Tim, I would be a sucker for either of the 2 books you mention, I have spent good money for books way out of the realm of Rock Gardening but that intrigued me... Tasmania for sure! I remember as a teenager, when I should be saving money for college, buying the Flora of the Galapagos, a large volume for significant dollars... somewhat to my Mom's chagrin. ;)
Back to the Northwestern USA flora, among the successors of the Abrams "Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States" is the "Flora of the Pacific Northwest, an Illustrated Manual", C. Leo Hitchcock and Arthur Cronquest (illustrations by Jeanne Janish), University of Washington Press, 1973, 730 pages. My volume is literally falling apart, having been used so much, but I'm also convinced newer publications never have bindings as strong as they used to be in the old times.
While I have used this Flora extensively, there are issues with the volume that make me wish for a better implementation. First, the area covered is hard to pinpoint, the author's definition of the "Pacific Northwest" is "all of the State of Washington, the northern half of Oregon, Idaho north of the Snake River Plains, the mountainous parts of Montana, and an indefinite fringe of southern British Columbia"... all rather fuzzy.
Secondly, all plant species are found through a process of stepping through botanical keys, there's never a full description of each individual species as in the earlier work. There are small drawings on the page margins to augment the botanical keying process, but one never gets the full impression visually from drawings nor a full textual description of any given species, making it much more challenging to use.
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
Still learning how to use this camera (at least I know which way to point it now....)
extreme western edge of Denver, Colorado; elevation 1705.6 meters, average annual precipitation 30cm; refuses to look at thermometer if it threatens to go below -17C
A key with drawings that depict the dichotomies is fabulous!!!!
Sometimes I wonder/can't tell, when trying to key a plant out, is it (1) or (2)? Is it hirsute, or tomentose...for example. It would be nice to know where a particular author is coming from.
Rick Rodich zone 4a. Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Maybe the attached will help. (Swink and Wilhelm, Plants of the Chicago Region, pp. 846)
(this post might appear twice; I just woke up)This doesn't open out very well because the previous owner glued and stapled the spine. Rydberg's description of Aquilegia saximontana had just been published the year before.
Something a little different; the Rev. Oscar C. Moreton's Old Carnations and Pinks. I would have liked more illustrations, but when you can produce a great deal of text and your illustrator is working so slowly that time seems to come to a complete standstill I guess it's understandable. But it tries the author's patience to no end.
Plant Identification Terminology: An Illustrated Glossary by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris is an absolutely excellent reference for the non-botanist. An alphabetical listing of botanical terms is illustrated with line drawings, plus comparative illustrations of different categories of structures and descriptions are provided at the back (e.g. inflorescences, leaves, surfaces, stems, etc.):
It's extremely helpful when trying to make sense of species descriptions. I highly recommend it!
That said, I agree 100% with you, Rick! It would be the absolute ultimate if a book included illustrations to show the differences between similar species in line drawings... specifically in the Roger Tory Peterson sense of pointing out the field marks and differences on the illustrations (with arrows, in his case) and also describing these in words (for us slow learners ;) ). I can't even imagine the additional effort this would take, but it would be fantastic. Monographs often do include pages of similar species displayed together, but I'm thinking more of the sorts of books that one might use as a field guide, e.g. Flora of Alberta.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm
I have always loved books concerning plants. The first I got was from an old aunt (my mum's aunt actually) and she had got it from her father as a Xmas present in 1919! It is a German textbook on plants (all kind of "plants" as mushrooms etc are included too). It is colourful plates and a lot of text (in German!) printed in 1876.
"Lehrbuch der Praktischen Pflantzenkunde in Wort und Bild, für Schule und Haus, für Gebildete aller Stände. Mit über 1000 Abbildungen auf 60 colorirten Tafeln in Doppelfolio und 214 Holzschnitten. Herausgegeben von Carl Hoffmann, Stuttgart. Hoffmann´sche V*erlags-Buchhandlung." *It is actually printed a B!
My "bible" regarding wild plants is Lid´s "Norsk flora" with black and white drawings and a lot of keys; and "Store nordiske flora" of Bo Mossberg et al with beautiful colorful drawings.
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!
Wow, lots of inspiration being shared here, and much to ponder and comment on; I'll be back. But here's a quickie newsflash, I was googling around for Linanthus seed, and discovered that a version of Abram's "An Illustrated Flora of the Pacific States" is completely online, for free, as a Google eBook. This link should take you to the Linanthus section, with L. grandiflorus found on Page 426!
I don't really have anything better to do than spend time looking for books online. (The dog would disagree.) My latest acquisition was a near-new copy of Correll and Johnston's Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas for $18. Eighteen dollars. Ten cents a page. It's best not to tell anyone about your secret passions (mine is collecting monographs, etc.) otherwise the prices might go up. Here's the coolest thing I've acquired lately. (For a couple of dollars more.) It's in mint condition which is why I didn't fully open the pages.