National Wildlife Federation field guide to wildflowers of North America

David M. Brandenburg

Book - 2010

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Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 582.13097/National Checked In
Field guides
New York, NY : Sterling Pub c2010.
Physical Description
672 p. : col. ill., col. maps ; 20 cm
Includes bibliographical references (p. 602-603) and index.
Main Author
David M. Brandenburg (-)
Corporate Author
National Wildlife Federation (-)
Review by Choice Review

There is great wisdom in a guide to North American wildflowers that identifies to the genus level. The work's broad scope (over 2,000 species) dictates such a strategy. Most field guides cover only about 200-400 species. Using more than 4,000 photos as the primary vehicle to identify a wildflower, taxonomic botanist Brandenburg (Dawes Arboretum) wisely adds flower symmetry and the extent of fusion of the petals as criteria to successfully identify a wildflower without getting bogged down in technicalities. The distribution maps and explanations of plant parts are superb. With all the effort made to assist the would-be naturalist in successfully identifying an organism in the field, the guide suffers from the shortcomings of all such printed guides--static methodology and the exclusion of plants likely to be encountered. Picture-book taxanomy only goes so far in the vegetable kingdom. Electronic tools function better, but people continue their love affair with print. The ultimate test is to hand the guide to a student in class, which this reviewer did this spring. The proof is in the pudding; the outcome was a successful identification. Congratulations to the author and publisher on a job well done. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels of academic and two-year technical program students, practitioners, and general readers. T. Johnson Prescott Valley Public Library

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission. Review by Library Journal Review

Brandenburg (taxonomic botany, Dawes Arboretum, Newark, OH) pushes to the limit the notion that field guides be geared toward amateurs and that they be portable. This fat, two-and-a-quarter-pound volume, crammed with some 4000 photographs of 2200 species, represents an impressive research feat (the photo credits alone run to 20 pages). The photographs, though smallish, are sharp and the colors vivid-a definite improvement on those in the National Audubon Society field guide series; and by keeping plates and text together, its organization, too, is superior. But the book does not fit easily into the hand (or pocket); even with its superb introductory materials, lovely line drawings, plant-identification keys, range maps, indexes, and sharp graphic design and weatherproof binding, it will probably sit more comfortably on the expert's office reference shelf than in the enthusiast's backpack. Botanists will appreciate Brandenburg's corrections of the taxonomy and separation of introduced species from true natives, while lay browsers can still enjoy the happy nonsense of plants' common names (e.g., red-whisker clammyweed). VERDICT There are dozens of smaller regional wildflower guides with far fewer species to identify that will make amateurs' flower sleuthing easier. Still, Brandenburg's compendium is a solid update and a testament to the astonishing variety and beauty of North American wild flora.-Robert Eagan, Windsor P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.