, bibliographies for various areas of the country, and general information about growing native wildflowers, wildscapes, etc.

"The Useful Wild Plants of Texas and the Southeastern and Southwestern Unitied States, the Southern Plans, and Northern Mexico" by Cheatham and Johnston: extremely comprehensive, a 12 volume work in progress. Currently two volumes have been published, through canavalia. Best one going, but expensive ($125 per volume) and, as yet, incomplete. Well worth the money in my opinion. I'm currently saving for the next volume, due out next year, I think.

* Posted by: Neil_allen z5/6 Wed, Aug 28, 02
Voss's three-volume "Michigan Flora" is useful and at $18/volume reasonably priced. It's obviously no field guide, but it's comprehensive, contains distribution maps for each species and notes on non-natives growing without cultivation in the state -- when did they first appear, are they European, American "adventives" along railroad lines, etc.

Voss's specialty is taxonomy, and there's a a fair amount of discussion about correct botanical names. A lot of technical terminology throughout, although he does include a glossary.

There are a few pages of multi-pictured color plates in each volume and line drawings of selected plants or parts of plants every ten pages or so, but this won't help you unless you've already got a good idea of what you're looking for.

But whereas, say, the Peterson Field Guide might show three trilliums and indicate that there are 10 more that aren't shown, Voss will key out every plant. Once you've got a general idea of what you might be dealing with, this is a good place to look to nail down your identification, sort out subspecies, etc.

Between the two peninsulas, the state covers a lot of east-west territory, and also goes far enough north to include a number of "circumpolar" species, so this is useful for more than just Michigan plants.

Posted by: woodland_gardens z5 WI on Mon, Jul 15, 02 Anyone in WI and into natives should pick up "The Native Vegetation of Wisconsin" by Curtis.

Posted by: lycopus z5 IL on Fri, Aug 23, 02. My favorite reference is "Plants of the Chicago Region" by Swink and Wilhelm, published by the Indiana Academy of Science. It has descriptions for 2530 species known to grow in the region.

* Posted by: john_MO z5/6 on Wed, Aug 28, 02
"Missouri Wildlflowers", by Edgar Denison
"Shrubs and woody vines of Missouri", by Don Kurz both published by Missouri Department of Conservation

* Posted by: forest_MN z4 on Wed, Aug 28, 02
"Northland Wildflowers: The Comprehensive Guide to the Minnesota Region". by John B. Moyle and Evelyn W. Moyle. U. of MN Press 1997, 2001. Wonderfully illustrated with color photos by John Gregor. An excellent Guide to MN wildflowers which include both eastern forest species and tall grass prairie species

"Tall Grass Prairie Wildflowers". by Doug Ladd. Photos by Frank Oberle. Published by Falcon Press, Helena and Billings MT in cooperation with the Nature Conservancy. This is THE BEST guide I have found to prairie wildflowers and is illustrated by the best photography.


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